Visualising Research

IMG_6286Over the past couple of days, since receiving my draft report back, i’ve been re-looking at what I am trying to achieve.  I got some good feedback back from my supervisor and realised what i’d written was too in-depth and what should be going into an essay rather than that of a report.  I realised I hadn’t been looking at my key aims as I wrote and underpinning my theory with my practice or these aims so no wonder I couldn’t get it right!

I went back to ‘Visualizing Research‘ by Carole Gray and Julian Malins which has been really helpful in terms of working out how to correlate the practical making side with the theory side.  Just doing the map above of my research question along with each of the aims and where they are covered within the practical or theory side has really helped.  It also shows the links between each of the areas which I suppose was just what I needed to do to see how it fitted.  I still have to add all the people/books etc I’ve looked at to the diagram, but this can then be used for the overall mapping of the project.


I am now trying to re-focus on my literature and so have done a breakdown of ‘love’s terms of how this fits in with my making and my data collection that I have already done.  This has shown that child for parent and grandparent is the most submitted, followed by romantic love.  Love for a lost child has not been submitted at all.  This might be because it is too emotional to talk about.  Other areas lacking were that of friendship.  This may be due to it not being considered ‘love’ as such.  I’ve then got to compare to my making.

Better get on with it!


2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

IMG_6256I’ll start off with a picture.  This is a picture of the wall I look at when I’m sat at my desk trying to write things for my PhD or if i’m making things at my desk.  I don’t ‘do’ photos or people around the house or in frames, so it is all condensed to this one wall in the spare room where only I come.  It’s a little collection of all the ‘loved’ ones I have or had in my life, mum and dad, grandpa and granny, Tim, the dogs and other things like a Russian Beatles Yellow Submarine picture given to me by a boy (Tim Fox) at school who shared the same birthday as me (he’s actually in a really cool band now) and a Joe Cool patch that came from my mum’s sewing box ( I love Snoopy).  All stuff that reminds me of things.

I’ve sat here today having received my report back with a few big changes I have to make.  It feels so hard to try to write what I’m supposed to say as I’ve ‘written’ all my life, letters, diaries, stories etc: But trying to write for this PhD seems so hard and frustrating.  It’s annoying the way academia strips the enjoyment out of things that you love.  Making has always been my first and foremost favourite thing.  Always wanting to try new things (at the moment, rug making, candle making, using a lathe, sewing a bag and making some shoes are all on the to do list).  But when framed in an academic context and having to do it for something rather than myself seems to take away the pleasure in the doing.

My supervisor has been great and I’ve probably had way more support than I should have had.  He sent my report back this morning with changes and we spoke on the phone about what I need to do, I just find it very hard.  It’s an odd time of year too as academic skills tutors and other staff aren’t about to ask so I feel a little bit like I’m struggling through this with not much clue as what should be…As much as I am told, I just can’t seem to frame it right.

Right so now for the onwards and upwards bit…I am going to first print my report out so I can see it in front of me.  I’m going to take it to the coffee shop and read through and scribble all over it and try to make some sense as I find this easier on paper.  I’ve downloaded an Ebook called Visualising research, but I think I need to get the real one out of the library tomorrow so I will do that then.

This afternoon I’m going to focus on the literature review re-framing.
OK just needed to get that out. I’m sure this is what happens with the highs and lows of the PhD process and I’m sure i’m not the only one and I’m also sure that this is not the most important thing in my life…it’s the people in pictures on the wall 🙂

Finished the First Draft!

So Today I managed to finally complete my progression report…! Whoop, I’m very please with myself.  I’m sure it will come back with revisions as there are a few bits I was unsure fully about, but that’s the process right!?

I have really enjoyed immersing myself into the research this week. I discovered new artists I had never heard of, remembered work i’d done that i’d forgotten about and remembered why I love reading!  It’s also meant that i’ve cut down on looking at social media and watching TV!

Tomorrow I hope to get some making done if the workshops are open at work!  I’ve been looking forward to analysing stories so I might have a good go at that too to see where to start.

This evening I have moved my blog over from blogger to wordpress to enable it to be used on my blog so that was exciting….Just got to see if I can get it to work on there.

Then out with my furry friends for a walk in the countryside after a stressful week of reading!



Discovering new artists – Horst Hoheisel.

This morning has been all about trying to get this literature review sorted.  It’s harder than I thought and as I am just re-writing some poorly written stuff it seems harder than writing new.

I am nearly there with it so I can start on fresher things.

