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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Virtual session for 31st March - being able to see 'planning'

Thanks to Lizzy, Danielle, Katy, Chloe, Victoria and Jess

In this session we talked about the use of creative devices to get in the zone - so Chloe suggested a drama icebreaker she uses that we changed for the Skype session (she has children imagine they are an alphabet for 2 minutes and they communicate this through words and movement). Chloe chose the letter m and we all thoght abut things starting with the letter m for 1 minute to create a theme. Movement and music turned out to be a popular starting point - maybe not surprising with so many creative professionals! Interestingly the word 'magic' that went with this theme came into the discussion later - because in project planning (think work or inquiry planning) magic could mean that the final stage  of a creative production is more significant or seems larger than the sum of the parts.

Jess chose material, motivation, monopoly and motivation - I will let you guess the theme!

We talked about appreciative inquiry and that led to a discussion about planning int he workplace - where we have seen it in action  and our experience of it - so the 4 D's
Approeciative Inquiry  (see article in previous blog)
originally from: Cooperrider, D., Whitney, D. and Stavros, J.
Affirmative Topic Choice
The 4-D Cycle
The best of what is
What might be?
What should be?
What will be?

but often the planning is a part of the organisation or is personal - people talked about the planing that they had experienced in its various stages: for example planning the inquiry (Katy), planning in schools (Jess, Lizzy, Katy, Victoria), the way that choreographers use the 4D process to stage a dance production (Chloe) or musical theatre productions on cruise lines (Katy) or rehearsal (Danielle) - go to people's blogs to connect with these thoughts!

Planning is a part of life... so whether we 'see' it as looking for positive solutions (apprieciative inquiry) or as more mainstream project planning (see blog notes for this on my last blog) then seeing this process and where we are in it can help orient us in the workplace and in the modules for BAPP Arts. Because we do practitioner research in the final inquiry - the planning also relates to the research cycle people use in the academy in the professional workplace.

I was taught to draw paint and print - but the gallery and commercial success came after - I was never taught "project planning'- but I think it is a great skill and one that professionals need to be more aware of in what they do... 

We thought about our milestones on the course - the important bits - and how planning might help us recognise these better.

So... for those who could not be with us - the questions are: 

Where have you seen or experienced planning in your work/arts practice?
Did you see a pattern similar to appreciative inquiry or project planning?
What milestone have your experienced on the course?

More about communication in the next blog (thank you Katy for bringing up this aspect of planning)...
How can you communicate what you know?

Notes on Project Management

Project Structure - notes taken from my reading (long ago now!)

Bruce, Andy and Langdon, Ken (2000) Project Management, London: Doring Kindersley , ISBN 0 7513 2793

5 Stages of Project 
1.     Initiation - agree a vision staing exactly what it will achieve
2.     Planning - identify objectives agree on actions resource, order and  schedule tasks, validate plan with all to gain commitment
3.     Motivating - implementing the plan by leading team - use authority of sponsor to focus plan, keep communication flowing
4.     Monitoring - project performance against objectives and time targets, monitor problems and changes that throw project off , have regular progress reports, organising team meetings, identifying milestones that will measure your progress; use logic to overcome problems and to manage and incorporate changes 

5.     Closing - record experiences for future reference

Key features - 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 it will save time, effort, and reduce the risk of failure
Defined start and end - start up and close down stages
1.     Some projects are repeated often, but they are not process because they have clear start and end points
2.     Routine work can be distinguished from projects because it is recurring, and there is no blear end to the process
Organised plan - planned methodical approach is used to meet project objectives
1.     Good planning ensures a project is completed on time and within budget  - having delivered the expected results
2.     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 on their own merits
1.     Some projects operate outside normal routine of business life some within , all have separate resources
2.     Working within agreed resources is vital to success
Teamwork - project team
Teams take responsibility for and gain satisfaction from their own objectives while contributing to whole organisation
Projects offer new challenges and experiences for staff
Established Goals - bring results in terms of quality and/or performance
1.     Project result in a new way of working, or create something that did not previously exist.
2.     Objectives must be identified for all those involved in the project

Identifying key players and their roles - everyone must understand the reason for their involvement in the project and what its impact on them will be

