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Monday, 31 October 2011

Illustration for BAPP

This was an illustration that Patience did last year for BAPP, it just reminds me of Katharina and Nina's blogs...  I can draw still but it takes me ages to get my head around it...

Dance Organisations and Reports

Mapping Dance

please add to these - I will try to as well...

some of these might also be up on Delicious

The Design Council and other design organisations

Does someone have more organisations that might be helpful to designers - in the UK? In Europe? Who will tell us things (research) about the profession?

Effective Writing (Module 3)

Effective Writing

Hints to improve writing from the workshop that I did with Christine Eastman – Senior Lecturer in Work Based Learning in July 2011. Much of this is from Christine presentations and interaction with the class. The advice for writing relates to both the Critical Review and the Artefact for Module 3.

Many people have had comments on their writing style, Christine put writing excerpts together from well-known literary greats over time to show that reviewing writing style was an essential element to discovering your own style or ‘voice’ One of her main points was that writing for a purpose did not have to be dull and that “good academic writing is alive”.

It is important to combine your own experience in your writing to your discipline (e.g. theatre studies) that enables your to show that you are the expert and shows your wisdom and lived experience. Effective writing is about realising how other literature’s potential  can help you:
·      think critically
·      form persuasive arguments
·      develop writing that is concise
·      explore style and poise

it is important to think critically being informative, concise and with a flow to the language, signposting through words and expressions. In academic argument you ‘argue’ or make points based, not on your opinion, but on evidence from other expert sources. ‘Hedging’ is when you embed caution about your interpretations within the text, referring back to what experts say to develop your arguments using quotes and ‘paraphrases’ (when you use what someone said within your own sentences but with citation).

Learn to identify you key arguments and structure your writing to enable you to write with style. A reference for this is Strunk and White’s  The Elements of Style. Structure your work with a topic sentence that shows the meaning of the paragraph, Key sentences that are short and developed for a certain audience. Finally a concluding sentence that sums up a main idea and leads on to the next paragraph.

Reading out passages aloud helps to identify meaning and helps structure the sentences for meaning and understanding.

It is important to edit your work. Five suggestions for editing are:
·      Does your writing consistently address your topic?
·      Does you opening establish the nature of your response (the first two or three sentences set the scene)?
·      Does you writing disperse your points about an issue rather than forming them into concentrated sustained discussion?
·      Are your quotations and your evidence integrated into the essay?
·      Are your sentences clear?

Writing can appeal to the senses. It can refer to images, sounds, touch, taste, and movement. The choice of vocabulary should address the audience’s need to understand the meaning of what you are writing about. The first paragraph can equate to a ‘thesis statement’ that explains what the entire piece of writing is about. Use specific language to avoid being vague. Explain what your argument is about and bring in counterarguments that you have found in the literature. Your voice should help make the writing distinctive

Paula adds that drafting and editing – fine-tuning – is a process that takes time but helps to shape the wiring and bring out the academic argument you are using based on the literature and the evidence you gather during your inquiry. The Critical Review is more formally structured. The artefact could say some of the same things but use language and style targeted more at your professional audience.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Exemptions for Performing Arts Schools

This is an article (link by scrolling on the title) from the Guardian about performing arts school and the new admissions requirements fro government policy.

Is this the sector you are working in? Could it mean sustaining jobs in the sector?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Risky Business report about UK Creative Industries

This can be downloaded for free - Middlesex is now a member of the Culture Capital exchange and I a following their newsletters.

'Inquiring' into how teachers teach

An interesting site about evaluating teaching form the Carnegie Institute. It is about 'how' to research teaching evaluations....

Joanna Cannon - What Teachers Would Find Useful

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Meeting at Chickenshed Theatre

I will be at the Chickenshed Theatre tomorrow 26th October from 3-6pm to talk to Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3 (or 3861).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Do you want to do well on the BA (Hons) degree

This is a question that is timely to ask in the fifth week of classes.

Minimal or sporadic engagement is listed in the success criteria in the failure category, so I am a bit surprised when people ask me at this point: What am I supposed to do? If you have any questions about what you are supposed to do, you need to contact your academic adviser and monitor their blog BUT you should also refer to your Module Handbooks and Readers up on the BAPP Libguide.

Using the social media to communicate and engage in your studies is a big part of this final year of your degree.

Please schedule in the time - look at the success criteria in your Module Handbook: Are you doing well?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 24 October 2011

Interview with Tim Webb, Artistic Director of Oily Cart

"Diana Damian talks to Tim Webb, Artistic Director of Oily Cart, about his company and its work for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities."

