The comprehensive written feedback covered the draft Critical Review – Assignment 4; Proposal for Assignment 5 – Self-directed Project and a progress report on Assignment 6 : Transitions. I will therefore quote relevant parts of feedback in separate blog posts. Tutor comments are in italics with my reflections in blue.
Relating to Assignment 4
Thank you for a clear and well-presented submission of the critical review, personal project
proposal and learning log. It is evident that a lot of time and energy has gone into all aspects of the submission and it has been a pleasure to review. This assignment came at a difficult time but you have done immensely well to create this essay to this standard as well as keep up with the many aspects of your practical work. Well done.
That first paragraph was good to read as I had felt as if I was juggling several balls in the air at once whilst trying desperately not to drop any of them.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration
I have attached an annotated PDF of your assignment to your report email, with notes on
formatting, typos and further comments related to points below.
Intelligently chosen and pertinent subject that has been sensitively explored, showing a deep curiosity and engagement with contemporary photographic practice, a difficult current issue and also the wider literature surrounding the concepts you are exploring. Your reading is wide and relevant, covering scholarship and critical writing within photography, visual studies, philosophy and psychology. Presentation is clear and appropriate for the essay format, however you need a list of illustrations and the web links in your bibliography should be fully referenced. See the UCA Harvard guide.
I realised too late that I had omitted the list of illustrations so will add this as well as re-check I have the correct web links. I thought I’d carefully copied the UCA Harvard Guide but obviously not.
The selection of works and references allows you to consider a variety of conceptual and visual approaches and while this is ambitious and useful, I think it also presents certain challenges in terms of allowing space for enough visual analysis. If you want to retain all five photographic projects, I would go through again and be more critical and targeted in your descriptions, making sure the balance of every case study is weighted more to your analysis.
I want to retain all five photographic projects because they relate to different aspects of the topic and will re-think the visual analysis to strengthen the balance between that and description.
Overall, it would be very beneficial to go through ‘with a fine tooth comb’ to rid the text of grammatical, artists name misspellings and punctuation errors, I have marked some but these continue throughout.
I appreciate the detailed notes and will pay close attention to them when I re-work the Assignment. I checked through several times but obviously missed some errors in my need to meet the deadline date.
The overarching question could be more specific and assertive and mirrored in your introduction – is the core question whether or not it is possible to capture the ‘experience’ of home through photography? Or is it more about how photography might connect and expose viewers to more expansive and transgressive experiences of home – how they might challenge our perceptions of ‘home’ and what it might mean? Now that you have your draft (certainly the hardest part of the process!) I would spend a bit of time now rethinking the exact terminology in the question based on your findings. To me, your essay and selection seems to be revolving around a disruption and re-construction or re-building of the concepts of ‘home’ and the processes these artists are employing of regaining, undermining or exposing the power such concepts have on us individually but also within the context of wider political conflicts or struggles, communities and identities. This is complex and the challenge would be to find a succinct question that can suggest at the above.
I knew that my overarching question needed refinement which is why I’m pleased that I was clear with myself that this was a ‘draft’ which would need further work. I needed to clarify how the psychological construct of home emerges, and becomes consolidated through Culture, socialization and memory before looking at the consequences of its fragmentation and enquiring whether photography can capture this. Following this process provided movement for me in terms of structure but this feedback from my tutor challenges me to become more precise with my question.
I enjoyed how your preliminary pages reviewed the literature around various ideas of home, introducing strands of thought and research and acclimatizing the reader with the issues and contexts before moving on to visual analysis. I do wonder though, if you could somehow link back to or join up these strands of thought with some of the projects you then go on to review. Word count is 2000 excluding quotes, you are just over the 10% margin, so if you can, I would consider cutting out a sentence worth of words somewhere.
I wondered at the time whether to directly integrate my visual analysis within the different strands but decided at that point to structure the essay into discrete sections. The linkages are important though and would provide more cohesion so I will bear this in mind with the re-work.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
As discussed above, your research continues to be diligent, thorough and wide-ranging and the depth of planning and documentation is great to see.
This was another relief for me, as I had worked hard to keep focussed on what seemed to me to be the most pertinent aspects of the topic and not be drawn into other personally interesting aspect that could lead me way off my target. One example of this being reading more of, and understanding, Martin Heidegger’s work. I have long been interested in Existentialism and Phenomenology so felt a strong pull to dive in deeper but managed to resist this.
During the course of this Assignment I also evolved an approach to research and consequent recording of it that suits me – Making notes on reading; annotating PDFs; then summarising these further for different blog posts.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Your learning log is presented with clarity and meticulous care, with every post considered in its presentation and appropriate to the materials in question.
This related to my Proposal for Assignment 5
I felt reassured to read the Strengths and know what I have to concentrate on for the amendments to the essay, so it’s good to have a clear path laid out before me now. I think the third area for development relates more closely to Assignment 5 and 6 but this is still a warning for me.