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MA by Research - YSJ

the thesis and the supporting documentation


On Encountering the Divine in the Act of Drawing


The aim of this research was to define, circumscribe, and contextualise my drawing practice and understand its “encounter with the divine” while looking for a framework that would validate those experiences. 
While I noticed how most of the literature always points back to the artefact as the means to understand the method and the artist, I used drawing followed by a self-reflective journaling system to explore the processual part of the practice with regard to these spiritual experiences. Once I realised that both performativity and in-the-zoneness were providing incomplete answers, materiality presented a connection to alchemy which offered a means to 
reading my drawing experience. 
The findings confirmed the spiritual experiences but also indicated that among all the assessable parameters, at the conjuncture between the Artist, the Material, and the Work, there is always something elusive and ineffable.

the Thesis

the Polyhymniades

The thesis [exegesis] is now being uploaded

after the confirmation of the awards

Last update on the page : 13 FEB 2024

the polyhymniades

Please find the evidence of the practical element of my research.


This process is formed by a regular drawing practice, followed by a rigorous self-reflective journalling activity with the implementation of tools such as Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, Jung’s subconscious and dream analysis, tarot and oracle cards. The writing practice stems from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – Morning Pages and my profession as an existential psychotherapist.

This documentation bears the collective title of The Polyhymniades to indicate the inspiration of the muse Polyhymnia who is said to preside over hymns and sacred writing - in the modern canon, by extension, writing, drawing and photography [when considered etymologically as φωτός (phōtós) “light” and γραφή (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”].

This comes in three parts: the Writings, the Images, and the Video.
The Writings comprises edited extracts from my journalling, relevant note-taking, scribblings, reflections, elucubrations, material testing and sketching, in a readable word-processed document. These come mainly framed in a text box of the same dimensions as the original B6 Stalogy journal, and ordered chronologically. Believing that the dates in themselves are not important, I have only separated the entries by [...]. These include also tarot card readings, and some journalling and notes taken directly on the laptop when away, for example during a trip funded by York St John University to inspirational places such as Stonehenge, Bodleian Library in Oxford, London, Bangor, Glastonbury, Heysham, etc. This section comes correlated by images since this submission is intended to provide not just the words, images and recording of the practice, but an overall almost phenomenological representation of the process behind the exegesis during this year-long research. Hence, you will be able to see even images from the journal used, books read, tarot spreads, etc. This editing allows me to use different registers and visual languages to convey and somehow translate my experience and to provide both validation of same and clarity.
To portray as faithfully as possible the rhizomatic meandering and stream of consciousness approach of the journalling experience, all the in-text references, citations, and any academic requirement have been [in these instances] deliberately omitted to allow for the flow. The writing also comes with spelling mistakes, words in other languages, etc. This written documentation is only followed by a background reading list of what informed my thinking.

Albeit not interested in the artefactual nature of my research, the Images and Video have been added to convey marks, positioning, closeness to the paper, etc. At times, during the session devoted to documenting the drawing practice, music has been played to aid the process. Otherwise, the sessions are solitary and silent.

images and videos by
: diane holt / helen raisbeck / matilde tomat / samantha crapnell

: blackburn / glastonbury / gorizia / london / oxford / udine / whalley abbey / york

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