If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
ideas sometimes when you wait they come to you.

Preparation for starting with BAPP

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Create the conditions for you to thrive. As this module closes you move along the convey-a-belt to the next modules. Sadly that is how the education system works. But you do not have to adopt the linear structure as a kind of truth to who you are or what you are. Some learning in the last modules might kick-in in a couple of months. Some things might change in meaning to you. Some things might loose meaning: it’s a dance.  However you think you did or what ever you wished you’d done is not behind you irretrievable because the belt has moved on, it’s a part of the rich tapestry of now.

The point is not to decide if you or something or someone is ‘good’ or not, correct or not. The point is to be a vital part of your own process, to notice and create the conditions in which you thrive and meet your full potential. I have found that there is so much fear involved in attempting to express your ideas within a structure where it will be assessed by others. There is so much hope that what you mean will be understood and what you want to achieve will be granted but the fear clogs up the ability to dance. It sets you on a single straight line afraid to step off or over for fear of missing a step. But I really believe that learning, ideas, the lived experience is not a line it is organic, a rhizome. Rather than predict its shape - predicting what it will be, focus on creating the nutrition for it to thrive. In other words now is the time to have a good laugh and welcome the you that just experienced last year.

Have a good end of the year / new year.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Good habits

It is week !!!! (holidays), but you are probably in writing-up final draft time. As the module ends it is a good idea to reflect on how you organised your time, what good practice you want to adopt and what things did not work for you.

I have just finished writing-up a project, myself. I have thought about what I liked about how I did it. I am going to (try to) keep my habit of waking up early to do two good hours each morning before everything starts. I find I get more work done in the first two hours after a good nights sleep than in four hours later in the day. I want to keep the habit. Some people have talked about coffee shops and places they go to work. Are you going to keep going there just to keep in the practice of having time set aside for reflection or study.

I also had to read a lot I want to keep that too since I don’t exactly ‘read for pleasure’ in the conventional sense. So I want to keep up the habit of making myself read by keeping a time during the week when I sit down and read for a block of time. Things I want to let go of is the mess my computer files are in. 

Remember you are inquiring in life long habits for professional practice so think about what works for you to keep don’t just do things because the module made you and then you drop the good practice.

I have planned four days off over Christmas: that’s really exciting; hope you make time to just relax and reflect too.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Week 12

Hi, today is the last day of the term, so you will be in the writing-up stage of the module. As you are working remember not to be blinded by any personal realisations or epiphanies. We really wanted you to reflectively experience the familiar of your professional life differently. We hoped you would find you started to think differently, more widely or more deeply about things. We hoped you would become aware of ideas and find problems with notions you had not noticed before. BUT that was the process; that was the point of the tasks. NOW you need to step back and take an overview of the whole module. Focus on the goals of the assignment (i.e. to write a critical reflection, in terms of what a critical reflection is, or plan a project -  PLAN it, or report on research you did ) do not write something to prove the new idea you have found or something that tells the story of finding it.
Make sure what you are doing is going to meet the assessment criteria: that is how it will be marked whether you prove the point or not. The University is look for you show you are at BA(HONS) level a certificate that is recognised beyond you specialty. So just proving you know something about your specialty that nobody else seems to have realised is not meaningful beyond you and your area of the world. Of course your Professional practice is central to you work and this degree but you also need to demonstrate skills that are generic to being at BA (HON) level such as critical thinking, spelling and presentation, use of language and academic writing, structuring presentation of ideas etc...
When ever someone says spelling to me I panic – DO NOT PANIC just be aware that people find it important and do your best. Some one said something to the other day that really put this in perspective. It was that over time the record of your work is less a reflection on you and more a reflection on the University. The University needs to show that their students meet the levels expected. You will grow and do more work but the university is accepting this moment and has the stand behind the decision, therefore your work is also a representation of the institution where you study.  

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Writing-up work

Just a short blog to say:
As you write-up your work remain calm and list the things you want to do. Then get through them one by one.
You are writing about your profession, which is more than likely your passion too, don't get caught up in the emotion of talking about things you care about. Right now try to create a space and realise you are fulfilling a requirement not explaining your life's work in 'x' number of words. Figure out what the requirement is asking and address that directly.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011


A few people I have blogged or spoken to seem a little ‘freaked out’ at this point in terms of where their direction should be and how much to do. There are bound to be hundreds of interesting twists and turns you are encountering as you undertake the tasks and reflect on your learning. But at this point you need to familiarise yourself with what exactly you need to hand-in to marked.

As you know it is not the tasks. They are stepping stones to help you in your work. I advise you go back to handbook and review the assignment you are handing-in. What form it takes, how many words, what it is about? We do not what the ‘story’ of your tasks we are looking for you to synthesize all the experiences you have had and address the assignment. Maybe some tasks will be more pertinent than others. Maybe you feel you’d like to re-do something. But now is the time to start writing what you are handing-in so that you can have a draft done in time for feedback, if you want feedback from your advisor, even if you don’t it gives you time to really think about what you have been doing and what relationship it has with the assignment you are handing in.

