A Dictionary of Feelings

James Allott’s latest post from Fremantle:

While looking through my journal for blog content, I realised I’d written a lot about how I’ve felt throughout the exchange thus far. It’s good for both my professional and personal development.
I then began to think about the Year 6 Self-Portrait Project back at Chickenley .
The first couple of weeks of self-portraits are all about developing ideas, researching in to artists’ work and influences. One of the most important areas of research revolves around the Year 6 children themselves.
Each young artist is encouraged to discover and share what makes them who they are. What aspects of their personality and character they wish to present in their self-portrait.
To help the artists communicate and articulate this, a Dictionary of Feelings is compiled by the children with the Roots and Wings team.

So I began to map my way through my journal using the feelings I had recorded. It was interesting to see just how many I had experienced in just a few weeks. I figured it could be cool for the Year 6 artists to see that even though I’m a ‘grownup’, I’m still developing and trying to better communicate my thoughts and feelings.
Over here Christina and I are affectionately called the ‘Baby Brits’ and in many ways that’s appropriate. Maybe not a ‘Baby’ but certainly young and emergent and developing. Will I feel like this forever? Does professional and personal development have an end point? Should it?

So what follows is my initial Dictionary of Feelings –
CHILLED at the onset of our journey
WELCOMED by David and both the staff and participants at Dadaa.
Surprisingly ALERT after our long journey-ready to explore
NERVOUS ANTICIPATION about going into new environments and workshops.
EXCITED to be here. Repeated reminders of just how LUCKY and FORTUNATE we are to be given this oppunity.
DAUNTED and OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE- the suitable scariness we feel when trying new things .
More and more COMFORTABLE as I got used to being here and met more people .
USEFUL and VALUED by the arts workers and clients here at Dadaa.
IMPRESSED and INSPIRED by all the fantastic art work created by the clients , the techniques they use and ideas they come up with.
UNSURE and UNCONFIDENT when it came to trying to ride a bike for the first time in years .
PREPARED, READY and FOCUSED -planning and preparing our own workshop.
PROUD to put into practice our knowledge and experience from Chickenley .
Momentary feelings of DOUBT and being POWERLESS- was I doing the right thing- communicating the right way.
DETERMINED to prove the way I work. Being CURIOUS and asking questions . Finding the best way to explain what I mean, communicate with a nonverbal child, describe a technique. Overcome any obstacles that crop up.

About Mary Robson

Mary is a Creative Facilitator. She works at the Institute of Medical Humanities at Durham University and in a freelance capacity.
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2 Responses to A Dictionary of Feelings

  1. anniRaw says:

    Hey James, this is great! It’s really interesting, and goes together really well with Christina’s questions about reflective practice and evaluation, which you haven’t seen so much of over there. I think it would be really interesting to have a salon about feelings within practice sometime – what goes through your heads/guts (!) during a session… could even be turned into a collective piece of artwork, to show the insides of the practice journey from the arts practitioners’ perspective!! Might need a few more people to do what you’ve just done though, to warm up.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    enjoy the rest of your time there 🙂

  2. James Allott says:

    Cheers anni, from reading renae’s account of the salon it sounds like you’ve all been getting into some meaty issues.
    I just thought this was an interesting exercise particularly for the Year 6 self portrait artists to see. An adult actually ‘walking the walk’ as it were. Me undertaking an exercise in thinking that they’ve been asked to do- rather than the other way around. That what they experience and learn with Roots and Wings can exist and is useful in the world beyond school.

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