It is amazing that my degree course seems to have disappeared without a trace. The authority that converts (‘translates’?) foreign qualifications to ones that Swedish institutions (and employers) recognises is having a hard time with my Art & Social Context degree.

And in turn I am having a hard time with it too as they have asked me to provide them with ‘documentation’ so they can assess my degree and give me ‘credits’ for it. I am trying to tracking down any information about the course that could provide them with information about the actual course content and ultimately what my degree actually means!

Here are some of the challenges:

· The college that I attended no longer exists. Dartington was subsumed by Falmouth University two years ago.

· The course that I took no longer exists. A couple of years after I graduated the course moved from Dartington to Bristol College of Art where it ran for a number of years before being significantly altered and renamed.

· The CNAA (Council for National Academic Awards) which validated Dartington’s degree no longer exists.

· Bristol College of Art is now part of University of West of England.

I graduated in 1990 from a curiously unique course at a wonderfully alternative college of visual and performing arts. It is the kind of place that simply does not exist anymore – to be honest it barely ever existed, it was always a little like a fairy-tale – a fantastic place where artists, actors, dancers and musicians lived in the grounds of an old old house deep in the countryside ….

Yes we were remote, “isolated” some would say, but we were all there because we wanted to learn rather than to get degrees. I can see now that I was very fortunate to go to college before students became paying customers, before maintenance grants were abolished, before league tables, before everywhere had to be a university, before research profiles were more important than being a brilliant teacher, before degrees were achieved by collecting a number of credits. And this is the real problem I am facing now, the authority here wants to equate my 22 year old degree with the current credits system. I want the authority to be able to equate my 22 year old degree to the current point system – because if they can not do it I might not be able to apply for academic or research opportunities.

So far I have learnt that Falmouth have no records of the course and that the Open University which holds the CNAA archive does not have information about the courses it validated. I am waiting to hear from University of West England. I also sent an email directly to my former theory tutor who is teaching at Falmouth. I remember that he was very involved in getting the degree validated and I hope that he is sentimental (or should that be professional?) enough to have kept some of the official papers that he and his colleagues wrote. It is these papers that might not only help me but that might show just how innovative and necessary the first art course to engage with social context was …

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Why do I blog?

With all this discussion about redesigning and improving the artists’ blog here I have been thinking about why it is that I blog. Primarily I blog for myself, of course I am aware that the nature of any blog is to be public and I truly appreciate the feedback I get and am delighted to know that there people who read my blog however I still try to write primarily for myself. When I was at art school we kept log-books (for some reason they weren’t called sketchbooks), mine were completely text based and in common with many other teenage diaries tended to focus on how nobody understood me. When I start my artist blog I decided that I would set myself one guiding principle and that was to avoid being negative. Perhaps at its core my blog is an interface between my private ramblings and public/ professional persona. Even if I do not blog as often as I used to it remains an important part of my processes – a way of collecting, ordering sorting and filtering thoughts and ideas.

The week before Eater I went to London for a week. A good friend who gives public talks at the RA accompanied me around the Hockney’s A Bigger Picture exhibition which I know from our many phone conversations has been a struggle for her to work on. Having seen the show I understand why. Hockney’s charcoal sketches and journals are wonderful but I found it really hard to get beyond the ‘spectacle’ of the paintings. It was a particularly hot Friday afternoon when I visited and I spent a quiet hour recovering from a hectic morning in central London watching the queue shuffle around the academy’s courtyard. The popularity of the show is amazing, the one hour waiting time I saw was ‘good’ and the exhibition was ‘relatively quiet’. I find it very hard to look at art when I am among so many other people and I much preferred my experience of seeing Kusama and Boetti at Tate Modern. Both these shows resonated with many things I am thinking about at the moment; productivity, context, content, production, creative development …

Tomorrow evening is Culture Night here in Stockholm. Many museums, galleries, concert halls and theatres are offering free admission between 6.00pm and midnight. There are several places that I would like to visit either because of a special event tomorrow or in order to see whether it is worth paying the admission charge another time. We talked about it a little over coffee at school yesterday and I was surprised how many cities across Europe have an annual culture night. I was a little embarrassed to say that London doesn’t have one and that I had no idea if other cities in the UK do. I can only guess that with the size of its population and the number of visiting tourists London’s cultural venues that i, do not need to promote themselves in this way and ii, they could not cope with the crowds if they did. If it does not snow I am planning to cycle between things across the length and breadth of central Stockholm. (Unseasonably cold weather is forecast for the weekend.)

Last week I began at a new language school which is far more professional than my previous one. I have arranged to swap one morning a week for another afternoon whcih gives me a free weekday whcih I am going to spend at the studio. This week was not so productive but it felt so good to be here all day. I still have the feeling that I am settling in to the studio despite having been here nearly five months now. Why am I giving myself such a hard time about that? Perhaps if I had moved to a country that I did not know at all or one with more pronounced differences to the UK I would not have such high demands on myself. I am really trying to learn Swedish so perhaps it is no wonder that I find it hard to focus on my creativity. The list of fleeting thoughts and momentary ideas continues to grow – I look forward to seeing which of these seeds will bear fruit ….