This module of contribution/constellation in the second year has been one of the most intense modules throughout my university experience so far, it has been around 3 to 4 years cine the last time I have had to write an essay to anywhere near this calibre let alone 10,000 words. For me, the most significant element of this process has been learning to trust my own judgement with topic choices, and recognise that as long as I approach a subject academically and objectively it can be applicable to a dissertation paper.
For much of the summer holiday, I unintentionally observed parents and their children and realised that my dissertation topic of children and technology and its effects are a pressing matter within our own society which is only growing more intensely. Having discussed matters of psychological well-being, mental health and physical health it became evident that perhaps this issue needs to be contemplated studying society as a whole not just individually.
As an illustrator, I need to be able to fully understand pieces of texts and language before I fully react and create imagery in response to them, the process of having to fully read and analyse texts in order to be able to respond to them properly within my essay has forced me to develop these skills of deeper reading which in turn has become obvious in my creative practice. I have realised that creative inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to come from visual images but instead can come from academic and formal writings because it is not the imagery that fuels creativity but the ideas that are presented and conceived. I have learnt how to apply theories and perspective to my own topic and subject which might not have been written about it but the ideas behind them are still incredibly relevant to it and can be applied.
For the past year, I have been lucky enough to work with Sarah Smith as my constellation tutor, she has always fully understood what I have set out to achieve with my writing and has always given me incredibly useful resources to look at and respond to in order to further my writing, one of her lectures in my first year second term of constellation was actually what inspired me to choose my given topic since I found the way she presented it so engaging especially when presented with writings such as Ingold who wasn’t directly writing about the topic at hand but we became able to apply it to different subjects because of the way it was explained. I think that this has really encouraged me to continue writing about a topic that really interests me and I think is incredibly pressing in modern day society and is growing ever more so.
I found the format of handing in a proposal of our dissertation during the second year incredibly useful since it gave me the chance to fully discuss and consider my dissertation topic, structure and its contents before I began to even think about starting to write the essay itself, at the time I think I underestimated the true amount of research that this dissertation would actually require.
Having completed this dissertation I have found I struggled with keeping track of what I had and had not written when it came to the different chapters and references, in retrospect I think that if I had kept a better record of my work through my PDP blog I would not have struggled with this so much, I also would have kept better record of my tutorials and meetings with Sarah Smith since often I took notes in various different notebooks and sketchbooks and often found myself losing my notes from the sessions which then lead to a brieakdown in communication between what I was discussing with Sarah Smith and what I was actually commiting to in my research. I found myself struggling with the analytical side of the writing process as this is something I have always not fully understood throughout my education, I think that at points during the essay I have achieved a good standard of analysing but this is always something that could be worked on from my own perspective.
I think perhaps if I were to repeat the experience I would make sure I had a full backlog of research, references and quotes I could refer to as I was writing instead of having to still have to do some sort of research whilst I was writing the essay during this year and term. Time management is something I have always struggled with throughout all of my studies especially when it comes to writing academically, I found that if I gave myself regular milestones to achieve within certain days I felt a lot more compelled to write and see the word count go up, this also allowed me to balance my practical work as well since I gave myself allotted amounts of time to contribute to each module during a week.
Most importantly I have learnt not to become lazy within my own hours I have set myself to work within a day, I often found myself hitting the word count that I wanted for a day and then stopping and in retrospect this was not the most benifcial attitiude towards, whereas if I had continued to excell the amount I had set myself for a single day I would not have been so stressed to hit the word count right up until the end of the deadline and would have given myself more time to edit and make sure I was a hundred percent happy with what I had written instead of feeling rushed whilst editing the writing.
I am glad that I can say that I have initiated and completed my own dissertation for this degree as I recognise that the ability to produce an amount of text to this volume is not accessible to everyone in society and for that, I feel incredibly privileged to have been in the position to have been able to complete this dissertation.