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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Campus Session Module 2 28.2.12 COMMENTS ADDED 4/3/12

CAMPUS SESSION 2 BAPP (Arts) Module 2 WBS3630
28 February Trent Park Campus, Room 4

Schedule of session (Paula)
Attending Rozana, Alice, Emily, Hannah, Tiffany, Lily, Corinda, Sarah, Rhoda
Reviewing Addendum sheet for Module 2and formative feedback - the Addendum sheet talks about the dates around which the feedback takes place...
Summing up Part 4  
Progress on Inquiry Questions - We talked about how the earlier questions are now becoming clearer and the ideas for a final topic area are forming. The inquiry plan should have some main inquiry questions to explore, and may have a number of sub-questions. What is it that you want to find out about? There may be ideas (philosophical) and practical aspects that you might want to use for your inquiry. Most people are still in the process of focusing in on there topic area in order to use the headings in the Module 2 Handbook to write their plan.
Progress on working with Special Interest Groups (SIGs) – naming the groups and how to join in on their conversations  - Most people seemed to not be keyed into groups yet but many had begun to form them - we discussed using Facebook and Linked In as a way of developing groups as well as blogs and other means of contact amongst the BAPP network - the groups discussion should help you decide on some of the issue you want to develop in your inquiry
Insider Research and professional practice - this is a part of Part 4 - there should have been an extract emailed to you - this inquiry will be looking at your professional practice (paid or unpaid) and you will need to take care when using this context for your practitioner research - following ethical guidelines will be important - and your will need to get permission from your Employer or someone from your community of practice if you are freelance who might act as a 'gatekeeper' at work - for example a manager or director or Head Teacher looking after the interests of the people who work where you hope to develop your professional inquiry. 
Part 5 Ethical Practice 
Professional Ethics (Rosemary - The Black Swan), Aesthetics (Adesola) and Inquiry ethics - using ethical practice in your professional inquiry - I started this section by referring to the Fox et al. book that talks about how ethical practice is related to professional knowledge. Professional ethics and the ethics that you will use to gather evidence for your topic are important skills for the professional. Reader 5 (compiled by Rosemary) goes over the history of ethics, morality and ethics, and the professional conduct that many professional are required to have in order to practice.

Larger group exercise: Professional ethics using Part 5 Reader 2 (5a,5b)
What are the ethical considerations of your professional practice?Taking the lead from Rosemary, we began the discussion using the movie the Black Swan  about a ballet dancer and her rather bizarre and dramatic experience trying to take the starring role of  white/black swan. Generally it shows how not to practice - Corinda pointed out the fictional mother was also ultra demanding along with the director. It exemplified the need for ethical guidelines and a discussion ensued about this. Rhoda and Hannah pointed out that they had experienced bad ethical practice, and all agreed that politeness and etiquette with all job related colleagues was a key skill in engaging in practice. Many of these codes of practice can be found in written form, and this is one of the tasks for Part 5

Small group exercises: Inquiry ethics using using Part 5 Reader 3 (5c)
Discussing the Ethics Forms, discussion in inquiry plan, informed consent forms - Here we discussed the requirements for the module and the need for developing the professional inquiry at Middlesex University - informed consent is explained several times in Reader 5  (e.g. p.18 and in Reading 3 p. 36). The Inquiry plan and Ethics form requires you to identify who your will be talking to in Module 3 when you gather data through tools such as interviews... 

Break A brief stroll around or near the Mansion house...

Part 6 Literature – how finding out relates to ethical practice 
How to search for sources that relate to your inquiry
Analysing sources for information (data) as a critical thinking skill for professional practice
Using tools with ethical practice Here we took some short articles that I copied from the Stage and scanned them quickly to identify the main points from the literature - literature comes from many sources, but generally it is someone who has professional or academic expertise who is talking about the topic and explaining some research or review of the topics and/or issues. For example education usually has literature on policy as well as literature on practice - so one is the government's rules of how things should happen and the practice literature explores where that practice really is and the ideas that go into the practice. 

What people did to the literature – as it was not a library cop – wa they used highlighters to indicate the most main points and added ‘annotations’ or notes to the side to remember the themes and theories introduced – this is helpful when you are writing up the analysis.

Group exercise: Using a sample from Stage, read and annotate an article and relate to the group  the issues explored (6c).
Our articles came form a performance topic area – one article noted that some research had been carried out by MarketingBirmingham that said that children only got limited access to attending performances in that city. Issues included - who did the research, why the research was done, what the evidence about non-attendance might mean to the children, etc. 

The article can be found  at the Stage on this link.

Searching literature is an important way to focus in on what others have said about your topic. Module 2 asks you to choose 3 pieces of literature to analyse – see Reader 6 – and this will also help you define what it is you want to examine about your professional practice. Look for issues make sense to you and would be worth sharing with others.

We said that more people need to be involved in the SIGs and that people would send me addresses to put on the BAPP Libguide. Alice and I did a short video after the session to be posted on BAPPYouTube. Next time we will try to do more of this.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Searching sources for musical theatre and dance - Module 2 or 3

Searching literature is a really good way of 'shopping' for issues within a topic area. We will be discussing this in the Module 2 campus session after we discuss ethical practice.