I did however go off on one a bit this morning whilst trying to write about the hand pieces I made here:

These pictures were taken by Alexandra Oddy who was a photography student I was put in touch with.  She made the white work well!!!
Anyway, I showed Anna these the other day and she mentioned to look at an artist called Horst Hoheisel a German artist.  I got quite absorbed in it as he creates ‘anti memorials’ and his work began by trying to process his emotion of the Holocaust and his upbringing as a German man.  In 1987 he created a fountain in his home town of Kassel, Germany that was to replace the Aschrottbrunnen that had been destroyed by the Nazi’s as it had been a gift from a Jewish man to the city.  He actually wasn’t the chosen one to do the memorial, however he protested the new idea which was a ‘new fountain’ to commemorate all the history involved in it which he did not feel was appropriate.  Instead he sunk the fountain into the ground, an exact negative replica, allowing the water to drain downwards through the inverted obelisk.  Ellen Handler Spitz’s paper was so interesting and discussed the idea that not becoming a memorial that takes away or somehow appeases us of thinking about the history, it draws you in and makes you look and think about it.  That’s what I need to do with the pieces I am creating.  It reminded me of the process of the hand pieces with the inverted watch.  Making the onlooker question what the indentation of the watch symbolises.  Spitz goes on to discuss how even though as an artist we create things and in this process, actually process our own emotion into the object it does not ensure this is what is felt by the onlooker.  I am looking to question if this can be something that the onlooker can feel from the object.
So overall an interesting read and ideas generated.  Just got to work out how to get them onto paper!

Feeling more intelligent by the minute!

Today has been a good day.

I was a bit worried as I woke up quite tired and sometimes by 2pm wish I hit the wall, but it’s now 4.25 and I’m still going!  The technique seems to be work from 8.30 until 12.00 (when Tim comes home for lunch).  Walk the hounds for 10 minutes, eat lunch and then back on it by 1pm.

By the time it got to 3ish I’d got a bit sick of reading the literature review stuff and went to Stanley’s coffee shop and had a decaf latte and read The Creative Act -Duchamp just to get a feel for it.  Made notes to go back to and then zoned out by writing about the Nexlace making process.  Not sure I’ve even put a picture up of it so I’ll post that with my written commentary soon.

Having spoke to Dr Anna yesterday and combo-ing it with Prof Swindell’s words of wisdom, i’ve been re-reading notes made in an earlier journal paper I wrote and re-writing for the literature review. I created this form with some advice from another colleague and feels more appropriate than the old matrix that was confusing me.  Still in note form but making more sense to me thankfully!

 Slowly but surely it seems to be getting there.  Think I may have to change some holidays around to come in and see them for more advice but I can take them off at a later date again.

So todays feelings are positive.  I get more done sitting at my dining room table sometimes than going and staring at my computer in work.  It doesn’t feel the right place to work there.

I’m still going to carry on for a bit, but might knock it on the head for Neighbours at 5.30!  Will do some drawing later maybe.  At least I feel back in the zone and that I am thinking about it again more.

Going to see if I can take the lost love box over to Stanley’s tomorrow…see if they’ll have it for a week!

Tutorial to sort me out!

Just had a tutorial with my second supervisor.  I was in a blind panic after yesterday and the day before’s non productive writing days.  Think I’d got overwhelmed with all the different areas and the report and actually stopped thinking about the overall project and purpose of the PhD.

This has just reminded me how much I am enjoying my subject and what I am trying to do.  It worried me when questioned what I was actually trying to do that I’d forgotten!  It made me worry that what I was doing wasn’t valid, but having looked at the aims and objectives I’ve remembered what I am trying to achieve and we have added in a couple of other bits for good measure!

We talked about the making process and that actually I am a mediator or ‘processor’ or ‘transmitter’ of the emotion in the collected narratives into material objects.  I need to read Duchamps ‘Creative Act’ ASAP like here 

What else…The literature review is something that has freaked me out for weeks and so now is the time to confront it.  I need to take things out of the ‘matrix’ as that’s one thing that’s freaking me out!  I need to replace this by looking at things that are actually relevant to my study.  I need to spread this out so I can see what’s actually needed and what I have missed.  I also need to write about some and disregard some, they don’t all have to be in there.  That is my job tomorrow.

Need to change aims a bit…just tighten them up along with my objectives.

Portfolio review I need to look at what i’ve done already.  I could link that to my blog (here) and talk about the studio practice.  I might do this as an indesign thing or something.  I feel the need to hand write so need to do that too.

Right.  Feeling empowered!!!!!

Thank goodness!  Thanks A 🙂