Handwritten Reflective Journal [Electronic version]


In October last year I went to a meeting about ‘Research in Practice.’ I wasn’t doing research in practice as a module until January so I was just going out of curiosity at that point. We had broken off into groups and one of my classmates, quite innocently, asked me what my practice was. I said none, “unless my previous job as a Living History Demonstrator (at Mary Arden’s Farm) counts.” She asked me why I was there. Well, everyone seemed to be going. They’d sent out an email to everyone, so I went.  I remembered later that my lecturer had said it would be good to network and meet people on other Arts-based Masters courses. But it did make me think about belonging and that, if I’m not an artist who is researching their practice (which most people on the Arts-based Masters course seemed to be), then I wouldn’t count or I would be missing out on a learning experience everyone was getting. I felt a bit outside the artist clique so I distracted the group with images of Mary Arden’s Farm and hoped for no more follow-up questions.

This situation had made me think about why I wanted to study. I was searching for a more structured and supported way to get a more permanent or well-paid job in the Arts sector. Studying Arts and Project Management reminded me of a quote which often comes back to me.

‘There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred’[1] ‘…which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!’[2]

It’s one of those ideas I pin up on my notice board because just starting something helps put events in motion. And on the day of that research in practice lecture the lecturer, Carol, highlighted a quote by Schon about how students have to ‘plunge into doing – without knowing, in essential ways, what one needs to learn.’ [3] So the MA was my “plunging into doing” and that starting point was quite exciting because I think I permitted myself to be an Arts person, having definitely decided THIS is what I wanted to do and I believed it was leading to a productive and good place. I’d also realised that Arts and Project Management was my practice so, in order to research it, I needed to get a head start on Arts Events Internships.

[1] William Hutchison Murray, The Scottish Himalayan expedition, (Indiana, J M Dent & Sons 1951) [digitized 2008, accessed 28.2.14], 7

[2] “German Myth 12: The famous “Goethe quotation,” http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth12.htm, (accessed 28.2.14)

[3] Donald A. Schön, Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions, (California, Jossey-Bass Inc., 1987) 166