Personal Reflection: Week One

This is the first personal reflection for my NTNU Art Education PhD course, Art and Gender Studies, with Professor Jo Chen.

Personal reflections are always a difficult pursuit for me to get into.  Namely because I do not enjoy writing about myself.  There is something about the process that can seem self-indulgent or narcissistic.  Moreover, anyone who knows me understands that I am a private person and that sharing my thoughts with others is not taken lightly and preferably avoided.  In my blog I prefer to speak through images and photography than the written word.

Just now I read an article in the New York Times about a young woman, Hannah Emily Upp, a teacher who disappeared one fall day before the start of the school semester.  Three weeks later she was found swimming in the New York Harbor unharmed, a victim of dissociative fugue, a rare form of amnesia that causes people to forget their identity.

To read the article please click here:

In the article Upp struggled to recall her whereabouts over the three weeks missing and remarked she had not yet returned to her teaching job.  Upps reflected that perhaps the stress of the new fall semester had unconsciously caused her memory and identity to lapse.  Reading this I could not help but identify with her.  The return to stress, routine, and reality after a long vacation is an endeavor most find daunting.   Who has not wanted to forget their identity upon the return to a difficult job?

Yet, conversely after reviewing Rita L. Irwin’s introduction in her book, (2004), A/r/tograhy : Rendering Self Through Arts-Based Living Inquiry, I realize that personal reflection is a vital to teaching, learning, personal identity, and one’s research.  The problem is that in our current over-scheduled society there is little room for the notion of “self”.  Self is just not on the agenda.  So it will be a pleasure to engage in the process of inquiry through our Art and Gender studies course with Professor Jo Chen and reclaim the notion of self.  Peel away barriers and engage is constructive reflection.  Confront our fears and consider the deep motivations in our shifting roles of artists-teachers-and researchers.  To quote Irwin’s conclusion to her chapter A/r/tography: A Metonymic Métissage: “a/r/tography is about each of us living a life of deep meaning enhanced through perceptual practices that reveal what was once hidden, create what has never been known, and imagine what we hope to achieve.” p. 36


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