Many of the Higham Tutors on creative courses bring their own equipment so they can offer the best experience possible. Sometimes this is more apparent when they need to back their chock-full estate car into the back courtyard in order to unload. When we help them do this, I must confess to feeling slightly guilty that they will have had to load up the car themselves and drive their vehicle, heavily laden with the tools and materials of their trade.
Some cars will, honestly, take half an hour to unload and load up – something these Tutors seem to take in their stride as part of the job. This time and bother is all above what their contracted hours are, yet it is their dedication to the cause and what they do that so obviously drives them. All this ‘stuff’ often these days packed in excellently robust plastic boxes, trays and old but serviceable supermarket home delivery boxes, represents many days of selection, use, investment and imagination. Beneath all this, for practical courses, usually come some examples of the finished product that student will be aiming for. These often appear at the end of the unpacking when a cup of tea is called for and conversation turns to “Wonder what future courses we could do?”.
The resultant banter with Tutors is hugely important. Indeed, united by a mutual struggling with the physical tasks of preparing or packing away a course, most often we get to chatting about notions and ideas. Most Tutors already have superb ideas of what could be, and these things are often bottled up inside them, waiting to be uncorked at opportune moments like this.
We might not see one Tutor again for six months, so it is good to take the chance to exchange ideas and shared sweat and effort often allows for that casual conversation.