Lest you think Arts in London is all play and no work, today and tomorrow’s class schedule simply reads: “Project Work.” Most of the class is fun, yes, but we wrap up our time in London with individual projects. These can be anything from creative works of art to written reports and can cover a broad range of topics: accessibility in theaters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities, the influence of artwork in hospitals on healing processes, colonialism in art museum curation, and programming computer simulations of concert hall acoustics, just to name a few. As long as it’s grounded in London and incorporates multiple arts, it’s fair game.
By this time, we’ve finished meeting as a whole class, and we’ve been turned loose to work on our own. While the majority of our projects can be researched in London, mine necessitated a field trip, so this morning Morgan Short and I got up early, hopped on the train, and went to nearby Oxford.
My project deals with linguistics and culture and involves some translation into made-up languages, so I turned for inspiration to one of the masters of made-up languages: J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He lived in Oxford for many years and worked at a couple of the universities there, specializing in Old and Middle English. It was in Oxford that he penned The Hobbit and most of The Lord of the Rings. Since Oxford is only an hour away by train, I took advantage of the proximity to make a pilgrimage and to learn more about him by immersing myself in his environment.
We’ll present our projects in small groups Monday morning, a few favorites will present for the whole class Tuesday afternoon at lunch, and then Wednesday we’ll wave London goodbye. Our time is quickly coming to an end! It’s been a jam-packed two and a half weeks so far, but it’s a class none of us will forget.