BoW: learning objective 2 – situating my own work


In preparing for assessment, I’m writing a pdf response the course’s learning objectives. I set myself the constraint of 100-150 words for each objective, so as to not overwhelm assessors with words. However, learning objective 2 asks to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of your area of specialisation and be able to situate your own work within a larger context of practice in your field. This is not something I’ve written about discretely since an exercise early in the course, which asked me to consider in which genre my work is situated. I’ve therefore written this separate post that allows a slightly more expansive expression of my thoughts; useful to bring together as I begin to talk about my work outside the OCA, during the SYP course.

Situating my own work

My work is an amalgamation of several areas of specialisation. I’m not entirely comfortable with the term ; ‘specialisation’ as I feel that it is trying to hurd for the sake of a convenient label; I think art is more nuanced than this.

There is the cross-disciplinary genre of psychogeography, connected with the practice of wandering, Ian Sinclair’s writing London Orbital for example, as well as the effect of geography on mood and meaning. Discussions of human geography in my dissertation are also connected to this aspect. In making my work, I walked most of the 127 miles of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, generally with no preconceptions of what I might find along each stretch. While the psychogeographic films of Patrick Keiller, for example London and Robinson in Ruins, were an influence, my style of imagery is very different and aestheticizes the banal to draw attention to what I think of as its unusual beauty. In this respect my video is closer to Deutsche Börse nominee photographer Laura el Tantawy’s video works than Keiller’s that are straight film shots without panning or zooming.

Aestheticizing environmental degradation can be seen as controversial as photographers such as Richard Misrach and Edward Burtynsky have experienced, in essays such as Deborah Bright’s Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men. However, I share the view that it can be used positively to draw attention to places that might otherwise be ignored; I discuss this in my dissertation, referring to Eric Sandeen’s essay Souvenirs from the Landscapes of Modernity, which takes a different perspective to Bright’s on the work of Richard Misrach and others.

My project is readily identifiable as ‘Northern’, and therefore be connected with photographer’s who engaged with the Northern landscape and culture, such Bill Brandt,  Don McCullin, and John Bulmer (who’s use of colour is a direct influence). However, we are separated by time and my work is concerned with the aftermath of the industry they photographed, deindustrialisation. This therefore connects my work to the concept of ‘aftermath’ photography, though the deindustrialisation of the space along the canal is a slow process, often outside directly observable time; unlike a war zone for example where there is sudden and violent destruction of what was before.

Finally, there is a strong connection with photography concerned with water and journeys along that water. Alex Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi has been a long-time influence on my work, with its stillness and observation of marginal places. More concerned with detritus left along the water as marks of human activity is Frank Watson’s Soundings from the Estuary. The absence of people in my work is similar, as is the featuring of detritus.

Quick references

Bright (1985). Essay Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men at:

Sandeen, E. (2011) ‘Eric Sandeen’s essay Souvenirs from the Landscapes of Modernity: Richard Misrach, Camilo Vergara, and the Visual Politics of Ruin’ In: Pictorial Cultures and Political Iconographies: Approaches, Perspectives, Case Studies from Europe and America. Berlin/Boston, GERMANY: De Gruyter, Inc. pp.315–354. At: (Accessed 02/09/2019).

Laura el-Tantawy website:

A fresh look at the dissertation

After a long time away from my CS work and some recent procrastination, last night I read it again. I knew it would not be as a wanted it. Completing my BoW and discussions in the tutor-led L3 hangout have changed my perspective and understanding of what the dissertation can be and how it can develop my practice. Nonetheless, much of the existing content is useful – just not structured around the right argument and with the right focus.

I’ve been asked to feedback on the OCA course (as is standard when at this stage). I need to think about this – BoW and CS seem to me the most poorly structured and lacking in conceptual framework and logic of all the OCA courses. I’ve learned a lot through the struggle but am left with the feeling that the course structure was more of a hinderance than help at many points.

One aspect I reflect upon is the lack of joint tutorial input that might help to earlier encourage the linking of the two arms of the work. A recent idea introduced to me was that CS should help one to better explain one’s body of work. This is essential, with CS then focused specifically on my ‘voice’ – not describing the BoW itself but enabling and explanation of it. Either this idea is not contained in the course materials, or I somehow missed it.

Time to go yet again and finally bring everything together.

