Final Constellation PDP

Overall, I have had mixed feeling about Constellation as a first year Textiles student. The initial block of study skills sessions each Thursday were such a great help, really giving me the chance to refresh my academic writing skills, as I have never felt confident about writing. I found that the majority of the classes really helped to refresh my memory. From the ‘essay writing and referencing’ session with Morag Colquhoun, which really helped me to understand how to structure a well written essay, to Jon Clarkson’s ‘understanding arguments’, as well as analysing ‘visual culture’ with Cath Davies to ‘reflection and evaluation’ with Ashley Morgan. I found these 4 sessions in particular highly beneficial to me, as not only did they help to expand my academic research knowledge but also helped me to develop autonomous learning skills. This also helped me to understand the relationship between the theory and practice in a subject and interdisciplinary context.

I also found quite a few of the 12pm key-notes valuable, as they introduced me to a new diverse range of theories that I may not of previously heard of in my own subject area. Although I did find that a few of the keynotes did not interest me in the slightest or keep my attention. Some of this may have been down to me maybe not liking the presentation styles of individual lecturers, but sometimes I just felt that they may have just been talking to fill the time which I didn’t find very relevant.

The 500 word Baby Cage essay that we completed in Term 1, was a great help to my academic writing development. As it allowed me to use all of the skills that I have learnt and refined throughout the study skills. Writing the essay with a limit of 500 words was actually more of a challenge, as I had to make sure that the references I used were the best to support my argument. This essay has definitely helped to prepared me for the final essay of this year.

My first choice for the 2nd term study groups was Cath Davies ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’, as I felt that I could relate this theme back to Textiles and popular culture. However due to high demand, I didn’t get into this group and was allocated with Jon Clarkson’s ‘After Modernism’ module. I was initially quite disappointing with being placed in this group as, I just didn’t feel that I could relate the topic back to my current textiles work at the time. Nevertheless as the weeks went on I began to see where artists in the ‘After Modernism’ topic have influenced the way we work today. When it came round to choosing our essay questions, I once again felt a bit down and overwhelmed by the questions on offer, along with the length of the essay. Apart from the short Baby Cage essay, I hadn’t written a large essay since my A Level’s.

After a while of being undecided about my question choice, I finally decided to go with ‘Is Pop Art a celebration or critique of consumer culture’. I have really surprised myself with how interested I have become in certain areas of the Pop Art movement, especially since I haven’t looked into this topic area properly since GCSE Art. I would have liked for there to have been an extra support session specifically for essay guidance, with lecturers to double check that our essay content was correct. The tutorials times often conflicted with my main subject lessons. On the whole I feel as if I have learnt a great deal in Constellation since September, It has refreshed and developed essential essay writing skills that I felt behind on. Although I found some weeks a struggle to motivate myself to concentrate and take notes, in the long run it has really helped.

After speaking to our Textile buddies in the year above, the girls really stressed the importance of attending each session, as they said in the long run it would be beneficial not only to constellation and dissertation prep, but also will help with critical analysis in our Textiles projects. Most importantly it has helped me to remain more open minded, in order to come a more autonomous student.

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