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UNI - Research and Context

I'm really enjoying my uni course, however, this term proved slightly difficult due to a few personal issues, including a bad doubt of health that meant I didn't go into uni for at least have of the module. This left me very overwhelmed and slightly confused by what direction to take my project in but, eventually, I got there and created something I could be proud of.

The purpose of the module was to help move your personal practice forward by researching appropriate theory to annotate and then create a final body of work which showed your understanding of the research and related to the theory. I decided, due to the direction my practice has been taking, to look into the way in which the natural world can affect our mental health. Finding research materials proved quite easy as I already take great interest in this. If you want to check out what books and papers I chose to help guide my final piece they are as follows (all highly recommended!) -

  • Nature and Culture - P. Halley

  • Health and Happiness in 20th Century Avant-Garde Art - D. B. Kuspit & L. Gamwell

  • The Moth Snowstorm - Michael McCarthy

  • Erotic Ambiguities The Female Nude in Art - H. McDonald

  • Michael Rosen's Sad Book - M. Rosen and Q. Blake

  • Advancing Environmental Epidemiology to Assess the Beneficial Influence of the Natural Environment on Human Health and Well-Being - Raquel A. Silva, Kim Rogers and Timothy J. Buckley

I also went to the AMAZING Charles Schulz Charlie Brown exhibition at Somerset House and spend a couple of hours looking at wonderful Peanuts comic strips and watching old 60s cartoons!

Although difficult to grasp at first, the process of researching some theory before producing or experimenting with a final outcome proved very helpful. I found the more I read, the more inspired I felt and that those ideas had a stronger sense of purpose than ones that might just pop into my brain!

I decided to create a 20 page graphic novel, in lieu of a 6000 word essay: a semi-autobiographical account of a day in the life of someone who has depression but finds subtle comfort in nature and the natural world as they go about their day. The aim was to create a body of work that could be a tool, and used as a comfort, for someone who may be experiencing brain fog due to mental health reasons or chronic illness, which is why I chose to use as little text as possible and tell the story through visual means.

Due to poor time management as a result of a difficult term, some of the work felt quite rushed and I would love to return to this project in the future to redo some of the illustrations and, possibly, create some interactive elements throughout (i.e. small tasks that you could achieve when out in nature, such as 'List all the sounds that you can hear in the park'.

Here is the layout of the outcome for the module. I called the book "Borrowed Strength" -

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