202MC Learning Objective Responses

As you may have seen from my previous blog post, I planned out how I was going to effectively respond to each of the 202MC learning objectives. Below you can see my response to all three of them:

LO1Plan and produce a collaborative media object, performing critical and creative analysis on a given brief

Responses to readings:

On my previous blog post dedicated to the preparation of the 202MC module, I said that we were given three different readings to complete before the mystery field trip in order to give us clues towards the theme of the project. These three readings have, again, been placed below:

Reading 1 (“The Neo-Liberal Revolution” by Stuart Hall)

Reading 2 (“Britain and it’s Poor” in “Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain” by Imogen Tyler)

Reading 3 (“Citizenship, Ethnicity, and Identity: British Pakistanis after the 2001 ‘Riots’” by Yasmin Hussain and Paul Bagguley)

 

During the active reading of these essays, I found that I was highlighting a number of key terms and a few important quotes from the abstract, which I thought would be relevant to the mystery project. Below I have included the key terms and definitions that I have researched, followed by the important quotations from each essay:

 

DEFINITIONS:

Neoliberalism:

  • “An approach to economics and social studies in which control of economic factors is shifted from the public sector to the private sector. Drawing upon principles of neoclassical economics, neoliberalism suggests that governments reduce deficit spending, limit subsidies, reform tax law to broaden the tax base, remove fixed exchange rates, open up markets to trade by limiting protectionism, privatize state-run businesses, allow private property and back deregulation.”

o   http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/neoliberalism.asp

Conservatism:

  • “The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional order.”
  • “A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order.”
  • “Conservatism The principles and policies of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or of the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada”

o   http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conservatism

New Labour:

  • “(Politics) a rebranding of the British Labour Party and its policies undertaken by Tony Blair and his supporters in the run-up to the 1997 general election in Great Britain and maintained during the Labour Party’s period of government under Blair’s premiership. Never an official title, it denotes the more right-wing/social democratic trend in Labour thinking and policy intended to make the party electable after its electoral catastrophes of the 1980s”

o   http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/new-labour

Thatcherism:

  • “The political and economic policies of Margaret Thatcher when she was Britain’s Prime Minister. It is therefore especially associated with the 1980s in Britain. Some British people think that Thatcherism was good for the British economy because of the emphasis it placed on private enterprise (= the idea that business and industry should be controlled by private individuals or companies, not by the state), privatization, a reduction in inflation and government spending, and the idea that people should help themselves rather than relying on the state to help them. An opposite view is that Thatcherism led to the loss of Britain’s traditional industries, a greater gap between the rich and the poor, more people without jobs, and a period in which many British people came to care less about each other than about making money.”

o   http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/thatcherism

“The Underclass”

  • “The lowest social stratum in a country or community, consisting of the poor and unemployed”

o   http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/underclass

Citizenship:

  • “A legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized”
  • “An inhabitant of a particular town or city”
  • “A person who is at home in any country”

o   http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/citizen

Identity:

  • “The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known: “If the broadcast group is the financial guts of the company, the news division is its public identity” (Bill Powell).”
  • “The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.”
  • “The quality or condition of being the same as something else.”
  • “The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality”

o   http://www.thefreedictionary.com/identity

Ethnicity:

  • The fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition

o   http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ethnicity

 

QUOTATIONS:

The Neo-Liberal Revolution” by Stuart Hall

  • “Neo-liberalism is grounded in the idea of the ‘free, possessive individual’.”
  • “’Let me give you my vision: a man’s right to work as he will, to spend what he earns, to own property, to have the State as servant not master: these are the British inheritance. They are the essence of a free country and on that freedom all other freedoms depend.’ (Thatcher 1975)”

Britain and it’s Poor” in “Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain” by Imogen Tyler

