Today we had our last meeting before the final rehearsal and presentation tomorrow. Since our last meeting with Rosa, we finalised our shared Google Docs and had daily communication about updates/feedback/changes. We decided to meet over the weekend because we wanted to check out the room and also time ourselves to make sure we were meeting the 20 minutes time limit. We also did some final remarks on each other’s parts and worked on perfecting a coherent narrative. Tomorrow we will practice for a last time with our visuals.
After being almost done, I realised that this project has given me the chance to improve on several skills. First, team work. I was very reticent about working with a group of people that I didn’t know and probably would have very different interests and personalities. However, even though this was true (we all have different interests), we managed to find a topic that we all found fascinating and motivated us to work. I found, at some times, we all wanted to take the project through a specific path that connected with us personally, but our meetings with Rosa helped us to find a common ground for our ideas. I basically learned that being flexible to feedback and other perspective can be surprisingly helpful and productive! Nevertheless, I found that there can be a dichotomy between students between those who are concerned with “deep learning” (studying for personal knowledge and development) and those who preoccupy about “surface learning” (concerned with progression through the course to get a good final certification). I would definitely consider myself a member of the deep learners, but I realised that I need to learn from the other methodology because, after all, formal academic education does care about the knowledge you acquire… but they appreciate a student following set procedures and deadlines and following the progression of the course step-by-step. This is extremely hard for me because I work in peaks of energy and can read and write for 12 hours in a day, but I find it hard to work just 1 hour in a day for 12 weeks. However, the project made me realise that I should work on this in order to be able to meet procedures if needed.
Secondly, regarding interdisciplinary research: I have been very interested about critical theory (which deals with philosophical, political, social, etc. issues) and its effects on history, and this project allowed me to explore it in quite depth. Furthermore, I learned to be more nuanced and critical about assumptions and it showed me that working consistently, over time, on a project and being flexible about the paths it takes can open up opportunities that are even more interesting that the first one I conceived. When I read my first entry on the blog, I can see my progress from that one-dimensional case-study filled with assumptions, too straight-forward and basic, and not interdisciplinary enough. I really feel that the final result is nuanced, critical, and interdisciplinary. I think the presentation does justice to Ways of Seeing… and that is a big thing to say!
Finally, even though the blog was a bit glitchy at times and it created some confusion, I think it’s a great idea to have a place to post your findings and where you have useful information about your research and progress so you can go back to it – and get feedback. I think I will take this idea to create a blog for myself and write summaries of the readings I do and write updates about the projects I am working on to organise it all in the same place.
In conclusion, the project was quite useful to improve some skills and learn things about myself identifying things to improve further. It also was surprisingly productive to work with a group of people I didn’t know, and I learned how to be interdisciplinarily nuanced.
I also wanted to leave a final thought about perception in my particular case-study of The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Since I have been dealing with this paintings for weeks (I believe months even), I was curious to find the perception that my friends got of it. So, I posted a poll on Instagram asking them first, if they saw sexuality (95% said yes) and, secondly, if they got positive or negative vibes. These were the results (32 participants) :
It was extremely divided almost by half and half by the people that got positive vibes and the people that saw it negatively. Interesting!!