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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Happy holiday (or work engagement) and take a deep breath


Thanks for your patience these last couple of weeks. I had to take car of a few personal family matters that could not be delayed in Virginia. I also had a few laughs - and saw the Blue Ridge from a distance. I had a chance to meet up with several of my professors - retired now - along with friends who are artists and teachers - and the Dean of Virginia Commonwealth University (Arts). So this week I am finishing up feedback and trying to get all the email reminders out for January. Because I spent some days away from the office, the first week in January I will be on call for BAPP (Arts) - especially questions about submissions. If anyone has any urgent issues over Xmas I will be monitoring my emails. I have some re-drafting to do myself so will be back at the computer after Xmas AND of course I will be moving more boxes around - a favourite pastime!

I hope everyone has some free time over the holiday, whether you are working or taking time off.

Take a deep breath if you are finishing your coursework for submission, give it some extra time before the day before - contact me if you need to just for a quick chat. Busy times are hectic but it is great to get things done as well. Bw

Friday, 30 November 2012

DRAFT Advice Module 3 DUE NOW

Critical Review DRAFTS for written feedback should be sent into me now. PLEASE SEND THEM AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT to my email

The format for this is in the Module Handbook and on slides on my blog - also please look at others blogs for advice.

I have received most of the paragraphs about the Artefacts - but if you have not sent this in please do so asap.

The four sections structure the review and should be readable- that is - your text (images) should flow from section to section.

Get in touch if you have any questions. I am away form the office form the 7th Dec to the 14th Dec and will be able to access emails but if I can get this work done and sent back to you before then I will.

DRAFT Advice on Module 2 draft plan DUE NOW

Right... the plan is about the thinking you have done this study period and a document (reportage and essay style) that outlines what you are going to do for your inquiry and why.


The professional inquiry incorporates a practitioner research project and how this is embedded into your own practice, so your plan should represent how you propose to do this in Module 3

this is the outline - primarily - to use

Title of Inquiry 

 - this is a working title - often it is similar to your main inquiry questions
Context of the Inquiry – why it is important and who will benefit. 

  what is your work role, how does your practitioner research relate to what  you do?  You may need to restate what you have explained in blogs to set the scene for your plan/proposal
What are the Inquiry Questions / Objectives 

 (+ did you have any overall aims of this body of work?)          
Literature and Publicly available Ideas – what is already known about the topic of your inquiry? 

   so your 3 examples explained if they apply to your inquiry and where you hope to find more information / data about your topic/inquiry question   - so you lack academic examples? did you find specific journals or websites such as Dance UK helpful?    
Inquiry tools that you will use and why (based on your review of pilots conducted with SIGs) 

   so the methods you will use - interview, survey, focus group, observation  inc participant observation from your journal entries - what did you try out ? did your pilots/trials of the tools help in planning your inquiry? who will you talk to ? why and how have you chosen people?  did you get any good advise form others on BAPP about this process?    BE SPECIFIC - you should have gotten permission  for your employer to carry out the practitioner research and in many cases contacted people who will be participating 
Approach to analysis of information you will collect in the inquiry 

 - if you are doing a survey and and interview - how will you analyse these methods - review Reader 6 and online resources - how will this analysis relate back to your own practice - will you be doing an intervention? a workshop? applying to something?      
Ethical practice in your inquiry 

 - how will you consider this in your workplace and with the people who participated in your practitioner research  - be specific  - you can refer to your ethics form       
Resources needed 

 time, travel, books, will someone else at work need to cover for you?          

  a timeframe to guide you for the study period - time goes quickly for this if you are going straight onto the inquiry so doing this will ensure          

what do you hope to get out of the inquiry? Any points to summarise?

You also need to submit your CRITICAL REFLECTION which should be blogged and 
included as Appendix.

 this is your personal/professional point of view so you can talk about you and your practice

Submit your Professional Inquiry Forms (2 this year – they are up on the Libguide under Module 2 tab)
1. the Awards Title and Ethics and 2. a separate Employer Support form that you need to print out – get signed – and rescan for your digital submission – we sign the university signatures. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A call to arms? Speak up for arts in the Curriculum!!!

Just saw this article in the BBC education online about Benice McCabe's call for people to speak up for the need of cultural and creative subjects in the new curriculum!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Module 2 overview - Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Talking to Jo today about moving on from the ethics in Part 5 (2 main parts professional ethics and the ethics you will need to carry out your practitioner research) - yes you will have to leave this section - scan as needed - lots of good material that you can come back to as it relates to what you are planning to do. Remember this year there are 2 forms only - download these from the Libguide under Module 2 - I have also posted up the outline for your plan

I thought I would review tips for thinking about Module 2 work.

