Mentor Research: University of Brighton MA Fine Art 2015-2016

Helen Kennedy - a gaming expert at the University of Brighton - has graciously accepted me for mentoring as part of the Master's of Fine Art programme at the University of Brighton. Following are summaries of our mentoring discourses, which I have found to be very beneficial and revealing.



Secret Cinema


Prior to attending our preliminary meeting, I attended a conference headed by Helen Kennedy at which she revealed the gaming principles behind the fascinating and explosive cultural phenomenon which has been instituted by an organization called Secret Cinema. Secret Cinema puts on Rocky Horror-style "act-alongs" - but on a colossal scale. I had attended a Rocky Horror Picture Show live reenactment in Berkeley, California, in the 1990s, but I had no idea the concept had been taken to such lengths! An impressive example of this was the Back to the Future Secret Cinema event held in London in 2014, at which thousands of participants -- the attendees are not simply spectators -- reenacted the movie Back to the Future as it was playing on screen. Donning 1950s American garb, driving 50s cars (including a DeLorean) and even eating 50s-style fast food, participants of Secret Cinema Back to the Future were instructed how to embellish the immersive illusion (a massive Gesamtkunstwerk!) at every step of the event.



Helen explained gaming concepts including ludic ideas which were employed by Secret Cinema for its participants' enjoyment. I found Helen's seminar enlightening, and it was a good introduction to her ideology.






Preliminary Meeting: December 2014

At our preliminary meeting, which took place late in December, 2014 at Helen Kennedy's office at the University of Brighton, the following topics were discussed:

  • What my goals were
  • Helen expressed interest in borrowing a copy of my artist monograph Portrait of an Artist and His Strivings for Pulchrism for reference
  • We discussed the best course of action for future meetings, and made plans for our first official meeting to take place the following January



First Official Meeting: January 2015

At our first official meeting, at Helen Kennedy's office in January of 2015, we discussed the following:

  • Helen asked me about my proprietary art movement Pulchrism
  • We discussed the contents of my artist monograph Portrait of an Artist and His Strivings for Pulchrism
  • I summarized the tenets of Pulchrism, and we viewed The Pulchrist Manifesto - the manifesto of my art movement
  • Helen helped me by offering valuable insight into aesthetics, and its relations to the concept of Beauty, which is the primary objective of Pulchrism.
  • I enquired if she thought there was any relationship between gaming and aesthetics, and Helen - who I have to say can be startlingly brilliant - was able to explain concepts of gaming and related art concepts to me which benefitted me greatly by expanding my mind, although I have to say that some of what she told me went over my head (admittedly a rare thing for me).
  • We agreed to meet again in the coming months


Jesse Waugh
Portrait of an artist and his strivings for pulchrism
Artist monograph


Second Official Meeting: May 2015

The second official meeting between my mentor Helen Kennedy and myself took place in May of 2015 at her office at the University of Brighton. The following topics were discussed:

  • I expressed to Helen my curiosity regarding what I termed "art speak", and enquired as to whether she could help me to understand what art speak is, and how it is utilized.
  • Helen did her best to try to help me understand it, and she explained it brilliantly, still its meaning and functions eluded me as I remained unable to understand its form and purpose.
  • I expressed how my art was changing because of the programme, and revealed reactions people had had to my art during classroom critiques
  • Helen - helpful as always - was able to concisely illuminate certain aspects of my quest, and suggest further investigation and reading possibilites



Third Official Meeting: Monday, 29 June, 2015

Our final meeting took place today and Helen very helpfully focused our discussion on commerce as it pertains to my art practice.

  • We reviewed all of the work I had completed this academic year during my Master's of Fine Art course at the University of Brighton
  • Helen reminded me that we had discussed commercial issues pertaining to my art practice during our first meeting.
  • We discussed the marketing potential of different aspects of my practice, including painting, video and design
  • Helen suggested that I might focus on the commercial potential of one medium which may aid in supporting my work in other media. I found this idea very helpful.
  • Helen asked me if I had begun work on any new projects not listed on my page, and I showed her images of my newest works. I also told her about my recently having manufactured CDs of my album Unfinished Operas, and my subsequent acceptance to Rovi Corp's musician database, which supplies bio info and photos to streaming services like Spotify. I also showed Helen my Spotify page:

I would like to thank Helen Kennedy for her genuine help, and intelligent advice and suggestions. It was a pleasure to meet a truly unique individual who possesses considerable knowledge in the field of art and aesthetics.