OCA students, like other Art and Design students, are often told by their tutors, the assessors and the assessment criteria to put their work into context, to contextualise it. So what are you being asked to do and why?
I was about to start a three-year academic commitment. In applying to be part of the Open College of the Arts 2014 cohort for Europe’s first distance part time Masters in Fine Art, I had signed up to deadlines and being a student again: a proper one (not the kind who says they are a ‘student of life’ and winks in an alarming way). I’d have an NUS card, discounts in Top Shop and more two-for-one pizzas than I could ever consume . What else would I learn? What had I to gain?
What is a comfort zone and who defines them? Well, we all do; they are defined by our lack of experience or familiarity with a subject. They can be as little as trying a new technique, to exploring an alternative research pathway, and it is the discomfort and uneasiness we feel undertaking a new task that reaffirms our zones.
If you could meet your favourite creative practitioner, what would you ask them? Work-related learning, such as visits to studios, conversations with practitioners, or more involved relationships through live projects and placements, all offer direct ways to help inform your knowledge and understanding of your discipline.