I was asked this question just the other day by a friend - so I thought I would respond by posting my answer here.
What is my favorite part about the course work….wow. Huh. Well, I can't just keep it to one thing…so here's ALL my favorites….
We jumped - or were thrown - into the deep end from day one. There was no gradual build up really, we just did what needed to be done and learned through the process of doing and experiencing. And while there are informational (and enjoyable) lectures, the course is very hands-on - experiential, practical learning. For example, we never had a classroom lecture on how to take site measurements - we just went and did it and talked about it there. It seems we are able to learn and move through the design process and produce fantastic work in such a short period of time because of this diving-in-and-really-doing-approach.
The feedback, encouragement and attention from the tutors and instructors is fantastic. Being just 9 in the full-time studio we normally have 2 and sometimes 3 tutors hovering around the room - that means we get the attention we need to really dig into our designs and discover what's working, what's not so much - and what could be done to resolve our dilemmas. Positivity abounds while receiving feedback, even when it's frankly not working. It's a very motivating and open environment. Plus, your work is really your own, while the instructors effectively guide you along and give suggestions, they want me to find me in the design, and not them. They don't force their ideas upon your work.
Also - as an addendum to this section - I must say that the tutors and instructors themselves are marvelous individuals who are a joy to be around. They are fun, funny, interesting and really care about us and our work. You can feel their genuine souls and that makes a difference.
We have tea time! 11:15 am - we break for tea. I believe the creative mind needs negative space in order to maintain it's fluidity of expression. Plus it's seems so hobbit-like to have tea-time…it's basically second breakfast!
(And as I briefly re-read through this, I am reminded of elementary school…what's your favorite subject? Recess. Wasn't that always in the top two?)
I am challenged every single day. For someone who has been in the landscape design business for over 8 years, the fact that I am fascinated and challenged every single day THRILLS me. I feel like I am learning how to be a real designer! From creating mood boards, to building models, and pushing the grid process over the edge…I am developing wonderful skills and learning the most effective process for me - Lorien - to move forward and produce effective and sincere designs. Ah! It's the best.
The Inchbald is my home away from home. And while this has nothing to do with the coursework - it has everything to do with life and living happily! I adore the people I share the studio with and those who teach us, they are my family while I am here. It's been just over two months since school started, but I am already going to miss them come end of July - ugh - I don't even want to think about it!
Study and learning is also researched-based. Being based in London, we have incredible references all around us - be it paintings, parks, architecture, you name it! We frequent museums and public spaces to gather information that we can add to our memory bank, sketch books, and picture library - we have mini-assignments that exercise our brains and push us into thinking that goes below the surface that is so easy to stay above.
Postgraduate work is such a blessing. Every Monday we gather at 3 pm to discuss, debate, and explore ideas, theories and experiences from philosophy, studies, reading assignments, our own design work….talking it out and exploring through words with others is enlightening. I always walk away with great insights, information, and questions to consider. Plus I am keeping a Postgrad Journal where I am recording this year through mostly reflective writing, and that has been fun and interesting to work on.
There are probably more 'favorites' - but these will do for now! I am so happy - I love what I am learning and experiencing. Every day I am so grateful for my time here. It's an amazing adventure and I hope to effectively apply myself each day so that my potential can more fully come to fruition.
Cheers all around!
P.S. If you have a question about my time here in London - or anything really, email me and I may answer it on my blog!