1. This first one is an overview of what Module 2 is supposed to do.

revisited from the 10/4/12

Module 2 - Thinking about the plan

Module 2 is about taking some of the experiences from Module 1
  • the ideas behind communicating publicly, privately, and with peer discussion
  • the use of critical thinking and using theories to support your ideas 
  • and beginning to think about what questions you have about what you do 
and leading them into Module 2 - here are some pointers for the Parts 
  • Part 4 is about learning more about professional practice and disciplinary knowledge so that you can better identify the elements of your practice (dance, graphic design, teaching, acting, etc. ) that relate to your topic - the  topic on which to base your final inquiry. the final inquiry topic will contain both the philosophical (ideas)  and practical elements (related to what you do as paid or unpaid work). In this module you need to identify your award title and the way you can discuss your topic with others in your special interest groups. The inquiry will become more focused as you go along, you will have aims and objectives about what you specifically want to accomplish and the practitioner research element will be guided by one or several inquiry questions - what is is that you are exploring? What do you want to find out?
  • Part 5 Identifying the professional ethics which you use and learning how to carry out an inquiry using ethical practice (p. 18 on Reader 5) - this relates to you being able to explain (in your plan)  the ethical practice you will be using in your inquiry - so you need to fill out the ethical Form and the Employer support form - the Employer support forms lets us know you have the permission of your employer to carry out the inquiry at work - if you do not have an employer as such choose a professional colleague who can comment on and advise you about working in your sector.
  • Part 6 is about using literature to inform you about your topic - using 3 sample pieces - and carry out some trial tools with friends and the BAPP network so that you can see what happens when you try to interview someone, or carry out a questionnaire. You can then use this experience in your plan to decide how you want to gather data for the practitioner research part of your inquiry. 
The plan will have the basic outline of what is is you want to accomplish with the inquiry, the critical reflection portfolio will sum up the learning you have done during this process (this is done on the blogs but a copy of this is in the appendix of your plan).

Work with your academic adviser before the end of the study term.

You may want to visit Adesola's blog - see the link- has also talked about the messy quality of this time - but also the creative experience of planning can be liberating. Also for Modules 2 and 3 Peter's blog about creative work in a digital age.

2.  The next is about Responses to Questions about the Inquiry - REVISITED ON 16/11/12 AFTER 11/4/11
1. what is literature - this is explained in your Reader - but basically it can be a variety of materials that have been written or communicated about various topics - you literature might include an academic article downloaded form the Middlesex library (because you know that academic literature 'argues' points of view in a balanced way with rules that govern their use of evidence to make their points), articles form trade periodicals (like Stage), or web articles that come form reliable sources - like a professional organisation such as Dance UK. Your literature might also include some books about inquiry, research, or learning theory that you have found ( I liked Researching Dance by Franleigh and Hanstein). These could also be policy papers you need to read for education if you teach or aspire to teaching.

So three sources that talk about your topic - reviewed - what did they say and what did they mean? Have they changed your mind about something or inspired you to do further searching? Did they challenge what others have said about the issues? Did they have ideas or theories that others have been able to see and use?

2. research ethics - there are two main issues covered in Part 5 
1. ethical practice as it relates to codes of practice in the workplace 
2. inquiry ethics - how you are going to ensure that you have followed certain protocols while carrying out your inquiry. 

Middlesex Uni (and your advisors) need to ensure that you carry out good practice when in comes to inquiry on human subjects, so you need to think through how you are going to interview etc. the people who will participate in your inquiry - this is directly related to the 1. Awards title and Ethics Form that tasks you to explain the ethical practice you will use in Module 3. and 2. the Employer Support form - that ensures that your directors/managers/head etc know that you will be carrying out supervised practitioner research for the course in your workplace. Use a peer professional for you signatory if you do not have a person in this position to call upon to sign.

3. the plan - You need to submit a plan for your inquiry - this is a lot like project planning. What research questions are your explaining and how are you intending to carry out this inquiry? This also relates to discussions in Reader 6 about how others have carried out practitioner research (we are calling this process this inquiry). PLAN OUTLINE NOW UP UNDER THE MODULE 2 TAB ON THE LIBGUIDE

4. using the tools - 1. observation - in you workplace or if nothing comes up - from a video event (Emma you were right to think of it ass an option!) of something similar to your topic 2. interview - have you considered skype or telephone interviews with BAPP members - you can put skype addresses up and connect with people that are on the course (at the uni, because of data protection, we do not give out contact details except with permission), focus groups - again this is a trial - so with friends on a topic that everyone could talk about - i.e. how media presents the arts? 4. survey/questionnaire - why not try SurveyMonkey to see how the online device works - a number of BAPP members have surveys up - so support the home team and try them... These ARE NOT for your inquiry - that is in the next module when you have explained and obtained Middlesex University ethical approval - so this is just to try out how the 'inquiry tools' operate in an informal way so that when you use them in your inquiry in the next module you will be somewhat familiar with them
Hope that helps.... COMMENT on the blog anything else that might help!!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Issue based theatre - an example of looking at literature for Module 2 & Module 3

I am not a theatre professional - so address the questions of issue based theatre as an arts researcher and an audience.

