Drawn Together: A conversation with the collection

My proposal was accepted by the Hunterian Museum for their Hunterian Associates Programme http://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/learning/hunterianassociates/

Recognised as a Collection of National Significance to Scotland, The Hunterian provides an inventive platform for postgraduate researchers to share their expert knowledge and to develop their skills through meaningful public engagement and knowledge exchange activities

The project ‘Drawn Together: A conversation with the collection’ is one of nine selected for the programme this year and follows on from the ‘Making the Invisible Visible project’. This time I will be working with the visitors to the museum, using their drawings and reflections, as well as my own to create a piece of work. The work will unfold through a weeklong residency and be documented here: http://drawnconversation.wordpress.com/

Additional narrative will be recorded here as an ‘outside’ space for my own reflections on the project research.

Observing making a drawing

Recording with the Go-Pro the making of an observational drawing. The recording is to observe the process not to demonstrate making a drawing. How does watching the recording enables me to reflect on my process and how can the making be incorporated into the work itself?

Visible technology interference

Today (17/10/13) I have been thinking about how some of the outputs from the process, the films and audio, are going to be incorporated into the piece as it goes along… I have been considering whether the documentation is now becoming disruptive as I am now having to consider how using technology to document the process, as well as using technology to show the process, needs to be part of the work. This led me to look into how I might make my own hidden speakers, which are constructed using conductive thread. The thread would be ‘stitched’ or worked into drawings I produce, as responses to my imagery from the books. http://www.talk2myshirt.com/blog/archives/2429 I have also borrowed a GoPro head camera to record the making of the drawings and investigated how I might use small LCD screens to display the recordings, again incorporated into the drawings (somehow).
This speaker and LCD research is possibly a form of procrastination and distraction from making. However some form of procrastination  is an important part of the making, and the thinking I am doing is a form of ‘editing’ – thinking through and rejecting ideas about what to do next, rather than just doing them. However, I try and stop myself from doing this too much as it can result in nothing getting made… This also highlights the difficulty in authentically documenting a thought process… Much of where I am now with my ideas has evolved from a lot of internal thinking as well as external discussions:
I made a decision with this experimental research to construct a piece of work from its process so I need to accept what this process is. ‘Embedding’ the technology I am using is an important element to this. The technology (film and audio) are materials and forms of expression and communication in the same way that any other materials I use are.
I am excited about how the speakers and moving imagery might ’embed’ in the drawings as this is new territory for me.

Podcasting part 2: Making a Podcast

I eventually decided to use Garageband software to record my podcast(s) because this was software I already had on the computer and I was having some technical difficulties with Audacity. This was a much simpler process as I was able to export the audio as Mp3 files without having to use Lame in addition to Audacity. The first podcast was scripted because I wanted to say something specific and was not confident I would be able to get everything across that I had wanted to, I was also referring to a specific quotation. I reflected in my podcast that more experience, analysis and experimentation would be needed to help me to gain confidence in making one without a script. Even scripted, it was difficult, probably more difficult in some ways than just talking. I became aware of the voice patterns I was making, the wrong emphasis being made at times as well as the awkward and stilted moments.

I discussed the ‘explaining voice’ in my podcast which was fun to be talking about, especially when I was probably demonstrating it so badly! This in itself has enabled me to consider what the ‘explaining voice’ might mean in more depth as well as give me an insight into the nuances of recording audio. I made some notes straight after the final version was recorded, I think there must have been about ten attempts before I settled with the final one and straight after this I made an unscripted podcast which analysed my experience. I found the analysis recording really useful to do because I was able to examine the ‘explaining voice’ ideas further through demonstration as well as being able to reflect upon my experience.

Out of both experiences I preferred the second, unscripted recording, but would have struggled to do this with the initial content I was communicating. Perhaps this emphasises the importance of selecting content to podcast that you have a complete sense of ownership over or are able to talk to your audience rather than from a sheet of paper. I felt that reading the script was a passive experience for me and this came across and made this a less engaging podcast. In order to develop the sense of learning emerging and being constructed together, between learner and speaker, the words need to happen spontaneously rather than be rehearsed.

The podcasts can be listened to here:

Podcasts link


O’Connor, M. (2010) ‘The learning and teaching partnership of the community radio and tertiary education sectors at radio Adelaide, 2SER and 2MCE’, Electronic Journal of Learning and Teaching (E-JoLT) Issue 6, August. 

Reflecting on Reflection

This post includes a resource I put together for a teaching session with my Year 2 BA and FdA students this week. For their research projects they are using blogs rather than paper based files to document their research. There are two main purposes of the module, firstly they are researching so that they can put together a proposal and design their own brief for their next project, secondly, they need to show evidence and analyse the research methods they have used.

Last week we focused on the mechanics of setting up a blog, the different research methods they might use and using a template to analyse them. Last week I encouraged them to reflect on this session as a first post on their blogs and found myself explaining their posts as falling into two main categories. Their posts might ‘propel’ forward and evidence what they have found or done and/or they might be reflective posts that consider and ‘discuss’ where they are at.

I could tell that the students were comfortable with seeking and acquiring information (and we revisited Harvard referencing so they could credit and reference their findings correctly) but less comfortable with the idea of reflective. pause for thought posts. This week I addressed this by looking at the affordances of blogging, with them, as well as some practical help on reflection and writing reflective posts. This was followed by a ‘Skills Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats’ activity which got them to consider reflection in more depth. The resource I put together was developed form notes I had taken from Jenny Moon’s (2005) paper as well as an article/podcast by Jill Walker Rettberg (2009);

Blogging as a Tool for Reflection and Learning

*      Frequent writing can help you become more confident about your research

*      I can give you more documented formative feedback

*      It is more obvious when you are on the right or wrong track

*      Others in your ‘network’ can contribute to your research and forming of ideas

*      You can research as part of a much larger community

*      You will develop a clearer ‘voice’ of your own, which will give you confidence that can be carried through into dissertation writing.

