By Payal Chakraborty
The Covid pandemic is a period of exploring new ways of learning and imparting education. Being a Fine Arts student with no compulsion to visit the University campus almost every day, online classes helped me to save the time of commuting. Since most of the reading materials are available digitally, it did not impact much of the learning but there are books that are not available online and are difficult to access as the University libraries are closed. Anyone new to London might struggle to acquire materials, but with extra time in hand, I had the opportunity to explore budget-friendly and sustainable materials. Professors are as still dedicated as they were on-site and continue to encourage students to explore beyond their limitations. One time, I had to disconnect from the online session because of a Wi-Fi connectivity issue, but Professor Charlotte Cullinan scheduled an individual half-hour session for me the next Monday, which was a reading week. I am really grateful to her for putting this extra effort for me, to be on par with my classmates.
The major drawback of online learning is missing out on the face-to-face human interaction that builds a bond and connection lasting for a lifetime. The random group discussion helps in broadening one’s perspective, by looking beyond one’s own ideology. Accessing studios and workshops together with peers, was a positive way of learning. Although technology has bridged the distance between cities and we can communicate and connect with everyone on WhatsApp or Zoom, creating new human connections is still difficult for us. The physical presence of classmates and friends is crucial for the human psyche. In the Master’s program, my Art Practice is about investigating visually how the patterns in nature, resembles that of the forms existing in human structure. As we all know nature helps in healing the human psyche, but with this pandemic, we should also consider how positive human connections are also significant in our existence on the planet Earth. This is also a crucial time that we as humans should assess our involvement with the environment. My personal wish would be for us all to continue with the pre-pandemic era of Education, but with more reflective and positive human connections.