  • “’The class war is over. But the struggle for true equality has only just begun’ (Blair 1999)”
  • “… ‘chav’ became the popular pejorative name for ‘the underclass’ in Britain and in particular for a generation of young people disenfranchised by neoliberal economic and social policies.”
  • “Britain is often imagined as a nation exceptionally wrought by class hierarchies, antagonisms and tensions: political, cultural, and economic.”
  • “The marketization of the state goods and services, the rise of a consumer culture built on credit, the financialization of capital and the securitization of borders required multiple and diverse practices and systems of classification and surveillance for managing populations within the state.”
  • “In the first, governmental sense, class is understood as ‘a grouping of people assigned a particular status and rank according to their origins or their activity’ (Ranciere 1999:83)”
  • “In the second, political sense, class is ‘an operator of conflict, a name for counting the uncounted’ (ibid.: 83).”
  • “… ‘manufacturing class’ in the context of global changes which meant that class ‘no longer exist[ed] as a meaningful social entity’ (ibid.: 667-8)”
  • … class meaning the ‘grouping of people assigned a particular status and rank according to their origins or their activity’ and a class as a form of politics, a name for struggles against social destinies imposed at birth (Ranciere 1999: 83)”
  • “… argued that class was a sociological ‘zombie category’: ‘the idea lives on even though the reality to which it corresponds is dead […] Society can no longer look in the mirror and see social classes. The mirror has been smashed and all we have left are the individualized fragments’ (Willms 2004: 51-2)”

Citizenship, Ethnicity, and Identity: British Pakistanis after the 2001 ‘Riots’” by Yasmin Hussain and Paul Bagguley

  • “… central theme was citizenship and reasserting national belonging over and above ethnic identity.”
  • “In short we should recognize that citizenship is now a significant dimension of contemporary hybridized ethnic identities, and that this not only has major consequences for how we define citizenship sociologically, but also how implications for understanding the politics of ethnicity in contemporary Britain.”
  • “As Lister et al. (2003: 242) note, citizenship identities are grounded in individuals’ experiences, and this helps us account for the striking generational differences in citizenship identities that we have uncovered.”
  • “Brubaker (1992: 21), like many others, has argued that citizenship is about inclusion and exclusion, and that citizens in most European states are ‘insiders’ whose status is ascribed due to their country of birth. He suggests that many ethnic minorities in these countries are ‘outsiders’.”
  • “In some European countries there is a secondary citizenship status of being a ‘denizen’, of having a right of residence and other civil and social rights, but lacking the right to political representation (Castles and Davidson, 2000: 94-7)”
  • “To be a citizen means to relate to the state in exactly the same way as others, yet for individuals belonging to any particular religions, cultural or ethnic community there may be little or no recognition from the state.”
  • “National identity and citizenship identity are not the same thing.”

 

NEOLIBERALISM:

Whilst reading each of these articles, I soon found that one of the main reoccurring themes was “Neoliberalism”. I therefore decided to take my research a step further and look deeper into the meaning behind the term as I feel that this may contribute as an overarching theme to the individual tasks of the daily field trips. Please find the notes that I took from Andrew HeywoodsPolitical Ideologies: An Introduction”:

Classic Liberals (draws on neoliberalism):

  • View human beings as rationally self-interested creatures and society is therefore composed of a collection of largely self-sufficient individuals
  • Believe in negative freedom – the individual is free insofar as he or she is left alone and not interfered with; freedom in this sense is the absence of external constraints on the individual
  • The state is regarded at best as a ‘necessary evil’ – it is necessary in the sense that it lays down the conditions for orderly existence (e.g. laws)
  • Believe in minimal state – the state should only be a caretaker and protector from attack
  • Believe in a self-regulating market economy (government don’t get involved)

Neoliberalism:

  • Neoliberalism was counter revolutionary – its aim was to halt, and if possible reverse, the trend towards ‘big’ government and state intervention (doesn’t want government to be involved in peoples affairs)
  • Its central theme is that the economy works best when left alone by the government, reflecting a belief in free market economics (market fundamentalism – see below)
  • The neoliberal philosophy is: ‘market = good, state = bad’
  • Key neoliberal policies include privatization, spending cuts (especially in social welfare), tax cuts (particularly corporate and direct taxes), and deregulation
  • Neoliberalism is often equated with a belief in market fundamentalism – absolute faith in the capacity of the market mechanism to solve all economic and social problems

 

Group plan before we were given the mystery theme:

As you already know, we aren’t given the theme or topic of the project until we are sat on the coach on our way to the mystery destination. However, as a group we thought it would be a good idea to brainstorm some ideas in order to get ourselves prepared for the day. We know that these plans may change due to the unknown theme, but we are willing to adapt our previous ideas to fit the topic suitably.

