Feedback from mid-point review

It was an interesting day yesterday, hard work, but some very valuable comments given to all of us as part of our mid-point review. Essentially a very big group tutorial just a bit more scary. The morning after, I have mixed feelings on how it went; I wasn’t happy with what I said when I presented my proposal(s), partly from not preparing well enough what I wanted to say and partly from garbling when I did say anything. I think I have spent too much of my career so far as a facilitator – presenting facts and opinions of others in the balanced, unemotional way you need to in corporate life. So much harder is talking about things which are very personal and really matter to you. If I am going to continue with such a ‘personally-rooted’ story, then I will need to know how to tackle this and be less self-conscious. However, feeling uncomfortable perhaps is a sign of getting out of your box. If you are very happy about everything then what can guide you on how to improve?

Otherwise lots of constructive feedback and questions from others on my work including some very useful general comments made to the whole class throughout the day:

On my proposal topic

  • Was it the right move to scrap by first proposal?
  • Is place and placelessness actually a question about belonging?
  • This topic is still very big, how will I focus this down?
  • Is what I am asking about actually identity? what is your identify and how you define yourself – the place you are currently in is just one point on this journey
  • It is ok to have two separate strands which you are looking into, these are likely to come together somehow in the end. But don’t force it, and don’t end up with numerous completely separate proposals.
  • How do you define a border?
  • What can give everyone a universal understanding of a personal feeling?
  • Don’t worry about forcing a research question because you think you have to – ask yourself is this really the thing you want to understand?
  • Answering the question is not the most important thing, it is understanding what the question really is

On my way of working

  • Why do I collect maps?
  • Why are so many of my objects made up from lines?
  • Don’t loose sight of the bigger picture, you may need to think small and think big in alternating cycles
  • Focus on the materials you are using, explore an idea to its full potential before moving on
  • A thousand ideas of different things to do may in fact be a hindrance, try something completely different to shake up how you think and work – e.g. changing scale or tempo
  • Be wary of experimenting with specific places which don’t mean anything, don’t sent yourself another “exercise”

Ideas and suggestions

  • Most of the other MADM students are international or have moved at some point, perhaps ask them their experiences of placelessness
  • Look up Do Ho Suh, Architecture fabric art installation related to belonging, displacement

So what next?

Well, we have the advantage that our 10 weeks ‘off-site study’ is now upon us. A great chance to slow down and reflect on what’s been going on and what to do next. A few ideas have started to slowly emerge from yesterday’s fog in relation to the last few samples I made, but I think I also need to do some more work on understanding and exploring the question first. Perhaps I have unwittingly spent too much time trying to answer it.

Next step — plan of actions to be taken

1. Research links between identity, place and belonging; how much of our identity is linked to place, and what does actually this mean if we understand that “place” means much more than just location?

2. Bring in the independent work I have been doing for my CQ Quilt Group based on my stream of consciousness poetry; I think this is a critical strand which will be relevant to my proposal and shouldn’t be ignored

3. Decide which of the material samples I wish to focus experiments on, and begin exploring the full potential of it without getting distracted by a thousand other things. Current instinct is that this should be the rust dyeing process and the map yarn.

4. Do some sketchbook work on understanding how I can describe my feelings of place, placelessness (or belonging / non-belonging) using both visual imagery and poetry


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