De-centring competition

After a crit on competition & its inevitability...(?)

I believe competition (especially in a capitalist frame) to be an inherently colonial practice.

Reflecting on the first ‘multi-national corporations’, a rush to extort resource was at the heart of the Indies companies of certain European nations.

And when we consider certain European nations, artistic genius of the Renaissance appeared after war and squaller. Through master-apprentice exchange, classical works emerged.

This may be a flat reading of history but I believe it illustrates a certain point.

We can choose to see resource as finite for extraction.
Zero sum neoliberalism.

Or we can consider how much space we need, and build with enough for others near and around is. Build each other up when we like what the other is doing. Build big or small, it doesn’t matter, because the greatest artists are not (necessarily) defined by size or rarity of materials.

While certain 0 sum situations exist and competition dominates these environments (any ‘Head of’ position), there must be a way for even these spaces to exist where the creation is at the core.

The problem and solution, or feeling to explore and connect.

It doesn’t matter what the art is, music artists are as important as visual ones.

and in 2022, there is enough resource to go around, so why not just do what you can and focus on what you want to do?

Competition is about taking what is there.

Collaboration is about giving as much as you feel comfortable.

Homing Pigeon Vs Starling Murmurations (or An Ode To Paolo Freire)

These two videos quite aptly illustrate and describe my opinion on the education I received, vs the education I wish to be a part of.

This distinction is important. The intention is key but the creation requires willing partners. Birds who recognise a mutual desire to fly (converse/learn) and want to move together. Play and show off, as questions and push ourselves/each other.

The homing pigeon is an outdated model akin to Paolo Freire’s notion of a ‘banking system of education’. As someone pushed towards a career in banking (or finance at the very least), I have particular disdain for this notion. I want students to experience their ability to affect the environment, how important that is to their learning experience, and as a result, why their attendance is key. It is the intelligent side of democracy, small and nimble enough to keep accountability intact.

Waiting for Godard


Yeah so I love Waiting for Godot and Jean-Luc Godard.

Despite my disdain for puns…one should never pass up a silver platter.

On to more pressing matters, much of the reason I am here is a result of Godard.

I am the fugitive running from the camera, clambering, slowly stumbling through the street.

Barely trying but only really failing at giving up, until there is nothing left to give.

It’s a poetic end to an iconic film. This was an image I carried with me.

I could cite Nam June Paik’s comment on culture. I will: The culture that’s going to survive is culture you can carry around in your head. Arthur Jafa talks about Black music being living proof and the greatest example of the notion. It’s hard to disagree. But many images hold that mantle in many memory palaces. (The idea that our minds store memories in a palace where we can store and access images, information and ideas).

The jump cuts of the car scene occupy that position in my mind.

The nothingness of À bout de souffle kills me. I love it tenderly and it is because of Godard’s many works that I have come full circle to….

A pedagogy of images.

That the first text I selected in the first exercise would bring me back to my cinematic godfather is poetic justice.

The works I wish to emulate are somewhat different. But this is a gallery of Godard’s notion ‘It is necessary to confront vague ideas with clear images’


Idées vagues/images claires:

Object Based Learning

Thinking in retrospect, images as objects has been core to my practice for many years now, and it is through these objects that I have learnt my craft. From the films of the French New Wave, fashion design icon and iconoclasm. It is through looking and learning that my skill, craft and pedagogy have been practiced and sharpened.

Icon and Idea by Herbert Read was influential before my artistic practice developed. Recent years have seen this consideration of the image extend into its myriad forms; still, moving, sonic.

Existing in many dimensions, allows the learning to take place in a multitude of settings. From the well known physcial university setting, to a particular context that imbues a feeling and online, where still and moving images come into their own. New technologies further enhance this, with novel methods of visualisation (i.e. 3D modelling) allow us to explore images in a completely new way.

This poses the object as a problem/challenge to be deciphered question to be questioned.

Whether it is a personal object, ambiguous one, or one contextually charged with meaning.

This links very clearly to a core pedagogical desire of mine: the improvement of visual literacy, considering intersectional modes of thought.

Centring something external to the group, we navigate and unpick it together.

It allows space for individuals to bring a part of themselves and express agency and selfhood, whilst connecting with peers and engaging in peer-to-peer learning. Sometimes it is helpful to give this upfront, sometimes it is better to return at a later point.

It is helpful to gauge the group and their commitment at any given moment.

It is important to consider the image (object) very carefully as they can be triggering.

Signpost appropriately and allow space for people to leave the room.

Finally the replay-ability of online is core to my pedagogy.

I believe in balancing commitment with sustainability.

Burnout culture and expectations put pressure on people to perform.

Lecturers in delivery, students in absorbtion.

I have learnt better in re-looking, re-visiting, re-watching.