Below you can find the method we went about coming up with these ideas and what we discussed as a group:

POSSIBLE THEMES:

  • Neoliberalism
  • Mis/representation of the lower classes
  • Blurring of the classes

MEMBERS STRENGTHS AND WHAT THEY ENJOY CREATING:

  • Holly Constantine (Me) – Photographer; enjoy photographing urban areas, especially areas of neglect and poverty; also like writing photographic articles
  • Daisy Spivey – Media Production; enjoy editing and pre-production
  • Konrad Maselko – Media Production; enjoy photographing studio portraits, writing essays, and playing around with graphics and Special Effects
  • Kieran Finch – Media Production; likes working and experimenting with audio
  • Nathanael McGirr – Media Production; likes challenging himself by working on pretty much anything apart from photography; particularly likes directing, editing, and working with audio
  • Gemma Jarvis – Photographer; enjoy photographing portraits and aims to capture how people are affected by their surroundings; also enjoy analyzing work produced

IDEAS:

Idea 1 (please see a visual representation below):

  • A video showing a map of the unknown location with photographs representing the theme of the task situated on the map where they were taken
  • In turn, these photos would get larger and would either introduce ambient audio or audio of an interview with a local
  • The idea of the map will be used to symbolize the fact that one of the main features of this task was an unknown location and so the locational aspect of the challenge will be enhanced; this will also represent the fact that different classes are usually found in specific areas
  • The photographs will depict things from the location that can be used to represent the topic that we were given
  • The audio will vary depending on the subject of the photograph and will either include ambient noise or audio of an interview that took place with a local who can be seen within the photograph
  • This idea will therefore not be a viewing but more an experience, engulfing the viewer in the location and culture

Visual Example (Leamington Spa):

Map idea

Idea 2:

  • Want to do something experimental
  • Could create soundscapes and put them together with photos and could possibly have contrasting sounds to what’s seen
  • (Soundscapes definition – “the component sounds of an environment; the component sounds of a piece of music” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/soundscape)
  • The contrasting audio and visual of this piece would therefore rely on a more active viewing from the viewer as they would have to decipher which audio fits with which image
  • However, if we were to include audio that fits with the photos, this would create a more immersive environment for the viewer, turning a passive viewing into an experience

Idea 3:

  • Building on the “something experimental” idea, we could create an experimental documentary focusing on the location we were dropped in
  • This would include the use of soundscapes (making it similar to the idea above), interviews, and very experimental images and film in order to highlight the location in both a negative and positive light

 

EQUIPMENT:

  • Photography equipment: Canon EOS 600D camera, Canon EOS 550D camera, Canon EFS 18-55mm (standard) lenses x2, Canon EF 50mm (portrait) lens, Tamron SP 10-24mm (wide angle) lens, Tamron AF 70-300mm (tele-macro) lens
  • Filming equipment: Canon EOS 7D camera, Canon EOS 6D camera, Canon EFS 18-55mm (standard) lens, Canon EFS 18-135mm lens
  • Audio equipment: Edirol R09

 

WEATHER:

Weather

 

Group plan (and how the original plan adapted) after being given the brief:

When we were given the brief and our destination (Braunstone, Leicester), just before getting on the coach, we soon realized that this task was going to be a lot harder than we thought. After a day of collecting materials for our response, we sat down and discussed our final idea (which had dramatically changed from our original brainstorms!). Below you can find the map we were given of Braunstone, sections of the brief that we thought were important, what we took from the brief as the main areas to look at, any observations we made whilst in Braunstone, and our final idea:

BRAUNSTONE:

Map

BRIEF:

  • Title: “Class, Race, Gender and Citizenship in Neoliberal Times”
  • “Neoliberalism is more than a narrow economic philosophy, [it is] a totalizing rationality that has made competition the guiding principle not only of the market, but work, education, and many other spheres. This rationality produces its own subjects who see themselves as enterprises in general competition with other human enterprises. (Dardot and Laval 2014)”
  • “Neoliberal thought and practices saturate the fabric of British society: they inform the way we construct and conceptualize our own selves and what we do, and they shape our daily practices of work, leisure and consumption”
  • “British urban structures are a key field of signification and praxis, where Neoliberal norms shape how we understand, embody and enact class, race, gender and citizenship.”
  • “Excluded groups, however, produce forms of resistance and revolt.”
  • “Tyler describes these ‘revolting subjects’ as: a counter-public within the borders of the state which, through their protests, fracture[s] and contest[s] the coercive ideologies, injustices and deepening inequalities of a degraded British democracy. The voices of resistance against the abjectifying logics of neoliberal governmentality are growing louder. (Tyler 2013:3)”
  • Main areas to look at include: competition, location, and the ‘revolting subjects’

 

OBSERVATIONS (of the area):