Thoughts at BoW A4 – sound

I write when A4 will soon be ready to send to my tutor. Much of my time recently has been spent working with video and sound. In particular this reminded me of how much I enjoy working with sound – I find voice over particularly challenging but this is perhaps because I only attempt it once in a blue moon. I enjoyed putting together a sound scape from my field recordings. Much earlier in my OCA course I produced a video around a visit to Orkney and the story of HMS Royal Oak. I also found this enjoyable. I’ve been a life-long dabbler in music and have several guitars. I think the making of work with sound taps into this other passion.

Photography is such a multifaceted discipline – a tool that can be used for many things. I earlier reflected that I see myself as a photographer working primarily with prints, rather than an artist using photography to make objects. I enjoy the experience of interacting directly with the world and people through photography, rather than working with found images and archives for example. I now realise that I should habitually use sound with my work, both for enjoyment and a potential differentiation. It is an area for further research.

I’ll also remember to put my Roland sound recorder in my kit bag as the results from the iPhone were poor in comparision – some work was required in post production to reduce noise levels, which cancelled out the convenience of just using a phone.

It’s art but is it photography?

While away on holiday I’ve been enjoying Gerry Badger’s essays The Pleasures of Good Photographs. Today I read his thoughts on Photoshop (p234). I’ve also recently read Ansel Adams’ The Print.

Badger questions whether works that are manipulated beyond that of the traditional balancing and dodging and burning can still be considered photographic – joined at the hip to a referent. The craft that Adams worked at tirelessly using a few simple tools to produce exquisite prints (whether or not one is a fan of the subject matter). Badger bemoans that it is the works where the intervention of the artist (or photographer?) is most apparent are those that receive the greatest attention (and market value). Where there is a clear conceptual angle in play rather than just the phenomenological. He concludes that technology has may have spawned another type of photography through the photographer-painter that is more concerned with making than ‘taking’. Images elaborately constructed through photoshop composites, like Gregory Crewdson’s for example. Art yes but photographic, perhaps not.

I’ve been considering for a while whether this kind of distinction matters and I think it does in terms of communicating what one’s work is about. For example, as much as I dislike genre labels, they seem to be useful for explaining the intention of work. Similarly, it is not my intention to make work that involves the transformation of photographic images through elaborate processes and the crafting of new physical objects beyond the print or book. I think this puts me in the camp of being a photographer, rather than ‘an artist working with photography’.

It is the taking and the crafting of the image that interests me, rather than the making of objects using photographs as raw materials. I’ve also recently started to pull back from the detailed tuning of images using PS masks, and instead reverting to broad brushes over areas that would seem more akin to the traditional dodging/burning approach. It seems to avoid images taking on the look of graphic art and loosing their photographicity.

So, I should describe myself as a photographer. If photography is also sometimes called art, that is a separate thing.

Blackburn, Leeds & other thoughts

Since submitting A3, I’ve been out on a couple of long photowalks as I bring collecting to a close. Blackburn last week – a poor former textile town that I read this week is under risk of a local Covid 19 lockdown – and Leeds and its suburbs yesterday. It was my second trip to Leeds, needed as the project’s direction has taken shape since my first trip about a year ago. The contrast in affluence between Blackburn and Leeds was palpable. For my final trip, I’m planning to visit Wigan (of Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, which refers to the canal wharf) and Liverpool, at the far end of the canal from my location.

Totem Doll, near Blackburn by Andrew Fitzgibbon

All the walking and seeing has also been good for thinking. I thought yesterday that I’m looking at ‘worlds within a world’; people trying to impose their own identities on a place whatever level of resources they have at their disposal. ‘Identity and Place’ to recycle that course title. The few people that I talk to while walking – most cycle by at speed or run past, sweating and breathing heavily (alarming in Covid world) – often talk about ‘the nature’, meaning the wild life and plants. I’m not sure that many give a thought to or even notice the ‘human nature’ on display – as I commented in my dissertation, it is not easy to be aware of a culture in which one is immersed.

I talked about the canal as a ‘contested space’ in my dissertation; a phrase that verges on an academic cliché and art-speak awash with ‘spaces’. It has an abstract feel to it. What I am really dealing with is humanity shaping places and the contest between people in asserting their identities – space is just the stage on which this very human contest is played out on.

The continuing BoW is proving fruitful thinking ground for finalising my dissertation. I think in hindsight, I should have paused at A4 of CS and moved BoW closer to completion before working on A5. The courses are meant to be completed in parallel, but things conspired against that. On the plus side, I’ve still plenty of time to tidy up A5.

