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.
Todays ‘Essay and Referencing’, has been such a great help in my academic progress. As it has allowed me to refresh my essay structure skills along with my knowledge of Harvard referencing. This session in particular has been very beneficial, as they are skills that I will be using and developing throughout the rest of my university education. Planning out an essay i’d say is one of the most important steps, as it not only allows me to plan out my argument with key points, but to make sure that it is achievable.
Todays keynote with Cath Davies has definitely been my favourite this year, as I could relate the theme back to my subject area, Textiles. We started off by learning how to identify ‘Cultural Markers’ including; status within periods and cultures, production processes, the role they played at different stages of its career along with connotations that are attributed to the object. Before moving onto looking at the initial brand biography of Dr Martens and how it’s connotations have changed.
The part that I found most beneficial is learning about how Dr Martens company have had to rebrand over the decades since they first launched, as they were originally worn by workers, however it was then adopted by the youth street scenes during the 1960s – worn as an anti fashion statement. Learning about all of these key points in the companies history has made me think about other companies who have had to adapt and change target market to stay successful. Showing that in whatever industry you are in, staying current is key.
Today I have really struggled with Alexandros’, ‘The Future of Sonic Arts’ study skills session, as it’s so unlike any other work i’ve done before. Sonic art is an artistic discipline in which sound is utilised as a medium and like many areas of contemporary art, sound art is a interdisciplinary art form that can be used in a range of ways. However, I’m not sure if the Sonic Arts topic is completely relevant to my subject work at the moment, so it’s not something that i will continue looking into.
In todays session was to learn how to understand an argument, in preparation for our controversy essay on baby cages. We also looked into identifying what a claims is, which is a statement or proposition that could be true or false. You can usually spot a claim by looking for words such as ‘is’ and ‘are’. Going over the basics of an argument is very beneficial in my academic progress as it just makes sure that I’m refreshed and understand. We then moved onto the differences between a good and bad argument and how to put together a good argument.
During my first study skills session today with Ashley Morgan, we began by outlining what our blog posts should contain. Ashley informed us that they need to be reflecting on our academic strengths and weaknesses, our reading, writing and analysis and not what we personally ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ as these are emotional responses.
The rest of session was dedicated, to reiterating what an evaluation and summery involve. Academic writing isn’t a strength of mine, so I am interested to see what the rest of the study skills classes invole and how much I am going to develop throughout the term.