  • Kids toys are scattered everywhere, very untidy, yet have perfect cars as if to show off (competition with each other)
  • Lack of space, all houses appear to be on top of each other
  • They seem to have their own community due to the fact that the government doesn’t cater for their needs so they stick together
  • They seem to have a “make do and mend” attitude
  • There’s a lot of litter in parks and community areas which are normally always bottles or cans of alcohol or take-away boxes and there is dog shit everywhere – when government do step in to help, the people don’t care?
  • There are also quite a lot of discarded lottery tickets or scratch cards – perhaps showing that they want to get rich in order to climb the class hierarchy?
  • There are a lot of people about in the day – unemployed?
  • Apart from the unemployed, a lot of manual laborers tend to live here
  • Everyone has a dog (mainly typical bulldogs as if to represent their power or to elicit slight fear)

 

FINAL IDEA:

  • What did we look at? – We focused solely on class in Neoliberal Times and looked at the underclass and excluded groups by exploring their environment
  • What did we find? – We found that many of the people within this underclass were archetypical (prove to be correct to the stereotypes). We also found, as stated above, that as they are an underclass, they seem to have their own sense of community
  • Footage we acquired – We also soon found that all of our footage from the area was simple observational pieces that failed to look deeper into the area as a whole. However, this is because it is in our nature as human beings to take into account visual representations of an area in order to gain our first impressions. Also, as the majority of this 202MC group is from a more working/middle class, we found that it was difficult to look past the visual representations and soon found that our final collection of materials was based on a sociological viewpoint.

 

Final Artifact:

After discussing our previous ideas after gathering all of our materials from the day, we soon decided that the best idea would be to scrap all of the original ideas and create something completely different. Please see a description of the artifact below along with why we have chosen to do it like this:

Description (and visual representation) – our final piece will be a physical artifact that will include printed photographs, small sections of footage, litter artifacts that we found on our trip, and soundscapes of the area playing over the top. The physical sections of the piece (including the small sections of footage) will be nailed onto a black wall in a cluttered, dense manner and will be viewed whilst contrasting soundscapes will be playing.

Physical Artifact 1

Physical Artifact 2

Physical Artifact 3

Physical Artifact – We wanted to create a physical artifact, as, due to the exhibition style of the piece, the permanence of the installation would be enhanced, representing the fact that we will always have a permanent underclass within our society. We also thought that the underclass would lack high quality technology and wanted to show this through our minimal use of technology whilst also wanting to make a physical artifact in order to represent the number of manual laborers within the underclass that we observed during the field trip.

Photographs – The photographs that we printed off and included in our physical artifact were simply chosen due to them showing what we looked at (the underclass and excluded groups by exploring their environment) what we found out (archetypical individuals within the class and a sense of community), or any observations that we made whilst gathering data.

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Inclusion of digital footage – We did, however, want to include some pieces of film footage that showed the sense of community within the area that we also observed. We therefore decided that we were going to project these onto our wall installation at a slightly larger size to the photographs so that the details could be clearly seen. This was also the best format to show the footage in, which tied in with the rest of the physical artifact. This will also mean that the viewer will have more to look at which will allow them to try and individually decipher the environment creating an immersive experience and representing our method of data collection in Braunstone. Relating back to wanting to show the sense of community, situating these pieces of footage amongst the pieces of litter will show that there is more to the area than just its first visual impressions, but that you have to look past what you first noticed, and deeper, to find it.

Inclusion of litter and other materials – We decided that we wanted to include different materials and pieces of litter that we found on our field trip in order to represent the main observations and first impressions that we established.

Soundscapes – We also wanted to include soundscapes in order to represent the area through its sounds. As the audio will be placed on a loop, the sounds will either contrast or compliment what is seen depending on the sequence in which each individual viewer chooses to view the artifact. When the viewer is looking at a part of the piece that is in contrast to the sound, this will make the viewing a more active viewing, as they will then take the time to search for the item that the audio is connected to. Then, once they have found the complimentary image or item, this will create a more immersive environment turning the passive viewing into an experience.

Nailing the artifacts into place – We decided that, instead of simply placing these on a table to show the discarded nature of the litter, we actually wanted to nail all of the individual items to a wall in order to enhance the fact that a majority of the individuals within this underclass worked in manual labor. We also wanted to permanently place the items in order to enhance the permanence of the piece, which, as stated before, will represent the fact that we will always have a permanent underclass within our society.