Crossing the border

I’m just back from the third of my half-day shoots to build material for A3. Up at 5am this morning and crossed the border from Yorkshire into Lancashire to walk the canal around Burnley. I enjoyed the soft morning light and it was great to be done before the summer heat kicks in. A lot to be said for bed early and up early at this time of year – just need to persuade the rest of my family to avoid it becoming antisocial!

I have a feeling that there is enough material to start pulling together A3; intuitively while out this morning. So will make some small prints of possible selects and have a play. I plan to pull the work together in book format – something that can also be shared digitally while Covid restrictions continue – and have already started revisiting texts on book design / self-publishing.

Feeling enthused about the project having got back on the proverbial bike.

A change of path

Recent tutorials on A5 of CS and A2 of BoW and the post-lockdown move back to outdoor image making have prompted me to rethink the direction of this project. A2 BoW was a restart after my time away and it focussed on the idea of showing the overlooked banal in the context of the popular picturesque. This was a response to the contested narratives of the canal explored in CS and how the dominant story can push others to the margin. I now realise it doesn’t translate well into visual representation and my BoW tutor has encouraged me to have a rethink, with some suggested ways of thinking.

Putting to the back of my mind the conceptual research and study of the canal’s narratives in CS, what attracts me personally and enthuses me about the canal? I talk about experience on my local canal rather than the very different experiences that are to be had elsewhere in the country or the world, which others inevitably bring to bear when discussing the project. Firstly, it is the quiet and a sense of being outside of time – the slowness of the water and the movement on the water is a counterpoint to a modern quest for efficiency and speed. The calming, reassuring presence of the water’s materiality adds to this experience. It is the search for this kind of more considered experience that has led to the slow food and slow city movement (Cittaslow), so I’m not alone in this interest. Secondly, it is the unforeseen beauty in relics of industry along the canal, whether preserved or falling into disuse and ruin. There is also often something of the kitsch in the repurposing of the canal. For example, the faux wharf housing or objects of domesticity brought to permanent moorings. All of this not only has a visual appeal but pricks a sense of wonder about what happened in and to those places. This links to the range of narratives unlocked during my CS research.

From now, the work will focus on conveying my sense of slow pace, and intrigue for the stories of places along the canal. Exactly, how will be worked at over the next few weeks, but I’m making a couple of significant changes to my approach. Firstly, I’ll no longer focus just on the 29 mile stretch of canal between Skipton and Leeds, but expand it to anywhere on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal or Rochdale Canal (both within striking distance) that takes my interest. I’ve realised the constraint is unhelpfully self-imposing geographical limits, when there are other places I’m drawn to visit. For example Ted Hughes’ Mytholmroyd, which is referenced in his poem Stubbing Wharf. Secondly, I’m going to put effort into engaging with people along the canal to include portraits in my series and uncover their narratives for the canal, with a view to including text with images. Adding to sense of ‘tales’ in my work.

The words of poet Ian McMillan, quoted in my dissertation, come close to reflecting my personal experience of the canal. I realise the work needs to recentered to be genuine, otherwise it risks reading like a disinterested theoretical exercise:

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs
They hand in that space
Between memory and water.

From Canal Life, Ian McMillan

Back at it

Back onto BoW after a long time away for various reasons. Still have plenty of time to finish, my original plan was to have been done by now! C’est la vie.

Good to be back out shooting yesterday. A long walk to Winterburn Reservoir in the Dales – built by the Victorians, as traffic volumes increased, to replenish the canal from its high point. The reservoir features on Historic England’s website as an unusual example of canal waterworks being given the architectural treatment. I thought about the navvies who built the reservoirs and canals – it’s difficult to find out much about them, but they started work as young as 7 years old and seem to be just a footnote against the great works of civil engineering.

I walked through a field of horses on the high ground – I later read that the livery yard had complained to the Canal & River Trust about the reservoir leaking onto and ruining large areas of crazing land. Reflecting on my dissertation as I walked, I decided it would be wise to let it sit for a while and make final adjustments to reflect the experience of shooting the BoW.

I took a few shots from the wrong end of the reservoir from an isolated private field. A morning’s work for a few photos! I think one is a keeper and will include it in A3. When processing, I discovered that I’m now running Photoshop 2020 so had a look into the improved functionality and had a bit of a play with it.

Creative Process (writing)

At our last level 3 student led hangout (5th Feb), the topic of the essay plan (A3 for CS) came up – how did people approach it, was it easy to define a central argument, did the format asked for in the assignment make sense?

