CASE STUDY ONE:
Students were taken on a field study trip and asked to use drawing to document their response to an environment. A video was made of the day, documenting their various approaches and rendering visible commonalities in the way they evidenced their response. The films are edited in order to give emphasis to the shared nature of their responses together with the students’ explanations. These identifications appear in text alongside the footage. Shared approaches included:
• simplification of information,
• identification of patterns or recurrent motifs
• exploration of their physical / sensory response to surroundings, often revealing the dominance of sight, followed by sound, movement and lastly the position or discomfort of their body whilst drawing.
The field trip location itself, Nash Point in West Wales, may have influenced the shaping of these shared responses, where high winds and cold temperatures batter the meeting of land and sea. The following year, however, a similar field study trip took place to a very different site. Students were taken on a field study trip to Cardiff City Centre, producing similar outcomes; commonalities persisted across and regardless of the terrain.
CASE STUDY TWO: The Masters ceramics students were tasked with presenting their initial ideas on starting the course in an exhibition loosely titled: ‘Beginning Approaches’. The exhibition was not a conventional show of final and completed work but rather, an exhibition of initial thoughts at the beginning of a course or project including: images from previous practice, evidence of present thoughts and indications of potential ideas. This formed a ‘learning exhibition’, an exploration of the exhibition space as a site or opportunity for discussion and debate. This presentation offered the opportunity to examine key ways in which the artists generally began their creative practice.
When the exhibition was installed, the MA cohort was divided into 3 groups and each asked to identify common themes in the way students had initiated their ideas.
Group A were asked to identify ‘in what ways students had used relationships between image and word to develop ideas and the surrounding world’.
Group B were asked to identify ‘in what ways students had used imagery to develop ideas and explore the surrounding world’. Group C were asked to identify ‘in what ways students had made connections to develop ideas and explore the surrounding world’.
These case studies support the assertion that, tendencies and patterns in creative thinking become evident when examining practice across a group that would otherwise remain hidden or implicit in individual endeavour.