My initial engagement with SYP has been a non-linear process. Due to personal circumstances, which included moving to another country, I stockpiled work for A1 while I was in Liverpool, knowing there would be a lack of opportunity once I moved to KL to engage directly with people. Although I still have access to a network of peers and professionals to connect with back in the UK, I specifically wanted to meet someone new (Sarah Fisher) so I could propose my work without any previous knowledge of my practice. I also wanted to engage in direct talks rather than via email so I found my approach to be proactive, even if I wasn’t fully prepared in my presentation.
I was able to receive up to date feedback on my BoW by sharing the recently submitted A4 for the exercise feedback networks. This was done mostly via email. I found this helped me to differentiate the feedback from my network with the interviews I carried out for A1, which were more of a dialogue.
The feedback from Sarah in particular was more critical, especially of the text. I am comfortable with that though for two reasons; I had the meeting face-to-face so I know the context of the comments, and I know what I presented was still a work in progress. Much of her criticism about the text was then resolved in the exercises for part one, which she also acknowledged in follow-up.
I also found it ultimately more beneficial to have feedback from two people. Although I am quite used to receiving feedback, it is clear that the underlying message is one of being positive about the work itself. But with Jenny and Sarah combined I have received both good cop and bad cop roles, making the feedback more constructive. Jenny has helped me to consider better what kind of commercial work I can reengage with, which can then feed directly into my practice. While Sarah’s critical eye made me return to why I was first interested in the concept before the critical theory began to dominate the text as BoW progressed.
So ultimately while the process was a little unorthodox, it was hugely beneficial because the feedback, combined with my restricted personal circumstances will help me to manage short term expectations for the development of my publication. Producing the document has also helped me to conclude what I consider to be the BoW. I feel now the solution to be more the portfolio than the process. So with a clean slate from the work compiled back in May I can start to look forward rather than constantly consolidating.