Since then and as my own essay writing has progressed, I’ve thought more about the essay plan – I found it a problematic concept with this work and have discovered why.

The essay plan asks for a linear format, from being to end. As if the route is already known. However, I see the essay as a creative process that will take shape as I write and think about the connections in my writing and my research. I’m not even sure what the conclusion will be as I write. When I reach the end, I am likely to need to re-run the loop and refine. As my sketch above illustrates, slotting a traditional essay plan into this context would be tricky.

In this context, my preference is to flag some general ideas and reference materials I consider important to the process. So, a mind map approach works well for me, but a linear plan (like I might use in a business report, even if iteratively) does not.

Mason Curry, a writer on the creative process, describes his own process as more like a crisis than a process ( It seems that I’m not alone in my preference for a free-form muddle with loose boundaries when it comes to creative writing.

Research on Research

I decided to take a diversion in my reading to research on research, before continuing my research – I mentioned the spark for this in my previous entry. I am looking for a coherent strategy for approaching the BoW and contextual studies components, good practices for academic research in the visual arts, and how this blog might support that. A process not explicitly covered in the course materials. Here, I summarise my thoughts having read through three books – different styles of book on a subject that could influence my way of thinking for this course.

Visualising Research (Gray and Malins) is mainly concerned with post-graduate research, but its focus on research in art and design, and the relationship between visual practice and academic writing makes it a valuable source of process information (even if post-grad content has a different emphasis). How to write your undergraduate dissertation (Greetham) is covers the basics comprehensively and offers checklists (not a personal favourite) to help the student cover the basis. However, it does not deal with art and design and the issue of combining a body of work and art practice with a dissertation. Doing a literature review: releasing the social science research imagination (Hart) targets the literature review and is again aimed at postgraduate students, but offers useful ideas on approaching and reading research.

  • Contextual review – ‘literature review’ is a traditional term when research was based on paper (Gray and Malins, p14), but is a misnomer / misleading when it involves information in a wide range of media (including not textual). I will now use the term ‘contextual review’.
  • Practice-based research – it’s important to me that there is a direct connection between my BoW and the ‘contextual studies aspect’. One should make sense of the other, or else I’m not making the most of the study opportunity. To bring the two aspects together – the practice and the conceptual – and have a dialogue about them Gray and Malins (p59) suggest that a reflective journal is the space. I suppose what the OCA call a ‘learning log’ (not a distinguishing term). I will create a section of this blog as a ‘reflective journal’ that will be distinct from ‘contextual review’ section noted below.
  • Classifying and analysing research – I’ve logged sources in ‘Zotero’ but haven’t explored approaches to making connections and analysis in the tool. Also, I have not yet included non-textual content in Zotero – confirming that I’ve not yet integrated the visual with the textual! I chose Zotero as it will generate a ‘research folder’ that can be shared for assessment. However, this has diverted me from my preferred mindmap analysis. I’ll find a way of re-incorporating them.
  • Organisation of content – I’ve organised Zotero around course content and assignments, which was already creaking during the literature review. I will rearrange the literature/contextual review into topic-based sections and sub-sections to allow systematic connections between different media. This will also make the mapping of connections more explicit.
  • Relationship between literature review and dissertation – the review provides a survey of the literature (and context) that underpins the dissertation – it is evidence of research. My research will extend beyond the initial literature review (A2), so it makes sense that this may need to be updated prior to final assessment / submission, otherwise it won’t substantiate the dissertation. I will use a separate blog section ‘contextual review’ to capture update notes, as work progresses.
  • Research proposal – this is usually a requirement prior to proceeding with a dissertation or other type of research. While OCA course does not specifically require this, but the outline essay (A3) can be used for a similar purpose – a plan of what will be covered along with objectives.
  • Reading to review – I’ve fallen into the habit of too detailed reading, distracted by areas that are interesting but not necessarily relevant. I’ll read ‘analytically’ – effectively using the ‘speed reading’ techniques learned from Tony Buzan in the past.


Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Aldershot, Hants, England ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Greetham, B. (2009) How to write your undergraduate dissertation. Basingstoke [England] ; New York: Palgrave Macmillam.
Hart, C. (1998) Doing a literature review: releasing the social science research imagination. London: Sage Publications.

How have I come to do research?

I recently attended a tutor-led hang-out on the subject of research. It came at a time when OCA work has been placed mostly on the back-burner, apart from reading for CS during long commutes. So research – but with a sense of detachment from practice.

