It’s hard to know how to begin with this entry. It might be a good idea to follow the Mad Hatter’s advice and “begin at the beginning, and when you get to the end – stop!”
This story begins in China, at the PIP Festival. Amongst the many highlights of that trip was getting to meet the current graduating MFA Photography students and their professors from Parsons, New School University in New York City. The PIP Festival organisers had arranged accommodation for all of the visiting foreign students in one of two historic “courier stations” reinvented as bed & breakfast type establishments inside the ancient city of Pingyao. Because of this proximity the little clutch of South Australian students I was travelling with were included in several impromptu student demonstrations and mini symposia where all the international students were able to present their work. On one occasion we were given 5 minutes (timed) to present our research with no time to prepare notes. It was an excellent test. Anyway, anyway I’m babbling here, but, the upshot of all of this was that I had a forum to show my research to some international academics, smile and shake their hand and swap business cards. This whole social networking thing is an absolute mystery to me, and I have to work pretty hard at it as it doesn’t come naturally. I had an excellent role model in Sundari Carmody, who is not only an incredibly talented young photographer, but also an absolutely natural networker. She’s an outstanding travelling companion, too.
On my return to Adelaide I contacted the professors from Parsons, and applied to do a residency as a Visiting Scholar over their summer program. It was a long waiting game to find out if I was going to be accepted, but I kept busy by preparing for the possibility of a summer in New York City by applying for professional development grants through ArtsSA. Lucky for me, my applications were successful so when I did finally get the green light everything was (mostly) in place.
And so here I am!
For the moment I’m flying solo, the boys will arrive in early July and I can’t wait to see their sweet faces. However, this city is more everything than I could have ever imagined & I’ve kept myself very busy. So far it’s friendly, comfortable, kooky and exciting. This week was my first week of study and I’ve managed to meet almost all of the MFA Photo students across all years of the degree, many of whom are international students from around the globe. There has been much geek talk 🙂 I’m ready to throw myself into an intensive period of making, although first I need to find out where in the city they hide all the broken optical instruments for me to scavenge. I also need to find a generous designer who will let me raid their scraps, and a sewing machine will speed things up too. Let’s see how lucky I can get.