Women's careers

Emily has been talking about professional realities and professionalism - reflection is a way of looking at what we do in a neutral way to find out how we can make changes.


I have mentioned this to those at the Campus Sessions, but generally my 'distance' office hours will be Monday and Friday as these are the days I can be in front of my computer all day - however I will generally be on the Trent Park office Tue, Wed and Thurs for face-to-face sessions. This week I am going 'off-site' to see a third year student and take some training in Hendon 3-5 pm. Please make an appointment to ensure a time with me - it is very important for those in Module 3.

Please email, phone and skype me to get in touch - IT IS THE FIFTH WEEK of the 12 weeks - you should look at the coursework and get your materials up-to-date. As the assessment is based on engagement - this is very important.  I will be doing more posts about good examples that I am seeing as I scan the blogs. I do not always leave comments as I would like to give others a chance to get into interesting discussions - these are good to follow.

Module 1 - you have tasks that are given timings in terms of weeks. I can look at a draft of the final critical reflection and Part 3 (for those who need to do it) in late November or early December (28th Nov or the 5th Dec) - meanwhile please work on your blogs

Module 2 - you have tasks that are given timings in terms of weeks - I can look at you draft plans to fit in with this modules scheduling - sometime in late November or early December (28th Nov or the 5th Dec) - meanwhile work on your blogs

Module 3 - we have pencilled in the 14th of November for drafts of the Critical Review and ideas for your Artefact - some people may need a later date and can let me know... - meanwhile work on your blogs MOST PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE 21ST NOV AS A DEADLINE FOR DRAFTS - THAT IS FINE - SEND ALL THE SECTIONS OF THE TEXT AS ONE PIECE OF WRITING TO ME BY EMAIL AND I WILL SEND YOU DIGITAL FEEDBACK .

WBS3861 Drafts of Chapter 1-3 are due the 24th October - so this week  AND drafts of Chapters 4-6 due the 21st of November - meanwhile work on your blogs (4 are required)

New Middlesex Student Union Radio MUD in November

There is a link from this website - MUD Radio which should be starting in November - there is now an automatic playlist.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Advice for reviewing literature for Module 3

We covered searching literature previously - please refer to my blog from the last module as a refresher at this link that suggests a strategy for looking and a slideshare on the topic is also at the bottom of the blog.

Also Look in the Reader 7 for advice on the literature review - this means reviewing the literature like you did in the last module.

As described to Natalie in a recent email:

Basically this section/component of the Critical Review is you looking at all of the sources you used to guide or inform you and the links your ideas have with regional, national and even international expertise from professional and academic sources - they should help you analyse the conversations you have had (interviews) with participants and other things you have learned (like your presenting course).

So they all go together in one sections to say - this is what others have said about my topic - and then you compare you 'findings' to this section of your Critical Review.

They can say that there is a debate going on about your topic? You could tell your audience about this and say whether it has influenced you...they could say something that you do not agree with now that you have gathered evidence. They may have helped you (you mentioned you had a very good biography/narrative source) to ask the right questions about your topic. They also help define your terms within the text so that they will be clear.

Your analysis of this knowledge and understanding and using this for your critical thinking is important at Level 6. Usually in a dissertation on a conventional course some sources are given as the experts - in this course you are taught to examine topics of your own choosing so you are also given the framework to carry out your own search of the literature to determine what is relevant. It is a skill to make these decisions. Any time you need to find out something in future - the same basic format can be used.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Module 3 Blogging and questions to review for an adviser update

Blogging is important because it lets you get feedback from your peers. You might work in the SIGs or you might get feedback from anyone on the course. You can use the blogs to see how others have solved certain issues or explored certain topics. Challenge yourself by seeing what peers at your workplace think of your ideas.

Advisers can help if you let them know where you are in the process. They are trying to challenge your work in order that you develop ideas that stretch you and evidence your acquisition of knowledge from the process.

Relate where you are now with your original plan from Module 2 - have some things changed? how and why?

Updated information that can be discussed if you have not already:
what is your title?
what are your inquiry questions and topic?
have there been any ethical issues?
what have you done for your literature review
what have you done to gather data?
who have you seen or observed or surveyed - how, when, where, why?
how are you planning to analyse your data for your findings?

Writing this information down, the act of writing the text helps structure your thoughts and let's you see what you need to do. It is also a way of starting the process of drafting the critical review and give you ideas for your professional artefact.

Module 1 a piece that links Part 1 Web 2.0 and Part 2 Reflection?