I keep missing one of my students who wants to talk about the artefact. (I will keep trying). This is something module 3ers are doing but it is learning EVERYONE is in fact doing. The artefact is about what is indicated. In all the modules the assignment you handing-in has something to do with consolidating what you have done to the point where you can articulate what it indicates. With Module 1ers you are looking at all the ways you explored yourself learning and writing about what it indicates in terms of what you have done and what you are interested in.

Module 2ers are looking at all the information in the area of the questions you have been looking at and consolidating this into what it indicates in terms of  something that resonates with what you have done and what you are interested in (see the progression from module 1?).

Module 3ers you are consolidating what you have done this term, which was a response to what, you have done and what you are interested in (Module 1 & 2). the artefact is about sharing how this practically manifests considering what you have learnt. It is the meaning behind what the artefact is that is important not the artefacts perfection.

My research has led me to think that understanding something using words only is not as helpful as using a range of mediums. If I write about this I am in fact saying that what I am choosing to share the idea (that you need more than words) is not as helpful than if I had used a range of mediums. So wouldn’t you ask “If you think that why have you written it?” Then I would bring out my artefact  - a web-site that has visual elements and sound elements…. Get it? !!

O.K. have a good week
I was having a hard time in class the other day because my injured leg is still not as strong as my other leg. As I was trying to balance I thought of all of you. Thinking if I expect them to step outside their comfort zone and be in the discomfort of challenging themselves; I can challenge myself to stay on balance even if it hurts a bit! So thanks guys for all your inspiring hard work.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Planning the end

Week 8: How is it going?  Just to be clear this is a twelve-week term. So the modules finish on December 16th. But then you have until January 9th to hand-in your work. Different advisors have different cut of dates for feedback. That is when you have to have work in by in December if you want feedback before you hand-in your work. Check you know when the cut off date is and any other requirements your advisor has.  I would leave the last two weeks of the term for writing what I am handing in (December).

Try to do as much as you can, so that drafts are as clear as possible. Make drafts a ‘full-out dress rehearsal’, so that you can see where your problems are.

Think about what will work for you in-terms of your personal and work life over Christmas: so that you give yourself enough time to do what you want to do.

Don’t leave all the nagging things you think you aught to do any longer. Get them done now. If there is a task you really want to do but didn’t get round to do it this week. You need to give yourself time to learn from it.

Overall everyone seems well in the stew of thinking and doing. Just make sure you are not in ‘I must do that mode’ be in ‘I’m doing’. Time is going to go by quickly.

Principle one: only ask for feedback if you are interested in possibly changing what you have created. Do not ask for it as away to engage someone in talking about you work.

I wrote a funny thing about feedback maybe Akin or another graphically gifted person can make it a cartoon. In my head it is a cartoon:

My process for receiving feedback cycle!!

1) Oh, my God that’s right, that’s a much better way to do it than I did!
2) I can’t do it, I can’t change it, maybe I just can’t achieve this.
3) Wait a minute maybe she (the feedbacker) doesn’t really know what she is talking about. I think my work is fine.
4) I feel really sick (fat=cultural / social conditioning , etc… or other excuses for feeling not up to things and just wanting to go back to bed)
5) O.K. that’s better, I think I did, need to develop that etc…
6) Oh my God I’m brilliant; she (the feedbacker) is amazing to be able to see my amazing potential.
7) New feedback

1) Oh, my God that’s right…
2) I can’t do it….


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Courage and Kindness

Hi, week  7 and I’m a little late with my weekly blog!!

Module 1ers are beginning Network tasks supported by Reader 3 – “The networked professional”.  This is about linking things together. Start to think about the module as a whole how things connect.

Module 2ers are starting to try out tools for professional enquiry: see what kind of information piloted tools gives you. Remember that is not what information they give you (i.e. the content, x does x). It’s what kind of information (i.e. general, large quantities, personal, focused etc…)

Module 3ers would be beginning to analyse their data. Starting to think about what it is you’ve found, learnt, re-shaped from your data collection period. I find that this involves a lot of thinking!! And writing is not always thinking. You may need to go on walks, or have conversations with friends about it. What has been working for me is reading all the bits I am trying to make sense of so its in my head, then going to Bikram yoga. Because the poses are all the same each time I can get right into my body, which is, were I find meaning. I find that as I stretch out and realign my muscles and bones my brain (thinking) realigns and stretches out too and I find I have made connections in my research too.

Exciting times, you are probably wanting to make sure your going in the right direction. That is a natural feeling but remember although people can reassure you, YOU have to trust yourself and do your best and be true to what you think you should be doing because its your learning journey not a treasure hunt we have made (where we can say you’re getting cooler or hotter).

“genius is talent exercised with courage’ (– Wittenstein) “and kindness” – me!!


Thursday, 3 November 2011


I changed it!
Does it make sense or still to abstract?


