A Reflection on Level 4 Constellation

Throughout constellation, I have learnt many things to support my learning in my subject area. Constellation was not what I thought it was going to be, but I have enjoyed it nevertheless. At the start of the year, I thought that it would be more based towards my subject, but I have definitely enjoyed learning about more wide ranging subjects.

Term 1:

In the first term I was in a study group called The Body in Society. This was one of my first choices when deciding which study groups I wanted to take part in, so I was very pleased to be placed into the group. Having studied Sociology at A Level, I had some knowledge of a few of the terms used in the study group, which helped me to understand some of the theory and concepts faster than I might have done otherwise.

I find the way that people act and how things happen within society very interesting, and I’m always keen to learn more. I found the session we had on heteronormativity fascinating, because it made me realise that almost everything in society about love and relationships is based on heterosexual couples. For example, most sex education in schools only teaches about sex between a man and a woman. Unless it has purposely been thought about, most representations of relationships in the media are heterosexual. I would like to explore this area in more depth, as it really intrigues me. During the course of the autumn term, we went from learning about the body throughout history, to what the future of the body might be. Everything we do as human beings is based around how our bodies work, and if there were one thing that was different, many things that we know would be completely different. An example of this is cars, which relies on using all four limbs, our vision and our hearing to be able to drive safely. If we had any less limbs, or no vision, driving would likely be a completely different experience to what we are used to.

Our bodies are also controlled by those in power, with CCTV always watching, and laws and societal rules that make sure we do not ‘misbehave’. Cars are also a good example of ways in which our bodies can be controlled, because to even be able to drive one, we have to wait until we’re old enough, then pass two tests before even being allowed on the road alone. Even after the tests, there are a plethora of rules for every part of driving, but these are to primarily to help us stay safe on the roads.

This study group was very relevant to my subject area, as Textiles is based around the body, whether it is fashion, interiors, or surface pattern. Most obviously, fashion revolves around the human form, with designers using it to create new shapes and statements. Interior textiles makes our homes feel warm and homely, often being the finishing touches on a room. Cushions keep us comfortable, curtains keep the dark out to help us sleep, and blankets keep us warm. Surface pattern can go into both fashion designs and interior fabrics, as well as into paper and stationery, all of which are produced for the human body to use.

As well as the study groups in term 1, we also had keynote lectures every two weeks, one from each study group tutor, and they were interesting to listen to, to hear something about a subject that wasn’t from the study group.

Term 2:

In the spring term, I was again put into a study group that was one of my first choices; Smells Like Teen Spirit: Subcultures and Street Style. Once more I was excited to learn more about this subject, as I had learnt a small amount about subcultures at A Level. By analysing photos, we learnt about a different subculture from the 20th Century each week. I think the subcultures that I found most interesting were the ones, I’d never heard of before, for example the zoot suitors. Their style interested me because of the bright colours, which stood out from the normality of others. This is the point of all subcultures, to be different from the normal style of dressing, to make a statement. In almost all subcultures, pieces of clothing are taken from another era or setting and customised into the subculture’s own style, for example the goth subculture took Victorian dresses and added dramatic make up and different jewellery. More modern subcultures even take features from previous subcultures and change them, and have access to shops like Blue Banana to help them create a look more easily.

During this study group I have learnt about a range of different subcultures, and I now have a method of analysing photos which I think will really help me in the future. In my own subject area, I think it has helped me to stop and think about each detail of my work, because every tiny thing can have a meaning, whether you intend it to or not. This has been reinforced in a recent lecture I attended in my subject about colour theory, where we were taught that every colour means something, and colour is to be considered before anything is created. It can mean the difference between being mediocre and amazing, just from that one extra thought at the start of the creative process. I think constellation as a whole has helped me realise this, despite being unsure of the module at the beginning of the year. Although I do find academic writing challenging, I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about areas other than textiles in second year, to help me improve my way of thinking and working.

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