A few weeks after I formally started my PhD programme at BCU, I was introduced to the PGR Studio Mentoring Scheme. Having heard so many good things about it, I decided to give it a go. Registration was a simple process and before long I was told that I had been matched to a mentor and would be meeting him or her very soon!
I remember it was a Wednesday afternoon, all the mentors and mentees were asked to meet at a café in downtown Birmingham. For some reason I felt a bit nervous about opening the envelope that enclosed the name of my mentor, Mark Walker. Dr Mark Walker has a PhD in philosopher, and has claims on being an artist, musician, researcher, lecturer and heavy labourer. As both of us are museums lovers, something we learnt the first time we met, we decided to arrange regular meetings, and explore art museums and galleries in Birmingham and beyond.
So far, Mark and I have been to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (many times) and Victoria and Albert Art Museum, and the next stop will be the Natural History Museum in London. One of my best museum experiences with my mentor was to visit the famous and comprehensive jewellery collection at the V&A. Although it was not my first visit to the V&A’s jewellery collection, I felt very inspired by Mark as he guided me to re-understand or appreciate a piece of jewellery from a philosophical perspective and encouraged me to further explore the relationships between art, craftsmanship and philosophy. I am looking forward to having more meetings with my mentor to discuss about how to bring art and philosophy into everyday life and how we can observe and re-think the world we live in, viewing it from a different perspective, understanding it in a different way, changing it in both theory and practice.
I am very grateful to have met Mark and I have learnt a lot of things from him. Undoubtedly, he has a rich background in and knowledge of art and philosophy, but what keeps inspiring me the most is the strong passion he has for learning and being open to new things, and how he has continued to develop himself as a person throughout his life.