OCASA helped to fund OCA Thames Valley Group’s second meeting, here is Eddy’s writeup…
Saturday 20th April was the day of the second ‘study day’ meeting organised for members of the group. The meetings are scheduled to run bi-monthly at a nominal cost to students and generous financial support from OCASA. The venue was the same as our last meeting, in the lounge and dining room of Gilbert Court in Thatcham, Berkshire, and this time seven students and Sharon Boothroyd, OCA Tutor, made up the attendees.
Our agreed agenda structure for these days is thirty minutes for each student to present work in progress for general critique and helpful discussion, with Sharon guiding us all giving helpful advice and steering. This takes up to four-and-a-half hours, depending on attendee numbers, but time rarely seems to drag and everyone requires a reminder that their allotted time is expiring and then has expired and then please stop so someone else can have a go, so it’s never boring. We then break for what seems to be a very short lunch as the talk seems to continue from where we left off the first session and morphs into general discussion. The very serious part of the day then follows when we move over to the agreed topic for the afternoon, in this case Semiotics. This discussion and teaching continues until 5-00 pm when we have to clear the room so that the evening bingo crowd can get in, but even after seven hours no-one really wants to give up even though tiredness is beginning to set in.
The main object of these ‘study days’ is to give us all the chance to receive first-hand feedback on our work and to be able to ask supplementary questions, which is always difficult via blogs and social media sites. Seeing someone’s work actually printed and in original condition gives a different dimension to it than any reproduction via screen or book and enables very different thoughts, critique and advice to be given.
The second session is there to be enable students to benefit from a tutor lecture on a subject that isn’t always easy to understand from just reading and allows group thought and interaction to come up with other ways of viewing these subjects. Besides a short lecture there’s always the opportunity to discuss things that haven’t been entirely clear and ask questions of the tutor, besides the other delegates, so a lot of individual time that could be spent alone on the subject is much better targeted with this method.
It always surprises me the level of commitment given by the individual students to make these occasions work well and it’s a testament to their efficacy that juts two days after this last meeting four students had already signed up for the next meeting in June!