Thursday, 7 February 2013

Ken Robinson, 'Schools Kill Creativity'.

Ken Robinson, PhD and academic, talks for TED in 2006 on why the school education system is killing creativity. Michael Gove needs to give this a watch. 

I have a confession to make... I am obsessed with TED talks!

From Kid President's 'Everyone needs a pep talk' to Cameron Russell's 'Looks aren't everything' to Amy Cuddy's 'Your body language shapes who you are', you name it I'm watching it and this next talk is no exception.

If you've been reading the British news today, you'll have noticed one story about Michael Gove, the education secretary who has made a U turn on his plan to do away with the GCSE's in the British education system.

His new plan was to introduce something called the International Baccalaureate Certificate by 2015 which would, in a nutshell, focus more on Mathematics, Sciences and Languages and essentially do away with more creative subjects such as Dance, Drama, Art & Design etc.

Now I'm not an expert on education but I do have some experience of said qualification. Having studied the International Baccalaureate for one year in Sixth Form, I noticed one problem that I was having... I was getting a grade 2 in Maths but a grade 7 in Art. Let me give you some back story to that...

The IB is graded from 1 to 7 and a grade 3 is the minimum amount needed to pass that subject. In contrast, a grade 7 is like an A* and is achieved by only 5% of students who sit the exams (in 2006).

So on one hand I was an under achieving student and on the other I was a marvel. However because the Baccalaureate openly has a bias view of subject importance and tends to favour the academic subjects, I was often just a dire student, ignored by my teachers and eventually dropped out after one year.
The issue for me wasn't the fact that I wasn't naturally good at Maths, it was simply that my creative success could not be used a measure of my ability in within the IB. That my time in Art class was redundant in comparison to my time in Science.
In fact, in the IB you can actually substitute a creative subject for a more academic one, such as Drama for Physics, but this cannot be done in reverse. This seems incredibly unjust, no?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Samira Hashi

Interviewed the lovely Samira Hashi yesterday

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Photo/writers meeting.

Today I met up with an old lecturer, John and met James and Marissa.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Entry #1 Walk the Earth.

Since its safe to say that my roll on getting on with things and playing my part in the internet network that I once was a part of has now died down, I suppose I can go back to my random writing and ranting about things that concern me without feeling too self conscious as not many people will read it.
I could just keep a diary but I suppose I like the suspense of some conversation starting from my blog posts.. and it at least keeps me interested as writing a diary seems as productive as talking to a brick wall.

My unemployment... scratch that, my time in limbo of university to a real job has given me much thought on the world. I always used to think of my self as a relatively driven person, i had made many contacts throughout university and always had the feeling that I would get out of education and everything would simply fall into place. I know that I am not alone in this thought.
Some of my peers have fallen quite nicely into proper jobs and I commend them. I do not mean to berate them when I say this but they are fucking lucky. I guess you just have to give it time. But there is still that feeling of 'what if' ... what if it doesn't all fall into place? What if those dreams you had remain dreams and you never get to your happy place. This thought scared me and I began contemplating my impending fate of working in a shop for the rest of my life, which then made me think about all the other people my age working in retail or in admin office jobs. Did they also have a dream once? Have they given up? Will I become one of them?

This entirely depressing debate then led me on the overall question of human beings and their belonging within the society that we have globally created.. or at least the world that the West has built. Are humans meant to live like this? Are men meant to wear a ties and work in an office sending memo's about the recent company figures? I ask this purely in a man's point of view because it seems so far away from the primitive nature of man.

I often wonder if my priorities are all wrong. Should my gauging on success instead be directed to path of spiritual enlightenment or should I continue in my Western ideas of a career with prospects and benefits? Is my want for money avoidable? Is my want for money a replacement for food and shelter, in the sense that I now crave a good job with high pay so that my future children will be well fed and homed?