The hang-out presentation and discussion on research was both inspirational and an ‘aha’ moment. It offered a framework for thinking about research as a whole and its interconnectedness with practice. Something I knew needed to sit above the various OCA study materials – which need unpicking from their linearity. It asked the simple but profound questions – the ‘whys’, ‘the who says’, and perhaps most importantly ‘who cares’; what does it matter, what difference does this make?

Putting my essay outline for A3 on pause, I’ve now turned to thinking about the research process itself as a foundation for the rest of my final year. As well as the materials and ongoing discussions from the tutor-led group, I’ve come across the book, ‘Visualising Research: a guide to research in art and design’ by Gray and Malins, and will also be looking at other resources.

I have first come to research to define my own research process – how do I achieve the most from a body of work with related research in visual arts? How do I make this blog work for me to support level 3 studies, rather than follow a level 2 format that seems at best awkward and at worst irrelevant to the level 3 framework.

Contextual Studies| Tutor Initial Call

My preliminary call with my Contextual Studies tutor (AC) was on 14 May – it’s taken me a while to find time for the write-up. Things are generally busy for me but this week I have some time to catch up with studies.

We talked around my idea for BoW and general advice for the approach towards the CS work. I mentioned that I’d put it slightly to the side while I’d be establishing a direction for the visual work. He reminded me of the importance of both aspects informing one another an encouraged me to make a start – tutorial for diagnostic assignment 1 is set for 11 June, with essay to be submitted on Friday 7th.

General suggestions, comments and observations made in discussion

  1. Emphasised the importance of reading widely and going through a processes of elimination to hone in on fewer points in detail. Emphasis should be on quality, not quantity.
  2. Recommended finding academic journal websites that are relevant to BoW (eg cultural geographies).
  3. Some suggestions for relevant areas of research:
    1. De-industrialisation
    2. What has happened to canals – ‘retired gentle folk’ / policy and legal issues around use.
    3. Pastoral and urban aspects to the canal – Air b’n’b?
    4. Alternative lifestyles / ways of living – is the canal predominantly ‘white’.
    5. Cultural politics
  4. Finally we discussed requirements for the ‘research folder’. The course material suggests that ‘everything’ I’ve looked at should be captured here and shared with the tutor. This seemed puzzling to both my CS and BoW tutors. Agreed that I would capture everything (using Zotero) so that it is available, but only flag aspects of research directly relevant to assignment work.

Tutor meeting: BoW #1

Discussion notes

This was a preliminary discussion with Jayne – to introduce my BoW, talk around it and the direction for assignment 1 (diagnostic). Prep material / notes used in discussion are below. Here I note points to act / reflect upon, rather than on the whole discussion.

  1. Keep statement of intent fluid and refine as work progresses. Think of research curve as hour glass shaped, starting with a broad perspective, lots of variety and not too exacting about what to shoot. Gradually narrow things down and then focus on those aspects, making more work.
  2. On portraiture – look to film and painting for inspiration. For example the Dutch masters, Vermeer and Rembrandt.
  3. Discussed challenges of engaging portrait subjects while taking care of technical steps of lighting and directing posing (eg foreshortened foot in one of the L2 examples). Recommended rehearsing shooting routine so it becomes second nature and happens automatically during the real thing – the focus can then be on building an maintaining rapport with the subject.
  4. Possibility of using images and text (to expand reading beyond that which is represented). Suggested that snippets of dialogue with subjects might be something to explore.
  5. Asked about any conceptual thinking, linking psychogeography to portraiture. Suggested looking a tradition of tableau (painting / theatre), collective identity and the flaneur (eg could be subject as flaneur). It could also be worth considering the ‘gentrification’ of the waterways: people who traditionally lived on the canal being pushed out by weekend/holiday boaters perhaps (echo of holiday cottage situation?).
  6. Admin points:
    • Send informal/brief proposal for each assignment. Noted for A1 – put in a good range of material (ie not too closely edited) to allow discussion.
    • Drop email in between assignments to up date on status / shout for help if needed.


Mindmap to shape discussion

click to open full screen


click to open in lightbox

Examples from L2 (as shared with Gina)


Image 1 of 21

Draft of A1 (no portraits yet!)


no images were found

Specific questions

  1. Research folder access – for BoW tutor as well as CS tutor?
  2. Updating on progress in between formal meetings?
  3. Genre – the unhelpful label of psychogeography? And conceptual thinking linking it to portraiture.


