All of a sudden I’ve completed my Inclusive Arts Practice MA (IAP)..Where did that time go? We all enjoyed our group exhibition at the University of Brighton and now its all over, I’m thinking about different ways to implement a conscious art practice which tangibly benefits the community in the longer term. Over the summer while waiting for my results I’m planning lots of collaborations with other artists and will be participating in some live painting and festivals too!
During the last session (which some of the graduating students including myself were unable to attend,) an inclusive evaluation opportunity was created to congratulate fellow students and to reflect on things which had happened over the course of our studies. My fellow graduates and tutors wrote their comments on labels and tied them to potted sunflowers to give colleagues. I thought this was a really lovely idea since absent students were able to feel as if we were there, plus we all had a thoughtful memento to keep.
Here are the wonderful comments I received which made me so proud and grateful for the wonderful experience:
One thing that was really special about the IAP course is that it required undertaking a research project and through this research process one begins to have many “Eureka” moments of clarity. This mindfulness and the ability to reflect upon your practice and impact by stepping in and out of the process is a great asset to the artist, as it allows a fluidity and scope to be open to exploration. We were encouraged to support the group as a whole and through working with vulnerable individuals, we were able to focus on teamwork and collaboration. I’m thinking about the contrast with my first Degree in Fashion & Textile Design in the 1980’s, where qualities like “competitiveness” and the ability to “not break under pressure involving personal insults” were actively encouraged and coached. To me, this reads as a clear signpost of the times we live in, the disparity between the upwardly mobile yuppy 80’s and the second decade of the Twenty-first Century. We live in times of social awareness and fast information spread, yet we are teetering on the edge in a world consuming faster than we can keep up with. In order to move onto the next level, finding new ways forward which involve inclusion, diversity and sustainability are essential if we are to succeed in reimagining solutions to problems that appear too big or complex to break down.
Rounding-off or finishing-off any given project correctly and evaluating is a good thing, not only can we see where we would evolve in the future, its also an opportunity to congratulate ourselves on our achievements and to hear what others think. I am very grateful for the academic journey I’ve taken over the last 2 years and the ability to be able to measure impacts of my art practice in the future. It really is the little things that make us happy and serving others through my practice has been a fulfilling experience. The Beatles tune, “Money can’t buy me love,” is so true, it may be cliche, but I really do believe that it’s our human interactions with loved ones and helping others which makes us happy deep down.