*      Feedback is fast

*      Blogging combines aspects of ‘thinking-writing’ with aspects of ‘presentation-writing’

What is reflection?

We reflect on the things that we have no immediate answer to.

We construct knowledge through making connections and relating things we know to the new things we encounter.

Rethinking what we know – thinking about what we know in a new or revisited context enables deeper learning to take place which is not the same as taking on new information without forming links.

Reflection can demonstrate learning.

Embed reflection in assessed tasks leads to better reflection and deeper learning.

Reflection gives the right conditions for learning

  • Slows down the activity
  • Ownership and ‘student voice’ in learning process
  • Metacognition – an awareness of ones own learning
  • Reflect on challenging material

Notes from Jenny moon (2005)

‘“thinking-writing” and “presentation writing”

Thinking writing is the kind of writing we do when we’re thinking through problems or topics, when we’re writing for ourselves and not for an audience…writing can actually help us think. Presentation writing is the kind of writing you do in order to communicate a message. When you use presentation writing you always have a reader in mind.

In a personal blog, each post is usually written quite quickly, and you publish each post immediately. Rather than drafting and revising until each piece of writing is perfect, bloggers tend to publish more frequently and with less perfectionism. You blog your immediate impressions and your first responses to ideas you have read about, or you blog about your experiences or about discussions that are going on in other blogs.’ (Walker Rettberg 2009)


There was more to the resource in terms of pointers for the tone and style of writing but I think the explanation of what they were being asked to do and why was helpful. I have been able to examine my own learning through teaching and the learning of others, the different context or perspective shift has given me a more refined idea of what reflection is and hopefully my students.


Moon, J. (2005) ‘Guide for busy academics no. 4: learning through reflection’ (online), The Higher Education Academy. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/resourcedatabase/id69_guide_for_busy_academics_no4.doc

Walker Rettberg, J. 2009, Virtual book e-pedagogy for teachers in higher education, weblog, accessed 05 October 2012, <http://www.virclass.net/eped/index.php?action=static&id=29&gt;

Review of collaboration

The design of the activity ‘key drivers in Personal development planning‘ gave a clear framework for us to work within in terms of a template, time scale, group and selected readings but with the flexibility for us to approach it in our own way. This is something I have been giving a lot of thought to with my own students; providing a sturdy structure for them to use, a scaffolding  in the form of templates, template guides and organising blogs for their research but also giving them choice over the methods they use. Part of their learning and my teaching will involve introducing them to the choices available – their toolbox of research methods.

We had a choice over how we would communicate and organise a strategy for collecting and sharing the information. For various reasons our group was a little quiet initially but responses to the readings appeared on the forum as reactions to the readings. One student suggested a Wiki as a structure for us to build on which although there was not an immediate agreement on this I thought there was not any disagreement so added a page on the group wiki for our template. This is not something I have done before so followed the breadcrumb trail the other group had left and put the template on the wiki. At that point I had looked at a couple of sources so added the key points to the template.

This gave our group a focus in terms of where we would co-construct our resource. It was after this that some questioning of what we were actually doing started – How were we defining our terms? Rather than becoming an obstacle it enabled us to reflect on the readings in more depth by considering overarching themes that were emerging. This happened in the structure of the forum posts and so took on a more conversational means compared to the ‘directory’ like wiki. On reflection perhaps this emerged as our preferred way to construct information and as was suggested by others, a synchronous online conferencing session may have been a more efficient method. Having said that the wiki does exist as a constructed document that we can continue to review and construct.

The H808 framework gives us an additional scaffolding for our learning and helps to give ‘value’ to all aspects of our experience. I have been  thinking  about my own blogging as well as the ‘push’ , ‘pull’ and ‘pause’ of the research process and the role reflection has in that process. The blog entries give us the opportunity to consider, take stock, realign and define what needs to improve and where to go next…

Introducing research methods

Today I introduced students to different research methodologies for their creative research project module on their BA (hons) Design course.  We did this using templates I had constructed for them, templates that will enable them to select and use appropriate methodologies for their research as well as analyse the methods themselves. The templates will hopefully give them the structure they need to gain confidence in exploring new territories.

The students have been asked to set up a specific blog for their Research project and the blog will be their evidence for the research journey they go on. They added their blog addresses to a group Wiki on the course VLE Moodle while I was talking about the benefits of co-constructing information. This particular wiki became a convenient link directory but hopefully planted a seed in terms of how they might use this as a method to collaboratively research. The next task – their answers to ‘Why research?’ on post-it notes that they stuck on the whiteboard became an interesting visualisation of a real life wiki. Pointing this out to them hopefully reinforced what a wiki could be.

We discussed how the blog would have posts that showed evidence of the research process  propelling them forward (and in other directions too) as well as having posts that were reflective, pauses, taking stock. This made some uneasy; that the documentation might pull in different directions, so to speak, but I reassured them that this was all part of the research process. Their blogs will be repositories for their research, evidence that they have experienced a process, one that I can give formative feedback on through re-blogging, adding comments and ‘hearting’. My blog for this project is here- http://feltlikeit2.tumblr.com/

My description of today is here because my experiences made me think about my own blogging as well as the ‘push’ , ‘pull’ and ‘pause’ of the research process and the role reflection has in that process.