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    Unit 22 no more

    Chris Hildrey Sep 1 '08 1

    You know when you have a day that starts off great then ends terribly? Welcome to Monday.

    Today I went with work on a practise half day to the V&A museum to sketch. Of course, having just one and a half hours to see the exhibit and make a sketch or two didn't leave much time for either.

    Luckily though the exhibit was tiny. Unluckily, I only had an A3 sketchpad and nowhere to lean. Nonetheless I managed to make my first sketch in years. I had forgotten how much fun it is to just sit (or stand) and draw something that is actually in front of you. Even if you only get about a third of the drawing done in 40 minutes.


    A Sumatran Rice Barn, pre-1900 (do excuse the crappy scan)


    And then Monday remembers itself. There I am, checking my emails on my phone as I wander back to my desk - and there it is: the message I didn't expect. Unit 22 at the Bartlett is no more.

    Both tutors have apparently left the building - leaving us with no unit to go back to next term. It's fair to say it's a kick in the balls. Not least because now the website of the unit's work that I just finished is going to fade out alone, waiting for someone to show mercy and pull the plug on it like some kind of hobo on life support.

    But, more importantly, I really liked our unit. My year group worked together really well. We felt like the underdogs of the Bartlett (no one ever knows of Unit 22). We liked that. It brings you closer as a group and makes you more competitive knowing that you have to fight for the tiniest bit of attention in the school. Our tutors weren't egos. You could do any type of project you wanted - as long as it was good enough - and use any media - as long as it was appropriate to the project. It was a unit where people had different approaches and different backgrounds and we all learned from each other more than if we had been similar. It was a microcosm of the reasons I chose the Bartlett in the first place. And now it's gone.

    Or rather, replaced. You see apparently 'Unit 22' is going to continue, just with two new tutors. And a different academic direction, apparently. Now call me cynical but I learned my lesson with Audioslave - you can keep as many of the elements as you want, but unless you have the same front man it just doesn't work.

    Don't get me wrong, if I go in on the first day of term and Peter Zumthor and Megan Fox are my new tutors, I'll reconsider my position and mop up the mess. But until that day, I'm still going to be a little worried about joining an untested unit for my final year of education.

    Ah, well. I guess the experience will be 'character building' (the optimist's word for crap).

     

     
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