Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Just when you thought it was safe...

Spent Monday morning with Trevor planning through some of the first year modules; in particular the Ways of Seeing, which is really designed to get our new students thinking openly about art and aesthetics. It's a bit of a hybrid course, part philosophy, part problem solving and creative thinking and our real aim is to spend a couple of hours a week running activities and exercises that will stimulate and slightly radicalise the students.

One of the big differences between school and University is the that here, hopefully, there are less structures which socialise students and more which 'dare' them to think independently and to take risks in following through such thoughts - this is also of course bound up with the reality that many are leaving home for the first time. When students play it well, the jump into the new is liberating and exciting - but when something goes wrong Uni's an anxious and lonely place. In many ways this course is designed to legitimise the change of culture and to challenge students to embrace it and enjoy the responsibilities it offers. We want to make it easier to swim than to sink.

In the evening I caught up with Molly to finalise the Drama in Community planning. The biggest change is through the assessment. Rather than asking students to put in a portfolio of evidence at the end of the course - we're going to ask them to blog throughout. Last year's third years did so much work via the web - planning, evaluating, scheduling and worked so intensively on the logistics of putting together the Community play in Ham House, that the portfolio ended up for many of them being a salvaged document rather than a working support - so we're hoping this initiative might address that a little.

It was good to see Molly after the summer break - she's ploughing through her own MA dissertation which needs to be handed in at the end of September.

Tonight though she was rushing off to a public meeting to discuss strategies to save her local Camberwell pool - 'the heart of the community' - from the English National Ballet who want to turn it into their south London rehearsal base.

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