In this instance I used the key word - musical theatre research issues
what you do is then scan and shop - look for sources... that lead to sources from Google... You have to be somewhat targeted -= so having an inquiry topic area helps...

for example Dominic Symonds is a member of 
and is also linked to:

Also there is Middlesex University led research 

AND universities that do theatre arts are a good source as well

The point here is just like a good investigative reporter, you need to follow leads and dig a bit to uncover the sources that will inform your topic. Also use the links with your own professional bodies and colleagues to start you off or link up disparate strands of your inquiry. You and your practice are at the centre of your inquiry. While doing this, you can acknowledge (through citation) where you got your ideas from in the writing that you do to explain your point of view. This is one of the cores of critical thinking, using other people to tell you about what you need to know. It is not so much a 'he said she said' but rather a way to enrich and deepen the thinking that has gone on to develop the ideas and topics.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The graphic design process using blogs

Research in professional practice is about the 'discipline' or 'subject' content as well as the applied way that it is put into practice. Most of us in the arts were taught to concentrate on the technical craft we were learning, but actually doing this technical craft or skill is only part of what a professional does. Inquiry into professional practice needs to take both of these into account.

However - this blog while concentrating on the practice, also seem to describe well some of the technical processes and experiences of the job and is focused on communicating those ideas to an audience and/or prospective clients? What do you think?

In Basildon

I went to see 'In Basildon' on Saturday at the Royal Court. Very good, here is the Guardian Review.

We were seated in the second row of the stall so were aligned with the actors as 'Len' was slowing fading as the family gathered. Regardless of this being the death scene, the first half, perhaps more than the second, was one where the lines were very funny and got a lot of the audience laughing. Very different approach to a Leigh play, which does not focus on such a single point of origin for the dialogue. This was very much a realisation of the written projection of the author's insights, as added interest the script was in the programme.  However, the actors also brought this written experience to life. The characters went to Basildon to escape London and find a better life, but often lost something in the process. The scenes resonated beyond the Essex setting and I could recognise some of the traits from my own life - what a good play can do for an audience. We also had fun afterwards discussing some of the 'Essex' characters and props (jellied eels) with Wendy whose character sets , always a treat for an audience member who is very interested in the theatre.

It has even gotten written up in academic journals articles discussing the Essex phenomenon  (added 27/2/12).

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Packing boxes, looking at blogs, and 'capital' for the course

One of the things that I have been doing yesterday and today is putting things in boxes in preparation for putting things into storage and hopefully moving house in the near future. It is always difficult because you want to throw things away but don’t have the willpower to go beyond a few boxes, see things you would rather forget, and then need to categorise and label the boxes so that they can be moved with as little fuss as possible. I have moved quite a bit, so I have routines that I can use to lighten the load, like buying sturdy double ply boxes 12x12x12 for books, permanent markers and packaging tape all the way around when finished for a secure move. I also try to pack very densely so that when the items are moved, the things inside do not shift and become damaged.

So I moved from packing boxes to my computer and started trying to organise my things for this new semester. As a ‘trained’ researcher, I know that is my ability to access useful information that is my value. I sometimes do it better than others, but having an organised desktop and filing system helps.

The blogs can act to organise the activities that we all do for the course. There is a structure in each module that should provide some reference points to where you are in the course. So looking at my blog I noticed that I had not made an entry since the 14th February. Not only that but that no one seems to be commenting on the blog entries! So I decided to try to put something up that might be useful questions people have asked…

Module 1:

Ahmet and I had a chat via skype and discussed when he could know that he had ‘finished’ a task as they could be reworked ad- infinitum. However, there is a time to move on, and when you are somewhat satisfied – try writing a summary to help see if you feel you have finished. Ahmet suggested this for himself and has done one a good example of this thinking:

Also on Module 1 Liam has some photos that others think work well

Jo is using the blog to think about the course and having a dialogue with others She is also adding a few suggestions for learning:

Module 2:

Fione has begun the module with a relevant positioning – looking at the materials and also deciding her mental place for the beginning of the module in ‘moonwalking with einsten’

Lisa has begun a frontal assault on the issues of inquiry questions – now discussion can ensue

Victoria is also reading and linking at where she is now in the workplace to the professional inquiry It is very useful to be up on what you are doing as the professional inquiry has both ‘philosophical’ and ‘practical’ elements. People come to their inquiry topic using both of these angles.

Module 3:

Laura it well into her inquiry activity and finding the information and data that she can use in her topic about self-managing a freelance career

Samantha too is doing her interviews trying to find out about artists who take part in ”open Mic nights’

Some good questions about why it is important that your professional inquiry has the groundwork of ethical practice offered by Stephanie

Just like my packing and organising, the process of doing the BAPP (Arts) modules are a part of the experience of learning. I would like to have everything happen at once with a ‘bewitched’ twinkle, but actually the process has a start – the middle bits- and a conclusion. The boxes are just a way of organising the contents, but they are a helpful way of filing and I actually have a similar way of organising content on my computer.

