OCA Level 3: Body of Work/Contextual Studies

Tag: Notes

L3 Tutor Group: 27th September 2021

Notes from Contextual Studies Level 3 Tutor Group session on 27th September 2021 with Ariadne Xenou:

revision, redrafting, editing:


  • do at every stage
  • looking at things a different way
    • do you revise/pursue?
  • seeing afresh/anew
    • to drive forward
  • something new can appear which would mean need to revise what has been done
  • seeing draft through a new prism 
  • need to step outside our thoughts and see with new eyes
  • do the sentences mean what we intended?
    • introduce a new reader – imagine a new reader
    • try to see afresh
  • why do we need to revise so much?
    • might have missed the point – figure out what is missing
    • are you communicating effectively?
  • abstract ideas only take shape when we read and revise them
    • reconsider and do more
    • what works and what doesn’t – what does it need
    • more we do this more refined it is
  • dissonance 
    • conceptual dissonance
    • looking whether we might have missed the point
      • dissonance between intent and outcome
    • by finding dissonance we identify and resolve it 
    • we discover and force ourselves to think/problem solve/trouble shoot 
    • we revise in order to gain control 
  • feedback forces revision
    • and brings our own different perspective
  • think of how would approach a photo shoot/project/bow
    • not as intuitive with writing but essentially the same process


  • standing back and rewriting
  • structure
  • we cannot redraft without revision
  • redrafting is about finding resolution to dissonance
  • we cannot discover our arguments in our heads – it needs to come out – discovery
    • we write to discover 


  • comes at the end, before we submit
  • checking everything correct eg punctuation, referencing 
  • fine tuning/presentation/final touches
  • look at it for what it is not how it felt making it


taking someone’s idea and passing as your own – reference and there is no issue!

  • there is no original 
  • there can be a development that is original
  • nuance
    • can sound similar but may be fundamentally different
  • keep clear notes 
    • bibliography, paraphrase etc
      • avoids accidental plagiarism
  • ideas pivot on sources 
    • technique essential 
      • introduce – reference experiment – analysis – conclusions 
  • what is a quotation?
    • must be verbatim
    • can change grammar to flow but must show this
    • should only be used when succinct and eloquent, otherwise don’t quote
  • paraphrase
    • own words 
    • same level of detail from source 
  • summary
    • own words
    • brief description of idea where full detail not needed
  • summary/paraphrase help us understand concept better
    • writing through discovery
    • articulate in our own way
    • all need references
    • danger – merging own ideas with source – what they say with what they didn’t say
      • need control and safeguard 
  • too many references?
    • short text – how many can you have?
    • the golden balance – your argument – focus 
    • in our argument we only put what we need – nothing that is not crucial

Level 3 Tutor Group: 16th July 2021

Notes from Contextual Studies Level 3 Tutor Group session on 16th July 2021 with Ariadne Xenou:

  • The relationship between research and creativity – one is in a void without the other
  • Keep asking – what is the relevance to my practice? – only work when you have clarity about what you are pursuing
  • The problem of looking too much…
    • reflection
    • discussion
    • making sense for yourself
  • A3 pivotal assignment 
    • when things start to take shape
    • frequently does not come until feedback for A5
    • in order to achieve clarity – keep on keeping on, even if you are not sure what animal it is. Going through drafts, we discover (the more you write and engage)

What is creativity?

  • Value, comparison, judgement (Bakhtin?)
  • Communication to someone else – how is the work valuable to others?
  • has value
  • just making stuff
  • Fulfilling some sort of desire
  • Imagination, inner life, fulfilling fantasies – the desire to communicate
  • Why do we need to communicate to others? personal, authentic, say something personal and hopefully will resonate with others
  • Need to be open 
  • Even if something seems unique it is borrowed from somewhere else
  • We need to be able to contextualise work through research 
  • Creation does not happen in a void – all creativity comes from something else

Is creativity and research fundamentally different?

  • Essay itself is also a creative act
  • CS is about contextualising and understanding your own thoughts and development of thought 
  • Discovering things that make rise to the new
  • CS is about the creator understanding the depth of the work 
  • Although secondary sources are good ways into the subject, you must go to the primary sources
  • You need to get strict with the sources – damage control, what is the output? how much can be fit in reasonably? depth through word count  – not about the interesting alone but the relevant
  • Research is time consuming, opens so many paths – but eventually you need to choose your path
  • Assume no one is reading the blog…use it to synthesise info – only do things that are relevant – has to serve a purpose

AX recommendations  –

Bow and CS worth considering as 2 sections in a novel – although fundamentally different 

both are about telling stories, ultimately they will meet in some way – not to become the same but some different 2 other parts

© 2022 Michael Millmore

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