I was not sure about putting this article forward as it was in a unconventional source that I came across, but I think Tim Berners-Lee talking about his reflections on the world wide web actually makes sense as we segway to this part of the module. He obviously has a social conscience about the phenomenon he created.

I will add to this any other professional sources that I find that might add to these updates about his hopes for the use of Web 2.0.

All the citation is included - please use this link to the Berners-Lee article.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Any requests for Campus Session 2 for Module 3?

Hey folks - I am still thinking through from questions people asked at the last Campus Session and from emails etc. At the next Campus Session we will look at the critical review format - we think that the journey of discovery is vital for the inquiries. Adesola will be discussing and presenting on Professional Artefacts - fantastic - I am looking forward to that.

Does anyone have any questions or issues that you would like covered?  Any requests??? Please leave a comment and we will incorporate it into the session.

At the last session we discussed having individual advisers set a date for drafts on the review (my group discussed 4th Nov but that is not set in stone) but more importantly lots of people are still now carrying out activities from their plans - so keep up the good work. It is a busy time but the clarity should come as you explain what you have done to others. You can try this out on the blogs (anonymise as needed).

KEEP blogging everyone... It is the third week...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Blurb books

Blurb is a commercial site that produces books form digital sources.

The British Library Business & IP Centre

I have been to several events with this - good standard.

Graphic Design Lectures

Some lectures have been advertised about graphic design - Ken Friedman has said about them. CLICK the title of this blog to go to the lectures. they may take a while to load... interesting about the copyright issues presented below - advise for those planning online...

Below is what he sent out about them...


Dear Colleagues,

Over the past year, we have been holding our Design Perspectives Lectures on a regular basis. We've documented these on audio and video. When we first announced these, we had requests to make these accessible online, and we committed ourselves to making the lectures available via the web. We are happy to announce that you can now access these lectures via the Swinburne Design web site...

Eight lectures are now available online.

Nigel Cross - Creative Thinking in Design
Nigel Cross - Understanding Design Thinking
Wendy Wong - Chinese Graphic Design History in Greater China SInce 1979
Keith Russell - Chocolate Bread, Sacred Rice: Continental Ways of Looking at Things 
Judith Gregory - Activity Theory as a "Trading Zone" for Design Research and Practice
Kalevi Ekman - The Story Behind Aalto University's Design Factory
Jacob Buur - User Centred Design
Pi'ikea Clark - Expanding Design Education through Indigenous Design

More lectures will be added as we complete the preparations.

In some cases, we only have audio. I regret this, but our legal department informs us that we can't broadcast or publish some images without copyright clearance from the original copyright holder. An image that may be used for an education lecture in a single classroom or lecture hall falls within fair use provisions of the copyright act, while making it accessible online falls under those aspects of copyright law governing broadcasting and publishing. When possible, we now ask lecturers to use images for which they have permission, but the requirements of topic and theme determine the choice of images. At any rate, we make as much available as we can do. We hope eventually to make the lectures available in written form.

Please visit our web site to enjoy the lectures -- five audio, two video, one in both audio and video....

Best regards,


Friday, 7 October 2011

Module 1 3730 Advice for those who have not started...

Go to the BAPP Libguide and go to the Induction tab and go to 'How to get started' that is posted as a pdf on the right of the page. Read this handout. Start a google account and start a Google blog.

Go to the Module 1 tab on theBAPP Libguide. Read the Module 1 Handbook. The Module Handbook is presented in three parts. For each part , there is a Reader that gives you excerpts to read.  Part 1 = Reader 1, Part 2 = Reader 2 and  Part 3 = Reader 3. The Readers help with aligning the theories that we suggest you look at and apply to your own professional practice. The tasks in the Handbook mainly go up on your blog.

Get in touch with me by phone or skype for further help. This contact information is on the Libguide and the academic adviser email I sent you.

I have put up the YouTube summaries form the 3 groups form the first Campus Session Alan led on the 4th October 2011. The agenda from that session is up on the BAPP Libguides under Module Campus Sessions (added 8/10/11).

The key features of project management

Many elements of your inquiry require you to manage a process. 

Here are some helpful hints from a simple but straightforward source with a few notes added into the text. Everyone is encouraged to find your own sources for the processes and products that make up your inquiry work in your final module.

