I knew I wanted to explore about Metaphor for my dissertation because it is also my choice of visual language. I always find artworks that have ambiguity in meanings interesting, because they are thought provoking, I particularly look up to works by Paula Rego, Kiki Smith, Louis Burgois and Georgia O’keeffe. Their artworks are heavily influenced by symbols, folklore and identity. Even though I chose mannerism instead the metaphysics of metaphor as my constellation option, I found that mannerism have fundamental association with metaphor. They both use symbols and are heavily influenced by man’s perceptions towards the subjects/objects presented. Putting my right foot forward into term 2, I found that dissertation prep lectures to be quite helpful and easy to access. They informed me the general idea of what I need to prepare for this year and what I’ll be doing next year as well.
I am glad that I have the same option tutor as my dissertation tutor. Tutorials and seminars given from my tutor at the beginning of term 2 were very helpful for developing my ideas as well as narrowing down to the right subject and focus that I want to research or study. As suggested by my tutor, it is always helpful to have a dissertation theme that correlates with my subject module. Both modules will support each other and I can say that they have. I began reading books about symbols by Carl G. Jung (1875-1961) and visual metaphor book such as ‘Pictorial metaphor in advertisements and billboards’ book by Charles Forceville (1996). Theory of Symbols explained by Jung in his book ‘Man and His Symbols’ (1972) has opened up my view about the deeper unserdtandings in symbolism and perceptions as well as its power to influence our perspectives in our beliefs, religions, politic, social and psychology. Jung used dreams produced by his patients and analysed the symbols in it by finding symbols’ relationship with reality. Each symbols has different meaning and association to every man. Forceville’s book got me interested in the use of metaphor for communication, science/math and politic. He introduces a new concept of ‘Pictorial metaphor’ by analysing the amount of metaphors found in an image. From this moment I realised that I want to dig deep about the use of metaphor, especially in building identity and empowerment.
My tutor really helped me when I’m stuck with finding connection between symbols and metaphor. She suggested me to look and analyse from different angles or fields manifested with metaphors, such as folklore and primitive ceremony. I began to expand my understanding of metaphor by reading ‘Metaphor and Thought’ book by Adrew Ortony (1993). The contents of this book is vast because it’s a collection of papers by academics that studied different fields where metaphors are used – in communication, education, learning and science. Here I found the definitions and differences between the literal and metaphor. I continued my research to Journals about metaphor used in empowerment. I found that the library’s collection is huge and quite daunting, however the service that our library provides for hard copies and online journals are remarkable and need a little getting use to manoeuvre.
Right before the Easter break, I had a final tutorial with my diss tutor. I think panic and nervousness took over my head but she reassured me that I just need to keep calm and do it step by step. I can not fault the support she gave me. I made sure that I have all I need to write. As I am a slow reader, it took me weeks to read the books. I planned the paragraphs in bullet points and then expanded the ideas. The concepts and theories that I focused on are by Carl Jung, Max Black, Lakoff & Johnson as well as few case studies. The case studies I chose are the ones that used metaphors to empower women who had been subjected to abuse in South Africa, Mexico and Pakistan. I’m also considering to analyse my ongoing art base workshop project working with a local charity in Cardiff. However I am worry that I may not be objective in voicing my opinions.
I also like using mind map to explore ideas, questions and possibilities, so I included a diagram of my initial ideas and images as examples which I am going to use to explain about the use of metaphor in my dissertation. Metaphor’s best characteristic is it helps describe abstract concepts/values, especially in science. Metaphor is highly used in teaching math and science. Many scientist and physicists used metaphor in understanding matter that they are studying by sketching/drawing e.g: Darwin and J.M. Cajal.
The dissertation preparation & proposal forms provided for us are quite straight forward and structured. The questions and explanations assisted me like a step by step guide in planning my dissertation. If I were to change the subject of my dissertation next year, I think the proposal form would be used again.