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

Saturday, 15 December 2012

In the nicest posible tone....

For all modules there are different things you are asked to give us for assessment. BUT in each module what you hand-in is linked it is not a load of independent documents. In Module One you are making a portfolio telling one thing. In Module Two you are telling one thing: about a plan that is linked to your practice and will complete your BA. In Module Three you are telling us about one thing; a Research project. But because life is multi-layered you maybe handing different aspects or parts of the one idea but they are all linked in telling the same story of each module.

All the work we are doing on linking experiences, networks, reflection why would we then ask you to chop things up and not relate things to each other. In some cases – like Module Three you are asked for a document and then there is a brake down of each section but they are part of the same thing!!

The sections are like the way a book has chapters each chapter has a particular part of the story but they relate to each other to make a whole picture. The sections are like chapters of a book each section has its part but they are put to together to make the who report.

For everyone please remember that the assessment work is not a load of hoops we want you to jump through to get the prize of passing. We want to understand what you have been doing, we want you to be able to articulate it in away that anyone teaching at BA level will understand and also at a level where you can tell other people about your work in your professional world. Why would we want to read the same thing repeated again and again in different short documents that don’t relate to each other? I guess I would hope that you could see we are not trying to give you tasks like hero’s in a fairytale that get more and more difficult to see if you deserve a BA. All the work we do about web 2:0 in Module One shows that of course you can find the ‘knowledge’, ‘information’ but what is its value/ meaning. What makes it important is the unique view/ ideas/ experiences you have had and how you give it meaning. That is most important and then it is important that your special voice on the topics can be heard and there are standard ways for people to hear you; the guide-lines for how the work is to be submitted is just so you have experience in presenting your voice in away that will be heard in the establishment of a university setting because a BA is a university artefact.

Please try to make sense of what you are doing. At the beginning of each module we ask you to take a leap of faith into the ideas and activities but by the end do not be doing things because you think you have been told to, have a reason for doing them for yourself also. If you need to grab hold of that meaning and its slips away talk to your advisor that is what they are there for. There is no secret society holding the knowledge: we want you to do your best, do well this world needs all the brilliant, fulfilled people it can get.

Most people are doing this but just a reminder:
Put your name on your work – simply so we know who its from
Put page numbers on it – simply so we know the order of things
Put things together – so that you link your learning particularly to you and your practice.
Use words you know the meaning of
Check the meaning is what you think it is, not just how it is used in Metro or the Sun
Don’t rely on one word to give meaning to a whole sentence – write to illuminate ideas.
Feel you are a part of something: your interesting voice within the context of hundreds of others in books and journals too. 
Respect yourself and what you think by presenting it clearly and respect yourself by respecting the work others have done. If you thought it then probably someone else has too. Find your published soul-mates: what they brought to the ideas you are interested in too. Don’t reinvent the wheel find out about the wheel.

OK then

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Writing about experiences...

Busy writing drafts about your experiences this term? I will make this a short post to tickle your thinking (or not). The work asked for, for assessment for all three modules asks you to recognise your unique experience, within a context / environment of the activities you undertook this term; knowing they are connected also to your past and your anticipated future. We are asking you to be reflective about meaning and knowledge by considering yourself as environment, history, future hopes, and actions – a unique matrix of experiences.  Here are some favourite quotes:

 “A body is not so much a thing, as it is an act- an act made possible, to be sure, by the physicality of the organism performing it, but not identical or reducible to the organism’s physicality.” ( Sullivan 2001 p.29)

“Truth occurs when humans and their environments respond to and transact with one another in such a way that flourishing is achieved for both. Truth is not a matter of humans “fitting” their beliefs to the world. Nor is it a matter of matching internal representations to external reality.” (Sullivan 2001 p.144)

So we are asking what just happen (last term)? But how can anyone know? We are asking you to take your best reflective self and look at the different ways you could understand the activity you undertook. In doing so look at where ‘you’ are in that.  I chose these quotes even though I don’t believe we can understand (or even recognise)  ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ but I do think there is a beauty in our attempts.

