General Organisation

15485448941_754cd06e07_zWhen studying at GSA, it is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to focus on just one project at a time; you will need a strategy to organise and prioritise your time. We all have strategies for planning our time, some students keep things in their heads, some may write lists, some may keep blogs. Whatever strategy you currently use it is a good idea to ask yourself whether or not they are working for you. If the answer is no or not always, it is worth spending a bit of time reviewing your strategies.

  1. Plan your day/week ahead
  2. Plan a regular time to write up an action plan. Half an hour planning on a Sunday evening will prepare you for the week ahead and remind you of what you need to bring to art school.

Example of an action plan

Day Main tasks to complete today: Also work on (if time): Your Notes/reflection
1 Take photos and make drawings from brief. Read selected key texts. Research and define topic for written assignment. Spent too long drawing. Need to think about how to document more quickly
2 Develop rationale for selection of images. Write summary of key findings from reading. Develop plan for essay. Write intro. Rationale was very quick – used template to start essay

How to use an action plan.

Be specific when planning your time. Try to break down tasks into individual activities. When planning writing, break down topics into manageable ‘chunks’. (If you use general terms like ‘develop research’ when planning it is not always easy to identify the actual task/s). Reading takes time – organise reading into comfortable blocks and plan coffee breaks; use active reading strategies.

  1. Lectures: Notes for lectures are often available in advance. Reading these notes prior to attending a lecture will enable you to research key themes and theories, and give you the chance to become familiar with any new vocabulary. It will also give you the opportunity to think about key questions and to prepare your note making strategy.
  2. Tutorials and Crits:  It is good practice to write down questions in advance of these events, and for any presentation it is worth writing down short notes/prompts of key things that you want to say. Don’t hide these notes – using notes for a presentation is professional. Visually mapping your ideas using a mind map is useful in this process as it is also readily transferable. Your tutors and peers will be better placed to understand your process if they can be presented with an overview map. This will improve the relevance of feedback.
  3. Academic writing and reading: If you think back, there will have been times when you have found writing or reading more successful or comfortable. Try to recreate an environment that will enable you to apply yourself fully to the task in hand. Avoid reading at the last minute. Allow for additional time to review and edit writing. Map out ideas and record what you have read.
  4. Studio: Identify what activities can only or best take place in the studio. Studios are used for a variety of purposes across the School, however in a broad sense they are used as places where you can visually map out or record your process, and/or a place for experimentation and making. Make lists of materials to bring in. Think about which activities to prioritise in your available studio time. Peer learning and tutorial input in the studio are central to learning at GSA so try to make best use of the time when your peers and tutors are available.
  5. Develop and establish a daily routine. For example:
Pre-GSA Read action plan and check materials lists for studio.
First thing at GSA Check GSA email/VLE and studio notice board for updates. Tour studio/make notes.
Before leaving GSA Check GSA email/VLE and studio notice board for updates. Tour studio/make notes.

 Image: McAteer at GSA Flickr

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