03
Apr
08

Diary of a PhD Student: Semester 2, Week 7

“The Hermit represents the need to distance yourself from the people and events in your life that are causing undue strain on your emotions. There are times in your life when seclusion and isolation are warranted. The Hermit is a card of discovery and enlightenment, which can only develop by spending time alone with your thoughts. Your energy will be depleted quickly in social situations.”

Hildegard of Bingen, and Henry Giroux

This semester taking five PhD courses and working full time is really draining. I find that whenever I have any time off all I want to do catch up on missed rest. Attending my PhD classes and teaching is tiring and very physically demanding. It’s difficult to understand what happens in my head unless you have gone through it as well. When you are not working, you are attending class, or studying. A spare day is usually a homework catch up day. In addition I have extra responsibilities as Secretariat for the 2008 World Creativity Summit which takes up any spare time.

Man Ray

Nonetheless, this is a very intellectually and professionally fulfilling time and I would not trade it for the world. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and many things that I’ve dreamed of are in process. Last week I found out that I’ll be publishing an article in Taiwan’s Journal of Life Education and this June I am going to apply to go to the National Arts Education Association conference in Minneapolis in 2009. Moreover, I am beginning to see what the focus of my PhD will be: Visual Culture. I’d like to study how the curriculum of Visual Culture is taught in Taiwan and link it to my own research on how images convey meaning at Huafan. I am also interested in the kind of images that visual culture educators choose to teach. Through that angle I would like to link my teaching of visual culture to my photography. Visual culture is about the cultural, emotional, commercial, and aesthetic connections that we all feel with images.

On Tuesday night I viewed the Madonna portfolio on Vanity Fair’s site. As I flipped through the images from the 90’s I all of a sudden was jolted into remembering the time in my life when I first viewed them. It is amazing how images can trigger memory and emotions. I also know that a lot of my photography is influenced by visual culture. Most often I am interested in taking photos of women and displaying my own interpretation of modern femininity. In part of my PhD I would like to chart how the visual culture of my youth influenced my outlook as an educator and photographer. Anyways these are just my current thoughts….

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4 Responses to “Diary of a PhD Student: Semester 2, Week 7”


  1. 1 globetrotteri
    April 4, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Jo,

    There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I think you’re dealing with everything really really well. You’re a tremendous inspiration. I checked out Man Ray’s photography before coming here and you’re right. I recognized his work and have an idea of what you will be trying to achieve tomorrow.

    What terrific news about Taiwan’s Journal of Life Education! Plus your PhD sounds fascinating. I’m quite intrigued with your choices.

    Finally, I was looking at Madonna’s portfolio early today as well. (Great minds think alike!) Those new photos are mind-blowing. She’s phenomenal in every way. Sexy. Powerful. Strong. Commanding. Utterly unique and completely bewitching. She makes 49 look easy.

  2. April 6, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Thanks Carrie. It is amazing how visual culture can capture and convey emotions, memory, and meaning.

  3. April 20, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Believe it or not, I have just figured out what RSS feeds are and I am going to start subscribing to your notes and your thoughts, if that is okay?

    I too, would like to start a blog. I have been, but the things I do, write and create seem to be all over the place and not in one consolidated area.

    Was it hard to set up WordPress? Do you pay money for a server or website address or for anything Blogging, for that matter?

    Say, “Hi” to Range for me.

    It sounds like you are well. You don’t need to keep in touch, because I am now connected…mwahaha!!

  4. April 20, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Hey Tom. It’s pretty easy to set-up WordPress. No costs are involved. Just start an account at WordPress.com, choose your theme and post a few entries. If you can use MS Word, you can use WP.com. It’s pretty straight forward.

    I’m sure that Jo would love it if you subscribed to her blog.

    Hi right back at you!


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