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Talking Out Loud: Reflective videos within textile practice

I want to share my thoughts on using video recordings as a useful tool in an active reflective practice. I will draw on my experiences as a tutor and as a textile designer and maker currently studying for an MA in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA). 

Covid-19 shook the foundations of my studies and the way I look at my own textile practice. I had to adapt my working methods to explore the digital space opened up by the pandemic. This is something that the OCA does so well, and I realised that I could learn a lot from the students and colleagues I worked with. 

In her blog post “Discussing and sharing the qualities of your work” (LINK: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/study-tips/discussing-and-sharing-the-qualities-of-your-work/ ) course leader Rebecca Fairley examines capturing thoughts and observations of physical work, in video format. This sparked a line of enquiry for my own practice when thinking about the methods I use for reflection. Historically, I have been a great fan of straightforward written annotation, combined in a separate notebook, that supports my physical textile practice through routine, informal reflection. I have shared a photo below to give you a sense of how this usually works for me. I like to use this space to question and take a step back from the work I am making. 

Reflective Notebook 2019 – 2020, Amy Tidmarsh

Prompted by a tutor at the RCA  and from the work that Rebecca did in supporting OCA students transition to digital assessment of work, I began to record myself talking about the practical work I was making. The videos below involve me talking about 2 samples from the second year of my MA study. In the first video I discuss a sample that best represented my project at the point of filming, in January 2021. The sample selected was not my most successful, but in reflection it was a pivotal moment in my project. Allowing the space to discuss why this sample was most representative yet to identify its shortcomings gave me a clear route to take next. 

Reflective Video 1, January 2021, Amy Tidmarsh LINK: https://oca.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=eac62a6b-3037-4dbf-9afc-ad1400f24ba3 

The second video captures me discussing a piece of work that I was rejecting. Deep down, I knew that this work didn’t successfully communicate my ideas, but at the time of making this recording, I was unsure why and reluctant to let it go. Through the process of recording myself reflecting on the work, I was able to identify why, and to let myself move on.

Reflective Video 2, January 2021, Amy Tidmarsh] LINK: https://oca.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a429117b-8ef7-49fa-9eda-ad1400f25134

Have you tried recording yourself talking about a piece of work? What things cropped up for you? What other methods do you find useful when needing to be critically reflective on the work you are making?  

Featured image: Reflective Video Still, March 2021, Amy Tidmarsh

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Posted by author: Amy Tidmarsh
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5 thoughts on “Talking Out Loud: Reflective videos within textile practice

  • Great idea. Just started Fine Art degree – will use this method hopefully

    I think the two links are the same, is that correct?

  • I am on SYP Textiles now and had needed to record videos for my degree work submitted in May. I found it quite hard making videos of me talking about the process as I had the camera in front of me, but i was fine talking about the concept of my final pieces. where I just added the voice track to the video. Having watch your videos i realize I need to have the camera over my shoulder so its just hands and work, not me in the video, like most people I feel very self conscious talking into a camera. Thank you so much for showing these videos.

  • This makes a lot is sense, Amy, thank you. I had a similar revelation when I recorded submissions for assessment in Contemporary Practice this year. In the process of talking about my work, I realised things that hadn’t occurred to me even through extensive written reflection. I’ve now started ‘talking to myself’ on video about my samples as a reflective journal. I love writing but talking seems to spark more connections and ideas.

  • I find making videos sometimes over and over helps me focus my thoughts. Sometimes in the course of doing that I change my mind about a piece of work or see something I had not seen before. This is why really I favour video over writing ..I don’t get that with writing ..it tends to stay on the page much more …I enjoy writing about things but then cant watch it back in the same way..share it with anyone sat together that kind of thing. The process of making a video forces you to be more analytical I think ..

    The sound ..Climbing moving on boulders has a lot of sound ..cords stretching, the clang of all the carabiners ..not sure of the name, knocking those little hook things into the rock the ropes moving against each other ..I wondered if you could consider this ? just a thought

  • This is really great, I feel that through school we are conditioned to use pen and paper/computers to record written format but find that is very difficult. Are there any tips and tricks for how to ensure the videos are kept concise as i have a habit of waffling on. I would love to see some workshops many to help students learn how to break away from written feed back in a structured way.
    I’m currently on Creative Arts and will be starting 1.2 in mid Feb

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