Key features of project management - focus on priorities, track performance, overcome difficulties, and adapt to change (flexible and responsive approach); may be time consuming initially, but in the long term planning will save time, effort, and reduce the risk of failure.
Defined start and end - start up and close down stages.
Organised plan - planned methodical approach is used to meet project objectives.
Good planning ensures a project is completed on time and within budget  - having delivered the expected results. An effective plan provides a template that guides the project and details the work that needs to be done.
Separate Resources - allocated time, people, and money - working within agreed resources is vital to successfully completing the project.
Teamwork - project team [employer, colleagues, professional networks, community of practice] – this might also mean Gatekeepers and your Academic Advisor.
Established Goals - bring results in terms of quality and/or performance. Project may result in a new way of working, or create something that did not previously exist.

Bruce and Langdon (2000) Project Management Essential Managers, London: Doring Kindersley

Steve Jobs and Apple Macintosh computers

Steve Jobs just passed away - he was the inventor of the Apple Macintosh computer and innovations such as the iphone. The Guardian website has put together a number of sites to speak to his importance in today's world of technology.

I remember a time when these were first on the scene. I was doing three part-time jobs: one as an art teacher at an independent high school, one at the university teaching drawing, and one as an assistant at Richmond Printmaking (a non-profit or not for profit art studio). It was at the arts studio that I was first introduced to the first black and white version of the apple computer in 1987. At that time the computers were really word processers as there was no Web much less Web2.0. 

Apples led the way in intuitive thinking about this new technology. Many creatives and designers still use apple macs today because of the capacity they have with working with the creative mind. In Britain, the apple macs were often the computer of choice for universities putting in this new way of working for the students in the design industries. 

Where would I be without the ipod and the iphone to accompany by iMac? I would be very lonely and most likely unemployed.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

1st Campus Session for Module 3 5/10/11

The 1st Campus Session for Module 3 went very well - everyone who is my advisee - it is time to contact me with an update and discussion if you have not contacted me.... Please see the PowerPoint slideshare that speaks to what we did...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Theatre blog's advice about arts management books

What is a WIKI?

What is a WIKI?

Simply put a wiki is just a shared document. Sharing a document can take many forms. In the workplace often several people add to a draft. Someone starts a document about something, a topic such as a Special Interest Group might be discussing. In this case, a WIKI is more of a discussion document. It can take a formal structure, or be more of a collection of words or pictures for a first draft that is later formalised by one or two authors. Generally, all the authors of the work would be acknowledged. People can work in different colours, or simply in the early stages put there initials at the end of sections.

A google wiki is very easy to make, it lives on googedocs, so is in a virtual space. The document can be closed or made public. The convenience of a public wiki is that you will not to give people ‘permission’ to work on the wiki.  The wiki can then put linked to a blog so that there is instant access…
Working with authors on a shared document takes the same sort of skills that commenting on blogs takes, and perhaps too many authors might be hard to then evolve into a later cohesive document. But it is also a going way to put up sections of writing that can then be responded to , more like a continuous chat.

For those working at a distance, you can add to this system through the use of skype chats for discussion on particuarly thrilling or tricky bits.
So try a google wiki in its various forms:
  • ·      A discussion document
  • ·      A continuous chat about particular issues
  • ·      A formal document you have shared with a few authors 
There is mention of wikis in the Reader 1 - how do your wikis compare to this theory? 

A brief and incomplete personal introduction to Mike Leigh’s work.

A brief and incomplete personal introduction to Mike Leigh’s work.

I saw Mike Leigh give a talk when one of his earlier films was being showcased as a part of the Surrey Institute film programme. ‘Naked’ was a very hard-hitting film, one that involved a rape scene, so the viewing public needed to be made of stern stuff. Luckily many of the audience members came were film connoisseurs and were keen fans of the director.  It made it clear that Leigh is not one to flinch from portraying some of the more gritty aspects of life on film.
Leigh is one of England’s own, and his style of work is quite distinct. Trained as an actor (British Council), 2011), his refinement of the process of writing plays and developing scripts is distinct. I understand that often there is no final script at the beginning of the process, but the development of the script or screenplay is shared with the actors (both men and women) so that their own research on the characters create realistically derived scenes where the dialogue in uncannily true to life because the characters are ‘themselves’. While in production, the actors are not allowed to discuss the project as it s still being formed. Having watched a number of the films now, and at least one  of the plays, the ultimately keep your interest because they are not formulaic in the ‘hollywood’ sense, although Leigh’s fascination with the mundane and dark side of life has been a repeated theme for his own work. Risky business for the film industry, but Mike Leigh’s career is a long and successful one in Britiain (BFI, 2011).

British Council (2011 online) Available from
[Accessed 4/10/11]

British Film Institute (BFI) (2011 online) Available from [Accessed 4/10/11]