Constellation | Summary

During the start of my first term , I began attending weekly lectures to familiarize myself with art and design through selected study groups. The lectures insisted of discussions and useful information to help us with our dissertations during my third year. So far we have completed one essay and currently in the process of completing our second one for the year. The previous essay was a formative and we were given feedback. This was to give everyone an understanding of what was required for the upcoming essay. This helped to prepare me and the feedback was very useful.

I will give a summary of my constellation experience and what I feel I have gained overall.

Since the start of term one, I have had weekly constellation days every Thursday. They consisted of one hour key notes sessions every other week. At the beginning of the year we got the chance to decide which two study groups we wanted for each term. I found this a very independent decision I was required to make and I was pleased with the choices I had made.  I chose ‘After modernism’ for my first term, ran by lecturer Jon Clarkson.

I found myself very intrigued by this study group in particular as I didn’t know much about post modern art and seen this as an opportunity to learn more about it. The first lecture was provided to get an understanding of the different art movements we would be looking at during our weekly lectures and how we would analyse them. I found each movement very interesting and it was useful to hear what other people had to say about the art work that was discussed.

As a whole group, we also got the chance to visit the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain museums in London to look at and discuss minimalist and post minimalist artwork. One of the most interesting and beneficial parts of the trip was getting a chance to visit the EY Exhibition – world goes pop. I recognized a lot of the artwork that was displayed from previous studies in class and as I decided to look at the Pop Art movement for my essay this gave me a lot of inspiration when deciding what artist I wanted to write about.

These study groups allowed me to see things from different perspectives as every group was made up of students from each disciplines. It also enabled me to develop new ways of thinking. I could interrogate and pick apart elements of  various designs, be it from fine art, artist makers, illustration or graphic design. I enjoyed that each week a debate would be formed by myself and the students in my group by expressing their opinions, thoughts and feeling towards the artwork we were shown.

As well as our study groups, we had weekly key note sessions. This is where lecturers from each study group came and gave a brief outline of what their seminars would be about. I found the lecture ” Teenage kicks – Cultural approach to Dr Martens” a particularly interesting seminar. Our lecturer Cath Davies, discussed how different subcultures wore the same boots but in very different ways using modification to remake and remodel them into their own subculture identities. I feel this key not session gave me a good idea of what the word “subculture” means and how this would help my understanding in my upcoming weekly study groups and essay.

I found this discussion very interesting, especially for myself owning more then a few pairs of Dr Martens. I didn’t realize how important the way you used to wear your boots was to society. The Mods and skin heads held a massive part in this lecture as they used these boots in particular to symbolize their identities. The way these subcultures did their laces up were a specific sign of their identity and values. Specifically the Skin heads, they wore their laces done up to the top and tied at the back.

My second study group for term two was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ ran by lecturer Cath Davies. I have recently come to the end of these sessions. I feel this was definitely my favourite out of the two study groups I selected. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about different subcultures, such as Goths, Punks, Teddy boys, Zoot suiters, and Hip Hop. I learnt how style identity was so important to each subculture and how each individual style had so much more meaning than what meets the eye.

I particularly liked looking at the zoot suiters and some of the connotations that come with this subculture style. I decided after my weekly study group session to look further into zoot suiters, I looked at the 1940 riots which was really interesting and I feel was a very important time for this subculture style and identity. This gave me the inspiration for my upcoming essay and I have decided to look at how suits are worn in the 1940’s and new day. I also plan to look at how women use suits now to be empowering in comparison to women around the zoot suiters.

Overall I feel constellation has been a very enjoyable element of my course and has enabled me to think deeper behind Art and Design as well as my own work. I have found my weekly study group sessions and key note lectures very interesting and I have gained a lot of new knowledge and ideas to inspire myself in the future including my upcoming essay.




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BA textiles - Cardiff School of Art and Design

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