Welcome to week 6 people!!! Well I have been thinking about two things:

Firstly, the process of doing something new: There is a really big shift that one must make from “I’m going to do something” to “I am doing something” to “I am finished”. There is just a comforting feeling in being in the process of starting. And there is a really scary feeling when one is in sight of the end – because while you are just starting you have the potential to be as great as you want to imagine yourself to be BUT when you get to the point where you can see the end you are very aware of all the things you haven’t done or got or understood. I think that we tend to stall ourselves in starting but here we are in week six and so soon you will be more than half-way through the term. Even if you aren’t doing everything you feel you should, give yourself permission not to be perfect and allow yourself to keep moving forward. Whatever module you are doing, by now you should have an idea or outline for whatever you are handing in on Jan 9th. 

Module 1ers make sure you have not got caught-up in doing ‘the perfect task’ and start to own the module as a whole, in order to synthesize what you are doing – remember the portfolio you are being marked on is a document about what you have learnt. You are not being marked on the tasks. Module 2ers start to see your questions and your title as potential ‘realities’, so interrogate what they mean, what they say, where ‘you’ are in them. Module 3ers you need to start figuring out what it is you are ‘finding’. You need to have collected your data or be almost finished collecting.

Secondly, I have been thinking about the last post and the comments people have made.  I hope it was useful in demonstrating the development of an idea / question. But the content of the question itself has raised some really interesting things. I am going to wait and see if there are any more survey responses before I share an analysis.

However, it has made me think there is something missing from my blog. This is a kind of ‘theoretical framework’. A theoretical framework is about showing the context within which you are doing something. In some ways you could argue that your professional practise offers a theoretical framework for much of the work you are doing. It gives you a guideline for how to address things (the ethics section of module 2 is about looking more closely at these).

But the context for which I am teaching is not clear. We know that this course is different and is hoping to encourage you to have a dynamic relationship with learning. A relationship that is possibly not the same as traditional relationship you assume for educational institutes (that is we want you to pull knowledge to you rather than wait to have it pushed at you). The C.V. part of the blog is a way for students to give an idea of their background and in a sense their theoretical context (framework), this is a way to understand how to approach the person. Maybe then my C.V. section should not be so much about what I have done but set out a context for my approach and how I can be approached. I am going to try this. See what you think.

Once again I hope the content of this blog is interesting but what might be most helpful to you is seeing how the ideas resonate with whatever part of the course you are doing. (I’m going to put up my new C.V. over the next few days)

What do you think?


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Comments / Questions!

Hopefully all is ticking along in week five. In this weeks blog I thought I would look at a ‘question’, as in Module 2. I think this is useful to everyone regardless what module you are on. In a sense this is an exemplar.

Problem: I find people do not comment much on my blogs especially compared to other students blogs. I always end with ‘what do you think?’ but people don’t tell me! Students leave comments on other students blogs like “thank you for writing this” or “good idea” these comments appear to be to let the person know their blog was read. The sort of comments I get are more if people have a problem and many of my post don’t get any comments. I have started to check the numbers of hits I get in order to see if what I am writing is useful or looked for by students. But what I hope for is a conversation in the comments and links to other people’s posts and comments so we create more of a network.  So my question is “Why don’t people leave comments on my blogs”

Then I look at ethical implications (Tasks 5 ) What ethical implications are there.
Ethically First: Am I following the kind of protocols of blogging. Does my writing make it easy for people to comment. What are the other rules of blogging; maybe I am not constructing my blogs in a manor that implies I want comment or on-going conversation? I need to look into this.

Ethically Second: I must be aware that my relationship with students is different from their relationship with each other. I have a different power relationship and their for I am perceived differently.  It is expected that I write blogs because I am an advisor on the course.  In some ways people have become friends through the course but it is ethically unclear if I can be friends with people or not. Writing ‘thanks’ or ‘good idea’ do not seem appropriate because 1) It’s my job to do it and 2) I am not perceived to be an equal (or a friend) so saying ‘good idea’ might seem weird. Also commenting on from what I write might seem as if a person is doubting me or challenging the ideas which goes against the power relationship.

Ethically Third: it is perceived to be possible that interactions I have with students could affect their grades. Because I am a part of the University (as it were) I appear differently. I might be more difficult to interact with and even perceived as dangerous because I could have a negative affect on a grade or something. It could seem unclear how the blogs work (many people still feel that the blogs are being marked as a task rather than evidence of learning). Maybe people would feel that I would be looking at spelling and grammar in the comments. Maybe people feel what I am writing is the ‘answer’ so all you can think is ‘yes’!!

Ethically Lastly, is it reasonable of me to expect to have conversations when people are busy and really what they want to do is find out what boxes they need to check to pass. Whereas I have a job doing this and maybe more time to ‘shoot the breeze’. Or maybe students don’t have much internet time and need to move quickly across blogs (although that doesn’t explain why they comment on other peoples blogs more than mine).

These ethical considerations change how I think about my initial question. ‘Why’ people don’t leave comments could be a number of reasons. The question now seems really big. It ranges across power dynamics, perceptions of the ‘teacher’ / student relationship, personal identity and how people see their own voice being heard, time constraints, confidence in spelling, social expectations and that’s only why Middlesex people don’t comment. I have tried to include other people (friends, past students, future students general inter-net users too. Why don’t they comment). The question is clearly too big to research in a couple of months.

