Arts Matters

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A postgraduate perspective on the Faculty of Arts

So it’s mid-November, and my first term as a postgrad Arts student (English Lit MA, if you’re wondering) is speeding by. I was lucky enough to study at UoN as an undergrad, so I had a heads up on Nottingham life, but it’s still been a big change. Thankfully, a positive one! I’m doing more …

Immersion and Self-Consciousness

Schopenhauer claimed that the function of art was to release the individual from their constant restless striving. We have selfish desires that we look to satisfy, desires which seem beyond our control and not always admirable. But in aesthetic contemplation we can lose our sense of self if we become immersed in the object and …

The Art of Conversation

I’ve always had a funny relationship with conversation. I often want to be left alone, to get on with work, read, do the things I like to do, quietly in solitude, and a conversation stops me. Sometimes you can feel trapped in a conversation, finding it dull or uncomfortable, inane and a waste of time, …

Diversity

While in some ways there is a commonality that holds us together as a species – all of us wanting love, freedom and personal growth – we also exhibit a great diversity. There is no denying this. As well as the very apparent differences in race, sex and culture, we are diverse in our politics, …

Books for Prisoners

In 1981 I saw the TV premier of A Sense of Freedom, a film about violent convict Jimmy Boyle. Serving a life sentence for murder, the Glasgow gangster faced down one attempt after another by the prison authorities to crush his spirit. Perhaps they thought they could beat the bad out of him. But it …

A Touching Story

There being few lengths to which the author of Arts Matters would not go in order to secure the story, I found it necessary to take my first massage this week so that I could write with authority on the sense of touch. It being common knowledge that there are five bodily senses, this exploration …

Making Scent

An important part of the everyday aesthetic is the sense of smell. While it often works subconsciously, it can be because of an attractive smell that we feel good. With a bad smell, it’s the opposite. Smell is evocative. It reminds us of people or experiences; conjures images of past times. A friend told me …

Emotions

They get in the way of wise action, drive you to reckless decisions, have you in tears over small matters, or lead you to sacrifice everything in pursuit of a dream. The emotions are one of the most distinctive elements brought to the world by humanity (and a few other animals). At times they seem …

Making Sense 2

Being awoken by birdsong is the most peaceful start to the day, something you miss if you live in a city with few trees. Waves crashing against a beach similarly creates a sense of serenity. We are surrounded by sounds, natural and artificial, all of which provide raw materials for our art. Music is a …

Making Sense 1

Images hit the retina whenever our eyes are open. Mostly we let those images pass by, ignoring them in favour of more pressing thoughts. Sometimes an image deserves our attention and we take a perception, an action that makes sense of the visual manifold. There is a special kind of perception that we can take: …