The black wall – As we decided that we wanted to display these items on a wall, we then needed to choose an appropriate colour. We therefore decided upon using the colour black. This is because the colour black is associated with mystery and fear of the unknown, which can be used to symbolize the unknown aspect of the module, and is often associated with giving an aggressive feel, which can be used to represent what we experienced slightly whilst exploring the environment of the underclass.

The cluttered, dense positioning of the objects – Finally, we decided that we wanted to show all of these physical aspects (photos, litter, and footage) in a cluttered and dense manner in order to represent the observations that we made whilst on the field trip including the scattered toys and litter, and the lack of space with houses appearing to be placed on top of each other.

 


 

LO2Reflect on your own learning to date and use it for this project

Response:

As you have probably seen, my previous university module was called Professional Placement. This module was created in order to give second year photography and media students the opportunity to gain experience within the industry they wish to gain access to in the future. As a part of this module, I managed to adapt and enhance my skill set through completing a number of placements within different areas of the photographic industry. I therefore feel that a number of the skills that I gained and strengths I enhanced during this previous module will greatly help me in the completion of this collaborative group project.

SWOT Analysis and Skills that I have:

SWOT Analysis

As you can see, I have a wide range of strengths and skills that will help me during this module, including transferable skills such as communication, negotiation, persuasion and organization skills, and working well in a team (just to name a few). However, I also have a number of specialist skills that may be used depending on what we decide to create as a collaborative media group; these include skills such as camera and technology skills, research skills, and writing skills. Below I have included a list of my strengths and skills and have briefly described how these will be used throughout this module:

  • Communication skills – communicating with my team members, any potential subjects, and presenting our final product
  • Negotiation skills – when deciding on our project, negotiation will be needed in order to create a final idea through the adaptation of individual ideas
  • Persuasion skills – putting my idea for our final project across to the group in a persuasive manner
  • Organization skills – organizing the work and members of the team to create the most effective outcome
  • Motivated – will help me power through during planning, producing, and presenting
  • Ability to work under pressure – working in an unknown location, responding to a brief quickly but effectively, and working to a short time scale
  • Time management – using the short time frame to complete the project as effectively as possible
  • Confident in what I will offer – bring confidence to the group in the skills that I can offer that other members may not have
  • Problem solver – overcome any unknown problems that may arise during the module
  • Computer, camera and technology (software and editing) skills – possibly use this during the project stage?
  • Research skills–use this during the planning stage (reading articles and researching definitions)
  • Writing skills – possibly use this during the project stage?
  • Work well in a team – working in the media team I have been assigned for the module
  • Initiative – help the group to overcome any unknown problems that may arise during the module
  • Flexibility – adapting plans in order to fit around all members of the group and adapt to any unknown changes
  • Hard-worker – will help me power through during planning, producing, and presenting
  • Friendly – will be used due to team aspect of the module
  • Perfectionist – will work as hard as possible in order to achieve the most desirable outcome
  • Mange stress effectively – due to the unusual demands of this module, managing stress effectively may come in handy
  • Open-minded – welcome suggestions and ideas from people within my group
  • Patience – being patient with people in the group if they do not complete a task to a suggested deadline
  • Confidence in front of large groups– won’t be used as much in this module but I will need to be confident in front of lecturers during presentations

As you can also see, I do actually have a couple of personal weaknesses, “emotional” and “perfectionist”, but I feel that these won’t be seen much through the completion of this project.

 


 

LO3Situate your work within your personal and professional development

Response:

This 202MC Rethink, React, Respond module has affected me both personally and professionally. It has enhanced a number of my strengths and skills found within my original SWOT analysis, giving me a stronger skill set that will not only benefit me personally but will also allow me to become a more versatile professional within the photographic and media industries.

Some examples of the main skills and strengths that were challenged throughout this module include:

  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Persuasion skills
  • Organization skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Time management
  • Problem solver
  • Research skills
  • Working well in a team
  • Initiative
  • Flexibility
  • Hard-worker

This module has also allowed me to gain opportunities that have been mentioned on my original SWOT analysis. By working in a team, I have been able to network with a number of people from the Media Production course and, through the planning of our project, I have found out their strengths and what they enjoy creating, which will allow me to identify any suitable partnerships or collaborations that I may require in the future.

Taking part in the module has also meant that I have been able to diversify my professional portfolio to include both group work and another exhibition installation piece. This will also enhance my professional versatility, which will in turn increase my employability within the photographic and media industries.

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