Reflective Writing Zoom Workshop – 19 February 2020

Twenty seven students took part in the Reflective Writing workshop today. It is so great to see fellow students and to interact with them albeit mainly through the Chat function. These sessions are lifelines to the international students.

The aim of the workshop was to stress the importance of developing a reflective writing practice around our own photography practices. We started off by doing a free writing exercise for 5 minutes. Simon was pulling a funny face to Andrea’s count down, so I used that to kick off my free writing spree. LOL – thanks Simon! But that lovely glass of red you had looked very inviting too! After the exercise we had to read through our scribbles, and highlight key words. Very often this kind of exercise will trigger subconscious thoughts, which in turn could lead somewhere creatively. Good to know! I can see how this works as my piece did trigger a few things, mainly about something I had forgotten to add to my essay, so I can now go back and fix the problem.

Doing regular reflective writing also helps when it comes time to do evaluations. I have found with my weekly check in posts that, while I publish once a week, I actually create the draft post as soon as I have published the current week’s post. Then when I am working on my PC, studying, researching, doing Photoshop or Lightroom work, I will  have the new draft open in the background and use that to catch any thoughts that creep up on me, or log my activities for that day. I’ve found that by doing that I do catch things I might have forgotten about if I’d let it slide until doing an evaluation. I also post a To Do list on my check in post which serves to keep me honest as I have a constant visual reminder of what I still need to do around research, shooting, workshops, hangouts, exhibition reviews and so on. It really is a good feeling to be able to knock off an item or two each week.

The Gibbs Reflection Model that Andrea shared was very helpful. It dovetails quite nicely with the Model to Generate Critical Thinking that I came across when I was doing a MOOC during the Landscape module and which has been quite invaluable when it comes to essay writing.

I like the idea of using a checklist to start a new habit, and tagging the event onto something that I already do regularly is an excellent way of getting into it. One new habit I am planning on cultivating is to type up my summary notes into Word. I have books of written notes, but there is no Control+F for written notes and the few that I managed to do in preparation for my essay were well used.

I spent some time going through Andrea’s bibliography and following those links. Once again, I’ve come away from the session with renewed energy (which was much needed at this time) as well as some new strategies which I will definitely be using all the way through Level 3.

Proposal for A5

Topic: Kamloops Indian Residential School (working title)

Brief: To explore collective memories of the Secwépemc nation of the forced removal of children aged 4 – 15 from their families and their placement in residential schools in order to assimilate them into Western culture. What damage occurred to the Secwépemc way of life?

Possible title: Returning to the Coyote (coyote = signifier for First Nations people).

Methodology: contact museum for shooting permission, see if they know of anyone to interview

  • Shoot outside of building & orchard, Indian artefacts e.g. totem poles. Develop other strategy if not permitted to shoot indoors (stand in images signifying aspect of stories told by survivors)
  • Source archival images for use in project
  • YouTube videos of TRC participants and other
  • TRC documentation & books about experiences (sections: coping, resistance, survival, healing)

Political: History of residential schools, History from First Nation’s perspective; Canada’s stance & apology

Social implications of effects of being in residential school

Environmental – are there any?

Research

  • Behind Closed Doors | Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School edited by Agnes Jack
  • The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada‟s History (Thesis by Jenna K. Foster)
  • They Came for the Children | Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
  • What We Have Learned | Principles of Truth and Reconciliation [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
  • Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future | Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
  • Relevant journal articles

Influences

  • Jack Latham (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls)

 

Presentation method: Plan is to present a slideshow with sound bytes. Will have to research appropriate software to use.

Artist’s statement

Weekly Check in – 15 February, 2020

This is going to be another slow, research essay crafting week. A rather shortened one too as it is a long weekend here in BC and family is coming to visit. So I really need to get my act together and start making up some lost time in advance here.

I managed to get quite a bit of writing done yesterday. As I was mentioning to a fellow student in New Zealand this week, this is the first time I’ve followed all the gurus’ advice and just written, not worrying about ordering anything and I did find that helped quite a bit as it does remove the structuring component. But now I need to look at the structuring a little closer and am finding that I’m still chasing down new research that I’m discovering while doing some fact checking. I need to draw a line in the sand on this somewhere soon!

 

To Do List
  • Continue A4 essay – crafting body of essay, trying to get arguments sorted. I’m hoping the end is in sight!
  • Visit Secwepemc Museum & Kamloops Museum/Archive. Info on residential schools, dates of operation, potential interviewees
  • Write up on Jerry Ueslmann
  • Write up on Jack Latham (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls) (for A5 so I still have some time)
  • Start A5 research. I have a lot of reading to do for this:
    • Behind Closed Doors | Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School edited by Agnes Jack
    • The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada‟s History (Thesis by Jenna K. Foster)
    • They Came for the Children | Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • What We Have Learned | Principles of Truth and Reconciliation [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future | Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
    • … and a few journal articles
  • Tutor led Zoom hangout on Reflective Writing – 19 February, 2020
  • Rest of World hangout – 23 February, 2020
  • Documentary hangout – 27 February, 2020

Weekly check in – 8 February, 2020

This week has got off to a very slow start. It started off with a reading of Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – definitely not an easy read. I also watched some of the TRC video’s which I’m planning on using for my A5, noting down the segments that I want to record for sound bytes.

