Regional Group CH-EUR: a founding member perspective

Since Dec 2018, a small group of four fellow students incl me based in Switzerland, are busy with setting up and organising a new OCA regional group Europe. Currently we are 23 students across Europe, beyond UK. 

Quite some efforts it has taken so far, time that I didn’t spend on coursework, resulting in delay by two months now.  Yesterday (Feb 4th) , we had our first group wide open virtual meeting in the format of Show&Tell (a Pecha Kucha format of presenting several images in short time). With 11 participants incl our core team of four we had a great time and new ideas popped up and crossing the boundaries of distant student’s lonely places. 


  • Setting up and organising takes time and efforts, at the beginning quite admin stuff, not to underestimate. But it is also a lot of fun and excitement.
  • With motivation and commitment, one can truly build some network and engaging interactions.
  • For me are physical meetings as the recent study day in Zurich,  a truly enriching aspect of being part of a group. To know each other better, and to build trust and deeper interaction. As if that f2f interaction would allow deeper engagement in virtual space (I also met some a few other peers from this event before). I hope that we can work on collaborative projects soon. 
  • One major project will be to organise a 2 days workshop.
  • I am eager to get back on track with coursework and my parallel project now.

Reflection on Virt meeting with RG Europe on Feb 4th:

What worked well:

  • The format Show & Tell (Pecha Kucha) is quite fascinating as it allows to share works or current explorations more in depth with others. I was positively surprised how well it worked and several fellow students shared.
  • As group aim is to ‘to create a network where we can gain a deeper knowledge of other students’ works
    and aspirations’ and ‘to provide a local forum for the exchange of ideas’ – on both this format of vmeet certainly contributed to (at least for the very first meeting) – regular repeats will support more.
  • Some inspirations from peers (Show&Tell event):
    – photographs of the river Rhine (Peter H.), rotated 90 degree, with close up view on light, abstract fragmentation, striations => I like the rotating idea
    – layered photography works (digital flat composite of various viewpoints) of view from a train (Jane W.) => I like the multiple viewpoint in one image idea 
    – drawing from maquette (outdoor sculpture) and incorporating changes to it for making drawings (Sibylle H.) => I like the process and dialogue approach

How did it support my creative development? 

I got some inspirations that possibly could inform my further work, in order to sketch it down, I made from the abstract river reflections a few quick color sketches – and feeling some relation with an earlier sketch inspired by shredded paper:

Stefan513593 - idea sketches - reflection , abstract striations

Fig . 2 : idea sketches – reflection (from Peter’s photegraph), abstract striations (right: earlier idea from shredded paper, see also featured image)

My Pecha Kucha pre (from a powerpoint pres with each slide 10 sec duration)  – the making of it was already a good reflective exercise on what and how I want to communicate. I included images from inspiring artists, where I believe I can learn from their approaches (not the final work as such):

What didn’t work so well

Some tech issues with one member (mic), that didn’t allow her to participate fully. Not sure how this could be resolved, other than inviting participants to join the meeting 10 min early just for check ups. And to share how important mic, camera, and internet speed can be. On backup option for speed is to turn off video. However, students in rural areas could face a continuing issue re speed.

What could be done differently?

As group aim is ‘to have a safe place in which to discuss work in progress and receive critical feedback, designed to help move the work forward’. Here, I am not sure how this support forward movement (for the first meeting it was also not the scope). For future vmeet it would be good to have some pre-work (images and text available and/or questions from the presenter to know how the group can contribute effectively.

One aspect comes to engagement and moderation, how to know that each one can contribute the best way. Google meet has some limitations that Zoom not has, e.g. breakout rooms where a subgroup of 2-3 can talk more directly and to regroup with some key outcomes. This can be done within 90 min. Also a response from all participants to the group after the vmeet, e.g 1-2 weeks later, could support deeper interaction

An open question for me, perhaps more future looking, how to collaborate on work and projects. Perhaps, somethin to brainstorm (aka opening a brainstorm doc for all members to contribute). 



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  • Feb 21,2019 at 9:27 AM

    I enjoyed our regional meeting so much – and I too have been thinking a lot about the reflections (Peters work). I am guessing that there are many forms of collaboration. More formal but also just soft ones like such a vision from a fellow artist seeping into to you own making. Good luck with you next course work – and thanks for putting in the time for all of us.

    • Stefan
      Feb 22,2019 at 12:31 PM

      your are welcome, Inger, and thanks for responding. Like the ‘seeping into own making’. There is truly more behind and in-between that I would understand in the first place. Hope your work goes fine

      • Feb 23,2019 at 6:31 PM

        Thanks Stefan – running in treacle at the moment…. but will get there, said the turtle. Enjoying our daughter (visiting) at the moment. 🙂

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