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Response to Writing

I have returned to the learned, excitable and at times daunting world of education.  Now a quarter of the way through an MA in Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin I feel I am acquiring knowledge that is so precious I cannot NOT begin to put it on paper, either in the virtual or the authentic format.

Our second semester of lectures has included a collaborative lecture with our fellow Visual Culture students in the study of MA Art in the Contemporary World.  Our lecturers have included Dr. Declan Long, Dr. Jessica Hemmings and Dr. Lisa Godson.  The lectures, so far, have consisted of group discussion, anecdotes, visual analysis and writing.  The analyzing of imagery, for me, has offered a very fresh approach to our college work. The fact that it is primarily fine art based can really allow imagination to swell and the interpretation of work to be as personal as you allow.  You see what you see! As simplified as that statement may sound it has truth to it.  When given reign to interpret a visual for yourself (particularly if there is an absence of text to distract and detract your brain), you are likely to amaze yourself with what your mind is capable of producing.  As helpful as text can be in certain situations it also allows for a dulling of the mind.  Speaking of 'over texting', we were introduced (again I speak in virtual terms) to Associate Professor of Academic Practice at The University of Auckland, New Zealand Helen Sword by Jessica Hemmings in our second of the lecture series.  Ms Sword is the author of Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard University Press, 2012) and I include a YouTube video of her discussing the content of the publication.

My notes from Ms Sword's inspiring lecture on the venture that is Stylish Academic Writing.

1. Eye-catching title draws you in.

2. Engaging open paragraph.

3. Full of examples.

4. Sense of a story.

5. Always well-crafted sentences. Craft your writing - continuous editing and refining.

6. Always be concerned with communication.

7. Stylish pros.

8. Pleasure in the craft.

9. Creative writing - don't adhere to convention if it doesn't suit you.

10. The importance of reading widely.

11. Concreteness - writers that are most engaging use concrete ideas and examples.

12. The definition of research is the advancement of knowledge or the creation of new generalisable knowledge.

13. Communicating abstract ideas through concrete language. 

14. Concrete terms - the use of theoretic frameworks.

15. An example of concrete terms within abstract speech - Martin Luther King "I have a dream..."

16. Giving the reader the particulars, the visionary and then the abstract. For writers - pay attention and look out for this when both reading and writing. 

17. Choose to be a courageous writer rather than a conventional one.


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