So while working on my essay I came across another journal article that I just had to check out — rabbit hole again, but this time worth it as it was very relevant.

Major frustration … I’ve gone through about 3/4s of the article, making annotations, highlights etc. and what happens? Acrobat decides to bomb out and keeps giving me “invalid annotation” errors. If I click to close the box it keeps reappearing …. argh! After using Task Manager to force it to close I’ve retried this a few times now – no change. After reading the support online it seems that the only darn option is to redo it all. I am not happy at all! Hah! A rescue in sight – partly. It seems that if I download a clean copy of the document I can import the comments from the corrupted version – apparently it won’t bring in the problematic annotations – worth a try … It worked thankfully. But I had two documents open at that time when the system bombed out on me and that one was also affected. Did the same exercise with that document and found that I had to go through a fairly large portion of the document and redo my annotations. Thank goodness I make written notes as well. Hopefully that won’t happen again!

 

To Do List
  • Continue A4 essay – crafting body of essay, trying to get arguments sorted. I’m hoping the end is in sight!
  • Visit Secwepemc Museum & Kamloops Museum/Archive. Info on residential schools, dates of operation, potential interviewees
  • Write up on Jerry Ueslmann
  • Write up on Jack Latham (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls) (for A5 so I still have some time)
  • Start A5 research. I have a lot of reading to do for this:
    • Behind Closed Doors | Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School edited by Agnes Jack
    • The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada‟s History (Thesis by Jenna K. Foster)
    • They Came for the Children | Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • What We Have Learned | Principles of Truth and Reconciliation [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future | Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
    • … and a few journal articles
  • Tutor led Zoom hangout on Reflective Writing – 19 February, 2020
  • Rest of World hangout – 23 February, 2020
  • Documentary hangout – 27 February, 2020

Weekly Check in – 1 February, 2020

I’ve been spending the last two days summarising research articles, but I’ve been finding myself going down various rabbit holes in the process. While researching I come across a segment of the topic, or a phrase that I’m not familiar with and that then sends me down the proverbial rabbit hole – the latest ones being the concept of “imagetext” and an in-depth interview with Dorothea Lange – only to find out that not once is her most famous photo mentioned! What kind of interview is that? I need to ask myself – do I really need to go into this in depth or should I just look for a quick fix and move on? Probably just the quick fix (for now) as I’m beginning to feel like one of those lawn whirligigs – spinning madly and not getting anywhere!

At least I have now made a start on the essay getting some of the background sections down on paper. I’ll probably need to reduce that section once I get to the second draft, but for now I just want to keep the writing juices flowing.

I have just taken a “break” and thought that it would be an interesting exercise to see how many iterations of the Migrant Mother image I can locate online. I was flabbergasted! There are the inevitable book covers of course and gallery prints, but also postcards, cellphone cases, colouring in books, various ethnic renditions, puzzles, postage stamps, colourized versions of the famous image, T-shirts and of course the John Malkovich parody. And I know I’m probably only just scratching the surface with what I’ve found, as I haven’t even looked at TV programs or movies/videos. Unbelievable!

Spent the last few days doing more journal reading (yawn!) and note taking and of course going down a few more rabbit holes. I want to get the bones of my essay done by the end of this week (hopefully). … Two days later and yeah right, that ain’t happening! To be continued next week …

 

To Do List
  • Continue A4 essay – crafting body of essay, trying to get arguments sorted.
  • Visit Secwepemc Museum & Kamloops Museum/Archive. Info on residential schools, dates of operation, potential interviewees
  • Write up on Jerry Ueslmann ( will do this next week to provide some research relief)
  • Write up on Jack Latham (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls) (for A5 so I still have some time)
  • Write up on Benjamin’s The Work of art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – I need it for my essay, but see its referenced in Part 5, so I’m going to kill two birds with one stone here.
  • Start A5 research. I have a lot of reading to do for this:
    • Behind Closed Doors | Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School edited by Agnes Jack
    • The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada‟s History (Thesis by Jenna K. Foster)
    • They Came for the Children | Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • What We Have Learned | Principles of Truth and Reconciliation [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future | Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
    • … and a few journal articles
  • Rest of World hangout – 23 February, 2020
  • Documentary hangout – 27 February, 2020

 

