Assignment 3: Plan


Initial thoughts, coming to a plan:

What is a research essay?  I want to keep my focus, thus writing this here.  In brief, it is:


That is what we are told within the OCA notes.

Key points I want to hit in the writing of this essay:

          Develop a balanced viewpoint, through thorough research,

          Develop an understanding of my material, being bold enough to come to my own conclusions.

          My subject is related to the areas I am studying; thus I can talk about it both practically and educationally, having had some experience in the chosen area.  This is mentioned in the OCA notes:


What types of research material do I imagine I will gather?

Based on the OCA notes:



What does this mean in reality to my own essay?

I have chosen to look at two artists in the main.  These are Alice Kettle and Louise Gardiner.  Thus this does narrow down my field.  It is important to look outside the box as it were, thus I won’t be looking at simply their own words; rather I intend to find sources where others who are qualified to do so tell us their opinions on their work; so that I can formulate a balanced and well rounded out view point.

–          Both artists chosen have their own well designed websites.

–          Some books written or co-written by Kettle are available to read online or purchase.  Some are held in Libraries; however they are hard to access as are held over 200 miles away from my home.

–          Both artists have films made on their practice and interviews.

–          Digital versions of magazines with have interviews with both artists are available online.

–          Louise Gardiner has several radio interviews available to re-listen to on BBCI Player.

–          Gardiner has a blog which she kept up to date for a few years.  It is very detailed, thus much time will be needed to pick through and glean the information I am looking for.

–          Kettle has had several exhibitions which I have been able to visit.  Namely they are:

  1. VAS:T 2015 at Edinburgh Royal Academy
  2. Two pieces at The Knitting and Stitching show November 2016. Part of Manchester University exhibition.  I was able to meet and talk to her at this event.
  3. One piece as part of a permanent collection at The Shipley Art Gallery in 2016/17


–          Newspaper articles and magazines have been written about Gardiner more than Kettle.

–          Own images taken at exhibitions above involving Alice Kettle, as I have never to my knowledge witnessed Gardiners work in the flesh.

–          Gallery websites where both have had exhibitions.

–          Book reviews (on Kettle not Gardiner)

–          University website where Kettle works.

–          Instagram (Gardiner especially posts every day of her life)

–          Facebook – I know that Kettle has a Facebook account

–          I may also be able to talk around the subject area, without a direct reference to one artist or the other.  However this will be done carefully, as if I began researching the subject of how to create a sustainable practice, I would fork off into a lengthy essay which I had no room for.

As I begin to collage and gather my research, I will keep on summing it up and taking the parts I need forward.  I may find other sources of information and other types.

How will I collate my research material?

I will be keeping my Log Book up to date and also researching on the internet, where I will copy and paste into word documents.  However I wish to print this out and write notes on the pages manually.  I will use these notes as a basis for my essay.

I intend to also print out photographs and relevant visual material.  I will again annotate this and make sure it all goes into one file in an organised manner.

This file will be classed as a “working file”, thus I don’t intend to create something neat, but rather a working piece.  I will make sure though, that all parts are filed in an organised manner with appropriate labels.  This will make it easier to reflect back on and find information again.

How will I organise this working file?

I refuse to plan every detail, as I want to be surprised with my findings myself.  However I intend to group my research etc within this file in certain sections:

Section 1

–          All first printed material (This will be a collation of all sources, whether found online or in physical form, such as books or magazines.  I plan to print everything, after scanning books into my PC as needed etc, so that all research is on paper form.  Thus all accessible in one place.  This will be a working document, on which I am not scared to write quick notes, initial thoughts, points I want to remember, links between contexts, material, artists.  I may scribble and even produce some illegible writing.  This will be an almost “selfish” document, which I am greedy about and glean from.

Section 2

–          This will contain a “clean version” of the above, perhaps amalgamating even more research material which I have found since the initial print out in section 1.  Imagery which I feel is important to illustrate well, will be printed in a higher quality with titles and explanation.  Some of this imagery may well be used in my essay, thus it is important to gather and decipher which imager resonates with my essay text.

In other words, this section two will be a “second draft”, a more rounded out view on section 1

Section 3

–          Collated notes which I have written on the sections 1 and 2, will be looked at again, linked and even mind mapped, to envisage which ones to use in my essay, which ones actually link in and are not unrelated.  A filtering process again.

Section 4

–          Plans of essay, these may be scribbles, mind maps, any way which I feel conveys my ideas in a way I can learn from and develop into the structure of my essay

Section 5 onwards

–          I imagine drafts of my essay will appear here, this may of course all change, but at this stage this is my perception of the task ahead.  More sections may appear.

The above notes will really help me structure my file and thus display my findings in an organised manner.  I will of course do this “my way”; I will find small ways of synthesizing my own voice, within an organised boundary.  To begin with, what about how I section off each part of the file, does it have to be in traditional file format, or something more me?  Just one example.

I have chosen to physically display my file as a real file, this isn’t very “arty”, but at least for now, my thoughts are that this should be a really well presented piece, something which is durable and not necessarily in line with my usual making up of sketchbooks with anything I can find relating to the subject matter; this is in a way, a serious piece of work.

Bare bones of my plan, based on some of my findings and thoughts above:

As the notes from the OCA course book indicate; I plan to gather a lot of research, which I will pare down to inform my essay.  This will be found in a number of resources, both physical and digital.  The main concern, is to be as widely researched as possible; this is not about a forgone conclusion, but rather pushing the boundaries to discover.  I may come up against statements I disagree with, yet I will not filter these out, but rather discuss them.  I don’t want a seamless flow, a one way journey.

I intend to begin by gathering, visiting and using all the resources I mentioned earlier.

After gathering much paper based and digital material, I will assemble a file in physical form; re-read all pages, make links and write in rough.  This will be very much a personal file- notes which will mean something from the material, to myself.

All notes will be looked at again, taken from their individual pages and seen if possible in new pages where I may link them in some way.  An example of this:  Taking into consideration that I am researching two artists, I will have two bodies of research, articles on one, articles on the other (the two artists don’t cross paths).  Thus I may analogize; seeing the similar features of both artists practice and the themes they run to.  This is not actually a necessary part of making up my planned essay, but rather something which I may find happen organically if the two do indeed link.

I have not decided on the two artists because they are similar, because looking at them without research, they are not.  Thus this is where research may become exciting.

Whatever I adduce from my research, I can then use as evidence within my conclusion, or conclusions.

Bare skeleton of plan recapped:

Research / Visit / Gather

Organize findings

Make notes

Revisit all material and filter

Carry forward key parts

Begin to write first draft of all three parts:  Introduction, Middle and Conclusion

Redraft, edit, and finish

Check over finally before sending to my tutor

Deal with tutor’s comments

Produce a finalised copy of my essay

I will now begin a thorough and deep delving to find all the information I require and begin collating this.  I will house it properly in my physical research file and also create two separate computer Microsoft Word files to add either information on Alice Kettle or Louise Gardiner to.

While researching, I can also detail my journey within another chapter of my Learning Log.

Once finished my essay, I can finally begin to review, critique and examine my results.

All of this will be then sent to my tutor, as Assignment 3.




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