Level 2 to Level 3 transition statement. I’m planning to revisit this after A1 and not referencing it myself for now.


Thoughts after BoW part 1

photo by Andrew Fitzgibbon

I’ve now been through part 1 of the course and had some time to digest and reflect on it. I’m having a first call with my tutor (Jayne) next week, so this post will inform that as well as allow me to take stock of things.

Assignment 1 – I’ve done this in the recommended spirit of going out and making some work without over thinking it. However, given the absence of portrait work (through an absence of people in the area I photographed), I’m not sure that I will get the most of feedback by submitting it as-is. I’m inclined to do another shoot in a more populous area and to then include portraits in the submission to benefit from Jayne’s take on these.

Genre – while not becoming too invested in the notion of genres as reliable indicators of where work might belong, I appreciate that it could be a useful starting point for a discussion of work. The difficulty is I’m drawn to the genre of psychogeography, which I suspect is generally useless as a label to the majority of people. Also, my work is broader than ‘geography’ as it touches identity in the context of place. Though increasingly, landscape practices involve the inclusion of people, so I suppose psychogeography needn’t exclude them – the meeting of other wanderers during a wander? I need to give more thought to a useful label for my work.

Connected to the idea of psychogeography is the idea of mindful photography – being completely in the moment and not being occupied by analysis and conceptual thinking while making work. An analogy for me is improvisation on a musical instrument – all the theory and conceptual work has been done, and it should get out of the way when playing, trusting the subconscious. John Blakemore said that what is happening in a photographers mind is more important than technique (once the basics are mastered). I wonder if this is theme worth pursuing within contextual studies. We’ve had the inner game of tennis and the inner game of music, but I’m not yet sure if the inner game of photography has been considered.

Digitising the model release

In my previous course, I used model release contracts printed on A5 card – convenient to carry in a camera bag. I’d scan them with the iPhone (a bit clunky) and leave the original with the subject.

For my BoW there will possibly be significant use of model releases, so I’m keen to streamline my process as part of my prep. I first looked at and demo’d various iPhone apps designed for the purpose. I found these cumbersome to use and didn’t think they would be practical and quick to use when outdoors – typing on an iPhone is not the best experience and impossible with gloves or cold hands.

I’ve recently starting using Rocketbook ( note books – you write on them with Pilot erasable pens and wipe clean with a damp cloth. That doesn’t sound that innovative I know, but the really clever part is the icons at the foot of the pages which you can configure to send scans directly to different customisable locations in the scanning app. While the erasable notebooks are quite expensive, you can also download blank templates from the website and create non-erasable pads from scrap paper. I use an A5 erasable Rocketbook to carry with me and recycled A4 pads on my desk. What if I could hack the template files and create a model release that would scan direct to a cloud folder? Paper with tech!

I eventually achieved this and here’s the result that scans and uploads directly to a ‘model release’ folder in my GoogleDrive. The crossed icon is set to that location. Template was made in Word with a screen grab of the icons from the Rocketbook templates and a black border added as a page border. The border is used by the scanning app to quickly locate the scan area and doesn’t appear in the scanned document itself. Eureka!


Hello Few!

A title that plays on WordPress’s ‘Hello World’. Just over four years from my very first OCA blog post (8 February 2015), I write the first of my posts for level 3 body of work and contextual studies, which is, I suppose, the beginning of the end. I understanding that this is unlikely to be the widely interactive sharing experience I imaged four years ago. But for anyone who comes here and comments on the blog or on the student forums, thank you and Hello Few!

I enjoy keeping a blog and find it hugely rewarding. They have mostly been places of self-reflection, academic writing and experimentation, which at best is only of passing interest to others, apart from tutors who are compelled to look! I don’t think this is ever going to be a ‘right riveting read’, but I do plan to put more of what’s in my head to paper this time around.

The process to move to level 3 was interesting (in a good way) – I didn’t appreciate there would be an interview with the programme lead, who would recommend whether I exit at level 2, continue studying subject to level 2 results, or move on when ready. It all makes perfect sense, but was unexpected. As it turns out, it was another instructive and helpful OCA process, but I’m not sure how I’d be feeling if the outcome had been different!

I now have some shiny new course material to look through, one new-old tutor to say hello to and one new-to-me tutor to make introductions with.

I’ll be back with what I’m planning to do with the next year or so of my photographic life soon.