Constellation – Year 1

At the beginning of the first term, we were introduced to constellation; at first I had no idea what the word constellation meant, but then after the first seminar I got a clearer understanding. From this seminar I learnt that constellation is all about making connections, and how it will allow me to engage with critical ideas and how I will be enabled to position my own practice in relation to wider contexts of understanding. Later on that day we had to chose our study groups via moodle, mine were ‘the body in society: from Dr. Tulp to handles’ and ‘Visual Thinking’. I chose these study groups because I was immediately attracted to them both out of the whole options, they looked exciting and I was eager to see what they taught.

The first study group session was about how we all have a body and we take it for granted, the weekly sessions continued informing us on, ‘regulating bodies, power, control and why men don’t wear skirts’, ‘bodies and identity: reading masculinity on the body’, bodies and consumerism and reflexive bodies. When thinking about my practice whilst studying this constellation group I found myself influenced by the way body works and how art portrays this. One of the projects in illustration concentrated on agnosia, and how the brain was enable to interpret sensations and to recognize things, typically as a result of brain damage. I found this particular study group gave me great knowledge on how the body and people were accepted, with their disorders.

At the beginning when writing the first essay of 500 to 1000 words I found finding an idea particularly difficult, as the study group was full of new information. I wrote my essay on passports to inform on how a passport can be seen as something that categorizes people and forces individuals to feel restricted. However I wanted to show the opposite of negative affects passports have on people as there are many positives such as it allows people freedom to travel, and regardless of a passport being a source of identity it doesn’t have to control a persons image. I really enjoyed this theory especially looking into the background of citizen’s identity. The downside of this essay was my feedback, I wasn’t too sure about it. When writing my essay, I followed the layout and researched into Harvard referencing, however when I received my feedback my lecturer pointed out that I did not use the correct layout and that I didn’t use Harvard referencing. This knocked my confidence a little bit, as writing essays isn’t my strong point.

The experience of being in an interdisciplinary group slightly broadened my understanding of art and design, I discovered that this study group spoke a lot about masculinity and the body, of course this is related to art and design because some certain aspects of the group were aimed at body transformations, which included a lot of diagrams and illustrations to continue with surgery, or what ever the need for them is. I believe almost everything man made on this planet has been created by some sort of art and design. Illustrations, diagrams, x ray scans etc. These are all pieces of art work that are created in order for final plans to continue. Over all this study group definitely broadened my understanding of art and design.

My second study group was ‘Visual thinking’. This group covered the topics of how we think in pictures, the nature of technology and how it defines action perception and thought, the changing meanings of art and design in modernism, postmodernism and beyond, the idea that a drawing does not have to look like its object, the possibility that thinking can be expressed not just in words but in any medium what so ever. The aim of this study group was to gain an understanding of why things are never as they seem, why possibilities multiply the more you look and think, and why this near-overwhelming expansion of ideas and images is important for your knowledge and future studies.

The influence I have had from this study group that makes me think about my practice is that I now look at images differently before I decide what I let myself see. For me this study group was out of my comfort zone, when signing up for this group my intentions were to get a better insight of the world and look upon objects and images differently. I think I have achieved what I was looking for in these study groups, my knowledge was broadened and I have better understanding of art and design. I have learnt that our understanding is never a complete draft and that we often assume knowledge is a complete, direct contact with something. However, sometimes it isn’t. Ideas or aims that look at different things, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for ideas to filter through. In this study group I also learnt that a tool is not simply a device that does our bidding but something that shapes who we are, our understanding, and what is possible for us. I found this study group challenging and extremely interesting, however, when planning for my final 2500 word essay, I found I was more interested in my previous study group. I felt that I could talk more and gather more information on a topic I was really into rather than finding information on a topic I didn’t know an awful lot about.
However, both study groups have had a big impact on my final essay, experiencing different delivery styles form different lectures has been an over all positive out look as I have took knowledge from both and created a final out come. This has made my academic skills and understanding a lot stronger, and has provided me with great academic writing support. I also found that working in a different environment with a lot of CSAD students from different areas has inspired me because the feedback we gave each other became very helpful when working towards the final outcome of my essay.


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Year 1 Level 4 student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, studying BA (hons) Illustration A blog to reflect on my progress

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