A3.CS Formative Feedback

I’m not sure if ‘formative feedback’ is the correct term in the context of an essay plan – it feels more like an ongoing dialogue with my tutor on my evolving thoughts in the run up to A4, which is a draft of the essay itself. As with previous CS assignments, I’m not publishing the work itself on the blog to avoid and complications around self-plagiarism/citation of my own work. Or, less-likely, other researchers coming across the work on this blog.

I wrote my 1000 word plan as a framework for the essay, with the idea that it is likely to change as the writing itself begins. I suppose a general direction. I’ve avoided formulating a conclusion at this stage as I want the research and writing to lead me to that. This may make the essay plan appear unclear in some respects – I don’t find it helpful to be certain at this point. The most important thing to me is to use these preliminary assignments in a way that is useful to me.

The main learnings from my video discussion and points from written feedback are summarised here:

  • My tutor found the plan as a document/work in its own right a bit ‘bitty’, though acknowledged my intention. I’m conscious that it may receive some attention as assessment (so even though a draft, it is not just for me), so will refresh it as my work progresses. This will assist me in refining the direction of the essay as well as providing something more digestible for others reading it.
  • Observed that some areas of the plan came across as a little abstract and not easy to make sense of – I just need to be mindful that this is avoided in the writing itself.
  • Noted that references to Eastern philosophy would need to be clearly explained / referenced if used. I’ve reflected on this and think I will leave these are personal thoughts, rather than include in the essay.
  • Noted that 5,000 words is not lengthy and what I leave out will be as important as what I put in. As photography can be about everything, I intend to apply a strong filter as the work progresses.

As usual, my tutor offered some useful suggestion for further reading:
– Guy Julier, Economies of Design
– Places on the margin: alternative geographies of modernity, Rob Shields.
– ‘After-images of steel: Dortmund’, Dan Swanson
– ‘Space’ is the primary theme here, but canals also seem to be about ‘time’ in lots of ways. Take a look at Tim Edensor’s essay ‘Reconsidering National Temporalities’ and see if this gives you any ideas. He’s a cultural geographer, so plenty of his other writing is also worth a look. nb, his Industrial Ruins might also have its uses. Although we’ve not discussed canals in such a way, they can definitely be read in this context.

A3.CS Essay Plan – process

The course material outlines the requirements of this assignment:

  • It requires a plan for the extended written project (around 500 words) detailing the separate chapter headings and their content, and how the 5,000 words of your project will be distributed.
  • It should include a 500–1,000 word sample text. This could be a draft introduction or any other part of your extended written project that you’re able to write at this stage.
  • It should also include details of when each section will be written and set a realistic deadline for your first draft (Assignment Four)
  • It also mentions that research interests should have been outlined in the literature review, so focus should be on the mapping of the extended project.

I’m beginning to build a routine for this type of work and outline it here for later reference.

In preparing for this assignment, I have done research on research in the context of visual practice; I am intending for the extended written project inform by BoW and visa versa – is not a requirement of the OCA course for one aspect to support the other, but I see value in this as part of my practice.

My literature review is not included on this blog to avoid any complications with plagiarism / self-plagiarism by publishing it. I’ve decided that this should be a living document supporting my written project, so will be updated to reflect additional contextual information as the work progresses. This seems to be good academic practice.

I’ve updated my digital research folder so the contents are grouped by subject area (initially I was following the course structure/outline) for ease of reference and I also started to add research notes directly into the folder, along with tags for content. I’m using Zotero as a tool.

I will use a mind mapping tool to shape my outline plan as I find the visual approach helpful in organising and adjusting structures.

Finally, I’ve again referred to Gilda William’s book for advice on writing about contemporary art – specifically academic essays.


Williams, G. (2014) How to Write about Contemporary Art. (s.l.): Thames & Hudson.