As the year comes to the end I thought it would be good to reflect on a year of our constellation lectures. I was unsure what to expect from constellation, as I have never been very interested or inspired by academic side of art and design, and I knew coming to university that it would be an area that I might struggle with. However, I was open to the possibilities of the constellation module and what I might bring how it might help inform my work and open my mind up to an area of art and design that I was unfamiliar with.
The first term of constellation I wasn’t particularly impressed or inspired by, I did go to almost all the lectures but there weren’t many which I found overly inspiring. However I found that, writing and reflecting on my blog helped me a lot to keep motivation to go to those lectures. I found I understood the lectures much better once I had reflected on them and then written them into my blog.
The idea and practice of blogging about your work was new to me and took a while to get used too, but once I got into the rhythm of blogging about stuff I found it was a really good way of thinking and reflecting on my work, and a good way for other people to hear my thoughts and reflections on my projects. It has also proved a good way of being able to refer back to things that I have learnt that have proved useful in the future.
In term 2 we began lectures in an area that we decided we wanted to look at. We had various choices, deciding between various different tutors each focusing on a specific topic. I chose Unseen Experiences with Dr Martyn Woodward. I have always had quite an interest in philosophy and psychology. I also felt I had quite a lean toward making things and why we see things in certain ways which I thought would be very interesting. I really enjoyed the lectures which followed, finding the theories presented very interesting to look at and explore. I found it opened up my mind to areas that I hadn’t really examined before and I found my self coming away from the sessions really thinking about what had been said. I also really liked that the lectures were never too long and always had some sort of practical experiment to go with them which demonstrated the theories presented in the lecture, which helped massively.
We then had to decided, from the lectures, what area we wanted to write our essay on. This was quite tricky to decide on because there was so much that you could write an essay on! What I wanted to look at changed quote a few times but by the start of the third term I decided I wanted to write on man vs machine and which kept people buying handmade products when there is nearly always a machined, cheaper alternative. I felt this also linked back to my practice as a maker well; examining what keeps people buying handmade products such as mine own. I found it really difficult to begin with as I was really unused to writing an academic essay, using academic texts to inform your writing. I really struggled to find relevant academic texts to use. However, luckily my tutor was very helpful and gave me some directions and text to look at to help inform my writing. I also found a constellation blog that I had writing which was relevant and proved very useful, so I am really glad that I had took the time to write up the lecture on my blog so I was able too refer to the content in my essay.
I think writing the essay this term has helped my understand a bit more what is involve in writing an academic text. Writing my dissertation will just be a much longer version of that essay I think! So it had given me a boost in confidence. However, I felt that the communication between tutors regarding the regulations and rules of the essay was very poor, with everybody’s groups getting conflicting messages which was not only very stressful but very unhelpful when trying to write and essay which is meant to be very clear and precise. So I was really unhappy that there was not better management from the tutors and head of constellation, to clear up what the regulations for the essays were such as word count, whether quotes are counted in that and what they were expecting to see on our blogs. In the future I hope to continue to improve on my academic writing skills and improve my research techniques on academic texts.