Sullivan, S. (2001) Living across and through skins : transactional bodies, pragmatism and feminism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Developing a picture

I know everyone is busy so I have marks sections 'Module One', 'Two' and 'Three' but as always try to read the whole post. Something I think is useful to a Module One might be just what you needed to think about in Module Three. We are all connected.

Module One's
You will be thinking about the portfolio that you are handing in for assessment. At this point in the module you are starting to reflect on the whole activity. Although you did things in sections the portfolio is asking you to present an overview or summary of what you have learnt. I find it very hard to do this if I start at the beginning of something in terms of time, and work my way to the present day. In other words if you start your Critical Reflection with talking about task 1a and finish with the last task it is hard to give a meaningful overview of anything but a schedule. This is because your learning probably did not develop one thing after the next. Some ideas might have 'clicked' straight away, some might have 'clicked' and them you found deeper meaning to them later. Some may not until next module!!! It is unlikely it was a step a-b-c sort of process. I don't believe in linear constructs anyway, and I don't think learning is like that. So trying to tell the story of your learning as a straight timeline is very difficult. But everyone has their own way of doing things. In the post below I talked about different approaches. I find organizing what I want to say into themes works best for me. Think about which works for you? Give yourself time to try writing your final Critical Reflection a couple of different ways. Just like with the reflective journal there are many ways to write about the same events. Remember also we are looking for links to ideas from other people - citations from books, journals, articles etc... that have had an impact on the way you looked at your activity in this first module. Have a look at:

Assessment portfolio


Module Two's
I love this video because it talks to the importance of analysis see paragraph below. But it is also about how important it is to create a research model that has thought about the effect your activity has on the people you interact with. Thinking from the perspective that they have their own story and you are just a small part (maybe a 10 minute encounter) of something much bigger than you could know. THAT is what ethics is about - thinking about how others will experience what you have created. This video shows how if you do not think about this you will limit what you can hear from them. You will limit what you hear to what you expect them to say. I would love you to comment on what is wrong in the video in terms of research in the comments below. 

Study: Most Children Strongly Opposed To Children’s Healthcare

Module Three's
I cannot stress enough that the inquiry is NOT about collecting data it is about analysis (see film above). The inquiry hangs on what you do with the data. That's not just re-writing what people said or putting what they said into a beautiful chart. It is about you thinking about what it means informed by your unique experience, the literature you have been reading and the experience of having been there when the data collection was happening, oh and what was said!! have a look at this post too.

Weeks 6,7,8 & 10 (Module three particularly)


So what do you think? 
Love your comments

Friday, 23 November 2012

What Sam and Billy say

Hi I am going to address a question Alicia asked on her blog “when quoting my interviewees, how do I do it..?”

The idea of a citation for a book etc... is so that when we read your work we can then go and find the book (journal etc...) you had in your hand that you cited from. But the interviews are data you collected and we cannot go and find them somewhere. You are using quotes form interviewees as examples of something you are writing about, so it is a bit different from a citation for book (etc...) which is pointing us towards further reading or bringing to mind a theorised idea by someone else. So assuming you have given an outline of what you research looked like. [ie you interviewed six professional dancers. Billy works in UK, Jamie in Mexico etc... and any other relevant information we need to know about them while respecting their anonymity.] Then when you write about something they said you can write

'it's a long way to go to go to an audition' - Billy

So now a notes about quoting people in terms of the above:
First: the decision to give them names – many people say participant (1) or participant B. This is ok but think about the topic of your research. If it about people's experiences or feelings etc… then it is ok to present them as real people. Not labelled like test-tubes. If it’s a test-tube based data collection process then naming them A, B or C makes more sense. If you use names think about the implication of gender and cultural background a name can give.

