On writing the Unit 1 Assessment

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

One of the criteria for completing this MA is to undertake an assessment at the end of Unit 1, i.e. at the end of Block 4 (which is confusingly 1/3 into the second year). This has been done and is found in Assessments.

The evidence that had to be provided for the Unit 1 assessment comprised four elements:

  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.

Of these, the formal research submission, the Research Paper Motivation in Abstract Art, was previously submitted as it had a specific earlier deadline; the reflective journal has been ongoing and is within this research blog; similarly, the practice based research has been ongoing and documented within this research blog; and the Research Proposal just needed a final edit to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

I have managed to keep the journal up-to-date. Likewise for creating and writing about my artworks in the practice. This means I have plenty of material to work with. I expended not inconsiderate effort over this and there have been times when I would have rather been making artworks instead of maintaining the research blog. The research blog, however, has become part of my practice — and it could be argued that it a piece in itself rather than a separate entity — by acting as a mechanism to not only be an archive of it but also be an instrument through which I can reflect upon it. Like my practice, it has undergone a few changes as experience has been gained with it over time. While some of these changes are visible, such as tweaks to the landing page, others are more behind the scenes but make my administrative and authoring life easier.

When writing the Unit 1 Assessment I was able to take advantage of the fact that this research blog is maintained using Jekyll and automated a lot of the post-gathering, for example, by writing a few lines of code it is easy to extract a list of all matching posts with a specific tag. While this was a great helper, I still had to write all the words around it, and this meant trawling through and reviewing my research blog and practice. The information architecture that I applied worked well and things were easy to find. It would have been nice to have full-text search, but the search facility is a simple one and only looks for a match within titles, and the index needs a clean to be an effective index, for example, by listing items in a case insensitive manner.

To reiterate what I said in the Unit 1 Assessment, I can’t quite believe how much I’ve done over the past year-and-a-bit, and how much my art has progressed. The slow trickle of posts has become quite a corpus; I’m finding my visual language and creating artworks that are becoming more sophisticated, an embodiment of my research proposal and the creation of artworks that I once said were “simple but complex”.

I also seem to have written far more than the “brief notes” that were requested for the assessment, and the resulting Unit 1 Assessment is the longest post that I have written to date.

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