Monday, February 23, 2015

Summer School...

So many thoughts! All competing for me to unpack them first.

Maybe I need to go for a walk?

Maybe, that's a good place to start! We had two workshops and two reading groups to attend this weekend. I attending a workshop on creativity and the exegesis, and another on structuring the exegesis and both were very informative and thought provoking!

I also attended a reading on embodied creativity and one on the supervisory relationship (they had much longer, more floral titles, but I'm stripping that all back to a more pragmatic description of the subject matter).

The one on embodied creativity is where I'll start. Our 'teacher' for lack of a better word, Rhea, broke the mould of a readings by getting us to all take a 10 minute solo-walk (so we weren't to walk with someone else), to just get into our bodies and our mind and become aware of our environment and the connections we made with what we experienced sensorially and our thesis. We were to just let the sensory experience and our minds flow for 10 minutes, then return to the lecture hall and write what came to us.

The idea of going for a walk on my own in a place I bare knew scared me, and I considered play on my low vision to get out of doing the exercise, but then I felt guilt for doing that, and decided to suck it up - it was only 10 minutes, after all!

So, I headed out the front doors of the campus and turned left. This was a street I knew, and I had already decided to turn left at the next corner because that was also a street I had been driven down before.

I felt anxious. I passed familiar faces but I wanted to go and hide! I thought about why I felt anxious. This made me think of one of the readings and the description of the Surrealists walking through the french country side without purpose and how they seemed to lose their minds... For me agoraphobia plays into this feeling strongly into this feeling of anxiety, of course, and I thought about why I might feel agoraphobia. It came back to feeling that I didn't belong in the space, I was an interloper from another world and my presence was unwelcome, even resented. This lead me to think about my creative work about identity and how my interest in identity stems from that feeling of never belonging, and how I might use a walk in my creative writing to express those feelings.

I came to the second corner, and realised that if I turned left I would be circling the block of the University and that would probably bring me back to my point of origin by the 10 minute mark, which felt convenient and safe. I started to enjoy being out in the fresh air and started to take note of the architecture.

Architecture: I love how the panels on these balconies can be moved to provide shade exactly where it is needed throughout the day - I will have to remember this for when we ever own our own place!
About halfway along the block I realised I was walking towards the ocean! I had no idea we were so close the water front - despite being on the 'Waterfront campus'. For some reason I thought it was a few streets away. I picked up my pace and felt happy. Then I realised I felt like I had come home. The water always makes me feel at home, whether it is in Australia, Iceland, or Norway. I have a deep connection with the water, and thought perhaps this is because the water is the passage between the places where I am never quite at home. I feel Icelandic in Australia, and Norwegian in Iceland, and Australian in Norway. I have biological connections to two of these place - Australia being my birth place, and Iceland being my mother's birthplace, and yet I feel some small part of me is Norwegian anyway (quite a small part, but it is there).

The water connects all of these places, and so I feel at home in the no-man's land of the water.

Finally, I thought that the walk had really help me cement some of my thoughts around identity and transcultural identity, and how well this walk would fit into a flash because it was only a 10 minutes moment of my life, but those 10 minutes were a whole new piece in the puzzle, a pivotal moment for me!

As you can see, if I can write ten paragraphs about 10 minutes of my experience of Summer school, it's will take me quite a long while to unpack it all!

I'll finish with some random photos from the weekend - because a photo speaks a thousand words...

Last week I had some fun with hair colour. It's one of those things, I love to do this and I have no qualms about it because hair grows and changes all the time, and so it's a great way to temporarily express playfulness. But I'm also so aware that people feel confronted and constrained by invisible limits on what is okay to do as a serious, mature adult, and that does still impact my sense of freedom with regard to being playful and having funny and standing outside norms. I received so many compliments and I did wonder if people were being genuine, but decided to accept the compliments in the faith they were genuine. It was an interesting experiment and I'm sure there is a research project in there somewhere!

We were fortunate to be offered private accommodation for the weekend as all the hotels were booked out for the Geelong beer fest by the time we decided to attend Summer school. What we didn't realise was that the private home was located on 25 acres of bushland. It was such a beautiful place to stay! So peaceful! Starry nights, birdsong, and fresh air! Our hosts were lovely!

This road to the property shows just how 'off the beaten path' the house was!

That pitch-roofed house is the cottage we stayed in, with wholly private facilities. Hand built by the owner, it was just gorgeous!

And here is my bed! Ir reminded me of Heidi of the Alps, which was one of my favourite books from childhood. The stairs from down to the ground floor were quite steep, so I got lots of exercise! I'm feeling it today, hahaha!

This photo depicts an exercise from the creativity in the exegesis workshop; we were divided into groups and asked to curate an exhibit of a pile of post cards. This exhibition was titled: The Key, Of Course. And a key sentence was:  The key is the difference. I'm not sure how successful it was, but it was a fun exercise.
At the end of the second day, we had drinks and nibbles on the staff cafeteria balcony overlooking the foreshore. There was unanimous agreement that working at Deakin Waterfront has it's advantages!

More foreshore!

My obsession with clouds continues...

Driving home was no less interesting than the weekend itself!

And back to marvellous Melbourne! Too bad there isn't a Winter School as well!
I will no doubt discuss other aspects of the weekend as they float to the surface on my conscious!

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Good Job!