Sunday, 10 October 2010
Pt. 3 – Embracing. . . Common Senses
I travelled on a budget provided by 'research funds' from my academic place of employment at the University for the Creative Arts in Epsom, Surrey – such support being available to salaried staff developing ideas which tie into what comprises valid 'research activity'.
These are muddy waters, and I had come to the realization that being awarded such funds was to some degree a kind of shell game, reliant upon unpredictable and unknown management agendas, beyond a point.
Despite that, I set out an idea that sought to link reportage drawing and reflective writing with interviews conducted both inside and outside an academic institution.
As a student and – more recently – tutor I have remained bemused at the occasionally antagonistic relationship between colleges and the communities within which they sit.
It certainly seemed rich territory for human stories.
A kind gentleman called Martin Antonetti – Smith's Curator of Rare Books at their Neilson Library – agreed to help.
Martin's generosity led to many insights into the process and experience of education – the pleasure it can bring as well as the tensions and personal conflict, the things it leaves with us after we leave it behind.
Alongside Martin – in facilitating elements that meant the series worked on lots of levels – was my old friend Karen Leet, who also provided introductions to people and places that embedded the local area outside Smith into the set.
Splendid folk and many, many happy memories to keep, from the baked heat of July to the tight cold of December 2007.