Yours truly… partially present

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KEYWORDS: warmup (ice breaker), generating/generative poetry, PechaKucha lite, Prathima Muniyappa

Thursday 15 October 2020.

Four days ago.

I received the news…

I’d been accepted onto the fellowship.


An ‘understudy’. (Let’s just pretend that I know what that means.)

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All I could think was, ‘Fantastic!’

Because, ‘This is going to BeFantastic!’

…challenging, too.

For starters, the fellowship begins the same day we go ‘back to school’. (That’s Canadian parlance. I’m Canadian, by the way.) Term starts on 19 October 2020 for Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London (I live and work in London, UK.)

And so I’m torn: excited about connecting with others on the fellowship; but equally, I have a duty of care to my Stage Three Drawing students, the cohort I’ll be leading this academic year (2020-2021). They’re finishing under under COVID.

The result? I missed most of today’s fellowship action. But I heard from JC (at least I read this on her blog…) that it was sensational: ‘Stef Turner was our lovely facilitator and her calm voice, positive vibes and ambient music created a welcoming atmosphere that quickly dispelled any concerns that I might have had.’

I think Stef is English. As someone based at an English art school, this is great news because I’m looking for engaging and inspiring practitioners who are local, especially in the face of Brexit (google it up if you don’t know what this means).

Suffice to say that when I finally join the fellowship online, using a platform that starts with ‘Z’ and ends with ‘m’, the energy is generous and affirmative… yet tentative. My co-fellows have been working with poetry.


I’m up for anything, but POETRY?

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While I missed the making session, its daisy-chain logic wasn’t lost on me: today’s poem would become fodder for tomorrow’s exercise. Feedback. Recombination…

The afternoon featured the first round of PechaKucha. For those who don’t know, they’re short and sharp presentations: 20 slides and each one shows for 20 seconds. Only our sessions were limited to 15 slides.

So. Much. Fascinating. Practice – including the work of Prathima Muniyappa. Unfortunately, she had to withdraw from the fellowship owing to inclement weather. Heavy rains were messing with her internet. But look here for a rich and rewarding interview with Parthima, ‘Do we have a second chance with Nature?’ – it touches on indigenous knowledges, specifically cosmologies and their potential to shape how we think about space travel, etc.

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