Sustaining Your Practice: OCA Assignments

Part 1: Proposal Manifesto

‘Living on the Edge’ is a body of work that explores different creative approaches to visual documentary of contemporary life in UK, focusing on environmental and political issues on geographical ‘edges’ – scenic for tourists but often areas of deprivation and marginalisation for local people.

It brings together, compares and contrasts concepts, frameworks and methods from landscape, documentary and street photography, reportage illustration, psychogeography and visual creativity and communication.

Based on a combination of sketchbooks, photography, printmaking and moving image work, I explore interactions and interlinkages between my own ‘personal edges’ – philosophical and political views that characterise my ‘voice’ and ways that these affect and/or can be explicitly and strategically integrated into my more ‘objective’ observational practice. I also include insights from my international professional research and consultancy experience from sociology, anthropology and economics.

My creative responses in different media aim to explore and provoke thought about what might be meant by ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ in the light of disruptions after Brexit, the COVID-pandemic, the accelerating climate change crisis and government, private sector and personal responses following COP-26. And provoke questions and suggest diverse options for us all in facing up to responsibility for change.

I produce new work from 10 locations, building on earlier illustration, printmaking, photography and moving image projects not presented for assessment because my work was disrupted by COVID restrictions and/or I did not have the necessary technical skills or digital equipment and/or the images lacked narrative focus. These new projects include and build on earlier images, in some cases dating back to 2008, and draft outputs that were not part of VCAP, creating new work and refining narratives from further new work on location. I choose to cover a number of locations partly to be more COVID-proof over autumn and winter 2010-2022. But also because I find working simultaneously on a variety of projects frees up my thinking on possibilities and generate a wider range of ideas for projects selected for more resolved treatment. This will also generate starting points for many ideas in future, and a good basis for audience and market diversity.
Assignment 1.1 Manifesto

Assignment 1.2 Project Plan

R1.1 Ten Manifestos

R1.2 Ten Practitioners
Zemni_Inspiration padlet
E1.1 Twelve Key Moments
Zemni Visual Communications padlet
E1.2 Write Your Manifesto

R1.3 How I Intend to Work and Ethics

E1.3 Marketing Strategy

Part 2 : Project Making and Testing

‘Living on the Edge’ consists of 10 ‘derive projects’ – single derives or a series of linked derives – that explore linkages between personal and documentary perspectives on place.

Assignment 2 will make and test potentials for linked bodies of work in each project across multiple media:

  • photobooks and photo galleries
  • short illustrated walk guides in dry, went or printmaking media
  • single image or series of ‘Edgescape’ prints in environmentally friendly printmaking media
  • collaged conceptual interactive infographics and maps
  • sketchbook work and imaginative illustrations
  • animations and moving image.

Some of this work already exists from work in 2020/2021 that has not been submitted for assessment. Often because it was interrupted by Covid-19 restrictions, or I did not at that point have sufficient technical skill.

Work will be progressively uploaded to the links from the ‘Exploring Edges’ page on the right.

By November the future of Covid-19 situation should be clearer, I will have been able to do further work on Cambridge/shire and East Anglia and re-visit Cornwall as well as other project locations and further printmaking workshops on screenprint, solarplate, gelliplate and cardcuts.

forthcoming November 2021

Part 3: Project Production and Networking

Assignment 3 will start with decisions about which products I could fully resolve for delivery to specific audiences and markets within the timeframe of SYP, which to pursue in more depth on an experimental basis to further ideas and/or develop skills, which aspects to leave for future development and which ideas are unlikely to be successful. Decisions will be based on on tutor/audience/marketing feedback, technical potentials and challenges and also likely nature of COVID pandemic restrictions 2021-2022.

  • photobooks and photo galleries
  • prints in environmentally friendly printmaking media
  • collaged conceptual interactive infographics and maps
  • sketchbook work and imaginative illustrations
  • animations and moving image.

forthcoming February 2021

Part 4: Project Realisation and Presentation

Assignment 4 will draw some conclusions about my creative process going forward through contrasting and comparing:

  • different approaches to the initial documentary process and experience in different contexts: some locations are completely new, others ones I have got to know well. In some cases I am more or less stationary (eg sitting sketching or video on a tripod) watching life go by over time, other contexts are linear where I make decisions when, what and how to make an image (eg walks long narrow paths), other contexts allow much more experimentation in where I walk and make images (eg psycho-geographical transects). In all cases there are questions about how far I follow a random process to disrupt preconceptions versus more considered seeking out of images to illustrate issues based on prior research – and anywhere in between these two extremes.
  • different creative processes and combination of media to create one or more final outcomes and ways in which working in one media can inspire new approaches in apparently different media. For example moving image and audio to inspire photobook design, printmaking to inspire drawing and painting etc. This will also further develop my technical skills across a range of media for future work. Some media eg printmaking series of photobook will be used in the final product, other media eg on-line video may be used more for promotion. Again selection will be guided by audience/market research feedback.
  • different narrative forms and ways of combining images and the documentary narrative potentials and challenges presented by single images, single image series, books/e-books and time-based media.

Assignment 5 final presentation and marketing process will include all the outputs in various ways to different platforms and physical outlets. It will also include an interactive presentation on my conclusions about visual narrative processes and methods relevant for my own future practice, and that of other people in UK and my international research networks.

My end date for Sustaining Your Practice is 9 July 2022, having allowed an extra 3 months for RSI/COVID. I want to leave enough time for further location work early next summer, given likely COVID restrictions till then.

  • Assignment 4 is planned for April 2022
  • Assignment 5 planned for June 2022
  • Submission September 2022 for November assessment

Other OCA courses

I started studying with the Open College of the Arts in 2010.

Painting Certificate completed and assessed in 2012:

  • Starting Drawing (distinction)
  • Watercolour (distinction)
  • Painting level 1

Photography courses as a leisure student 2013-2017

  • Art of Photography (completed 2014)
  • Digital Photography (completed 2013)
  • People and Place (completed 2013)
  • Landscape (completed 2017)

Visual Communications degree

This blog brings together portfolios from the following:

Completed VisCom modules

Current VisCom modules