Where-ever you are now in the process, keeping organising your materials to see where you are on the module in terms of tasks and/or activities. You might get some surprises – whether you are further behind than you though or you could find you are ahead of the game and the whole Higher Education (HE) thing is actually beginning to make sense.

That idea where critical thinking plays a part in everyday thinking – and it is a part of your job to debate or add to the capital of your own practice and your workplace. Whether or not we agree with the tenets of ‘capital’, the ability to think through events and issues using critical thinking is an aspiration of HE. I will leave this blog with some of the concepts of ‘capital’.

The idea of capital started with philosophers like Bourdiou who suggested that cultural capital was a hidden asset for those who had a higher place in society or had an educated background (Weininger and Lareau, date unknown, online, Available from ). 

So what forms of capital do you possess and how can they help you to think about the work you are doing on the course? 

Now other forms of capital exist, including intellectual capital:

Intellectual capital - Information or knowledge captured in a useful form that gives an organization a competitive advantage over those that do not possess, or may not legally use, the information (Shamos, 1999, online. Available from: )

Can the concept of ‘capital’ empower people in the pursuit of their careers?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

CVs linking to advice for Module 1

CVs can be tricky and I think I did not really have a good one in my early career. It is about knowing what others want to see I suppose - and the level and quality of your experience so that people can see your accomplishiments but also your potential.

I will put this up and add as I go ... Comments please - what are you looking for?

Links to some advice - University of Kent asl with links at the bottom of the page to follow up on...

Careers factsheets from Equity

For a more conventional CV

general advice from government - entrepreneurship - like starting a business

and other advice that is out there

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

1st Campus Session Module 3 7/2/12

Working in education? Module 1 Part 1

I look at the news a lot - this is from the BBC website about a teacher- and some advice on setting up two sites OR using professional judgement perhaps...

Here is a taste of the comments:

In a statement, Mrs Scarlett said she turned to the website after a relationship ended.
"I found it very addictive," she said. "I was consoling myself after breaking up with my partner and the daily visits to Facebook were a welcome distraction.

Start Quote

She is guilty of being naive about how Facebook works”
Gareth JonesDisciplinary chairman
"As far as I was concerned I had a Facebook profile which was locked to the highest possible setting. I didn't realise everyone could see my comments."

Sorry Sorry! Thanks for your patience.

Sorry all advisees - I will be sending you emails shortly - the last few weeks have been very busy - and I have noticed that many are getting on with their next module. I will be connecting with everyone asap. Email or call if you have pressing questions...

Any more volunteers for Student Reps?

Laura Weir had to step down as a student representative. Are there any other more volunteers? Liam Conman is still helping in this regard but it would be good to share the load.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mike Leigh's 'Grief' cast in character

Lesley Manville, Dorothy Bentall, Wendy Nottingham (closest to picture frame) in Grief 

Interview with Mike Leigh- voted best director for the Critic's Circle theatre awards

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dorothea Tanning

I read this article this morning and thought I would mention  Dorothea Tanning as a visual artist that might be of interest. Also briefly mentioned in the article, Leonara Carrington, an english origin artist. Both artists worked with images that portrayed tendencies of 'surrealism' and depicted an interior narrative with fantastical elements. I am not sure it is a an easy vocabulary, but i think fir me both depict the female psyche, as opposed to Max Ernst, who I think had a more male oriented artistic vision (an argument that I would need to backup with evidence). Both artists got somewhat caught up in European conflict of the early 40"s and ended up in different places than they began, Tanning was mainly from the US. Both were involved with the artist Max Ernst. The article mentions a poem by Tanning, reproduced below from the article and originally published in 2004. I think the description of displacement,  perhaps disorientation, is one that we can all relate to in our practice. I recently got a sense of being somewhere else in a phone call to Virginia to set up my overseas ballot because it had related to my sometimes needing to concentrate on speaking clearly because of my accent. When i start new things, like a new course, i also sometimes get a sense of displacement. It is an uneasy feeling, but perhaps easier to resolve if anticipated and faced Tanning passed away at the age of 101. 

Are You
If an expatriate is, as I believe, someone 
who never forgets for an instant
being one,
then, no.
But, if knowing that you always
tote your country around
with you, your roots,
a lump
… that being elsewhere packs a vertigo,
a tightrope side you cannot
pass up, another way
to show
how not to break your pretty neck
falling on skylights:
… then, yes.

Masters, Christopher (2012)
The Guardian, Thu 2 Feb 2012 17.39 GMT, online (accessed 3/2/12). Available from:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Welcome back for the spring semester 2012

We are just finishing up some tasks and planning the campus sessions for next week - see the calendar tab on the BAPP Libguide for the dates. Just come to the Trent PArk Reception - but Monday and Tuesday are in M004.

We have been very busy with the assessments and I have been trying to proof my PhD for final submission and just started the PGCHE here at Middlesex, which actually looks like it will be good to do. I think I began teaching as a graduate assistant in 1985 (I think that was the year) but that now seems like a distant memory so the continued professional development is a part of what we do anyway with BAPP.

Looking forward to the new semester - it looks like a busy one.