1. Sponsor - initiates a project, adds to the team's authority, and is the most senior team member - financial or moral backing
Roles -
1.     ensures that the project is of real relevance to the organisation
2.     helps in setting objectives and constraints
3.     acts as an inspirational figurehead
4.     may provide resources
2. Project Manager - responsible for achieving the projects overall objectives and leading the project ream.
1.     Produces a detailed plan of action
2.     Motivates and develops project team
3.     Communicates project information to stakeholders and other interested parties
4.     Monitors progress to keep project on track
3. Stakeholder - any other party who is interested in, or affected by, the outcome of the project, consult regularly, assist in motivating others, may control resources
Roles -
1.     contributes to various stages of the planning process by providing feedback
2.     Might only be involved from time to time
3.     May not be a stakeholder for the entire project if his or her contribution is complete
4. Key Team Member - assists the project manager and provides the breadth of knowledge needed
1.     Makes a major contribution in examining feasibility and planning a project
2.     Lends a technical expertise when needed
3.     Is directly responsible for project being completed on time and within budget
5. Team Member  - full or part - time person who has actions to carry out in the project plan
1.     Takes responsibility for completing activities as set out in the project plan
2.     Fulfils a specialised role if involved as a consultant, or as an individual who is only needed for part of the project
6. Customer - internal or external person who benefits from changes brought about b the project
1.     Strongly influences the objectives of the project an how its success is measured
2.     Dictates how and when some activities are carried out.
3.     Provides direction of the project manager
7. Supplier - provider of materials, products, or services needed to carry out the project
1.     Can become very involved with, and supportive of, the project
2.     Delivers supplies on time and provides services or goods at a fixed cost, agreed with the project manager at the outset

Define Project
1.     Opportunity to develop skills
2.     Review work to determine tasks in project
3.     Draw up list of people who might help
4.     Build a rapport with your main stakeholders
5.     Make sure you core team consists of people you trust
6.     Make sure that people understand what you are aiming to achieve
7.     Ask colleagues to read goals - revise
8.     Expect revise and enhance project plan several times
9.     Learn to accept the inevitability of change
10.  You can hop for the best but always plan for the worst
11.  Make an issue of a new project so people know it is happening
12.  Monitor from start to finish- problems occur anywhere along the way

Essentials for Success
Having Clear Goals
1.     Project goals must be clear to everyone in project
2.     Scope of project must remain consistent so that achieves what it set out to accomplish - no significant changes in scope or extent.
3.     people must be committed to project
1.     Keen, skilled committed team vital to success - management skills of project manager paramount
2.     Best team - guide in right direction - ensure that members benefit from the experience
3.     Choose team carefully and provide training
4.     Ongoing support of sponsor/superior and other interested parties need from beginning
Planning and communicating - check with superior that budget and time-scale have been agreed from outset - act early so won't run out of time or money (project development)
1.     Resources available when you need them - front end planning of people, facilities, equipment, and materials
2.     Detailed complete plan guides the project and is the document that communicates your overall objectives, activities, resource requirements, and schedules
3.     Keep everyone inform of the plan and update them when it changes
Being Flexible
1.     Think ahead and anticipate - change plans in flexible and responsive way
2.     Original plans change with circumstances and requirements change as project unfolds
3.     Re-evaluate plan regularly and adapt it accordingly
4.     Recognise the need for change, implement it and measure its impact effectively

Define the Stages - start with a flourish and end positively
Points to remember
1.     new project should be viewed as an exciting opportunity to ring new skills and knowledge to the organisation
2.     The team should be encouraged to build friendships and to help one another by making constructive suggestions
3.     A system for recording what the team has learned should be established early on

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

meeting up on campus for the 31st March

I had put the 31st of March as an alternative date for meeting up on campus in the afternoon - does anyone who could not make the 22nd want to meet up? 

Irini has said she could make this alternative date.

please let me know in the comments...

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

22nd March 2016 campus session recap

It was great to see people in person and I hope we can, as a practitioner/academic group, continue to meet in person. We used to meet up 3 times a term - now I think maybe 2 times is about right...
Lara attended by Skype and that worked well Big Bang (TV show) style which is a good way of people joining when not able to come - so 1 person on a computer. I had brought in 3 computers and Lara was on my drpaulanottingham skype - but I don' think more could make it. Sorry if I missed anyone...

