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  • Damien Williams

Week 10 & 11: Criticality:

Writing a proposal is both daunting and liberating. The process of focussing all of my attention on the aims, objectives and outcomes of my intended research project was incredibly useful. The initial self-imposed pressure of 'pitching' this overly large project sat with me for a long time until I just started the thing! This means I was still struggling to visualise the end product and what I wanted to cover. I found myself going back to the oral presentation which essentially was the start of the pitch. The scope of this project is still too wide. I had to actually make decisions on how I wanted to sectionalise and proceed. All this with the inhibiting nature of CoVid-19's restrictions on shooting skin.

After looking at a few models of proposals, I settled on a hybrid. All of the templates/models just didn't fit my needs.

Then I remembered "I am a creative artist. If my project is a unique 'shape' then there is unlikely to be a ready made model for it." This was immediately liberating.

I settled on a punchy opening. Which was going to be a '10 second pitch' in the tradition of an elevator pitch. (This ended up being a simple quote from a piece of web propaganda:

Forget 'Real Beauty': Ads for Skin-Whitening Beauty Products Just Won't Die

In Asia, Global Skincare Giants Plug Whiter Skin

In a controversial Pakistani ad, celebrity Zubaida dispenses whitening soap and cheer. Credit: In Asia, Pond's sells a line of skin-lightening products called "White Beauty." A recent ad from Pakistan showed a tube of its face wash with the tagline "Dark Out, White In." The Unilever brand posted the ad on Facebook and urged users to "Click LIKE for fairer skin!"

The opening of an article found here.

The biggest challenge was critical comparison and contextualisation of my work and intended work. The balance of a functioning and successful proposal is 'selling' the idea so much that it is exciting and intellectually stimulating without succumbing to overblown ideas with grandiose, inaccessible language. At ether extreme of the spectrum the visualisation and understanding is lost for very differing reasons, although the net result is the same. Understanding who I want to be within the role of conceptualiser was an important part of the process. I let this lead where I want the project to go.

I am an educator. Therefore education has to be within the work that I produce, in order for my identity to be present. This may take the form of workshops within the chapter that focusses on Make-up and the world's relationship with skin'care'.

In the webinar CP led me to the underpinning part of my process when discussing Lai Abril's amazing work on Misogyny. He suggested that I looked at "Follow that...Papaya" and ... Which discusses the process of 'Slow-Journalism'. My approach has been found. Especially as it can be done effectively during the restrictions I have here in Singapore. In conversation with PC in a webinar a few weeks earlier the book "Bending the Frame" by Fred Ritchin was mentioned as an interesting read as an extension to the conversation on Citizen Journalism. I will be reading this during the Assessment period and I anticipate this will inform my future practice.

Critical writing is still an area I need to develop (amongst many others). However, Critical Theory is supposed to enrich our consumption of the image. Is this true? This would imply that it is for the consumer. Doesn't it have a direct influence on the practitioner too. If not I feel that It's usefulness is seriously diminished. Having a disconnect in the visual language between practitioner and consumer would be akin to a separation between speaking, listening and generation of language. That lack of fluency would seriously reduce the audience you could reach and responses you can illicit.

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