TLDR – Today we began to think about what we do and why. From this, we can hope to extrapolate a useful research question which will be relevant to our own work.


PRE SEMINAR

During the days since our last seminar, I got somewhat confused about what I was supposed to be researching, and how. We’ve been given quite a long reading list, and I’ve found so many other library books / articles / journals which seem like they might be useful, but my biggest problem at the minute is not really knowing what I’m supposed to be doing. Since I don’t know what my research question will be, it’s hard for me to research it. I decided to do another, more refined idea cloud and it managed to help me narrow down a more specific research area:

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I condensed this down into five general areas (with many sub-questions I won’t bore you with):

  • Differences in objective and subjective filmmaking,
  • Cause and effect of documentary filmmaking,
  • Film as an educational tool,
  • The interaction between changing technologies and human experiences,
  • Advances in technology and the relationship with the breakthrough in knowledge.

I emailed Judith for some feedback and she said I was heading on the right track. Which was good to know, even if it didn’t feel that way.


SEMINAR

No lecture today, which seems odd, and is disappointing. Judith says it’s because there are only a set amount of teaching hours to spread out over the module, so they have to decide how best to use them, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for, having a lecture and a seminar each week. Especially for the money we pay.

I’m gonna hold my hands up and admit that this week was not helpful to me at all. I believe the title refers to making sure that all we research relates back to our work in a practical way, but without a lecture to formalise my thinking or approach, it’s difficult to confirm.

Going straight into the seminar we were presented with a few general questions to think about in terms of the art we like. Basically, if I like (or don’t like) something, try to figure out why. If one thing is better or worse than another, try to think why. 

The few notes I did take, might be useful to me when I come to write my essay later. Do different target audiences influence style and content? The answer to that seems like an obvious ‘yes’, but as always, why and even how? Similarly, does an advanced technological presentation add credibility to a piece? My initial thoughts were ‘yes’, but there is something honest or pure about a piece of film which is completely unaltered and displayed in its original manner. How would this affect a documentary?

We later broke into small groups and discussed our thoughts and ideas so far for our final research question. This time I sat with Dibs (Photography), Sam (Communications Design), Bea (Fashion), and Mattis (Fine Art). Once again, this seemed to be the most helpful part of my week. Most of my group seemed to be in a similar position to me, knowing the general area they wanted to study, but perhaps struggling with the language of the question or the type of research to be doing. This was massively reassuring, but one person was much further behind, not even knowing what area they wanted to study, which in its own way was reassuring. At least I had an idea. 

We spent the best part of an hour throwing ideas around for each other and seeing if we could narrow down a point of interest in our work. I got a few good notes from the group, but it also felt good to offer suggestions to others. Not focusing so much on my own work, and just letting my brain fire off some ideas in another topic was such a relief, and somewhat inspiring. For days I’d felt like my mind had just hit an impasse, but suddenly it was firing on autopilot because I wasn’t thinking so much about my own issues, I could just think about stuff again. It was a bit like a mental magic-eye trick. The harder I tried to see it, the more difficult it became. As soon as I stopped trying, things just started to appear.

Much like last week, my initial take away feelings were relief (that I wasn’t the only one struggling to come up with a research question), confusion (about said research question), but also optimism (that I might actually be able to figure this out in time). I’ve started to realise that even if I don’t know what I’m doing, studying in small groups is always more beneficial than just trying to figure it out on my own.

I’m not too sure what the point of today was though. It felt more like a sequel to last week than it’s own entity, and that’s a bit of a shame. If we could’ve had that hour chat and the end of last week, I’d have a whole extra seven days to get ahead. Alas, twasn’t to be.

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