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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

26/01/22 - STOP! LOOK! REFLECT!

To help establish a "one-year-on" idea of where the hell I am in terms of the content of this research project, I have formulated a mind map [below]. I believe this was needed, as my research seemed to be getting a little lost in the mix of practical experimentation, theory, writing, exhibitions etc etc, for me I needed to sit down with my body of work and put it within a clear structure.

One thing I definitely agree on with studying is taking that time to find that 'stop and reflect' moment. It is easy to become lost within the research and that is when we find rabbit holes entered and more and more theory and other forms be thrown into your ever growing library. That alone is common but it also plays a part in causing anxiety, stress and some forms of panic. At times I can find myself overwhelmed with everything that needs to be completed, reading every bloody text available, making more and more work, listening in on talks and seminars... the list can be endless. It is important then to find that strength or that sensible light bulb moment and think, "let's take a step back and just reflect on where we are in this chaotic academic mess".

Monty passed me on 'Mind-Map' a free software program that allows you to make an interactive digital mind-map that can host links to files and other external content...very useful indeed. Easy to set up and use and within ten minutes I had produced an established structure of my research.

I split the map up into five sections: Practice, Field Work, Speculative, Arctic and Theorists. Practice would take its own route however, now I would state that a link needs to be made between Practice and Field Work, as practical work would be created within some elements of the field. Field Work, Speculative, Arctic and Theorists are all given to the right side as to suggest the body of theory (you can see the umbrella of practice as research and research as practice with this map).

What is important with this map is that it has key points that link to supporting points and that it has an end point. I did not want to create a map that became something which expanded without no end point, that would defeat the purpose of my reflective stop tactic. I am able to give myself clear sub-headings which contain a minimal amount of content which is then led to another minimal amount of sub-content. Each section is clearly identifiable allowing me to locate knowledge/research content within the remit of a section. That section can be expanded but again it will not be expanded as to keep myself within the sections key points.

The idea now will be for me to cross reference the map with my project proposal so that small developmental edits can be made and that those edits it are worked on via the map section and not expanded beyond its needs. The map will also help with my planning i:e what needs to be explored on a practical sense and what needs to be explored through a theoretical method. One day could be practice and the other theory, a better and clearer way to work. Simplicity is key...

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