It is this point that I must realise that the question can no longer be about the incident that made me think about it (my personal problem) because in order to really find out something useful to me I must look at the question for itself or otherwise I will limit the question to being a comment on my problem rather than a way to find out more about something. In other words, I might think “well I don’t need past students to comment anyway. That wasn’t really a part of the problem to start with.’ But if I ask the question ‘why don’t people comment ion my blog’ I need to look at ‘people’. I might find that the reasons past students don’t comment informs why students now don’t, and if I had not considered this I might have missed a big point in terms of the question (although it appeared unimportant in terms of my ‘problem’. That’s why it has to be the question you address not the my ‘problems’). The biggest problem might turn out to be that my blog is hard to find or something like that. So I can’t limit the question to only construct what I expect to find out as an answer. I must look at the question for what it is asking.

Doing this I see that the question is too big because I would not be able to reach out to enough different types of people in a couple of months. So maybe it should be ‘why don’t current BAPP students comment on my blog?’
Again the ethical points I looked at make me see this is also a big question because there are clearly a number of possible reasons and they are all very different. Maybe the implication of my question needs to be changed.  I could change the word ‘why’ to ‘what are the reason students give….’ There is a big dynamic change of power in terms of where I see ‘truth’ laying here.

When my question starts with ‘why’ there is an implication I need to study something and then use the evidence to prove something ‘why’ it happens as if ‘why’ is answered outside of the situation itself. If I ask ‘what are the reasons given’ then I assume that the students themselves know ‘why’ the answer or ‘truth’ of the situation is not outside it and needs to be interpreted but is in the people themselves. As a social scientist, narrative inquirer and Pragmatist I feel the second construction of the question evens the ground out more for the inquiry. I feel the ‘why’ assumptions follow more along the line of the specialist in the white coat telling you what you think!!!! If I change the question to start with ‘What are the reasons…’ I can still look at what these reasons mean to me and what I feel they imply about my blog.

So now my question is “what are the reasons current BAPP students give for not leaving comments on my blog”. It still seems a little like I am court up in my own up-set and not genuinely interested in comment leaving. In other words not allowing the question to stand alone but using it to make a point about people leaving comments on my blog when I feel I have tried to encourage them. This limits me. Firstly, because the very people who the question addresses don’t leave comments so I am not communicating with them well in the first place so how do I expect to not just replicate the same problems I have noticed in the blog, in the data collection. Whatever is making them feel uncomfortable or seeing it as unnecessary may also affect the data I collect. (I would think) then all I would be doing is proving my point that they don’t communicate with me well rather than actually finding out why. 

Secondly, because there are the people who do comment and it might be as useful and important to find out why they do as why others don’t.
I need to open out my question and not focus on the ‘problem’ that instigated it. It could be “what are the reasons BAPP students give for why the do or don’t leave comments on other BAPP blogs’. Now my question addresses my problem but is open enough for me not to be a mission to prove I’m hard done by the non-commenters, and could be useful to other people who write BAPP blogs. I am not looking for an answer ‘why = because’…. Because I realise the question is too big to answer in a couple of months but I will find out more about it and draw some conclusions that might help me with my blog writing.

I hope this is useful for Module 3ers too because I hope it reminds you what your data collecting and analysing is for.

Tasks 6 etc… so how do I find out? I could try a couple of ways to see which way works in terms of me connecting with people and getting the kind of answers I can find useful. I could try making a survey, maybe I could try interviewing a couple of my advisees. I try out a couple of types of data gathering tools so that when I do the project next term I already know what I am doing. BUT more importantly I realise what kind of answers will help me understand the question in the terms I want to understand it. This is a lot deeper than I am writing about here because I have already gone on for ages. It is also for you to think about.  It is about what you consider valuable information in terms of the question you have. In terms of my question here it would be important to really understand the tools I need  and how I want to interact with people because that is what my question area is about. To show I understand my question would be to show I understand the implications it raises about how I can collect data. Like the student / teacher perceived power relations, the fact I am looking for information from people would have not communicated with me before etc…

Well what do you think?
Please do my pilot survey:


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Reflections on this week's campus sessions

Week 4: we had campus sessions this week. The idea of campus sessions is that the experience of the students at the campus session creates a ripple of ideas across the whole student community through students and advisors who attended blogging about the event and then thought he comment you post on their blogs and the questions you ask. Have a look at the blogs below for some of the summaries of the campus session on Module 1 and part of Module 3 then go to the blogs of the students who wrote the summaries for more in depth discussion of the experience.

Module 1ers at starting their reflection tasks and as I said in my last weekly blog all modules build on each other if you have ‘done’ module 1 you should still be practicing the things you learnt about using the tool (blogging), reflecting on your process in order to better understand what you are doing, and using / a being a constructive part of your networks.  

