Level 5 constellation has certainly felt more purposeful. Having finished Level 4 with much confusion, lack of enjoyment and, motivation for the module, I was apprehensive for Level 5. However, I was pleased to discover that Level 5 consisted of a slightly different dynamic with term 2 allowing more freedom for the type of avenue wished to explore not only in theme, but in method of presenting/academically writing too.
A mixture of my first term study group, Relational Ways of Knowing, with the second terms Research Proposal’s focused tutorials, tailored both in groups and on a one to one basis, have grounded a lot of my understanding and knowledge in terms of the wider purpose of constellation and how it links not only constellation study groups, but to Field, and Subject modules too to ground all of my skills and knowledge as a practicing creative professional in order bring everything together to write a purposeful Research Proposal that not only means something to me but, I can also take forward when entering the world of work. Having undertaken a module titled ‘Beyond The Barcode’ during Field, I developed a passion for business and combining my Subject of Product Design giving me the ability to create a brand for for my product(s) as well as other parts of a business such as financing and marketing. I was then able to channel this new found passion into my Constellation work in developing a business plan that I genuinely enjoyed researching and writing about. Not only that, but I can then take and use this plan in moving forward after my degree giving me the ability to start my own business as a career. And if not, having an intuitive piece of work such as a business plan is a great thing to show an employer too. I feel like I have certainly developed and built upon many skills during the course of this module. Being introduced to a new topic during the first subject group and new methods for analysing sources/case studies in a methodological way certainly helped me enabling me to apply these skills in my own piece of writing and research. I now know little tricks in helping with this academic writing such as having the ability to identify sections of sources that will be most helpful rather than reading and highlighting a whole book as I did before. I enjoyed and benefited from the mix of case studies such as The White painted trees of Kefelonia, Stuat Walker’s ‘sustainable by design’ and the Eleanor Hawkins examples – although all very different, these helped ground my ideas and understandings as well as got me thinking in different ways and analysing different styles as well as having the ability to work with and learn from a mix of different practice groups seeing what ideas and thought process’ different people brought to the table.
Moving onto my critical writing piece for the first term, I decided to write a piece titled ‘The Gucci Stoma Bag’ which explored how looking at a design problem from animistic, naturalistic and ecological views that I developed understandings for during the study group, could conclude how, or how not, the use of these different views could be used as a tool for improved empathetic design. I really enjoyed finally having some freedom over my topics for discussion and the ability to relate it back to something of interest and personal to me.
Taking on board my feedback comments along with my own personal reflections, I decided that I was confident in some of my ideas and was able to relate to the overall theme. However, I feel like I could have better connected with the topic and some of the points I made for discussion. I could have expanded and better argued them with stronger context and case studies – I feel that this was partly down to the fact that some of these theories, vocabularies and ideas were very new to me for example the animistic, ecological and naturalistic views. I still felt partly distanced from what they actually meant to me and what I actually wanted to be writing about.
It was also clear from my own reflections and from my feedback that I needed to better some of my academic writing skills and include more detail in my references as well as a bibliography. In moving forward, I’ve attended a tutorial with Martha Ashford, our librarian, and been using the website Cite them Right as a tool for referencing correctly. I’ve tried to correctly include all relevant details within my work this time around as well as having provided a bibliography. I understand that this still may not have been executed perfectly however, I certainly feel more confident in this area and that I have a better understanding of academic writing in the style that the university work within. I feel like my writing, researching and working style has definitely developed from that of Alevel and my previous constellation submissions to where it is now in developing my research proposal.
I now feel very differently towards constellation, I can appreciate the theories and methods taught over the last year or two despite not having completely understanding or connecting with them on occasions. I remember Martyn Woodward telling us to trust the process, stick at it and eventually, we’d reap the rewards – I feel this very true of constellation as a whole now having written my Research Proposal and moving forward to writing my dissertation I can appreciate the process and feel equipped in moving forward independently.
I plan to be ahead and organised in moving forward with the writing of my dissertation piece itself, I have already identified some additional further reading and sources that I plan to use in order to create what I feel is the best piece of research/writing that I can in order to answer my question. I plan to continue building upon what I’ve learned and submitted during my Easter and Summer breaks, so that I return at level 6 confident and prepared to finish and submit my dissertation piece.