For me personally, constellation this year has most certainly influenced the way I think about my practice. My study group for this year was with Cath Davies titled Monsters & Goddesses: Glamour and the Grotesque. For me, the concepts I found the most interesting and relevant to my own practice were those regarding gender theories and how they are part of our society. This made me think about how I can create work that doesn’t reinforce them but works in a progressive way.
The other aspect that I felt has influence myself and my practise the most is materials and their connotations. In the study group we looked at what materials have masculine connotations and the same for feminine. This gave me the realisation that at every part of my own practice, I am making so many decisions that contribute to the overall meaning to a piece of work, therefore I am now more thoughtful when making those decisions.
I found that overall, Constellation has given me the ability to apply theory and context to my own work. I felt that I was incredibly fortunate to be in a group with others that were very interested in the topics, which I definitely found to be a benefit. Being able to talk about the study group with others was a definite factor in my own understanding.
Being in a group with people from other disciplines was probably one of the most influential aspects of my study group as it allowed me to broaden myself and have to adjust my way of thinking to theirs. This was especially prevalent when talking about materials as someone from Textiles has a very different approach to someone perhaps from Product Design. Because of being in an interdisciplinary group, it made me gain an understanding of how others would use the materials in their own work, in a way I possibly wouldn’t have thought about. This for me was very interesting and has definitely influenced my practice since.
In the last study group with Cath Davies I felt very fortunate to have a study group delivered by her as I felt that her teaching style suits my leaning style. Her sessions were interactive and engaging rather than it being a one way dialogue where the lecturer just talks at the class. I believe that experiencing different teaching styles is most definitely beneficial although I have felt that there is a lack of consistency throughout the groups. I felt this mostly after the study groups had finished as some student received more in the way of resources and guidance.
I think for me, the part of constellation that has been the biggest, most positive factor is the way in which the ideas I have been introduced to have made me think about the world I live in. It has made me feel more engaged and more questioning which for me has been a really positive experience and I feel will stay with me and influence my practice. I now feel less worried about tackling bigger concepts in my own work as well as using the theories to strengthen my own ideas.
Constellation has most certainly made me consider my own academic skills. Although I do feel I have some strengths, there are many areas that I would consider my weaknesses. At times, I do struggle with academic work, but Constellation has allowed me to confront them and now I am able to work to make those areas stronger.