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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Modules 1 1st Campus and Online sessions - Conversations about Professionalism

Part 1 of Module 1 is about professional communication - so the discussions for this session have ben around defining what it means to be a 'professional'. We also discussed what is expected in the module. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Conversations are below - and there are links to people's blogs that will be added to... PLEASE ADD COMMENTS - to add to the discussion - and links to your won blogs for Part 1!

Conversations from 23/2/15 Campus Session

Module Handbook/Reader
What do you want to get out of the session?
Theme for the day: What does it mean to be a professional?
Starting points?
Amateurs versus professionals?
What is your area? Your field? your sector?
Some definitions for experts?

What are your definitions?

Criteria for being a professional?
Group exercise – create a blog that discusses this –co-created.
Relat4e this to professional communication? Discussing the tasks in part 1

What is a Professional? (the conversation noted in writing on flipchart)
Starting points:

What is the difference in being a professional versus amateur? – it is about the mindset – having a disciplined approach to the craft – being driven – wanting  to have the responsibility and being aware of responsibility  (through training or experience). This could mean a responsibility to others in theatre/production company or students if you are a teacher
knowing your limitations – being able to communicate problems – being able to know when to ask for help versus having this negatively impact on work – working within a ‘schema’ – codes of practice
professional within self – - the individual - self and communities – this applies to professional work that is ‘portfolio’ arts based  - so freelancer contracts – 3 months jobs-  auditions – time management is key

sizes of workplaces might vary in the arts – many are small medium enterpirses (SMEs) – but they could be huge – there might be a hierarchy within the company

using social media – you need to be cautious – you need to have awareness because of prospective employers
big vs. in workplace – clients - boss –peers/colleagues, clients – project to project e.g. commercial brand, ad agency , casting, have the potential of social media contacts grow and grow – others might perceive what you saying differently – they have varying opinions  - agents – back stage - casting - contracts
not all professional follow a prescribed route – ex. being an assistant choreographer before being a choreographer
social media sites can vary - FB groups – experience – Brit Acting Network, The Hustle

Honesty – how to judge versus opinions – lead to knowledge
Honesty – ethics– As a professional, how honest can you be?

Professional – depends on age
Being honest can be hard – you are you own biggest critique- company – business clients – diplomacy- personal opinion – arts – voice

Knowledge underpins practice
Ex you could consider yourself as a singer – but be trained in in many differing  art forms (triple threat)
Arts professionals - other –communicate – actor
Actress basic knowledge –
Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses
Theory of knowledge of plays – may not be better – where is the line? Not your place?

Being a professional is about the MINDSET
Training or experience?
Structured career?or experience? Structured career?
NO!!  used to think so but not anymore!
Arts –no structure to career path - but it is all RELATED ! 

Examples of defining professional criteria? 
SEE BELOW and as a comment

Formal definitions

Eraut’s 3 P’s
Propositional – what you know – Process- know-how about getting the job done Personal – self- directed experience you bring to what you do
By Michael Eraut Developing Professional Knowledge and Competence (1984)

A slidesshare from Tim Goodchild has these as part of looking at the nature knowledge

There is loads more about Eraut if you google him...

Friedman 2001 p. 127 (homage to Alan Durant – from his notes 2009)

Professional Traits and Characteristics
Specialised work – what knowledge /skills are held/practiced?
Longevity - does Professional practice require sustained engagement?
Exclusive jurisdiction/professional discretion- knowledge is owned/controlled by the profession
A sheltered position- privileges from being the professional
Formal training – skills and knowledge required
Stratified Career – established career routes?
Community of practice – is the practice co-structured by practitioners?
Ethical principles and actins – constraining practice – whose interests? values

Arts professionals – do they have (homage to Peter Bryant – from his slides 2009) Unesco 1980 “ Any person who creates or gi ves expression to, or recreates works of ar, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be recognized as an artist, whether or not he is bound by any relations of emplyement of association”

Stan Lester ‘On professions and being professional
Stan Lester Developments, Taunton, UK This version June 2010.
A good article about professionalism – look at the Model A and Model B types toward the end  to think about what type of professional you want to be…

Please leave comments or links to your blog!

FYI I am still adding to this so please revisit the blog later...


  1. Hi,
    Great to see what we discussed written out.

    Here is the link to my blog where I have shared a what Irini, James and I came up with at the campus session about what makes a professional:

    I will definitely be referring back to this in future work. Also to evaluate how many of those things we described as professional that I do. Is there any areas I can improve upon? Anything really essential that people may feel we left out?

    Lisa x

  2. Hello Paula,

    This post and the online session have really been making waves in my brain! I'm looking forward to critically analysing all this information and then writing about it for myself. It's a question I've never asked myself before and it's very interesting to say the least.

    Thank you,

    Eleanor x

  3. Hi Paula,

    It's good to see the things we discussed written down and recorded. I agree with Eleanor that the session was really thought provoking. In the online session, we discussed a professional 'mindset' and I found this an Interesting avenue of thought. I found the Stan Lester's Models very intriguing and I explored this further in my blog:

    (please take and look and feel free to comment)

    Lisa, have you explored the different models of professionalism in Stan Lester's article? I found it interesting comparing traditional and modern ideas of what is a 'professional' from an arts point of view?

    1. Hey Jessica,

      We did look at it in our session and discussed the differences and what we thought was a better model to be.

      I read your blog and I liked that you took it a step further using it to assess what kind of professional you see yourself as. It would be a good way for me to identify any areas that I need to work on in myself.


  4. Hi Paula,

    This is a fantastic summary of the topic we spoke about online last week. I really enjoyed the online session and exploring other people's ideas and opinions as well as my own, very interesting stuff.

  5. Great to see what we've workshopped written up and also good to hear that so many people agree with us on most points.

    I have not stopped thinking about the topic since Monday and will post some thoughts up on my blog.

  6. Thanks everyone - I encourage everyone to go to the individual blogs to see how people have taken the conversation in different direction. I really enjoyed this topic and was again really taken by the comparison between people's perceptions of professionalism and the experts' points of view! I think however there are also invisible 'tensions' in the workplace that need to be thought through using ideas form sources such as Friedman, Eraut or Lester because the work in the arts sector is constantly shifting and solutions for workplace practice may need several approaches for people who work at various workplaces or from project to project. This of course seg-ways into the next Part 2 reflective practice - trying to figure out where the centre is when the world is turning - and developing a sense of understanding through experience.

  7. Tahnks for posting this info Paula. As i missed both campus and online sessions due to work this has really helped me grasp what others are thinking about Mod 1. I look forward to looking at other blogs to see their own versions of the converstions and ideas. :)

  8. That's my blog link people! :) Please comment away!
    Just been reading your blog post Lisa. I like the way it's laid out and very clear definitions of your understanding on each factor of professionalism. I'm about to post up my input so please have a look and let me know what you think.

    I've had such a busy week (audition, job interview, work training day and an assessment in the current drama teaching role I have). All of which have resulted in not having a lot of input last week, but, they've all been so related to the subject! Seen some great examples of professionalism and some not so... made me think about what I'd hope to see in myself when I'm going up for a job!

  9. Hi Paula

    Im finally up and running with my blog and beginning to understand more about earning through internet resources. Reading your notes from the Campus lecture has helped me reflect on how much i have improved not just in aspects of my professional training but as a person and how far i have came in terms of the transition from being an amateur to becoming a professional. I have never really thought about it in depth and it is quite reassuring to reflect on how far i have came so far in my career. It is a great motivation technique.