January 25, 2016
It’s Monday once more, which means it’s back to writing and back to intention setting. Last week my intention was to engage with materials that explore the relationship between the academy and the art education world, with a particular emphasis on the fuzzy place that is training in vocations that once were considered “craft” and thus outside of formalized academic learning but for the last almost 100 years or so have moved into institutions of higher learning.
What that ended up meaning—which feels somewhat appropriate retroactively—is that I did equal parts reading articles and spending time with people actively engaged in these fuzzy spaces learning about their experience of learning and teaching. I spent an evening with fellow designers/design educators breaking down design real life versus academic real life (I wish there wasn’t an binary but I think there still might be…), talked hair styling pedagogy whilst I got a wicked fade from my stylist (what if graphic design had gone the route of hair cutting/color/styling and stayed true to its trade roots rather than jumped ship and become “academic”? So many questions about identity and where you plant your disciplinary silo!) and read lots I didn’t record because I just ran out of both time and words.
My intention for this week is: for real, for real begin landing the plane of my dissertation topic. Though I’m all about serendipity and chance encounters and staying open to new ideas…I know at this point I’ve put enough time and probing into this beast that the next step is not to jump down another rabbit hole, rather it is to set a few posts in the ground, declare some things in a more formal way, and begin building.
When I’m working on a design project there’s a key moment every time where I have to take all the inspiration I’ve gathered and all the ideas I’ve dreamed up to a blank page in front of me and begin making. I’d love to say it’s this beautiful romantic moment of creation and eventually it is but…at that single start moment it’s scary and so hard. Moving from head to heart to hand to page is uncomfortable and awkward and difficult and revealing because what comes out is both completely me and no longer me. The words or ideas or images I create are both all mine and begin to live a life of their own the moment I write them. I set them free and I hope the relationship is reciprocal.
I think I’m at that place with this whole business. I’ve thought and researched and tried and failed and learned in an iterative cycle over the past two years, which has grown me in profound ways as a researcher and as a human. Now comes the time to begin making.
I know who I am. I know what I want. And it’s scary stuff but…I also know that I am strong enough to see it through and bring it into the world.
So this week begins that process of declaration and statements—of signals and foundations—of stepping out and stepping into and seeing what might happen next.