Second, as I mention above take a moment  in the overview of the research project in your account to let us know who and where and how you collected the data so we can see any comments in the context of the inquiry. For instance some of my interviewee might be college students and other professional dancers and other teachers.

Third,  DO NOT use the quote to make your point. Make the point and then use the quote to give an example of what you are talking about.

'Most dancers I spoke to talked about the importance of auditions in terms of keeping current with what was going on, but also pointed out that there needed to a balance between the keeping current and the expense of preparing and traveling to an audition. 

'I live in Gistone (small village in the North of England) and most auditions I am interested in are in the South. its a long way to go to travel to an audition.' Billy (professional dancer)

Billy's comment underlined Smiths (2009) theory that dancers in the outside of major cities are disadvantaged when it comes to audition experience. However, Sam the other professional dancer I interviewed from the North of England saw a trip down South for an audition as part of a larger goal. Sam used the time to also meet up with friends and visit museums.

'I try to make going to auditions only part of what i do in a day. That way I feel less pressure in the audition. Otherwise I'm like thinking if I don't get this I've wasted the fare down here and what-not.' - Sam (professional dancer). 

Smith (2009) has said that professional dancers start to see auditions as away of socialisation. It seemed that the professional dancers who lived outside of major cities..... 
Smith quote....'

The quotes from Participants should be indented but I can't see how to do that on the blog post page and my computer keeps crashing, so I'M trying to get this posted before it dies again - but enough of my problems!!!!

Back to the quotes-- as we read more and more quotes we also start to get a sense of the personalities of the participants - that is also why its nice to give them names; it is easier to remember who said what.

As you start to write what you are handing in for assessment in any of the modules start to let go of the drive to make a point (tell the truth) - and think of the actual document you are making as also a work of art. how you write, structure and form the essay is an art too. It is not just about what you are saying because how we understand what you are saying is more subtle then just the idea, it is how the words are put together. I am very aware of this as a dyslexic - and it often seems like a magic trick to even get words together in the first place but every now and then you might read something or see something and think that was really well done. Think about what you think is well written and why. Alan did a post about truth, that was interesting to read. I guess I am saying the same thing. Let's suppose there is more than one 'truth'. What you are thinking about when you write should not be presenting the 'truth' of what you found but capturing the nature of what you found or experienced.   

(Sensitivity to the whole process not just an account of past.)

What do you think? Does this help with the quote question?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Action: doing, links

Here is a plug for something I am constantly saying . If you are sending something to someone via email imagine it on THEIR computer. They are not you.
 Example One: sending work to your advisor: So putting ‘Critical Review’ on it makes sense on your computer because you have only done one but your adviser has up to 20. The thing it is for your advisor is not a ‘Critical review’ it is a piece of work from you. SO PUT YOUR NAME ON IT and put your name on the work itself. 
Example Two: sending your CV to a producer. On your computer you may only have your CV so calling the file ‘CV’ helps you find it. But on the producers computer they may have 200 CV’s so what is important about it is that it is from YOU. Put your name on it.

I recommend your name_what it is_date or draft number.doc

When I look at work I send it back with
AA_ your name_ whatever you called it.doc
so you know that, that copy is the one I made comments on. Get it?

See blogs: Positioning of Self

OK its get it together time for what you will be handing in, try to let go of going to do a BA and get into doing a BA mode. Its ok not to be a perfect as you are in your head as long as you do something.

Please  think about citations enough said!!! Citations

 Module One’s start asking yourself how all the sections in module one link up and where you and your experience are in the links. Start to make notes about how you will writing your reflective essay. see: 

Positioning of Self (different from above)

Module Two’s commit to an idea and start to work out how you can best explore it. Nothing to prove just inquiry. see Question(aires)?

Module Three’s the handbook  (page 13)is really useful in giving you a structure for your ‘Critical review’:
·      Introduction of the Critical review
·      Evaluation of the inquiry process
·      Analysis of what you experienced (what you found / findings)
·      Critical reflection (of the whole situation including what you did and experienced)



Thought: Module ones this structure is not too different from how you would be planning your critical reflection too (only yours is shorter, more succinct).