 We started the campus session on Reflection doing an exercise that got someone else to look at we do on a day-to-day basis. We were exploring the idea that in inquiry it is useful to attempt to see the familiar as unfamiliar’ that is look at things a new and notice how you can habitually ‘see’ things. It is also good to be open to ‘see the unfamiliar as familiar’ that is be open to explore ideas you had not considered a part of your ‘world’.  

Then we did an exercise where the doing of the exercise was more useful (taught us more) than the product of doing it. The was the process we learnt from. We summaries this as ‘Sometimes the activity is more useful than the story / content. This was appoint about keeping a reflective journal (THIS IS FOR EVERYONE ON ALL MODULES). The actually activity of regularly keeping the reflective journal is useful in itself, even if it appears that you have little to say. When you look back at what you wrote / thought you might find there is more that you noticed. This took us to the idea of noticing.   

I believe we notice what we value. As you progress through the course your values might change / widen/ shift you will notice new things in the things you thought and wrote. But you need to have the documented what you thought in order to see the progression you have made. We also made the point that as you doing something you get beyond the initial ideas of it and push yourself beyond the first reaction to something. “You start to be able to think more outside of your box.”

Then we did an exercise that was difficult (this can be anything, we used the activity of balancing sticks on our finger tips). Then we look at how we engaged with learning how to do this. This related to Kolb’s Learning Cycle.

We pointed out we all engage with the cycle but it is at the point in the cycle that we notice we are learning something that we are in our comfort zone. Some people might know all about the plan of something but its not until they actually do it that it becomes meaningful.  Or someone might do something but when they see it they get it….


Putting all the exercises together you get the ideas. That reflection is about looking at thing a new (familiar / unfamiliar), this is supported by a practice of noticing how and when things become meaningful to you and start to be a part of a learning (adding to your knowledge) experience.

What do you think of this?
Students summarised it as;
Reflection – is important to learn from
Familiar as unfamiliar
Notices in order to reflect
Notice when you learn
Learning is knowledge that is to say it is applying knowledge – experience generates knowledge and reflection allows you to capture experiences in order to reflect on them.
Sometimes the action of doing contains more learning that the content it generates.
Notice mistakes too, reflecting on them is how you learn too. (Learn through mistakes)
Listening to other people is a useful way to look at what you think. You can compare how people respond to something with how you respond.
Sometimes you need ‘silence’ or a ‘stillness’ in yourself to allow yourself to observe (notice).

I think these ideas are important for everyone.

In the campus session for Module 2 we looked at Ethics. 2ers should be being the tasks linked to the Reader on Ethics (5a, 5b etc..) it is a good idea to get on with this. If you have a number of questions chose one so that you can use it to do the tasks. You might find that the tasks themselves help you think more deeply about the question. BUT do not get stuck finding the perfect question. This is an example of the activity giving you the learning experience (see above). We also talked about the idea that ethical dilemmas often manifest in controls, and power structures around the physical body. This is to do with individuals’ rights, recognising inequalities and ‘free will’. (This is to do with philosophical debate as the Reader mentions, look at Hobbes, and Kant I also find Foucault and Bourdieu interesting coming from an embodied perspective – as a dance artist for instance). Looking at your interests and questions through an ethical lens really helps you find a deeper understanding of what the questions mean to you and those around you.

We also had a campus session on Module 3 . (See Paula’s blog). We talked about effective writing, planning the remaining activities of your research so that you stay on task. Know when you want your first draft to be done by and if you want Advisor feedback when their cut off date to drafts to be sent. Each advisors deadline might be slightly different. We also talked about the artefacts.

We compared the role of artefacts with the role of the Critical Review. The Critical Review is a formal, structured, and traditional document. It shows the whole process. The Artefact is in a format is more in tune with your professional practice. Its likely to be some that is recognisable in your field of professional practice. Both the Artefact and the Critical Review respond to the Research Question. The Artefact is not an add-on to the critical review. The artefact should be the natural development of the inquiry.  So for example if your question is about the singing your Artefact might involve a sound track. Also think about this: when you go to tell someone about this work who is in the field you want to work in they are not going to be that into reading the critical review (I would guess) but when you show them the artefact they would be interest and see how much work you must have done – and how well you understood the question because of the form of artefact. So it’s not just a documentation it is the embodiment of the knowledge.

I thought about three kinds of Artefact or three facets of an artefact.
The “Stones on the edge of the well’. If your inquiry has been talking about a kind of experience or embodied action and your critical review is about it then it would be nice to experience it!!. Like if you theorize about the sounds different ways of dropping stones down a well, it would be nice to have a well and some stones.

“The ‘X’ itself”. This the thing that you have said is needed itself. If you have written that you found that artists need a press-pack then the artefact could be the press-pack itself. Or if it was about what a show reel should look like the show reel itself…or dance or song etc…

Lastly, a “kind of documentation in the style of….” This is a something shows the points you have raised in the style of the field it comes from (the more familiar form or mirroring the forms of things from that area). For instance a big colourful (children’s book style) book that documents the main process and points of a creative project in a school- which is what I made and is used as an example in the reader. It was to be read by parents and they are more familiar with children’s books in the school that ‘reports’.

