L3 Study Hangout – 23/11/2020

On the 23/11/2020 I attended another of the Level 3 study hangouts which occur every two months. Yet again, I found it very useful with most of our focus being on Contextual Studies and essay writing.

We talked about approaching our essay from the outset and Ariadne said writing to discover rather than just trying to develop a hypothesis from the beginning. A few students backed this up saying their plans had changed and they realised new understandings concerning their topic as they went along. This was certainly the case with my essay, which developed from a loose idea of regeneration and photography intertwining and led onto the concept of ‘artwashing’.

Some students started using analogies to describe how they found looking for clues in relation to their own essays. These included: “wading through a river” and “panning a river of gold”. I could relate to such analogies, however Ariadne contrasted this with a more apt analogy: “mining the rubbish heap of information”, borrowed from the philosopher Carlo Ginzburg. I thought this was more apt because I found myself sifting through sources but having to be selective over which sources I actually used. Ariadne said just starting writing helps immensely with the essay in terms of getting down thoughts. I would agree with this and wished I’d followed this advice more stringently earlier on in my Contextual Studies as it would have made the essay easier to write.

Ariadne then asked us what I felt was a clever question: ‘how do we see ourselves using the dissertation further on in our practice?’ Sue answered with a very good analogy: “Yeast that needs maintaining. It’s constantly growing and can help with future bodies of work and dissertations and for the writer personally.” I felt this was a good answer and one that addressed the maintenance of people’s practice, including theoretically.

Lastly we talked about writing styles for our essays and especially critical writing. Ariadne remarked: “The tutors and assessors are ultimately interested to hear about your thoughts on your subject. Lots of people can read and understand theory but it is your slant on it that is interesting.” This bit of advice mirrored what my tutor had to say as feedback after Assignment 4 – Contextual Studies. I have tried to take on board both Ariadne’s and my tutor’s comments into Assignment 5 by using my own voice with relevant sources backing me up.

This was a good and timely study hangout for me and I got a lot out of it. The main takeaway for me was to make the essay more personal which I have brought into my final draft for Assignment 5.

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