The issue I have with the world I am exposed to is that I feel there is a sheer drop either side of the path you take- which ever path you choose to take that is. Lets hypothesise and pretend as though I become a lawyer. I can choose to take this path and go to school for how ever long it takes, get my degree's, have fun on the way and yet it still may never be enough. I may be a lawyer, I may earn a ton but would I be happy? I might fall ill and getting a job would no longer be a priority. Would it be too late to change the path that I had taken or would my age at, lets say, 30 be too late to change?

And that's another issue I have with today. We have made the young, old. I'm now twenty-two and feel as though I better get a move on and begin my hunt for a husband. If I was thirty plus I would be deemed the acceptable age to start going on dating sites and look for some one mature. Who says that 30+  is the age to do that? Surely time is something man made, it can be broken, there are other ways of telling time and counting years, if they should so be called years.

There is another way to describe at least parts of my thoughts with a clip form the Quentin Tarantino film, 'Pulp Fiction'.
This scene is taken from the end of the film where Jules is talking to Vincent about the revelation he had earlier that day and how he now wishes to cease his career as a hitman and instead adopt a life of a simpler nature. The conversation between these two men draws you into the scene, listening intently to Jules you feel as though his ideas of 'walking the earth' are incredibly humbling and quite attractive to yourself. You watch his contemplation and begin to agree with his enlightened path but instead your own dreams of doing this are smashed by Vincent's demeaning comment of instead becoming a homeless 'bum'. I guess as a viewer you ultimately become quite humbled just to have realised that we make this distinction between those who do not crave material things to those who do. As though we have now assumed that there is something wrong in not wanting the material, as though those who choose a path of a simple nature are lacking in something and are not human.

I'm sure there is much more to read into the scene but that is all for now, I have to go eat some cake and watch some day time television.

Friday, 15 July 2011


I've been hearing about this 'Carmageddon' which is going to take place tonight once LA authorities shut the 405 freeway which runs between Santa Monica and Ventura, usually carrying up to 281,000 cars a day. The diverted traffic is expected to spill out up to 30 miles outward of the 405 causing some lengthy grid lock situations. Instead of hearing the public's opinion, I'd much rather watch this video which is absolute genius! I don't even understand the places they reference having never been to America, but its hilarious!

Monday, 13 June 2011

'America Reacts' by Ray Farkas

With searing precision and emotional honesty, New York Reacts places us right in Manhattan, two days after the Twin Towers fell. We hear as New Yorkers try to make sense of their anger and understand the unimaginable. See the project at

Both insightful and intriguing. This definitely opened up a new door of understanding on this issue for me. I had to figure out if these scenes were being played out by actors but according to the description on mediastorm, they are in fact raw footage from the streets of New York, two days after the 9/11 attacks.

Brilliant stuff by director Ray Farkas. I just want to know how he got the consent from these people, this is what I love to watch and create: authenticity. ... or else, I'm easily fooled by his editing. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

XV: Lee Rosy's opening night.

As part of the XV Photo festival, the Lee Rosy's tea shop hosted Nottingham Trent's first fashion only exhibition. Work was displayed by Manbir (Bam) Basi, Marija Vainilaviciute, Drew Whittam, Liam Cox and Diana Tulkina. 

Excuse the lots of grain, shaky camera panning and bad audio.... there were a lot of cocktails that night.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Me next to my work being
exhibited in the Waverly building of Nottingham Trent's art and design degree shows, on until 10th June.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Segregation and Survival: The South Asian Caste System Within The UK

Wow I have been busy! A lot has gone on.

My short documentary Segregation and Survival has been part of the Nottingham Trent XV photo festival this month and is also being shown in the Waverly building of the Nottingham Trent city campus as part of the Art and Design exhibitions. It will also be shown at the next CasteWatch UK conference in July and will be shown in London from 16th - 20th June in the Trueman brewery on Brick lane in London. I'll talk about that last bit in a later post. Here is the full length documentary, I'm very happy to have been given the opportunity to work with the people I have met over the past year and hope to continue this work in the future.

Segregation and Survival: The South Asian Caste System Within The UK from Saira MacLeod on Vimeo.

Alternatively go to Vimeo and watch the doc full screen here