Visual Diary stock photo


  • Due: every week during your lab session (from weeks 2 to 11 inclusive)
  • Mark weighting: 1 mark per week for a total of 10 over the semester (and your worst two are redeemable) (worth 12.5% of final grade)
  • Submission: make a post on the course forum and participate in your lab
  • Marking: your tutor will assess your weekly submission and your participation in labs (details below)
  • Policies: see the policies page


A visual diary is a way for artists to keep track of ideas and notes for use in future projects. It could be a paper book with, a blog, or personal website. Artists as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, and Kurt Cobain all kept visual diaries.

Every week you’ll be required to take a bit of time outside of class to write about either your work or the work of other artists who inspire you and post this to the class forum.

We also expect you to participate in labs every week to demonstrate that you are regularly engaging with artistic process throughout this course.

These two aspects (visual diary and lab participation and engagement) both contribute equally to your weekly mark.


Here’s the process for completing your weekly visual diary entry:

  1. log onto the COMP1720 forum and find the COMP1720 Visual Diary subcategory

  2. create a new topic using the + New Topic button (top-right) with the a title that makes sense for the artworks you’ve chosen

  3. post your topic in the COMP1720 category and the Visual Diary subcategory

  4. add a week-n tag to your post in the tags box, where n is the week your diary entry will be assessed (i.e. your first diary entry should have the week-2 tag)

  5. select three artworks to include & discuss in your diary entry; they can be your own experiments or by other artists who inspire you

  6. write 100–200 words describing each of the works, what they’re “about” and what makes them interesting (to you)

  7. find two other student’s visual diary entries that you find interesting and write a comment on their post discussing what’s interesting about it

  8. attend your weekly lab and engage with the work (including group/paired work), your tutor will check in with you each week


How will it be marked?

Your tutor will check in with your during your lab to make sure you are engaging with your lab work and the visual diary. They will assess your weekly diary entry just after your lab.

In order to gain full marks, you must:

  • complete one visual diary entry
  • complete two visual diary comments on other student’s wor
  • attend and fully participate in your lab session (including joining a pair/group discussion if asked)

We have adjusted the marking procedure slightly starting in week 7. Your mark will consists of:

  • 50%: Your VD entry and comments for the week. This will be marked by your tutors offline.
  • 50%: Your engagement and participation in labs. This will be marked by your tutor based on their observation of how you work in labs, including partner/group activities.

Marks will be uploaded together at the end of the week.

Make sure you check your marks on streams regularly to keep track of your progress.

So what’s the point of the visual diary?

This point is to engage with new media and interactive art each week, so that you build your appreciation of artistic process, creative artworks, and interaction.

I’m new to this whole artistic thing, and I’m a bit worried what other students might say about the stuff I’ve chosen—what should I do?

COMP1720 is a caring place where we’re all at different stages of our learning journey. In general everybody is positive and nurturing to everbody else.

If you ever feel belittled or made to feel like you don’t belong by a classmate or a tutor, then let the course convenor know privately and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Is the first one really due in week 2?


Is there an entry due in week 12?


When is it due?

As stated above, it’s due every week (excluding week 1 and week 12), and it’s due in your lab session (i.e. the one you’re enrolled in).

So does that mean that students in later lab sessions have later deadlines than students in earlier labs?

Maybe in week 2, but they will have started their visual diary for the current week later than you did as well (because they were still working on the previous week’s submission when you’d moved on to this week’s one).

This is the case with any “in-lab” assessment at uni; in the end everything balances out.

If I don’t attend my week 2 lab session because I haven’t signed up for a lab yet, do I get zero for my visual diary entry?

Yes, unfortunately. Although each week is only worth 1 mark, and it’s redeemable, so there’s no need to panic just yet.

I’ve missed a lab session, so I didn’t get my visual diary marked—what should I do?

The course policy on extensions applies here—you can get an extension, but only with appropriate official documentation. Remember that it’s only worth 1 mark, and it’s redeemable.

