Study skills

The fourth study skills session I had was on the topic of questioning and what it means to question something in the context of the art and design word. We began by recognising that when answering a question in art and design that there is never a right or wrong answer, is about what you personally make of the question. Despite the fact that there is never one right or wrong, we still ask the question looking for an answer of some sort. Due to the fact that there isn’t one specific answer, the answer that you give needs proving and backing up. Therefore when considering an answer to a question it needs to be viewed from more than one angle. So, when presented with a question one should automatically thinks of an intellectual or visual problem in terms of organized relationships and then feels free to study other aspects of the problem or to confer with specialists in related fields to give a greater breath and response to the question.

We then looked at common art and design abstractions and the definitions; So for instance a line (something going in the quickest route from point a and a point b). To these we added accessibility which underscore everyones right to access everything within that area all the time. So in this environment run by vision and reality, artists, designers and makers are encouraged to design and contemplate the everyday forms of the next century. With this artists then question things in context; what are the current art and design issues and concepts, theme and concepts and where are the crossovers.

We then looks at an example of an artist questioning in this way and looked at how we could interpret this question in our own personal response. we look at Dada, and Dadaism concentrating on a letter written by Man Rey which questioned reality and what Dada was. From the letter you can see below in the image, we looked at the sentence is Dada dead or alive and questioned the statement you cannot revive something that is dead or alive. We first thought that Dada is dead because it has stopped evolving, but then we also thought that Dada is alive because we are still talking about it; so the mere fact that it happened means that it lives on through us. We also though that you could revive something that is alive by renewing it, but then we thought do we actually kill it by renewing it, because we are actually creating a new movement?

Questioning things in art and design is not about getting the right answer but it’s about the process, however as we found, you might end up at the end with more questions. I enjoyed this study skills and found it interesting to look at how we question things. I enjoy questioning things and debating the interpretation of that question with others.


The most recent Study skills that we had was on the topic of handling history, -isms and the close reading of text. A lot happens in history so what you are dealing with is a very large and complex set of facts and data where from any one event in history, hundreds more stem off, leading to more and more events. If you look at history like that it is pretty daunting to deal with but the brain is very good at recognising pattern amongst chaos or complex data groups. Just like a flock of birds where each individual bird is an actor within the massive network and through interaction between the agent beings, forms and pattern occur as they move.

Due to all the choices we make everyday, we creates chaotic list of events, however out of this chaos patterns in, emergent patterns and forms occur that we can relate to, this is what historians do for us; they look for patterns in the chaotic array of events in history and break it down in a way that we can understand, looking at only the most important events and ignoring the smaller less “significant” events. For this reason it would be incorrect to say “the history off..” because it is ignoring all the smaller histories connected to that one history you are talking about, therefore one should say “a history off..” in a accurate piece of academic writing. Wherever you start with the history of something, you are ignoring history before that if you say “the”. Another accuracy that one should be aware of is the use of -isms. It can appeared from the spelling there is only one meaning of the word but in fact there are many different interpretation and meanings. For instance, minimalism is spelt as thought it has a single definition but interpretations of minimalistic artwork can vary greatly.

We then looked at two example of pop art, both looked completely different, however they both fell in the same category of pop art. We recognised that there were three characteristics that connected them and gave them that connection so they were placed in the category of pop art. One was that they both shared a similar use of colour, then there was the dates they were made, both made close together in history; and finally the concepts that they conveyed were similar. These three things can actually apply to most art movements and can be used to talk about art and design and draw connections between pieces in essays. Another thing I found useful to note is one should not use the term modern to describe a current piece of art or design, one should use the word contemporary or current. Modernism was a movement between 1850 and 1950 therefor does not apply to us today.

We then moved on to looking at handling academic text. We looked at a complexly written academic text which was difficult to understand due to large mount of ideas condensed down in a short paragraph using complex language. We look at the techniques to decipher the meaning behind this written work. We began by looking up words we didn’t understand; then we broke it down into key words. Following this we paraphrase the key words and finally summarised the whole text into a single sentence. These are some simple tricks to breaking down a difficult to read academic text into manageable chunks so that one can get a grasp on its meaning. We also found that the text used words like may, propose, might, often, so that it doesn’t fall apart if someone disagrees because it is not saying every time people will agree making the text well always valid. This was a nice little tip to think about when writing our own text. I found the session very helpful and also interesting to explore the different techniques and accuracy’s to ensure essay that one writes are well rounded and acurate.


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