So I’m here at Robarts, trying to do my volunteer assignment. When what I should really be doing is busily prepping for Grad Ex. Which I cannot do because OCAD’s campus is closed for Earth “Hour,” and it’s not going to reopen until tomorrow noon. This is a serious problem. Since I still have not received any official instructions for GradEx for my program, I still don’t know if what I’m trying to prep is even worthwhile (even though if it is I will need to make a fabrication deadline in three days, and if I had not started prepping three weeks ago I would have no chance prepping anything), but since we’re supposed to be in extended hours and OCAD is supposed to be 24 hours this semester, we have lost anywhere from 5 to a whopping 19 hours depending on what your schedule is like and what kind of facilities you need. For thesis students doing fabrication (fabrication studios are not on a 24-hour schedule) this represents a major loss of usable shop hours. I’m not doing my thesis this year, and I know people doing thesis who don’t mind being forced to work on their papers, but OCAD still should show some consideration towards students doing their thesis who require fabrication facilities (read: grad students). Studios are preparing for end-of-semester shutdown, and students don’t have a lot of time left. To shut down the school for 19 hours for Earth Hour is—could I be blunt here?—just irresponsible. Yes, shutting down for Earth Hour is a gesture to show we’re for sustainability, but can it just be a gesture, please? We don’t have to shut down all our systems, and surely U of T is not shutting down for Earth Hour—at least not at 6pm, let alone 5pm. There’s no reason OCAD should shut down at 5pm and have its thesis students go through this frustration.
I was surprised when I actually got a reply to my question after only an hour:
So this is for me. But do I still want to do it when I no longer have the work with me? Should I do it? Because we are talking about ceramics, the mere fact that I’m not sure means I need to re-create my work, like now.
I just received this year’s call for participation in the GradEx. Details are sketchy for now but last year’s insistence on having “constraints of space” has been replaced by their asking us to “participate in large number”. So the question is: Is this call directed to me too? As much I wanted to be part of Grad Ex last year, things have already fallen too much apart this semester; and as well, all my thesis work is now either in the hands of random strangers or inside storage in a museum. I still have maybe half of my trial run pieces… So I guess ultimately I what I want to know is: Should I re-create the work that’s no longer with me?
I had always thought we’d have no place at the Grad Ex. So imagine my surprise a few days ago when I got an email from our Associate Dean that our work will be featured at the Grad Ex this year. But what caveat: Only some of us will have our work shown; not everyone’s work. And an additional caveat I got from today’s email: Only for those who can make it to finish in June. (So I’m out, but I am so far behind I was hesistant to believe I could have anything by Grad Ex in the first place, so this was not a terrible shocker.) While these were all bad news to me, the worst news (for me) in today’s email was the part that reads “If you could please provide these details to me by Friday end of day, so that we can get this to our Graphic Designer by early next week?” When I read we’re going to be part of Grad Ex I thought we’ll be designing our own exhibits, or at least our own posters. I was revelling at the mere possibility that some of us will be doing some happy graphic design (or maybe even environmental graphic design). How sad, how disappointing that we won’t even be doing this design ourselves, for the few of us that will even make it there.