Personal Development Plan (PDP)
This term’s Constellation module had a rocky start when I was assigned my dissertation advisor. There were differing personalities and a struggle to gain contact with my advisor for face-to-face meetings. However, when I was re-assigned a new advisor and I started to feel comfortable again about my 5,000-word dissertation proposal, and the upcoming 6,000-word dissertation itself. The aforementioned issues above, as well as myself changing my mind about the theme for my dissertation meant I had to play catch up on reading around the subject, which I found stressful. I do not recommend to anyone to try and read all your materials in just under two weeks. Although it was stressful, I have learnt a valuable lesson about reading in advance on the chosen subject matter, as this will benefit you in the long run. To have a clear understanding of what you want to investigate early on would be beneficial, because you have more time to plan out your ideas and absorb more information when reading. In addition, planning effectively (for example, 500-1,000 words per day) and negotiating a reasonable time schedule to have everything done by (for example, “I want to have the PDP done by …”) would have helped me complete my work without the additional stress factors.
Despite these set backs, not everything was a negative experience. My advisor, Martyn Woodward was very supportive, encouraging and was easily accessible to contact if I had any queries or concerns. The group tutorials were beneficial, as people suggested concepts or ideas I had not even thought to consider or research. These tutorials gave me opportunity to receive vital feedback from peers and exchange ideas that we could incorporate in each other’s work. Martyn Woodward was helpful with aiding in deciphering what was peer reviewed when I was looking for my materials to study from, and it is with thanks to him that I am capable of understanding what is and what is not classified as ‘peer reviewed content’. I have an understanding of what content is suitable for my dissertation material and what I should avoid studying.
In addition to this, I feel supported moving forwards and writing dissertation with advise from Martyn Woodward as my advisor. During this short amount of time, he has been engaging and supportive, which has in turn given me the confidence to move forwards with my academic learning. It also has helped me feel more confident in this module due to academic writing not being my strength.
Also with thanks to Chris Dennis (who runs the dissertation workshops alongside the CSAD librarian), as if it was not for his helpful Wednesday workshop I attended, I do not feel that I would have fully understood what a proposal or dissertation had to contain or convey. His breakdown of the dissertation was beneficial to me, as it was separated into manageable sizes of information. Chris Dennis also, for provided me with resources on how to reference correctly when paraphrasing, documenting evidence, or quoting an author from a piece of work. This has been very beneficial as I originally struggled with correct referencing and over-usage of quotations to build up my word count. Through his workshop, I have learned how to read information and translate it into my own wording.
I would also like to thank my study skills mentor, Rachel McNaughton for helping me with my organization and time management skills, for always double-checking my grammar and spelling, and to make sure I am able to submit on time. Rachel McNaughton has been brilliant with providing me with tools on how to manage my reading without information overload, formatting and layouts of this proposal, and providing me with support, encouragement and help whenever I have needed it. She has provided me with resources that have successfully enabled me to write my dissertation proposal, which I know I can continue forwards into the dissertation itself.
Furthermore, this in-depth field of investigation I have no doubt will feed into my artist practice, as it has taught me how to read signifiers within a design or image regardless of the object or piece of artwork. As a designer/maker, I have incorporated symbology into my active practice this academic year, particularly in the form of medals and coins.
I am positive this new-found knowledge in semiotics will be beneficial as I progress into third year, because it will enable me to make better judged decisions on designs, the amount of imagery to incorporate and what usage of linguistics I should apply to the design that I could be working on.
I am looking forward to third year to apply my knowledge and understanding to new artefacts and outcomes I produce. I am not sure what third year shall entail in regards to my practice as a designer/maker, because I am not 100% sure if I will continue with the process of creating medals. However, I am excited to continue forwards with reading signifiers within an image, concept or design and I am positive this will definitely be incorporated into my on-going practice.
The aim with moving forwards is to continue writing my 6,000-word dissertation, is that I plan to continue reading over the summer months to develop more knowledge of my subject area, and I aim to plan to continue writing before the next academic year begins. As I am having surgery end of June, I will be unable to do very little for up to ten weeks, which I am hoping will provide me with the necessary time to continue reading my other materials that have not been mentioned in my key literature review section. I also want to investigate Barthes’ myth in Image, Music and Text further, as I feel that if I grasp a better understanding of Barthes’ theory, it will enable me to be able to read and understand any other form of material by other authors.
And lastly, it is with thanks to Alexis Pritchard, my support worker, who has continually motivated me, helped me learn how to manage my time management and organizational skills effectively, for all the visits to the library that helped me successfully discover which books I needed and for always supporting and encouraging me. None of this would have been possible without her continuous support provided by Student Services at Cardiff Metropolitan University.