Pedagogy of Re-

Curriculum design & assessment, Teaching strategies

Some social commentators have stated that the pandemic forced us to jump forward in technological and logistical development.

The emergence of online platforms is here to stay and it need not be net negative.

Embrace the medium, it’s limitations and opportunities.

So when the decision was made to cancel face-to-face teaching, it felt poignant to frame this as an opportunity. Below are some learnings.

The medium facilitates a number of modes of communication. These include, one to one, one to many, some to some, some to many. The use of the main space as a traditional lectern hall and breakout rooms as tutorial spaces, feels an appropriate extension of physical into digital.

Attention payload is much higher online. Communicating through the internet is new and poses new challenges. One of the greatest challenges sits within each student’s attention span. To capture and keep attention various strategies must be employed. The prior requires a variety of stimulation & provocation, variation in group sizes appropriate to the mode of communication, multi-media approach and strategic consideration of student positionality, interests and learning styles. Keeping attention requires us to consider fatigue, sessions must be shorter and offer a multitude of breaks, ensuring media is not too data heavy/triggering/numerous and is sufficiently considered as appropriate, simple and open.

***Update: 24/02***

Reviewing the session’s recording (another pro for the virtual university), the following notes are pertinent:

Student consideration
Motivation (intrinsic vs external) [individual, team, institution, education…etc]
What are we fostering?
Metrics & ranking, neoliberal competition in university
Workload and wellbeing
Adapt to the institution?
The Slow University

Institutional Research


Not going to lie, I found this confusing from the get go

“Should we research our own institution?”

This statement feels so open and without clear oorientation, at least for me.

This begs a question regarding the privilege of knowledge.

Having recently formally joined the arts via Open School East’s Associate Artist program, my journey into alternative education and peer-to-peer learning. That I was a community taught Artist was unbeknownst to me at the time. I thought my seniors and contemporaries had knowledge I did not, after all, the far majority of them had creative degrees/backgrounds/connections.

I feel the same way about the minimum assumed understanding of a subject.

Sometimes we have to assume a certain base, especially in regard to structural concepts e.g. colour, form, grammar.

But when we ask questions we should be clear of their context.

In my context, of course, why would I not do the necessary background information before entering a space. What key information regarding structure and process, experiences and expectations, this is done through commonly available research methods (the internet) and informal conversations with those in the know.

So when the session progressed, it became clear there was a gap in understanding, the question referred to researching the theories, practices and polices of the institution we are in. Perhaps this was obvious, and perhaps this is an interested reflection in a comment I made to a colleague earlier “I don’t think we can or should spoon feed students, the effort required to bridge a knowledge gap is what makes it stick in the mind”. I would add that like the formation of muscle memory and the thickening of neural pathways, practice makes better.

As for the answer to the question, before the session I said YES, after the session, my response is 3. When forced to choose between A & B, always pick 3.

(For added clarity, the point is to be open and opaque, forcing the reader to find their own solution. This may be about making your own solution, reframing the situation, using different language, consider unknown unknowns…etc. Finally, whenever you can, do both, look inside, outside, top, underneath, light, shadow and then bring in a fresh pair of eyes)

Post literature finding task

Pedagogy 101 (ish)

The task was nice and straightforward, open and as challenging as you wanted it to be.

Like any good assignments, you get out what you put in. Luck also comes into play.

I came across Idées vagues/images claires: Image, Pedagogy, and Politics in the Films of Jean-Luc Godard, 1966–1969 

As a huge lover of the French New Wave, Godard was a Breathless source of inspiration.

That this was the second time (the first, a year prior, by curator and director of Open School East) that I had been re-directed towards Godard influential works became less of a sign, more akin to a cameraman chasing me down the street, shooting me while being shot.

…if you get the reference.

And so reflecting on images, applying critical thought to images with respect to broadcast media, is central to my aims.

It is very of the moment.

We are now surrounded by even more images than ever before.

Visual literacy is vital.

Written with hope and a longing for community

zziisshh, behind the ii’s

Post Graduate Academic Re-entry

Having completed a Bachelors of Science reading Economics and Mathematics, my opinion towards Higher Education could be summed up as “I’m paying 9k for a piece of paper”

I couldn’t be more wrong.

Aware of my position in the school to debt pipeline, I was unaware how much these experiences would shape my thinking and decision making, leading to this very moment.

The opportunity for an iconoclastic gesture is already present in the thought.

It’s sticky, and operates as both Image and Icon.

The next (il)logical step was to destroy it, placing the ashes in an appropriate vessel.

A hip-flask-cum-urn.

Urn, 2017. Engraved pewter hip flash
from University gift shop
containing degree ashes.

Somewhere in this gesture is a pillar of my pedagogy.

zziisshh, behind the ii’s.