VE 1.1 – Project 1: Mapping the Territory

Start 11 April 2011

Submit 11 July 2011

Formal assessment

This is an opportunity to explore mapping and visualisation as strategies to support critical and contextual thinking; to use drawing (including drawing with objects or digital drawing) as an information and idea management tool. The theory behind processes such as mind mapping, conceptual mapping and diagrams is that by drawing ideas and relationships you externalize your thinking. Doing this can make it easier to see connections and gaps and you can manipulate the information to explore these further. By drawing rather than writing you can literally stand back, have an overview and think about a lot of possibilities all at once – carry out a visual analysis.

You will produce a map of the territory of your research and practice. The map will help you define the field of your theoretical enquires and practice and can help identify what you could explore in later units. You will need to include, where relevant: the relationships between your practice and the fine art context, issues in other disciplines, relevant literature, practitioners and resources and any potential problems you have with how to develop your practice. You may create the map in 2D, 3D or digital form, but it must be documented and presented on-line for assessment. Format to be decided in discussion with your tutor.

You could start the project by brainstorming your ideas and influences building on the questionnaire Reflecting on Theory and Practice. You will need to find a method of representing the information that works for you, it will need to be a method that can be added to as you gather more information and develop your understanding of different contexts. Feel free to make use of collage hardcopy and digital. If you are working on paper I would suggest that you aim for a final size no smaller than A1, if you have the space you could build a map of objects and text in your studio .

You will be assessed on your ability to reflect critically on your practice, your rationale for the methods you have adopted and the theories that have informed your practice, your understanding of the fine art contexts in which your practice is situated and any potential applications of your work in the field of art or in other fields. Your map will also be assessed as a piece of work in it’s own right.

The intention is that the work you do for this project will contribute to your writing for VE Project 2: Contextual Review.

Angela Rogers


Historical maps

Satirical political maps including some by James Gillray.

Diagrams and statistics

Marcus du Sautoy on the power of diagrams, 14 mins.

Hans Rosling on the joy of statistics, 5 mins.

Mind Maps

Spontaneous exploration of an idea or visual means of recording key ideas as an aid to remembering. Deals with relationships and connections, non-hierchical. Tony Buzan is probably the most well known exponent of mind maps. Have a look at him being interviewed on Mind Maps Make you Smarter:

Concept Mapping

A way to unpack and understand a concept, usually constructed as a hierarchy with the concept at the top. Everything leads back to the concept.

The Open University’s fairly intuitive and flexible concept mapping tool. Compendium. Free download from the Open University. Find out more here:

For an educational perspective – The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them.

Novack and Canas.

Other examples of visualising information and ideas

Native American Indian Winter Counts.

Australian Aboriginal Song Lines

Mandalas – Native American, Tibetan and 12th century Hildegard of Bingen

There will be a short video showing an example of a visual map I used to explore my own practice.

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