Unit 1 Assessment

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

Assessment Evidence

My evidence for assessment is:

  1. Project Proposal: See Project Proposal.
  2. Practice based research: See posts collected under Practice.
  3. Reflective journal: See posts collected under Journal.
  4. Formal research submission: See My Research Paper.

Evidence of Learning Outcomes

My evidence for meeting the three learning outcomes is presented below.

Formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study, relating to your Project Proposal

My initial Project Proposal was written, and this initiated my practice-based research. Motivating forces became a topic of interest during my research and this was espoused in my research paper.

The initial proposal that I submitted as part of my application was updated for the first formal submission. Reading back over it I have managed to keep to it, and have met the aims and objectives which can be evidenced through the artworks that I developed under Practice. The arc of my approach was to engage a cycle of deliberately divergent research which becomes convergent in response to insight gained during the practice. This is reflected and recorded upon in my journal, with the project proposal accordingly updated vis-à-vis the work plan now pursuing a series of three design cycles over the available time. The proposal did not require any significant changes, and at the start of year two the language of the question was edited to be a more accurate and formal statement of the area of interest, followed by a final edit undertaken to dot i’s and cross t’s as part of this Unit 1 assessment.

The overall scope of my research and practice is reflected in the research blog’s thematic index and my research bibliography.

In addition to the above, I have also done the following activities, which have not only contributed to my research but have also aided my professional and personal development through exposure to other artists, their work, and methods of curation:

Visiting artists studios and ateliers

Seeing expositions

Critically engage with practice-based research and contribute actively to debate and discussion

My practice-based research has resulted in works that have been executed in different media (ink doodles, digital art, fiber art sculptures, generative art, and video) and have experimented with different approaches (e.g. colour fields, vibrating boundaries, and melding materials). For some of the fiber art sculptures the yarn was made in collaboration with a handspun yarn artist and a bespoke blend resulted.

The principal vehicle for engagement is my research blog on this website, which, until the cutoff date to submit this assessment (October 25, 2016) comprises 184 posts, 17 pages, and is a corpus of 56123 words — assuming that the code I wrote to calculate such things is correct.

My practice-based research has resulted in approximately 69 artistic objects being created, as detailed in this blog under Practice.

A secondary vehicle is my artist website, which is targeted more for professional than academic purposes, and was initially developed to accompany my showing at the Interim Show. The site itself is very much a work-in-progress and the plan is to refine it during Unit 2 towards the Final Show but also with an eye to the future afterwards.

In addition, I have engaged and debated through the following:

Attending group tutorials, lectures, symposiums, and the mid-point review

I attended (online) all group tutorials, lectures, symposiums, and presented at the mid-point review. These detailed within the Journal.

The Mid Point Review, in particular, provided a period to engage and debate with others about each other’s practice. Specifically I presented my video; gave critique; received critique, and reflected on it.

The Low-Residency

I participated in the low-residency in February 2016, actively attending and contributing to all the activities in the first week. Due to personal commitments I could not be in-person during the second week, but I attended and contributed to those that were able for online participation.

A specific (and reflective) meta post details the Low Residency 2016.

In a similar manner to the mid point review, but with the advantage of being physically present, the low residency provided ample opportunity to debate and engage with others.

Showing and exhibiting my work

I was able to attend the Camberwell MA Summer Show in-person for a few days and, in addition to discussions with the other members of the cohort, exhibitors from the other MA courses, I was able to talk with spectators during that time about my work. This provided external and fresh perspectives, particularly from those who were new to my work and seeing it for the first time.

Having crits

Having one-on-ones

Critically reflect upon your practice and articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context of your creative practice

Unit 1 started with my Research Proposal, which was used to initiate my subsequent practice-based research that was reflected on in my journal and within the practice itself. Throughout Unit 1, I have developed a greater understanding of my practice — viz. applying the concepts of hybridity, mimicry, and third space from contemporary post-colonial studies and transposing them from community structures and dynamics (i.e. cultural interactions in a society) to a visual world (i.e. figure/ground interactions in a pictorial space) and more specifically into abstract visual art — in terms of its execution through practice-based research, resulting in it becoming more nuanced and with finding an aesthetic voice and appropriate visual language, recognizing and organizing into archetypes (as detailed in this post), but also on a philosophical level and developing insight into motivating forces which I researched and was the topic of my research paper.

During Unit 1, I was worried that I had not produced enough work. I did not start out with a target of producing X artworks and writing Y research blog posts per week or month or whatever. My research proposal was “loose”; it was deliberately unconstrained with the idea that something would develop in such an environment. I had no ideas of what I was going to produce, what medium I would work in, what the outcomes would be, and the Interim Show hadn’t entered into my horizon. Unit 1 was going to take a divergent then convergent design approach with the hope that something not too embarrassing would be the end result. The result was a cyclic set of ink doodles, to fiber art, to digital and generative art. The experience gained through each reinforcing the next. Experiments in bifurcation of the pictorial plane (which introduced deliberate ambiguity of the figure/ground relationship) through fiber sculptures resulted in the development of the strictly normal division line in generative art, an unexpected and rewarding consequence of my approach within an unconstrained boundary.

The first major opportunity to communicate and present my research-based practice in detail was done through the medium of video that I prepared for the Mid-Point Review. This was somewhat of a challenge in that I had never worked with video, and the result attempted to articulate the state of my practice at the time, and it seemed well-received. The second major opportunity was to show at the Interim Show. The works that I showed were presented as a meta, Configuration 1, the intent of which was to offer a representative cross-section of my research-based practice to date. I’m particularly pleased with the mix of mediums and how coherent it all seems (to me). My practice has evolved and there is engaging synthesis of both physical and visual tension, symmetry, and juxtaposition. The transposition of community structures and dynamics to a visual world, i.e. cultural interactions in a society to that of figure/ground interactions in a pictorial space, as an underpinning philosophy works well, with the caveat that the spectator gains more if they are informed: this is not an uncommon issue with abstract and conceptional art.

Some ideas have never re-emerged, whether in pure or transposed form, but they continue to be a constant “nag” that perhaps they should be re-examined: the principal exemplar would be the lines and curves motif from the doodle on 2015-09-21. Of equal importance is the research that has not, to date, been directly pursued further but has emerged later as an influencing factor: for example, the amplitude and frequency modulation on 2015-09-30 was indirectly taken up in Sequent 11. Interestingly, this also incorporates elements from Raffia Field Two which was also not directly pursued, but instead done indirectly by adopting the concept of overlaying materials by transposing this concept to one of overprinting.

Like others in the cohort, when starting the blog and undertaking practice-based research there was a certain amount of apprehension, particularly when exposing and articulating such normally inner matters to a public audience on the internet. These have gradually faded as confidence has gained and now it seems like second nature. Over time the level of reflection has increased and has evolved to being mainly incorporated in posts related to practice. Now that the initial apprehension has abated, there are now worries over I done enough? Is it worthy? It is any good? So far a corpus of 56123 words across 184 posts and 17 pages; and my practice-based research has resulted in approximately 69 artistic objects being created. I am surprised by those numbers: surprised that I seem to have written so many words; surprised that I have made so many artistic objects. I realize that I have done far more than I thought I did, have achieved more, and artistically have progressed further that I could have anticipated when I started. My practice has shown a clear progression throughout Unit 1, becoming more sophisticated and layered, with feedback gained during the making and reflection on each artwork feeding into the next, all against the framework of my research proposal.


I wrote a reflective piece, On writing the Unit 1 Assessment, about this assessment.

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