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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Unit 1 Assessment - Curate Your Blog

Updated: Feb 18



Learning Outcome 1: Formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study, relating to your Study Statement. (Assessment Criteria: Enquiry)


The working title of my study statement is ‘How Can Creativity Inspire Civic Engagement, Overcome Barriers to Democratic Participation and Foster More Inclusive Societies?’. So, I have been reading literature on propaganda, including ‘All Art is Propaganda – Geroge Orwell’ and ‘Propaganda Prints – Colin Moore’ to better understand the ethics and implications of having a creative practice with a political agenda which actively seeks to influence democracy and change people’s minds. Much of my existing body of work could be and has been described as ‘propagandist’, and I intend to use the insights I gain from the study of these texts to inclusively facilitate the personal stories and perspectives of my research participants without imposing my own political beliefs on their personal narratives.


Since my project is taking a sociological approach to Fine Art research, I am also reading ‘Creative Research Methods – Helen Kara’ to better understand the interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and methodologies I will be using, as well as the ethical implications of the approach I have decided to take, prioritising recognition over anonymity and how I will approach the process of data gathering in a Fine Art context. As advised by Kara, I have been reading outside of the Fine Art subject area, including ‘Living in Sheffield - Our Journeys as Migrant Women' by Livia Barreira to improve my understanding of the communities I will be working with and the diverse barriers to participation in society which they have faced.


I have also been reading ‘Worth Dying For? The Power and Politics of Flags – Tim Marshall’  to develop my understanding of the context and symbolism associated with flags which I intend to explore through textile builds. I have also been researching relevant contemporary artists, including Yael Bartana who explores identity through activist and Queer research methodologies and I intend to research the work of other activist artists, including Barbara Kruger and Sharon Hayes who use video and text based media in their work.


Learning Outcome 2: Implement appropriate working methods for building an independent and effective self-organisation that enables the critical engagement with practice-based research.(Assessment Criteria: Process)


I have used experimentation with different media and techniques to define a style for creative outputs for my research project focusing on intersectional identities and used my blog as a reflective space to decide which style is most visually impactful. Because I want to explore the symbolism of flags by incorporating textile builds in my project, but do not have much experience working with this medium, I have been engaging in self-directed study teaching myself to use a sewing machine and working on independent textile projects, as well as attending UAL workshops relevant to my project; Thinking Through Textiles, Thinking Through Stitching and Identity Through Textiles.


I have been trying to write song lyrics which more effectively deliver the message and achieve the mission of the song. For example, my voter mobilisation song for the upcoming elections was deliberately repetitive to allow the audience to easily join in with me singing when I perform live in a moment of collective action to combat apathy which I perceive to be one barrier to democratic participation. I am currently filming the footage for the music video, but I have actively been trying to better plan the visual narrative of my music videos, by preparing artworks and visual imagery in advance to deliver more impactful messaging.


Recently, I agreed to film footage for a music video for another artist – this learning experience was useful for me to understand better the process of being a videographer and what the role requires, since usually I am performing in front of the camera and directing someone else doing the filming. Understanding the process from the other side of the camera has helped me to consider how to improve my working relationship with my videographer, plan narrative and explain visual messaging ideas, to better achieve the intended impact of the music video.


I have been using my blog to document performances so that I have a record of the event, including video recordings and the text of speeches I have made to reflect upon my rationale and the effectiveness of the messaging and delivery. In addition to performing, I have also organised an exhibition of my ‘Brexiles’ portraits (and I’m in the process of organising more) which I have documented on my blog, to create a record of the event and reflect upon the creative choices behind the selection of speakers and experience of “holding the space” – to improve upon the organisation of future exhibitions and events.


I have also used the blog to reflect on the development of a series of abstract artworks exploring the topic of mental health and cognitive overwhelm and to document a touring group exhibition of artworks on the theme of mental health. Although this topic seems only tangentially related to my study statement, I perceive mental health illness and the associated stigma as a barrier to inclusion within society and a possible cause of democratic disenfranchisement. For example; Climate Anxiety causing feelings of hopelessness and despair, leading to inaction, or a personal example; I recently cancelled on chairing a round-table discussion for UK grassroots pro-EU groups on youth voter mobilisation ahead of the upcoming elections, because my symptoms of Anxiety Disorder had become overwhelming (worsened by my previous experience of bullying, abuse and sexual harassment by certain members of this community). Obviously, I was frustrated for disempowering myself in this way but I also didn't feel strong enough to handle the pressure of "holding the space" for others, fortunately the professor of EU politics who was organising the event was sympathetic. I am therefore keen to continue artistic exploration on this theme through independent creation, mental health advocacy and collaborative projects with my art collective, Dare to Care.


Learning Outcome 3: Communicate a critical understanding of your developing practice.(Assessment Criteria: Knowledge, Communication)


I have been reflecting on the UAL textile workshops and considering how I can use the skills I have learned in these teaching sessions and develop them further to deliver on the themes and objectives of my research project. This has manifested in my first attempt at designing and creating a flag, in response to my reflection on the aforementioned book by Tim Marshall.

 

I have been using my blog to reflect on the designs for oil portraits of my research participants and justify how the style delivers on the theoretical concepts underpinning the research. Including revision of the design in response to feedback from participants who I am encouraging to have an active role in shaping the project and the creative outcomes.

 

I have been trying to plan more strategically the filming of music videos, to ensure the video footage capture the intended mood and narrative of the song. I have been using my blog to detail the process and creative thinking behind the choices in filming of recent music videos. I also co-wrote a song ‘Volunteering We Grow’ for the first time and used my blog to reflect on the process of (remotely) co-writing and the experience of recording together in the studio.

 

I have been documenting performances on my blog, using the opportunity to reflect on the experience, context and particularities of the venue and audience to analyse how to improve my performing for future occasions, as well as choosing the most appropriate songs to suit the event. I have also been keeping a record of audience interactions after the performance, as the intention behind my music is to inspire others and bring communities together, their feedback is incredibly important to me and often gives me ideas or suggestions to reflect on to improve my song writing and performing. I also sang with a choir  for the first time and used my blog to reflect on the experience of the rehearsal and performance at a Bavarian primary school, especially regarding the challenge of working with young children which is something I enjoy and would like to do more.

 

I also attended a ‘Zine-ing About Wellbeing’ workshop for UAL students because of my interest in mental health and curiosity to explore a new medium. As it became apparent, it wasn’t that novel a medium for me since there are many parallels between self-published books (of which I have created many) and zines. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the workshop and gained a lot from it, in terms of thinking through narrative and messaging and how to use visual imagery and design to impactfully communicate ideas.

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