PDP- DissertationPosted: February 1, 2015
I wasn’t feeling that confident when handing in my dissertation proposal as I felt that although I had established my ideas they covered a wide spectrum and I had not yet chosen which material was the best to research. My ideas are changed somewhat since the proposal was written though. My initial idea was to look at evil in society, however I was planning to build my dissertation around Foucault’s writings on the panopticon as I had been doing a lot of studio work based on this at the time. I think the main issue with my proposal was that I had not created a title and at the time and I felt this was a crucial element in order to get focused. As it turned out the title was one of the last things I done. In addition to this I felt that I had the deep interest in the psychological aspect of my research, however I didn’t have much figured out regarding the art that I was going to use in relation to evil Well apart from one piece, the inspiration of the dissertation ‘Gaskamer’ by Luc Tuymans. I was fascinated at how he normalised evil within his work. At this point following my proposal feedback I began really focusing on my research as I looked in to the Milgram and Zimbardo studies, as well as the writings of Foucault to enhance my knowledge. I also had some books out on the work of Luc Tuymans that I was reading.
After the summer break I came back to find that my tutor had changed from Morag to Ashley Morgan. I felt that this was a positive change as she helped me formulate in a more concise way what my dissertation was going to entail. She told me to look more at writings on ‘Gaskamer’ and to start an introduction. Over the summer I had started my dissertation however I felt lost as I was starting at random parts throughout the study and it had no real body to it. She told me to outline each chapter. This was something that I found challenging as I wasn’t completely sure what each chapter would be. In the next tutorial I mentioned this and she helped me map out each chapter. Suddenly I was feeling much more confident about writing it. I also mentioned that I was worried about reaching the ten thousand words and she said that this was a common fear for students at this stage. She also suggested I look at Barthes and Derrida for research, which I did, and I found Barthes was the more relevant to my research. She also told me to book an appointment with Jenny Godfrey, which I did as I needed further help with the library. At my next tutorial I felt I had made good progress, the structure of my dissertation was built. Two chapters that I was struggling with was the literature review and the section on art from the past. Ashley told me to look at the works of Goya and so I did.
Following my appointment with Jenny Godfrey I had some more resources to work from. This was also the time in which I was working under pressure to get as much as I could done form my draft hand in date with Ashely. I felt I had done a reasonable amount at around three thousand words. The feedback she gave was informative as she said I had made a good start however I needed help with my spelling and grammar as well as more context. She also said my idea was very good but I was told that I needed to be more specific and state exactly what I meant and not to be afraid to describe things. She also suggested that I take a look at Gramsci. Upon doing this however I did not feel that much of his prison notebooks was relevant to my research. In addition she suggested making reference to real life events such as the Nuremberg trials. This was valuable advice as I based a section of my dissertation on this.
At the next tutorial I had made good progress again, however I was still struggling with my literature review. After looking it up online I began to realise how to write one. Despite this I still asked Ashley for advice in the next tutorial. She told me to categorise it and simply write what books I have read and what kind of ideas I am expressing. I was also worried about repeating myself but she said not to worry about this as long as I am not repeating ideas. She also gave me that extra push that was needed before I went away for the Christmas holidays.
During the Christmas holidays I wrote the majority of my dissertation and I only had part of the conclusion to finish when I came back. At this point I arranged one last tutorial with Ashley in order to ask a few questions. The main one was that I hadn’t yet decided what my title was going to be. I had an example of one however I wasn’t confident with it, but she helped me think of one that sounded professional. I also had a few questions regarding referencing and she helped me with these.
Overall I found the dissertation quite daunting but with every tutorial I felt more confident with it. I am pleased with my outcome and felt that I have done my idea justice. I also feel I have learnt more about my theme and this is something that I can take into the remaining months of my studio practice.