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Inclusive Teaching & Learning Unit: Gender – Part 2

February 14, 2017 in Inclusive Teaching & Learning

Part 2 – A response to reading “Understanding Patriarchy” by Bell Hooks

I learned quite a lot from reading this text, just from visualising the scenarios from Bell Hooks’ childhood highlighted that I have understood and recognised Patriarchy for many years. However I did not necessarily know how to label it with this definition as eloquently has Hooks has.

Acceptable and unacceptable Patriarchy:

I was able to relate the various scenarios Hooks talks the reader through with my own experiences of understanding Patriarchy. For example, it reminded me of speaking to a friend who’s male cousin had committed suicide and how their family members got uncomfortable talking about this young, male adult with depression (a large contribution to his suicide). On the flipside, my friend’s family deemed it absolutely fine to speak about the same (depression) to do with a female within their family, and better yet, openly speak about this female’s mental health at public gatherings to mock them or define them as weak. This was not to do with age / generations / or traditions in culture, my friend was confused and surprised by the vast range of family members that acted out their patriarchy towards both situations. It is very similar to the story Hooks described when her father angrily told her to stop playing with marbles and her mother almost said ‘I told you so’ after telling Bell quietly to stop playing the marbles

Familiarity is a big friend to Patriarchy:

Again, reading through this text made me think about how I’ve challenged my own review of situations and environments, as those I’ve experienced over the years have broadened. For example, I have grown up visiting India regularly and I can remember the first time I saw two adult heterosexual, male members of my family, walking down the street in Kolkata holding hands, thinking to myself ‘that is uncomfortable to look at’. Now I see it so many times I think the familiarity has taken away the ‘weird’ factor for me, but if I saw that same scene in my home town of Leicester, I would (for a split second) have that uncomfortable feeling return to me – and then think, why? Is it out of fear of local people’s reactions to this scene more than my own? Why is it not ‘weird’ if I see the same in London? Is it because I am familiar with seeing people feeling more open about their gender and sexuality in public (in London) compared to Leicester? Bell Hooks paraphrases some content in her text from  ‘How Can I Get Through to You?’ by family therapist Terence Real, in which his sons decided between themselves and their friends, what was appropriate for boys to play. A stern look – body language – communicated that ‘play’ did not include dressing up as a Barbie doll. With this in mind I wonder if I ever received such communication growing up in majority amongst friends in the UK, which embedded patriarchy in me, almost as if it was through a ‘reality facade’.

Having read this text, overall I believe it is always good to reflect on your decisions to design or make a choice that affects others and keep this understanding of patriarchy in mind to who we want it to benefit. I do wonder if, in today’s global society are we largely having struggles internally about gender and patriarchy, as well as acting out our struggles externally? I suspect the internal struggle will always exist to a degree, but I do wonder, can societies ever become fully ex-patriarchic, or fully dispel taboos that any one person might feel towards gender fluid behaviours in themselves and in others around them? I am hopeful that more understanding can be developed at the very least.

I didn’t know how much to prepare

February 1, 2017 in Tutor Group Discussions

I didn’t know how much to prepare for our first tutor group meeting, so I started a presentation to answer our questions, but it ended up not being used, as the session was, gratefully on my part, informal and discussion based. It was great to hear the varied experiences of teaching in the room.

So that my preparation work for that session isn’t completely lost, and in case anyone reading is remotely interested, here is a little link to it online (though it’s not the slickest presentation, be warned!). It includes some images and a short film of a ‘self directed learning’ workshop I presented at a practice sharing forum at the National Gallery in September 2016.

Enjoy: http://prezi.com/btnva3pytupl/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

The Visual Diary Starts Here

October 24, 2016 in uncategorised

Tomorrow I will be taking my collection of Brooke Bond Tea Cards and Albums to support my Collaborative Research Task.

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These books really illustrate for me in a very sincere way how collecting and my love of nature, design, science and language overlap. They also are marker points in time from my youth and collecting can often be steeped in nostaligia. I don’t think this aspect of collecting offers my research anything as I am trying to extend my understanding of myself, my practice as a designer/ illustrator and collecting as they potentially serve as bridging points to working with the science community.

Brooke Bond Teac Cards and Albums

 

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