Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Old men

Memory of My Father

Every old man I see
Reminds me of my father
When he had fallen in love with death
One time when sheaves were gathered.

That man I saw in Gardiner Street
Stumble on the kerb was one,
He stared at me half-eyed,
I might have been his son.

And I remember the musician
Faltering over his fiddle
In Bayswater, London.
He too set me the riddle.

Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me
"I was once your father."

-Patrick Kavanagh

Two artists from different disciplines, Patrick Kavanagh the poet and Paul Cezanne, the artist wish to represent the old men. What are the skills / knowledge they each need? How do you as an audience respond to each piece? How does your own experience influence your response?

Defining the artist 2

Defining the artist is not a precise activity and is open to many interpretations. In addition there are many genres covered by “the artist”. Many different skills are required for each branch of artistry. Peter Bryant – check his blog for a quote from Steptoe - gave us a description of the temperament of the artist which could be described as stereotypical. And stereotypes are more readily assigned to some professions more than others. For instance, we can easily summon to our mind’s eye an image of librarians or accountants. We can imagine what they wear and where they buy their clothes. However, bear in mind the apt quote from Alexandre Dumas Pere that “all generalisations are dangerous, even this one”.

In preparation for the transformation from artist to professional artist it would be useful to consider three aspects you in your personal development.


Starting with Knowledge. What knowledge do you need to be an artist? What knowledge do you need to be a professional artist? How are you going to get this knowledge?

Then do the same for Skills and Aptitude.

This exercise should engage you in the activity of reflection.

Defining the artist 1

We had a discussion with a group of arts students doing the BA in Professional Practice the other day about this as we tried to identify our understanding of the role. Some of the words that were suggested were “Creativity”, “Imagination”, “Experimentation”, “Performance”, and “Exhibition”. The first three words encapsulate some process involving the brain and the cognitive process while the last two suggest a form of dissemination activity. If this was in the context of a business organisation we might be looking at implementation and the first three as Research and Development in Production of goods or services.

Those words suggested by the group Creativity, Imagination and Experimentation rely on some pre-existing knowledge however this was gained. And in engaging in these actions – creating, imagining and experimenting more knowledge is being gained. However, some of this knowledge may be cast aside as not relevant for the oeuvre being developed. It may however be retrieved at a later date for development of another work.

These three activities do not come from nothing. They are born from an idea, a message, a political theory or possibly an emotion. While nothing comes nothing originated in the Greek philosophical tradition it is wise to reflect on the source of artistic endeavour. Does the medium which is used to convey the product of artistic endeavour influence the artist and its development. Then there is the question of the audience. They may also have to engage with their creative part of their brain in order to connect with the piece. Take the Lion King which is performed in the West End. In order to convey the stampede of the animals across the savannahs of the African landscape the creative production team used people and costumes to achieve this. They drew their inspiration from Africa in the design of the costumes. Through experimentation they would have worked out the movements of the actors in order to create the illusion of the movement of vast amounts of zebra, giraffes, wildebeest. However, most importantly, they needed something more. They needed the imagination of the audience.

How does the audience impact on the work of the professional artist?

What is the inspiration for this performance?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Who is this blog for?

Those who value knowledge, its production, dissemination and application viz., academic colleagues, students in Higher Education and in particular, those students who are based in the School of Arts and Education at Middlesex University. So feel free to leave your comments and share knowledge with us all ...

Interpretive stance

"A story that is told is never the same story that is heard". (Denzin 1989 p 72)

Monday, 9 November 2009

About Me

I am a Senior Lecturer in Work Based Learning with students coming from Creative Arts disciplines.

My interests are in Knowledge Management, Theories of Learning, Communities of Practice, Organsiational Learning and Leadership and I want to see how these can be applied to the Creative Arts.