What do you all think – people that were there…people that were not there?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Campus Session , Module 3 (October 19th 2011): Artefacts

As part of the campus session for module 3 today, we looked at the Artefact. The students who were there wrote three bullet point ideas that they find useful in understanding the role of the Artefact requirement. Go to the blog of the person to read further about their thoughts on the session. I will be writing about this in my weekly blog also.
  1. Artefact is about your inquiry question not the next step
  2. Create something that is in your field
  3. A natural culmination of your inquiry  
Mark Iles

  1. The Critical review is the whole story of the research in academic form.
  2. The Artefact is what the research indicated in terms of a creative express in your field of practice.
  3. The artefact is not the start a new question or inquiry: it should address your original question.

The artefact:
  1. Follow the thread to the natural conclusion
  2. 3 types of artefact (see Adesola’s next blog also)
  3. It is not additional, its part of the process

  1. The artefact is not an add on
  2. Follow the thread of the inquiry to a natural product.
  3. A different way of showing your conclusions

  1. Not letting the artefact be an add on or that it raises another question
  2. Understanding that its OK to not know exactly what your artefact is until your analysis is done.
  3. The artefact should be a conclusion of your findings – it accompanies the critical Review but doesn’t have to show the whole process as the Critical Review does. 

Group 1: Kolb's Learning Cycle

Demonstrating the Kolb Learning Cycle through the action of writing a script.
Demonstrating the 4 stages of engaging with experience as knowledge
Nina StandenJohn NordonNick CrowleyLily Corrigan

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Campus Session Module 1 (October 18th)

Today was a campus session for Module 1. We looked at the reflection section of the Module. I will write more about it on my blog later in the week. The students present at the campus session worked in four groups to share one thing with you, that they felt was value about the session.

These blogs below are a summary from each group. Go to the blogs of the group to get a full explanation and to hear their thoughts. (Give them a chance to write it up so try a couple of times if they haven’t got anything up yet!) Group 1 did a film and I still have to down load it ! see theirs tomorrow!!!

Group 2: Noticing as a part of reflection

Group 2: Noticing as a part of reflection

In order to reflect on something you have to have noticed it. Start to look beyond the obvious and take time to notice

Group 3: Key Reflective actions

Group 3: Key Reflective actions
We’ve taken photos relating to the key reflective points and hope this shows the difference ways of reflecting, observing and noticing




Group 4: Seeing the familiar as unfamiliar

Group 4: Seeing the familiar as unfamiliar
From the session today, the concept that really stood out for us was trying to
“Seeing the familiar as unfamiliar”

To reflect this we took a series pf photographs that we feel in part illustrate this point.

We would then love you to visit out blogs and take a minute to reflect on the pictures using the concept of ‘seeing’ ‘thinking about’ ‘wondering’
Than compare and what we saw, thought and wondered!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Reflection, SIGs and Literature!

 This blog was meant to be posted on Thursday according to the system I created for myself this year…! But then there’s life; as the quote above says “life is what happens to our plans”. So how is your schedule going. Don’t get caught up fixating on one task try to keep moving forward with your work.

My big wonder this week is; “is my life just a response to things and if so where am ‘I’ then. Or am ‘I’ in the setting-up / and perception of the situation to which I respond?”

The reflection of Module One (which is what 1er’s should be moving into as we enter week 4) is an on-going activity across the course and your career. So how is it going with reflection? The analysis you need to engage with in Module 3 when you have collected data is basically reflections – reflexivity aims to help you widen your perception. Locate the ‘I’, the 'response', the situation in the data.

Of course talking through your thoughts helps with the process of thinking - finding meaning. Who do you talk to? Well, 1ers will be moving on later to looking at their networks, 2ers and 3ers have looked at networks so use them. 2ers you are just forming SIGs and other groups that are extensions to the networks  you identified last module. The SIGs are so you can communicate your ideas and hear others. Dewey says that an idea, once communicated can be looked at and explored because it has a kind of form other than your feeling (which from my perspective is an embodied experience - what he calls 'first state' below).

‘Where communication exists, things in acquiring meaning, thereby acquire representatives, surrogates, signs, and implicates, which are infinitely more amenable to management, more permanent and more accommodating, than events in their first estate’ (Dewey, 1929a)

Module 2ers you need to have joined a SIG by now, and blogged of course. This is the way to have a conversation, interrogate your ideas, to widen your field. Don’t make lots of little SIG groups. If you are thinking along similar lines to a group but a little different join and add your voice, it will widen the thoughts of everyone and challenge you to explain yourself.

Formative feedback on the research questions in Module 2: from me it is to blog more. I have seen some interesting questions but you all need to talk to each other and blog. Some 2ers have not up-dated there blogs recently and it is hard to share in the conversation with them. Keep the questions fluid so you don’t fix yourself into a corner. I will post more feedback in my blog next week also.