As stated in the course FAQ, you cannot attend a different lab session to have your visual diary marked for that week.

Can I attend a different lab session and have it marked there?

No, sorry; see above.

I can’t access the forum—what should I do?

See the main course FAQ.

How should I structure my visual diary post on the forum?

It doesn’t matter too much, as long as it’s clear that you’ve found three different things and discussed them.

Discourse (the forum software) supports markdown, so it’s really easy to structure it with a couple of headings like so (this is what it looks like in the “edit” view while you’re writing it):

## Bailey Forsyth - *Jiblet*

This work explores the relationship between the Military-Industrial Complex and

With influences as diverse as Blake and L Ron Hubbard, new insights are
distilled from both orderly and random textures.

Ever since I was a postgraduate I have been fascinated by the traditional
understanding of the moment. What starts out as contemplation soon becomes
manipulated into a carnival of futility, leaving only a sense of decadence and
the chance of a new order.

As spatial phenomena become reconfigured through studious and academic practice,
the viewer is left with an insight into the edges of our world.

## Cloud Jensen - *Artwork #2*

This work explores the relationship between Bauhausian sensibilities and urban

With influences as diverse as Blake and Roy Lichtenstein, new tensions are
created from both orderly and random meanings.

Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the traditional
understanding of the moment. What starts out as vision soon becomes debased into
a tragedy of power, leaving only a sense of decadence and the unlikelihood of a
new synthesis.

As wavering replicas become frozen through boundaried and personal practice, the
viewer is left with an epitaph for the darkness of our era.

## Eldrich Tibblesnap - *The Grand Banana*

... more stuff goes here

The above text was generated with arty bollocks1, but it really doesn’t have to be as “intellectual” as that. Just talk about stuff you’ve found that you like, and try to put into words why you like it or what you found interesting about it.

Also, the above text doesn’t include any multimedia content, which leads me to…

Do I need to include the images/videos of the artworks that I’m discussing?

Yes, if at all possible. Discourse (the forum software) makes it really easy to add images, and you could also draw things on paper and then photograph/scan and upload them. It even supports click-and-drag to insert them into your post. It’s also possible to embed e.g. YouTube videos. You should make your diary entry a multimedia experience.

If you can’t include an image/video, then you must at least include a link or some other reference that another student could easily use to track down the artwork you’re discussing. Even if you do include a video, it’s still really helpful to include a link to the original so that those interested can track it down easily.

I’m still stuck on this markdown stuff—where can I find more information?

See the FAQ.

How do I know I’ve posted my entry to the right place on the forum?

As specified above, your topic (post) needs to be in the Visual Diary subcategory, and needs to have a tag based on which week’s diary entry it is. Here’s an example of the new topic box with the correct category and tag added (in this case for week 2):

visual diary categories and tags

If you post in the wrong subcategory when you first create your post, you can change it later—just use the “edit” button up near the title of your post.

Can I see some examples?

I’ve pre-populated the forum with a few visual diary entries that your tutors (and I) did last year, so you’ll be able to have a look there for inspiration. We’ll also discuss the visual diary concept in the first lecture.

Can I work on it during my lab session?

No. The tutor will look at the timestamps for your posts, and if any post is timestamped after the start of your lab session then it doesn’t count. This is a hard-and-fast rule—no exceptions. E.g. if your lab starts at 8:00am, and one of your visual diary posts is timestamped 8:07am, then your tutor will have to disregard that post when marking your submission.

The reason is that the labs sessions are for doing the lab content, and if we allow you to work on the diary entries then it’ll chew up your precious time with the tutors and your lab-mates. It also prevents any “can you mark someone else and come back round to me in a bit” shenanigans, because the tutors want to spend their time helping you all out in the labs, not juggling who’s ready to be marked and who isn’t.

How does the “redeemable” mark thing work?

You’ll submit 10 visual diary entries worth 1.25 mark each (from weeks 2 to 11 inclusive) and you’ll get a mark out of 12.5.

However, you can redeem your worst two diary entries against the average mark for the other eight entries. So if you miss two diary entries in the semester, your mark will actually be the average of the entries that you completed.

