12 February 2015

Admitting defeat

As a self employed freelance artist, I have come to realise that I have to take charge of my continuous professional development, and make sure I pick up the sort of useful qualifications and training which I would get if I were employed in an organisation. I have done a lot of courses in IT, Equality and Diversity, Health and Safety, etc. Without these it's so much harder to get the freelance positions in the first place. Sometimes these courses lead me into new and interesting pathways, and they have all come into real use at some time or another in CVs and job applications.

I rather collect free qualifications - there are a lot out there, and I have ploughed my way through several level 2 courses from Vision to Learn:


It has not always been easy, or pretty. At times it's ridiculously frustrating. But such courses have trained me to better answer the question that is actually being asked, to understand the question, and to respond in the expected language. Naturally this is applicable in other areas and really helped me in being able to complete my MA in fine art.

And now the dyslexic bit. I recently had to admit defeat and withdraw from the Lean Organisation Management Techniques course:


I think I can be a rather stubborn person. Once I have decided that something is a good idea to do, I will make sure it happens and find a way, but this time, I had to realise and admit that I just couldn't do it. It would have taken me all year to finish this bloody course, so many dyslexia-unfriendly features did I find. I think it has given me a great place to start upon writing about dyslexia, as I can consider my own history, the knowledge I have gleaned, and move into new insights, using that focus.

The point is that I may have an MA, a first class BA, and many other equivalent qualifications to the Lean Organisation Management Techniques, but my dyslexia still exists. I found strategies and mechanisms to negotiate those other academic pathways, through help, experience and insight. I find that water is a great analogy for most things, dyslexia included. The flow of water may be impeded by obstacles, but the obstacles can be rearranged, and the flow of understanding can resume. Academic course are built environments like channels or mazes to flow through - the pattern just happens to be made to fit the way that works for most people. Dyslexic people can negotiate the maze, perhaps with a little rearranging of the pattern, or change of direction - you get the idea. However, the dyslexic flow of understanding always has its natural tendency, and when it learns to negotiate one pattern, is not changed or cured or overcome - it flows into another anomaly. No matter how many strategies I learn - and I have learned a lot, to the extent that I work as an academic notetaker for students including dyslexic students, I am still dyslexic and will always find new and wonderful ways to be dyslexic.

When I cannot use my strategies, when the course is inflexible, I have to go against type, cut my losses and realise that all those hours already spent are not getting me anywhere. I couldn't do it. Fascinating really. Frustrating, but let's make lemonade out of Lean Management. I learned something about dyslexia, or was reminded, that strategy does not necessarily overcome all.

Last night I happened to meet the artist Bob and Roberta Smith (aka Bob) at an Artists Union England Hustings:


Nice bloke to meet and chat to and unusually we got onto dyslexia - he said he was sure he was dyslexic, but did all the tests and passed. Hilarious! Perhaps he's right - it's changeable.

12th February 2015