Morning: talk by visiting artist Sigune Hamann, who gave an overview of her diverse body of work and introduced the ideas for a project that she and Jonathan Kearney are developing with Oxford University. They have been successful in getting some funding to explore links between students at Camberwell College of Arts and the Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology department at Oxford.
A painfully early start for some people, meeting at 08.45 for a morning of group tutorials (and this was going to be a long day not finishing until after 22.00!).
09.00 – Four invited artists lead small group discussions with each student having about 30 mins to present about an aspect of their work. The four artists, Jonny Briggs, Kaori Homma, Gareth Polmeer and Rosie Sherwood are great facilitators/tutors and each group had a diverse mix of 1st & 2nd year students, online and London based.
14.00 – After 4 hours of the tutorials and a short break for lunch it was straight into a lecture titled; ‘Demystifying postmodern obscurity’! Gareth Polmeer (who had earlier been leading one of the group tutorials) was drawing on his own research exploring the German philosopher Hegel and how his ideas about art can be helpful in cutting through the often deliberate obscurity of popular art school ideas and theories. He quoted Nietzsche: ‘Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity.’
16.00 – The day was far from over. After the lecture we walked to 3 local galleries, South London Gallery, Peckham Platform & Assembly Point.
18.00 – A more relaxed finish to the day, we went to course leader Jonathan’s home for a meal.
1 to 1 tutorials with visiting artists can be a scary experience. You have a short time to present some of your ideas and then engage is a deep discussion about your work. Today the students had tutorials with people they did not know and who knew nothing of their work. This creates a challenging but fascinating experience. The fresh perspective on your work can open up rich veins of investigation.
In the afternoon there was the latest in the current MA lecture series at Camberwell, this talk given by Helen Douglas who has been making artists’ books since the 1970s, check out weproductions for more details, images and a their digital productions including a book called The Pond and Deuchar.
Finally a visit to Peckham Platform a small gallery with a big impact. Situated in the centre of Peckham (very close to Camberwell College of Arts) this gallery is all about connecting art, people and place. It’s engagement with socially engaged art practice has seen it work with many different groups within the local community and under the leadership of Emily Druff it is a beacon of what is possible when you attempt to make these connections. An example, today the gallery staff acted as expected in being friendly, helpful and willing to have a dialogue about the work and the gallery’s vision. Thank you.