During my first year at Cardiff Metropolitan University, I have participated in Constellation. From the start of Constellation, I was told I had to write essays in order to pass the first year. This was overwhelming as I hate writing essays and anything to do with reading. After choosing what Constellation class I preferred, I was glad to be in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit: Subcultures and Street Style’ study group.
I love fashion and knew this class would be about that but I had never heard of subcultures. Throughout the classes, I learnt about the Goths, Punks and the Hip Hop Subcultures to name a few and analysed them in-depth. I learnt about where the subcultures emerged and who they were inspired by. One thing that was interesting to learn was the use of Bricolage used in most subcultures. This means a creation from many different diverse things. For example, the Goths used bricolage by taking Victorian dress and adding their own touches of death to the outfit by adding things like spider jewellery to symbolise the insects that would crawl over the body underground, and red lipstick to symbolise vampires and sucking blood. Bricolage could definitely be something I might apply to my own practice and throughout the subject/ field modules. For example, bricolage in my own practice could be creating a painting using all of the art movements as inspiration.
Throughout the class, there was a lot of note making and it was fast paced, the amount of information given to use was hard to take in. The lecturer, Cath Davies, showed us a way to filter the information into columns made up of the titles, ‘Describe (the features)’, ‘Analyse (connotations)’ and ‘Theory (quotes)’. This made the notes much easier to read through and easier to piece together to write for the formative essay.
My formative essay was based on the Goth Subculture. I explored the meanings behind their style and where it came from and how the subculture has become well known in Japan with the Harajuku girls, for example. I think I left it very last minute as I did not have many references and didn’t give evidence to back up what I was stating in some cases. From the Formative essay, I have realised that I need references for everything I am going to talk about and that I need to look over the Harvard Referencing Guide. Also, to start the essay weeks before to write to my best ability. These are all things that I have worked on whilst writing my Summative essay.
On Thursday afternoons, Keynote lectures were delivered. These were often interesting and there was a wide range of different lecturers talking about a different subject every week. These lectures have added to my knowledge in some areas but I often found it difficult to be attentive to a subject that is not something I enjoy.
The second constellation class I attended was The Body. In this class, I learnt about previous medical practices such as plastic surgery, identity and power and control in the human race, for example. I was happy to be in this study group as anything that involves the body intrigues me. I found this study group a lot harder than Smells Like Teen Spirit as the readings were much more complex and I struggled to understand most of the words. To try to solve this problem, I would try to read the readings in advance a few times and research words I did not understand the meanings of.
During The Body study group, the lecturer, Ashley Morgan wanted us to always be in groups with people we did not know. This has definitely helped me in my field module as field is all about group work. It has made me much more confident speaking to people and being part of a group that I have never met before.
Whilst getting references for my Summative essay, I did not find it easy reading. I’ve never found interest in reading, especially academic reading. A solution I learnt in The Body study group to find reading easier was to go to the index and look for the word you are writing about. This made it easier than reading through the whole book when it wasn’t necessary.
For my Summative essay, I have expanded on my Formative essay and worked on the areas of feedback. This time, I have gathered much more references and started with enough time to write it to my best standard.
Overall, my experience doing Constellation has learnt me a lot about myself and my learning techniques. I have overcome panic when it comes to group work and reading academic text. I have added to my knowledge through attending both study groups and keynote lectures. Constellation has been enjoyable and interesting.
As an art student, I don’t feel I am academic. I disliked writing the essays and reading but I have written two, which I’ve tried my best at and am proud of doing so.