So if you are a Module Two leave a comment of advice for a Oner. If you are a Three leave a comment for a two or One. If you are a One leave a comment for all of us.

I have tried to link past posts. See what people commented at the time (if they did!) then visit their blogs and see where they were at the time when they made the comment. This is why comments are so cool to leave people!

Keep your stick on the ice

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Why all this writing!!

I have been posting each day I was here for two main reasons. Firstly, in order to give you an idea of the range of research topics and methods that fall under the arts, and how you are a part of a large community of people who are working in dance (and across the arts) to open up inquiry across forms, risk asking difficult questions, and trust their own passion and interests enough to follow them. Secondly, as a new way (for me) to share my life experiences as part of my teaching practice, which is about how I believe that as I continue to engage in  my own reflective processes and growth I use my own lived experience as an example of 'what not to do' / or 'what to do' however you read my ideas! 


Sunday (last day)

It has been the last day (half a day).
Last nights performance was really great. Yjastros (flamenco dance) was so amazing. It was as if passion took the form of sound in the singing and guitar and then vitality sadness, joy, life and death all bubbled in the skin and bones of the dancers and exploded into their movements. I was exhausted after watching.
Dancing Earth was also great, a beautiful performance that was made more layered by the gentle, clear reverence for the lived experience of being on this earth.

This morning there were two panels and a closing plenary. The first panel looked at the influence of language on gender identity in Breaking. It looked at how some dancers have moved away from the word ‘Breakdancing’ because of the commercialisation of the word to calling what they do b-boying but then what are the women doing then. Some call themselves b-girls but others feel that makes it seem as if what they are doing is a different kind of dance purely because they are girls doing it.

Then Melissa Hudson Bell gave a paper about the work of Amara Tabor Smith who uses the eating of food as part of the performance experience. I really enjoyed the paper and want to read it again because I was distracted during it by how it reaffirmed how much I love to create dance myself, that has a community based  / ethnographic based starting point. How much I love the idea of an audience being a part of a ritual hand-washing as they enter the performance space as Melissa described Amara’s work.

The last paper in this panel looked at Jarabe Tapatio: dances in Mexico that were taught as traditional dances. In many papers, this weekend, exploring dances from different countries I have heard about traditional dances that were designated ‘traditional’ but only taught or even created in twentieth century. The were all responses to governments wanting to establish or recreate an identity for the whole country for instance in Cambodia after 90% of the artists were killed during Khmer Rouge, Korea as a part of shaking off colonialism, in Mexico (as this paper explored) when the country was made up of a number of differing groups of people with different languages and customs. It made me think how powerful the arts are. Governments turn to them to give cohesion to their country – look at UK Olympics. Music and arts and dance are how we define who we are as a nation and yet when it comes to funding that importance does not seem to be echoed.

The second panel was about the different re-stagings of Einstein on the Beach (first paper) and the second paper was about the history of Breaking from early dancers to 1990 and pointing out the importance of video replication in how the dance spread across the globe. People videoed battles and then people in other countries or places or genders watched the videos and learnt a shared vocabulary that later when they came together gave then something in common. But Mary Fogarty was pointing out that many of the things they assumed they had in common in person were not there. She has published this paper and again I am going to read it again.

The closing Plenary was nice but I went into it very up and hopeful but at the end we talked about the separation between practice and theory which I don’t acknowledge. And I had felt others came from the same place so talking about it as something to strategise for made me question if people thought as I do as widely as I had assumed. For me my practice is my theory: it is how I understand the world.   