Bibliography

A magazine cover, cell phone case, and postcard with versions of… News Photo – Getty Images (s.d.) At: https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/magazine-cover-cell-phone-case-and-postcard-with-verisons-news-photo/1172449938 (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Buy Puzzle Press Migrant Mother Edition 3 Jigsaw Adult Puzzle Online at Low Prices in India – Amazon.in (s.d.) At: https://www.amazon.in/Puzzle-Press-Migrant-Mother-Jigsaw/dp/B01LWKZM8L (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Ham, O. K. S. and Sr. Sprague, R. (2013) Migrant Mother: The Untold Story: A Family Memoir. At: https://www.amazon.ca/Migrant-Mother-Untold-Family-Memoir/dp/1627462287 (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Mary Coin: A Novel, Book by Marisa Silver (Paperback) | http://www.chapters.indigo.ca (s.d.) At: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/mary-coin-a-novel/9780142180785-item.html (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Migrant Mother — excerpted from No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites (s.d.) At: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/316062 (Accessed  27/01/2020).

migrant mother T-shirt (s.d.) At: https://www.rageon.com/products/migrant-mother (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Sandro Miller, Dorothea Lange / Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936), 2014 | Photo Basel | Ira Stehmann (s.d.) At: https://www.irastehmann.com/exhibitions/47/works/artworks953/ (Accessed  27/01/2020).

Sugarman, D. A. (2009) The Great Depression: A Migrant Mother’s Story. Teacher Created Materials. At: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Depression-Migrant-Mother%EF%BF%BDs-Building/dp/1433305526 (Accessed  27/01/2020).

The mother from Estremadura and the idea of a photographic icon by Erika Zerwes – roots§routes (s.d.) At: https://www.roots-routes.org/il-partito-preso-delle-cosethe-mother-from-estremadura-and-the-idea-of-a-photographic-icondi-erika-zerwes/ (Accessed  27/01/2020).

 

Weekly Check in – 25 January, 2020

I have finished sorting out my references for my essay at last! Took me the better part of a day to reorganize my spreadsheet and even then I still managed to find new references, which I was really pleased about as one of them was a really good one on McCurry’s Afghan girl and certainly gave me a few good ideas. I have also created a preliminary mind map to compare Migrant Mother to Afghan girl and will keep updating this as I go through my readings.

My X-rite i1 Display Pro was delivered on Monday so I spent a fair amount of time watching a few videos on how to calibrate the Benq 2700 PT monitor. I followed the instructions based on a video I had watched last week. Such a huge learning curve from my previous calibration software which was a basic plug and play model! I followed the instructions and set the RGB primaries to Panel Native (apparently this gives the best colour space available), white point to D65, luminance to 80, gamma to 2.2 and black point to relative. I selected a 16 bit LUT profile type and calibrated using the large patch size. After the calibration was completed I performed a Validation check. The achieved white point was 6474K which is slightly lower than D65 (I think), but this was the same as the factory setting according to the calibration report I received with the monitor. The average Delta E setting was 0.51 (passed) and the maximum Delta E setting was 1.01 (passed), which I gather is good, although I don’t have a clue what these things are or mean! The only colour over 1.0 was #7 on the grey scale index. The monitor is considerably darker than what is was out of the box and I’ll see how it goes when I process to print. There has been an update to the Palette Master Element software, in which video presenter Art Suwansang suggested a luminance of 100. So I’ll allow myself some time to get used to a darker monitor before changing the luminance.  Meantime its back to the essay …

I seem to be spending an inordinately long time reading an article. I think its possibly because I am checking out the cross references as I go to see if they can be of use to me and so now my list of references is growing as well. Will I be able to read through everything I’m collecting? Probably not. But they are such good references which might come in handy further down the line. I’ve spent two days so far on one article, but as it seems to be a foundation article, it might be worth the time.

I still haven’t heard back from the museum about getting permission to shoot in the old residential school – its been a week now. I’ll give them to the end of the week and then I’ll follow up with them. At least the weather is improving now and the snow is beginning to melt so traveling won’t be so onerous.

I think I’ve figured out why its so slow going reading through these journal articles. I’m having to look up so many words to double check their meaning in the context they are being written. So ambiguous! I really wish academic language was more straight forward. I also seem to have picked up a bit of an eyestrain this week so reading off the monitor is rather painful at the moment. I’ve also been suffering from tendonitis at the base of my thumb so today I bit the bullet and purchased a new ergonomic mouse – the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic. It orientates the hand into a slightly upright position and rotates it outwards slightly so that the pressure is relieved off the wrist area. So far so good. I’ll see how my hand feels in a few days or so. Back to the research …

I spent some time rewatching Ellie Mackin Roberts’ YouTube video on research planning and realised that I haven’t really been digitizing my hand written notes. Not a serious train crash I supposed, but like Ellie says there is no Control + F in a hand written notebook, so I have started to digitize my notes that I will be using for my essay which I will in all likelihood probably use somewhere down the line again in Level 3. So not time wasted really as I’m getting a bit of a refresher on the notes while I’m typing them up and finding some new connections that will apply to my essay.

