As I write, I routinely reflect and mull over ideas and inter-connections and think about how best to get the narrative across and which elements of my practice to focus on. The more I do this, the more I realise that the act of beginning to write my thesis is another form of reflection in action. My research and practice are informed and enhanced by reflection on being, reflection on action and the combined reflection on being and action. This is how I come to know – my epistemology.
Gillie Bolton defines Reflection as an “in-depth review of events” (2014) p7). Those reflections, like mine, might take the form of a journal and focus on the why? In the field, and on my return to write and process my images, I try to focus on why I choose to focus a on particular subject (rather than something else), why I chose the camera settings, and why I pressed the shutter when I did. However, Bolton considers that reflective practice is made up of two components, the other being Reflexivity. She defines this as “finding strategies to question our own attitudes, theories-in-use, values, assumptions, prejudices and habitual actions; to understand our complex roles in relation to others.” (2014) p7). This is useful for me as I work to bring my writing and critical voice together.
I work hard on trying to become more reflective but acknowledge that sometimes I tend to describe, rather than taking a more critical and enquiring tone towards my choices and actions. Sometimes I fail to write about the decisions I have made and why, because they seem so obvious and intuitive to me. I need to work on this aspect of my practice and examine in more detail questions about my values, assumptions, and beliefs and how they affect and influence my practice.
In the meantime, I am honing my skills of reflection while writing. I am walking to give myself a break and record new thoughts and ideas on my phone, ready for transcription when I return home. I find walking helpful in teasing out ideas, thinking about new ones, and generally churning over what I have read, written, or photographed in recent days. I think it is the rhythmic nature of walking that allows the brain to relax, almost daydream. I read before I go to bed, in the hope perhaps my brain might put some ideas together, ready for the next day of writing.
But the draft I am working on is just the first draft. I am fully aware that there will be many iterations as I develop and enrich my writing and the narrative of my thesis – sometimes by ripping up large sections of text that I have spent hours formulating. But that is part of the process. The key for me in both my writing and selecting images is not to become too attached to them. As they may not make the final version.
Bolton, G. (2014). Reflective Practice – Writing and Professional Development. London, SAGE Publications Ltd.