Oh no! I didn’t submit anything for my lab this week. What should I do?

Whatever you do, you shouldn’t panic. Remember that it’s only worth 1 mark, and it’s redeemable. The deadline is strict, but the redeemable-ness is our way of giving you a second chance if you miss on (or two).

Still, remember doing your visual diary is a really good way to get the hang of the “making art” part of this course, which you’ll need to do well on the major project anyway. So it’s worth making it a priority to do as many as you can.

Where can I look for inspiration?

Here are a few places, but anywhere else is fine too, so long as you can upload an image to the forum


  • nature
  • books
  • billboards
  • clouds
  • poke bowls
  • the visual culture that surrounds us every day

How long should I spend on this every week?

I’d say that you could probably knock it over in an hour or so if you put your head down and get it done. You can obviously spend as long as you like (it’s always fun looking around at the cool art that others are making) but if it’s taking you 10+ hours a week you’re probably over-thinking it :)

Can I talk about my own work?

Yes, as long as it hasn’t already been assessed for this course. You’re not allowed to be assessed twice for the same item, so you can’t use your assignments or major project.

You could discuss one of the things you made in one of the labs, or some other p5 (or other) artwork you’ve made. It doesn’t have to be in p5, and doesn’t even have to be code art—just something which is interesting to you and gives you something to talk about in your discussion.

Do the usual academic integrity rules apply?

Yes, of course! You don’t have to have a formal bibliography, but if you’ve copied a chunk of text from somewhere (e.g. Wikipedia, or someone’s blog), you should link to it (otherwise it looks like you’re trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own, which is obviously not ok).

Do I have to include my own work in my visual diary?

No, you can just engage with other artists. The visual diary isn’t solely about your own art-making, it’s about encouraging you to explore art in general.

Do I have to use the visual diary entries to explain my thought process as I think about my major project?

No, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with your major project. Although if you want to use it for that purpose then you’re welcome to do that.

For the “comment on other visual diary entries”, does it matter which week the other entry is from?

No, you can comment on any other entry, as long as you haven’t commented on it before.

For your first entry (esp. if you’re in a Monday lab) there won’t be many visual diary entries available—perhaps even just those done by the tutors. That’s ok, you can comment on their entries as well.

Can I “like” (♡ button) another student’s visual diary entry?

Sure, go ahead. Like as many as you want to :) Remember that you need to actually reply to at least two other entries, though.

So if I just turn up, then I get full marks—right?

Nope. This is a real assessment item, and we expect you to put some work in. Use it as an incentive to explore the wide world of art, visual communication and interactive web-based experiences. Then write it up in your visual diary :)

When will I get my marks & feedback?

You won’t get your mark during your lab session, but you’ll be able to see it on streams by the Monday the week after your lab.

Do the things I discuss have to be code-based?

No, they can be anything. They don’t even have to be “art” per. se., they could be e.g. advertisements that do something that’s interesting from a visual or interaction standpoint. The main thing is that you’ve got something to talk about in your commentary alongside the work, and in your discussion with your tutor.

Do the things I discuss have to be visual artworks?

As said above, you have to discuss “three artworks” in your diary entry. They could be visual arts, performance art, architecture, sound art, video works, interactive art, or something we haven’t thought of yet.

As mentioned above, it’s best to include a picture/video/audio or other linked media so other people can experience the artwork you’re talking about. You also need to describe the artwork, discuss what they’re “about” and what makes them interesting (to you).

What happens if my regular lab session falls on a public holiday?

If that’s the case then you can file your visual diary entry as usual, and your tutor will mark it online and comment on your post (instead of having the in-person chat). The deadline is still the same—the entry needs to be posted before the start of your lab time (even though the lab isn’t happening).

  1. If you’re caught using artybollocks to write your artist statement in this course you’ll get zero. You’ve been warned 😉 

Updated:    11 Jan 2021 / Responsible Officer:    Head of School / Page Contact:    Charles Martin