I have booked some theatre tickets to see 'One Hour Eighteen Minutes' at the New Diorama Theatre.

The play is based on a true story about corruption and the death of the lawyer who became the  'whistleblower' and tried to testify to the crimes. The play is said to chronicle the last hour of the man's life - so looks like it could be pretty grim in terms of viewing - and acting. It is related to the theatre company called Sputnik Theatre and is directed by Noah Birksted-Breen.

As some of the groups/sigs have been discussing issues based theatre... Here is an example showing in London - I am set to see later this month- it has a short run. I don't know what role Wendy Nottingham plays...

Okay - so I am going to see this play and wanted to think about issue-based theatre - so I used the Summon facility of the Library to search the key words 'issue based theatre' after signing in on the MyUniHub. I also ticked the boxes to the left to say I want journal articles with full-text - no newspapers- and in theater.

Using the Harvard style - one of the articles I came up with was:

Prendergast, Monica (2011) 'Applied Theatre and/as Activism', Canadian Theatre Review, 147: 18-23, Toronto: University of Toronto Press

What is it about?  - it says this in the Introduction - so setting out the context.

"Applied theatre is becoming recognized worldwide as a field of theatre that encompasses a range of practices, all of which are carried out in non-theatrical or extra-theatrical settings. While Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed may seem quite dissimilar to Pam Schweitzer’s Reminiscence Theatre, or to Museum Theatre, Popular Theatre, or Theatre in Education, all of these applied theatre forms require trained facilitators with a broad set of skills in theatre performance, direction, and design as well as in facilitation, collective creation, and pedagogy" (p. 18).

So what would the overall inquiry question be?

Pendergt tells us - the University of Victoria is (UVic)

"So, if UVic’s pro- gram is most interested in educational applications of applied theatre, it becomes a ques- tion whether or not its teaching philosophy carries any overt or subtle activist agendas. It is this topic—the relationship, the tension between applied theatre practice and social activism" (p. 18).

The article then describes interviews undertaken with eight present and former faculty members and graduate students. 

1. What is social activism in your view?
2. How do you see the relationship between your training 
and practice in applied theatre and social activism?
3. What are the responsibilities and ethics of taking a group of participants in a more activist-oriented direction?
4. Why is it important/not important for us to consider 
our work in applied theatre as a form of activism?

Then Pendergast tells us about his process of using practitioner research and how he will discuss the data.

"I have chosen to render these interview transcripts in monologue form, as I believe it is useful to see each speaker as an individual. In addition, this process closely mirrors Applied Theatre practice, which involves the translation of interviews into dramatic texts of various kinds (including scenes and monologues). My own work in arts-based and practice-based research presses me to consider not only the what, but also the how of representation" (p. 19).

Then Pendergast tells us the data.

Then she concludes with a conclusion (quite brief ) summarising the findings.

"As an Applied Theatre practitioner myself, what strikes me most after transcribing and rereading these interview monologues is the sense of a lack of separation between classroom and community as experienced and expressed by interviewees. All subjects spoke about the topic of activism (however de- fined) as completely interwoven with their community-based practice, and inseparable from the processes and pedagogies involved in training. In UVic’s Applied Theatre program, students take their work out into the community in every course from second through fourth year. Much of the focus in the classroom/studio is on preparing for the task of working with community members and/or groups. In these ways, activism becomes an integral part of the teaching of Applied Theatre as an interventionist theatre practice, albeit ever-mindful of the ethical and social responsibilities necessary to work in wholly reciprocal, non-didactic, and non-propagandistic ways with community collaborators. Whether the focus is educational, interventionist, or revolutionary, in Applied Theatre as practiced at UVic, theatre is an efficacious means for many kinds of participant-initiated activism, both in the classroom and beyond" (p. 23).

So in terms of literature - this article discusses how applied theatre practice is viewed in this theatre programme. while the terms used are 'applied theatre' there is a link with the 'issue-based' theatre practice in the UK. there is a social agenda within the community begin developed within the practice that the practitioners in the study discussed (ex. ex. ex) and an application of the craft of theatre (ex. ex. ex.)  Focusing on one of the participants - Lauren Jerke used ideas from the Boal Image Theatre to develop work with psychiatric patients. I would have liked a bit more data on this project - although she described a 'rocky start' that led to a focused and successful performance that I take it included the patients. While using theatre in heath education has been growing in recent years - I would want to find other sources to compare this to in England.

I thought this might help people think about their planning and their Module 3 Critical Review and artefact...