Our workshop today was focussed around the importance of self reflection and understanding of our practice as we work. As a round-up for the workshop’s activities, we’ve been asked to write out a 500 word summary/reflective piece about our last project – Curated Dialogues – to help us practice getting down our thoughts and ideas into black and white.
I personally love doing exactly this, especially when its in this format; a blog. I find typing extensively a lot easier than hand-writing what I want to say, I find it easier to add images and visual content to it and I simply enjoy writing about my practice, whether I’m proud of what I’ve done or not. So, in short, I reckon I’m going to enjoy this particular workshop!
Below is my 500 word statement, hopefully it does the job its supposed to do:
Once I heard that Curated Dialogues was a group/collab project, I immediately began to dread it. I’ve never been particularly comfortable or happy in group projects; I’ve always struggled with compromising with others in terms of ideas and visual language so I knew from the start that this was going to be a huge challenge for me.
Things got off to a surprisingly good start, however! I got along well with my group (which was a group of three rather than a pair) and we found it easy and comfortable to chat and talk about our ideas. The first hurdle was when we had to find a common denominator between our briefs. Our ideas were so far apart in terms of their content, we really struggled initially to find a merging point between three very different, very independent ideas. The struggle, however, was not a silent one. We discussed at length each of the ideas, gradually seeing ourselves moving closer to a plan for the mini-project itself. Eventually we arrived at an idea.
This element of group working is the part which discourages me the most from collaborative work. The compromising of each other’s ideas to find something we can all agree on is the main issue I have with the working method. I can get rather protective and attached to my ideas, especially if I intend to carry them on into a longer project (BA7).
I’ve made a habit of getting absorbed into projects as much as possible to get over the inevitable lull in inspiration and drive about halfway through projects. If I’m thoroughly immersed and interested in the project, I find it easier to power through any dry spells of inspiration and easier to force myself out of them. However, because I get attached to ideas and project briefs, having to change and move away from the project in its early stages in order for the ideas to work around other’s, I find it particularly hard to work collaboratively. Its something I’ve been getting better at lately, but definitely something I need to work on more.
The progress of the Curated Dialogues project went significantly up hill once we’d overcome the initial stages of decided on a merged idea between us. We were able to come together and figure out creative and unique ways to document our conversation. I felt that we bounced ideas off each other rather well and were happy to follow other’s ideas as well as our own inspirations. We each had very different ideas of what would work for the project but eventually found a good median between them without any harsh words or arguments! It seemed that we were all very relaxed about the whole project and did’t feel pressured to produce something mind-blowing. So long as it was as unique and creative as we could get it, we’d be happy with whatever we produced.
Our end product was definitely ambitious! We had a looping GIF playing on a screen underneath our printed work, four series of photos from the conversation recording and four separate posters done independently of one and other so we had some individual work as well as collaborative work. (my poster is bottom right in the image below)
I was pretty pleased with our final presentation of work. I felt we had a good range of formats and approaches to display as well a it all being lined up nice and neatly! The posters, however, felt a little too ‘patchwork’ together. As some of our peer feedback reflects, the four individual posters worked well independently of one and other but together they seemed to throw off the composition of the presentation somewhat.
But in conclusion, I think we did rather well considering my distaste for group/collaborative work and the limited time scale we had to plan, produce and present our work.
I’m entertaining the idea of following up with more collaborative work outside of uni with a friend of mine. We both have very different styles of illustration but similar ideas and idea generation methods. I have a funny feeling we could produce some really interesting work together!