Module 3ers: I strongly advise you to have a Literature Review by now and some Key Texts. A Literature Review is an overview of what’s out there and what people think. What the general threads are and who is famous for thinking about them. Key Texts are a few books that you have read cover to cover and that support your research (NOT support your argument - which hopefully you don’t have yet) the Key Texts are books that are known for raising the key issues in your area of research.  A metaphor for this is: a Literature Review is like ‘Eagle vision’ seeing an over few of the whole field. Key Texts are like ‘mouse vision’. To know about a part of the field really well.    

Another metaphor for this : If I am talking about Dance a  Literature Review is like knowing there are a number of kinds of dance – Salsa, Hip Hop, Ballet , Contemporary. As I am talking about dance you would expect me to know that these things exist, however you would not expect me to know all about all of them but I should be able to overview the kinds of dance out there. Key texts are like me knowing about Ballet in more detail, knowing about point work, ballet barr, and people wearing tutus etc…

Hope to see London based people at the campus sessions this coming week.

I am sitting in a Starbucks that is open late on a Sunday, Great!! I think we should start a list of good places to study outside the house, for those on the move, between houses, without internet at home etc... There are some great places to get wi-fi and get on with things. What do you think of all this?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

First tasks (Feedback on week two)

Here we are in week two. First modulers have been putting up their C.V.s, youtube films and flickr pictures. There is some great work, often people using the tools for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to get to know new ways to communicate BUT also to observe yourself: see how you learn new skills or build on ones you already knew. You can draw on the memory of this in a week or two when you start the reflection session of the first module. If you’re not on the 1st module don’t forget the communication tools, still blog and share ideas, make ‘things’ about your thoughts and process, up-date your flickr and think about how the tools can be useful to you in general across the whole course.

Module two-ers and threes are working with questions (!). task 4a is thinking about questions relevant to your practice. The thing about questions is whether you can engage with them as questions or whether you are engaged with them in terms of answers. I don’t believe in answers per say. Rather than looking at questions in terms of what the answer will be or how you think they should be answered, look at them in terms of better understanding the question. So instead of a goal of an answer have a goal of better understanding the question, better understanding the question gives you an answer of a sort.

This is a fundamental issue about where you see ‘truth’ residing. Is it out there to be found. That is it’s fixed and needs to be discovered. This is a positivist view that things are there whether you are there or not, whether you understand them or not. Or do you think that truth is not fixed but depends on how you perceive things.

Dewey talks about a frightening sound on a window, on investigation it turns out to be a branch knocking against the window. His view is that it is not that a mistaken truth has given way to a real truth. It is that it is true there was a frightening sound and it is true that was a branch. As your perception changes so does the answer. This is more of a non-positivist view: things are changed by your perception of them. So you can see how looking for a fixed answer to a question would mean that you are assuming you totally understand the question and that there is some fixed answer out there to discover.

Of course some questions are easier to find a fixed answer to. These are usually ones that involve quantitative data; like “how many fingers does your grandmother have?”, questions that involve numbers. From the popular media we are most used to research being presented this way. But many of your questions are qualitative – about how people feel, or what they think, this is not something you can count it is about the quality not the quantity of something.  So can you see my point… that questions can be thought about outside of the context of what their answer will be and more about the inquiry into the question itself. What do you think??

Have a look at the funny video on my blog post:
THURSDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2009: Why research analysis is so important; it's not all data collection! - http://adesolaa.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-research-analysis-is-so-important.html

Module three-ers have you thought about writing rough drafts of some of the parts of your critical reflection NOW!!!! For instance your ‘Introduction’ (section/chapter); it is about what you planned to do, the context of the work and the original idea. You could write that down now even if you know things are changing… the change is part of the process of inquiry. If you’ve got it down than when you come back to it in November you’ll have your starting point. It might also help you to have a clearer focus as you move forward into field work (data collection) your own notes and reflections are also data remember. You could also think about a draft of lit. review section too. Again it might help you consolidate your ideas as your thinking might be changing quite fast. It is also psychologically nice to feel you have something to work off of when you come to your final writing-up period.
What do you think?

Using interviews anyone?? Do you have / have you made your consent forms for the people you are interviewing?
A really good book to look at is
“Learning from Strangers: the art and method of qualitative interview studies’ – Robert S. Weiss

Anyone recommend any other good books on interviews?

What do you think about all this – please comment

Thursday, 29 September 2011


This is the first week. There is a sense of anticipation that is always really exciting when you begin things. One makes promises to oneself and it feels like there is a clear goal (at this point). It’s the journey that is where the learning lies and therefore it is also the journey that can be changeable and sometimes distracting. Planning is a way of mapping the journey you will take even if you decide to change your goal or the journey takes you to an unexpected place your planning /map helps you locate where you are, how far you are from your original goal etc…

There is an interesting set of BBC documentaries about the ‘Beauty of maps’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00s2w83

Mapping how you plan to proceed especially in terms of time (when you want to get tasks and writing done by) is really useful.

Also look at how you are presenting your work. Blogs have been made most famous by people who have used them in ways so that they seem to be sharing the details of their life with the world. The film ‘Julie and Julia’ is based on a blog that became very popular but was basically someone writing about the meals they cooked each night. BUT that’s not the only way to write or use blogs. 

