PDP – Constellation

Constellation was a session we had every Thursday to help us with our skills in writing and the academic side to my course – Fine Art. This is my summary of the year’s constellation sessions:

In the first term, I found it difficult to get myself interested in the lectures and couldn’t really get many useful skills out of them apart from a few. We also had alternate mini lectures with other students from different courses from the art school. I found this quite difficult to do as I’m quite a shy person and suffer slightly from social anxiety which makes it difficult for me to be around new students and speak out loud if I am confused. I had a few bad experiences when I was separated with my two friends to go in these study groups, one where I had to take part in the library lecture and had to stand up and say a few things about what we had learnt. Even though the task was easy I felt uneasy and made the whole process very difficult and resulted in me not doing very well. This experience had put me off the rest of the mini study groups, and gave me a negative approach to the rest of the term. I know this is my own issue, I am working on it to try and stick it out in later lectures as it does pose problems for me. However, some of the groups were really helpful, ‘Cath’s collumn’s’ helped me to understand more about analysing pieces of work and unpicking hidden meanings, something I have always found quite difficult. I think my negative approach to the first term was a lot to do with the moving the University process, but as I have gotten more comfortable with the course and the tutors it has gotten a lot better.

The second term was good, we were given the chance to pick a lecturer we felt would be most helpful for our studies. I chose the After Modernism with Jon Clarkson, mainly because of my course subject it seemed to be the most helpful for me. I felt the lectures were really interesting and I could get a lot more out of these lectures than past ones from the first term, they have really helped me to include art references and movements in my essay. I have enjoyed the second term Jon is a really approachable and I find it easy to talk to him which has made my term a lot more successful than the first. We have also been on a trip to London, which was really helpful for my actual work and helped me gain more artist research, I have enjoyed the after modernism lectures and found myself more involved with the second term. Maybe because its more relevant and something that i enjoy so I can therefore include my self more in asking questions and taking good notes.

The essay question I had chosen was about femininity in art in the sixties and seventies, when I first started writing it up I felt a bit worried and knew my written work wasn’t very good and my first draft needed looking at. Once I had my tutorial with Jon to discuss the essay work, he gave me some really helpful advice and i decided the best thing to do would be to start again and use some of Jon’s points and make sure to give it back to him to look at before it was due in, in case it needed more adding to it.

Overall, Constellation has been a bit of a roller coaster but now I feel a lot more comfortable and realise what I need to work on, making myself carry on in situations where I feel uncomfortable or get anxious and dealing with it instead of ignoring it, also I need to make sure my written work gets better and gains me a good mark because the written side to the course is my weak point and I must ask for extra advise on future essays and blog posts.


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18 years old, first year fine art student in Cardiff :)

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