Did a quick write up on Ossian Ward’s Ways of Looking | How to experience Contemporary Art. What a great book – highly recommend it! I have also started to have a quick read through Behind Closed Doors for research for my A5. It contains some of the history from the Secwepemc perspective, which is something I need, but mainly it is accounts of people who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The book is broken down into four sections: Coping, Resistance, Survival, and Healing. I’ve read a few accounts from the Coping section, which I think may be the less horrific tales, but nevertheless are extremely sad. I will be able to get good quotes from this book and probably some shooting ideas.

I came across a video on how to write a research paper in a weekend quite by accident. Like that is going to happen for me! Nevertheless, I was curious so I watched it. It was presented by a chemistry professor and is a little dry in presentation, but the advice that he gave was very valid as most of it would apply to the arts as well. A lot of it is common sense – but a lot of it was a bit of a aha moment for me.

So taking his advice, I have now created an outline for my essay! Does that feel good or what! One step closer … What I found rather interesting is that he advises to just start writing, not to worry about grammar, citations, punctuation etc. for the first draft – basically free writing and getting thoughts down on paper. Once this is done, one can then put on the critical thinking hat and start honing the essay. His reasoning is that why bother correcting/perfecting writing that might get cut from the essay, so save that step for much later down the line. Makes so much sense!

 

Bibliography

How to Write a Paper in a Weekend (By Prof. Pete Carr) (2016) Directed by Surviving and Thriving in Higher Education. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY7sVKJPTMA (Accessed  26/01/2020).

Research Planning in a Bullet Journal (2016) Directed by Mackin Roberts, E. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHL9t9e-hjQ (Accessed  24/01/2020).

To Do List
  • Start writing A4 essay – outline DONE.
  • Visit Secwepemc Museum & Kamloops Museum/Archive. Info on residential schools, dates of operation, potential interviewees
  • Write up on Jerry Ueslmann
  • Write up on Jack Latham (Sugar Paper Theories and Parliament of Owls) (for A5 so I still have some time)
  • Start A5 research. I have a lot of reading to do for this:
    • Behind Closed Doors | Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School edited by Agnes Jack
    • The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada‟s History (Thesis by Jenna K. Foster)
    • They Came for the Children | Canada, Aboriginal Peoples and Residential Schools [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • What We Have Learned | Principles of Truth and Reconciliation [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada]
    • Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future | Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
    • … and a few journal articles
  • Rest of World hangout – 23 February, 2020
  • Documentary hangout – 27 February, 2020

Ways of Looking by Ossian Ward

I first saw mention of this little book on a WeAreOCA posting a few years ago and when I saw it for sale at the Vancouver Art Gallery, when I attended the Cindy Sherman exhibition a few months ago, I couldn’t resist the purchase. The book is about viewing contemporary art in the gallery and is written in down-to-earth, non-art speak language which makes it super easy to understand. The author provides the reader with a formula for looking at contemporary art (probably any period of art really, because wasn’t Vermeer’s or Rembrandt’s work contemporary art in their time?). Firstly he suggests that one approach each art piece as if it is the first time you have ever seen it (even if it isn’t) and then follow his Tabula Rasa approach.

A tabula rasa is Latin for a blank slate, so wipe out any preconceptions and clear your mind and then follow the following formula:

T = time Stand and look for a minute – Ward uses a 5 breath rule – breath deeply 5 times, then move on.
A = association Ask yourself – can I relate to it? Is there a personal connection/memory trigger/ gut reaction/ visual attraction? What interested you/put your off?
B = background Check the title for the artist’s intention/wall text/press release. Is there a backstory available?
U = understand Is the artist playing with your perceptions, have you learnt something new about an event.
L = look again Look at the work again, do you notice anything different/new?
A = assessment Deciding whether a work is good/bad is subjective. Assessment is about connecting the dots from the previous steps and reaching your own conclusion. What do you think about the quality, originality, presentation etc., or perhaps you need to repeat the whole exercise?

Ward devotes the rest of his book by providing examples of using the Tabula Rasa mnemonic in various case studies in various categories such as art as entertainment, confrontation, event, message, joke, spectacle and meditation. The author does not offer any answers, but encourages the reader to trust his/her judgment and above all, to enjoy the process. After all not all art is meant to be serious and some art is really meant to remain a huge question mark.

I found this book to be a good, easy read, full of helpful anecdotes and great resources and this formula will definitely be handy for future gallery visits. I really wish I had bought this book during my first module as it would have made things much clearer for me. Perhaps OCA should put it on a required reading list … just a thought.

Bibliography

Ward, O. (2014) Ways of Looking | How to Experience Contemporary Art. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.