Several people are planning to come to campus in smaller groups for study days to make the most of the library etc. - good idea if possible! - or form them on Skype of the BAPP Arts Meeting room!

 Also remember Sconol for libraries closer to you
"SCONUL Access is a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme. "

I will link here to other blogs - but look out from blogs by:



Itinerary for today

we introduced ourselves
we played drawing games - 20 squares - drawing your neighbour - concept drawings (hopefully some examples might go up)
see links for visual art at the bottom of this blog.

We played the yes/no game (thank you Patience) where the first round - all the answers had to be NO - the second round it was 'yes, BUT' and the third round was 'yes, AND" - so the pint was to not reject - don't dismiss - but to get more creative in allowing yourself to find a way to do something MORE- and yes/and attitude led to doing the four Appreciative Inqiur steps to think about solutions for the BAPP Arts/universiuty programme - so Discovery - Dream - Design - Destiny - a lot like the creative design cycles ( also compares to Kolb cycle and Gibbs reflective cycle). This is a way of using a 'solutions based' creative methodology instead of simply 'problem solving'. We used BAPP Arts as an example of an organisation or community of practice - but you could think about your own workplace and practice for using appreciative inquiry...

I liked this article to explain how it can be applied:

I this process - a few things noted:
Discovery: - identified what was working - BAPP Arts used a different style of working but worked well as a blended course online - allowed the learning to be applied
Design: Saturday classes were mentioned and finding /sharing content like literature
Dream: campus sessions in places other than London and others 'hosting ' session that tutors could come to as guests... more session s in school holidays - BAPP Arts studies were focused on benefits to others in the workplace as well as students/candidates - so it stimulated both areas for practitioners.
Destiny: putting the things together - linking everyone online and with organisations - guest spots for others on blogs (iPhone and with permission) - extra sessions as study groups

It would be good to find a space to share literature - like delicious - but maybe within system so we can share university resources - will try to do this online somewhere for everyone to connect to. I will also send out new version of the sharing list.

 I am sure I missed loads - so see people's blogs!

After a break we talked about as all 3 modules - especially general questions (thanks Charnelle and others). I will blog further on these in future - and then grouped for M1 and M2 and M3 to discuss work that people were doing...
in brief
M1 - talk about art! print out module handbook, Paula check links in readers
M2 - working titles can change - forms online - especially ethics - planning takes time - gather  literature for ideas/theories from academic professional sources, interviews not until Module 3, and working in study groups (SIGs) is useful
M3 - task about analysis coming up - just trying out, Paula makes sure online information about about qualitative analysis

All in all a very good session - everyone was up for the games and discussion - what was really nice was that everyone had something to say!

Earlier use of concept drawing

and another one about using drawing for your journals...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Campus Session 22nd March 1-4pm is on for Hendon!

Hi everyone - just confirming this campus session is going ahead - we are in main College Building from 1-4pm room CG13 - so the ground floor - I have not checked out the room so hope it is okay - if not we can range into the quad... I will also leave word at the main Reception if you need help finding us - and my mobile phone will be on 07799033978.

MAP to campus

The theme will be about managing as a creative process - but we will also leave space to talk about your module work in groups.

There is a sign up on an earlier blog:

we will be playing a few games and looking at appreciative inquiry

& design

and for inspiration
Dave Whites spaces - thinking of the university in a new way?

more after the session!!!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Module 2 15th March 2016 session slides

Thanks to Jess and Bethany and Laura, Sophie and Zoe for taking part in the sessions - please look at their blogs to follow-up the slides.

Many of you are still in your planning stage for your lines of inquiry and are  just now thinking about your inquiry questions (also used for your practitioner research). Keep on looking up other expert sources (literature) to help you 'locate' your inquiry and help you with your questions. What 'bodies of knowledge' are out there? What do you already know? What do you want to find out?

Try using Summon and the Library Subject guides - they are great! You can also ask Jamie - our current librarian - to send you books. us as well.

This slideshare also goes over Part 5 of Module 2 which is about the ethical practice you will need to consider for your inquiry. Please download the Ethics form and have a look at what is required. You can send a draft of this in to your tutor for feedback.

Please let me know if there are any questions. Contact your tutor for a 1-1 and keep blogging!


Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Dinner Party: literature for your Critical Review in M3

I have used the metaphor of the dinner party for some time now to explain the use of literature for Module 3 in the Professional Inquiry, especially in the Critical Review.  Here is this fiction written down as a blog post… I hope it is helpful.

You are the host/hostess of the dinner party. The theme of the party is your inquiry and how it uses ideas, theories, models and concepts from your reading and arts-based research (including visuals and audio-visual and attending performances in person).

I generally think of the dinner party as a formal affair, but yours could be more informal. I would encourage everyone to actually visualise this in your own living space for your own dinner party.

The idea for using literature and research literature in your academic work is like holding a dinner party. You have chosen, through scoping out who is an expert in your area(s), who is important to invite and who is available to come to your dinner party to talk about your work.

You send out invitations to your dinner party, not unlike the invitation to participant that you send your participants. Although for this dinner party the presence of the authors is fictional, some people actually do get to talk to their experts as a part of the inquiry.

These expert people arrive at your door… imagine them ringing the bell and coming into your front room for a cocktail and hors d’oeurves (appetizers).

At the dinner party everyone has made an effort and come prepared to talk about their work and comment on your work. One of your functions as a host/hostess is to being these artists and authors out in conversation and to help them articulate what they mean. The conversation is about ideas as well as practical thinking and doing form the inquiry. I always envision good things to eat on small silver trays and champagne or buck’s fizz. You can have your own menu.

At my dinner party I imagine in winter the fireplace crackles, illuminating the room, and there is the sound of low conversation as artists and authors start to mingle.

You introduce everyone around as they arrive at the party. Some people already know each other and others are meeting for the first time. Small groups gather in conversation, telling other guests in the own words what they do and also you engage people e into conversation. Sometimes artists or authors who have differing views might have a polite debate outlining differences of opinion. Most believe passionately that their views are important, but some of the experts have more authority because of their reputations and their ability to argue their points well in this conversation. Some people you talk to introduce a topic that you might ask other guests ask others to join in on the conversation, others you might take aside to have a private conversation because you are interested in what they are saying and what to go into more detail.

This introduction goes as a summary in the Evaluation where you ‘review’ you literature. A higher level of detail may have to be represented in your appendices at a later time, after the party so you take notes and any quotes you need to illustrate and evidence the discussion.

Then it is time for dinner. Luckily there is someone else there to do all the catering as you are hosting. This is of course free of charge so don’t worry about the bill!

‘Dinner is served’ is announced (think Gosford Park here) and you lead everyone in the dining room. On the way you might have to take some of the more vocal people you have invited into the kitchen if you need to remind them about the rules of engagement at the dinner table, this is to talk about your work as a focus and your voice or interpretation is a part of the conversation. This is your analysis.

Everyone sits down. At my dinner party this happens with a bit of a flourish. 

At your dinner party you are at the head of the table and the meal begins as a way to discuss literature and how it relates to your work. You could first give a small speech about what you are doing and what your found talking to other practitioners. Everyone is invited to talk about your work and see where this conversation leads. You could invite people to speak first or enter into dialogue (think of Cole Porter directing here); it just makes sense that some of the authors say something when certain topics are introduced. You need to lead the conversation.

Sometimes there might be pauses, especially as people go through the course and enjoy their meal. At other times you start a new topic like “what did you think about this particular issue or finding?” and the authors at the dinner are able to help you bring out the meaning by agreeing or challenging your conclusions.

At the end of the meal, as you are finishing off your sweet (desert) and are drinking coffee (it can be decaf), you can summarise what you have learned from the evening’s discussion and bring the proceedings to a close.

It is late now and people have to take taxis home to where they are staying, for me this is in London. Some people are in hotels because they have travelled for the occasion. You thank everyone for travelling to your party and for helping you think about your inquiry.

You wave people off at the door. It has been spectacular and dynamic evening, but tiring.  Certain aspects of the inquiry now makes a lot more sense and you can explain the ideas/theories/concepts more fluently and with greater depth. You also know where your inquiry fits it with other  other bodies of knowledge and expertise and your scripting of the dinner party will hopefully help you explain your professional inquiry.

What a great evening!


FYI there have been other great uses of the dinner party as a metaphor.

Judy Chicago – feminist art