the view at 65 is worth it

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In search of a school

In search of a school.
As long ago as 2005, I began researching various possibilities for going back to school. My interest was focused on studying and writing about communications based on my background in the business world as owner and creative director of a national advertising agency, a background that ran a parallel course with my journey as an artist. They were good ‘ol 70’s and 80’s of poofy hairdos, bell-bottoms, orange and green acrylic shirts, lapels and collars as wide as wings, and I wasn’t the only one. Back to my search. I especially wanted to track the issue of communication and technology along arts leadership lines, based on a personal conviction that much of what has been traditional and very good has been tossed out for what is contemporary and rather meaningless – disposable is probably a better word. Disposable means something ( or someone ) just vacated the top-of-mind- awareness position and there’s a space for a new-and-improved version of what we already have. Great for consumerism though.
Since I already held an associate degree from OCAD University and a BFA as well, my next step was to look towards and MFA or MA. With all my personal, family, ministry, community, and studio commitments, going “back to school” in the conventional sense was not an option. No sour grapes, but it has to be said: “Canada is a lousy place for arts education beyond a traditional bachelor’s degree. A wasteland with no prospects for a quality, high-end studio program unless you’re willing to pack up and abandon your family and community.” The US was out of the question for the same reasons, especially the plethora of diploma and degree mills. There was a PhD available for $500.
Back to Canada. However, there was some light on the horizon in the form of “other” masters degree graduate studies by distance learning. Distance learning is a respectable and worthy academic resource and that’s the route I chose. “A Masters of Smarts degree,” said my godchild.
The University of Alberta MACT program was an excellent choice. I was most impressed by the way I was treated, not gratuitously because I’m 65, but in a genuine scholarly way. In fact, one faculty staff member, said, “we love having someone just like you in the program.” So here I am.
I received notice at the end of January ( 2010 ), that I had been accepted. In the meantime, I had begun some advance reading of one of the course texts. Challenging to say the least, especially with all that new vocabulary. But I have an “old and traditional” dictionary of the American Language, dated 1890, whose editor was Samuel Webster, before they named the dictionary after him. Cool. Electricity is described as a liquid. I’ve been told, my fellow MACT conspirators constitute a “cohort.” So, it’s meta-patience time till May when I meet them all at the Spring Institute in Edmonton. In the meantime, I have to stop myself from smiling because our BC winter’s gone ( early ). We have had no snow on the island, and I’m excited about my new adventure, despite the forlorn hopes of 2010 Winter Olympics enthusiasts who keep praying for cold and snow.

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