Our blogs come out of the idea that informal conversations at the door of the lecture room or in the changing rooms or exchanges in discussion in the classroom are in fact when most learning goes on. ‘Round the water fountain’ conversations are a way to get ideas clear by talking to others or to listen to another person’s way of thinking and maybe find that helps you with your own ideas. But we don’t have a place we are all gathering to have these kinds of informal conversations so…what about having them around a virtual doorway – in the blog world. So we thought the blogs could be away to have those important informal conversations without being limited by the places we are in. What’s more because we are all in different places and spaces we bring even more to the conversations.  So think about what that means in terms of your blog and writing style.

The importance is not on writing in the ‘welcome to my inner thoughts / world style’ , the importance is in the interaction. Writing things that are clear and to the point and share how and why your thinking that way – the experiences you are having is important in terms of the interaction of sharing them. It also explains why commenting is so important. Commenting is having the conversation via the blogs.

Task 1a / 1st Module: Please, DO NOT put your address on anything (for instance the C.V.) and I recommend not putting your phone number either if you want a contact info part use an email anywhere.

This whole 1st module is about positioning yourself looking at what you have done, what you have around you (your networks), how you see yourself (general reflection), so that you can move on to the next modules to work out what you can add to / work on further to complete your foundation in Professional Practice in a BA (Hons). The tasks in the first module are about looking at yourself - so see how it is best to present that past professionally.

Read my past blogs:
Positioning of Self – Saturday 16 October 2010 

Positioning of Self – Thursday 25 March 2010 

This is good to remember for people in Modules 2 & 3 each module is part of a progression: look back to work out your trajectory. You might have changed your ideas about some of the things you did in Module 1 (& 2), now you’ve experienced doing them. So don’t hang on to things just ‘because’ that was how you first thought about it. Let them develop, Use the blogs to share where your developing is taking you. The blogs can end up as a map of your journey made even more meaningful by the input of others.

Hope to have some comments soon I’m wondering if my comments settings are broken!!! Email me if they are.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Welcome (back)

Hi welcome (back)
Here are some starting back conversation starters.
First, if I am your advisor and haven’t already emailed you I will be next week. There are a number of advisors on the course we all have blogs and they are all useful because different people have different ways to explain and share things. I am going to be writing blogs that are across all three modules. So sometimes my post might be more useful to someone on Module (3) than Module (1) but it is useful to think of the WHOLE course as one thing. Not to think of each module as a closed set of activities we are making you do!! By thinking about what people are doing at other points in the course you might find something really useful for your current study. Also don’t feel if you have finished a module there is nothing more to get out of it. Keep looking backward and forward (its how you locate yourself).

So… for people beginning the last module (3760) (that is Module (3), the research project) a couple of things:
1)    the last module you did was to plan what you are doing now – but its not written in stone, look at the feedback you had on your grading form, think about it now you have had the summer to let the idea settle.
2)    Adapting your method, addressing questions your advisor highlighted is all part of the process. DO NOT think the whole thing is just about gathering data. You can get all the data in the world but it is only as useful as the questions you ask of it.
3)    The module is about the process (as is pretty much everything we are doing) NOT ABOUT you finding an answer to some problem – Let the PhD students save the world and publish stuff. Believe me you don’t need the headache! Just focus on your process, your artistic development, what you can LEARN. We are looking for you to show us what you learn from the experience that is all (and that is a lot).

So get chatting talk to people about what you think blog, email, don’t hide away trying to get a perfect answer for your project.

For people beginning Module (2) (3630). Have a look at what happen last year. Look at the blogs see what you can learn from observing what other people thought about. This module is quite extensive. Start to get on with things get the reading done its more intense than the first module because we are asking you apply some of the principles you are learning about.

For people beginning the first Module (1) (3730) and everyone else remember this is not a set of hoops we want you to jump through. We have planned something that we hope will be useful and meaningful to you in YOUR situation. Try not to see the module as something to critique, or on the other hand something God ordained. Try and apply the ideas to your life. See if they are useful and in doing that see what you learn from them. Do not be put off by starting to blog just get on with doing it.

If you are re-doing a module have a look at what you did last time but also let go of some of the things that seemed like obstacles. Move forward, work out what helped you last time and what hindered you.

Get advice from your advisor if you got an unexpected mark. It was higher than you expected work out what you did to get that response, if it was lower work out what you did to get that response.

For everyone MAKE a timeline for yourself, work backwards from the hand-in date Jan 9th 2012. Work out what you need to hand in to be marked. This is different from what you will be doing as tasks. Work out when you need to have a final draft by in order to get feedback from your advisor if you want it. Work out all the things you want to do right up to today. Make a plan and be kind enough to yourself to stick to it.

OK these moments, these people on the course are all unique; make the most of all the interesting people who in the course. If you find it’s a lot to do especially with work etc… FIGURE OUT how it can help you AT work. IT IS WORK BASED LEARNING, it should be apart of what you are already doing not something separate from you.

Have fun