It has been great to meet so may interesting, interested people at the conference. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Saturday (pm)

Today I went to a number of panels. I went to one about teaching dance in higher education. One paper was about teaching ballet from a feminist paradigm. We talked about how as a teacher you negotiate how the expected way to teach a technique might contradict your own principles. The question set by Gretchen Alterowitz was about teaching ballet without adhering to the power structures often associated with ballet, such as the teacher being the only voice in the room, assumptions about what beauty is and genderise movements. In order to teach in formed by a pedagogy that involves notions raised by feminist writers she draws on democratising techniques such as having students self assess, work in pairs, collaborate in meaning making, comment in class and link their experience in the ballet room with outside experiences. I thought about how rigours I am with my principles of teaching on BAPP and MAPP and how I do not fight half as hard to adhere to those principles in my practical teaching. I am planning to re-think many of my technique classes to see where I tacitly accept the rhetoric of the dance studio at the expense of my moral / ethical beliefs.

Another discussion was about assessment (particularly in choreography classes). Most of the room agreed that it was not so much the choreographic aesthetic that was assessed but the students transformative journey within the learning experience. This is how we assess BAPP and MAPP too. It is about the student articulating the learning they gain through the process of the course. I talked about how we had introduced the Professional Artefact at Middlesex in order to allow students to create a comment on their learning process within their own terms (and the terms of their profession).

I then went to a workshop run by a MFA student I had when I was guest teaching in USA last summer. She shared her whole process and really constructed a whole approach to contemporary dance informed by her ethnographic experiences of being Korean  born, having trained in “traditional’ dance and western forms of ballet and contemporary  (Graham). It was really interesting and inspiring.

After lunch I went to a roundtable talk about Jazz dance. What Jazz is? How it is taught again we had some deep conversations about the ontology of dance itself. The panel talked about how Jazz ‘takes you there’ and you can’t be afraid to go. You are one with the music feeling the beat in your body. Jazz is also its history linked to roots in Africa and yet at the same time defined by it experimentation with the ‘here and now’. I thought about how one teaches a style of dance (any style) where that is what it is to you a ‘style’. And you know that for someone else it is away of life – away to connect with the world. Do you say sorry I am not passionate enough about that to be a good teacher in it or do you turn to the codified version of it (and teach it as a process of accomplishing steps)?

The conference has really encouraged me to feel we are not alone at Middlesex in an insistence in deep reflective practices and links to ‘other subjects’ as part of the process of being a dancer. Particularly for me not to compromise my interests because things I am most passionate about (interested in) give me an energy to explore with rigour and brings deeper meaning to the work. Funny because its what I am constantly telling Module two and three students!!!!!

I am going to the performance tonight – looking forward to that.

Saturday morning

Today is another day full of activity. I am really looking forward to the performance tonight. Of yesterday I have been thinking most about the Dancing Earth company and the papers presented in the first panel I went to yesterday. My presentation was about the ethics of the work I created in 2010 (the Jingle Dress) and this company works within the same issues. I am hoping I can do some kind of collaboration with them because it is so exciting to find other people exploring the same ideas you have. Overall the conference so far has been really stimulating hearing all the interesting work people are doing in dance. Today I am planning to go to some panels that explore more pedagogical issues.

My presentation went well (I think), like a performance, I can never really remember what happened once I start going!!! I had done so much work on identity issues in preparation (and in the paper itself) and I did not feel I talked about that but then I hope that this work on identity was thread through the whole presentation. When I get back after the conference, I will work toward having a definitive version of the paper. Two useful answers to my ethical questions from the audience were:
The need to keep returning to the community (audience) from which the work is contextualised to hear how they are reading the work and get feedback. This resonates with my artistic principle of community in my work.  
The other was to more clearly see the work I create as a response to the experience I have. It is personal response and not trying to be the end-all to any issues but is a product of my own reflective processes.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday (pm)

It’s been a really long day; so many ideas. Here are a few:
The first panel I went to was about ‘Indigenous Dance and Archives of Activism’. There was a paper on Mohave Bird dancing and singing – Michael Tsosie, Dancing Indigenous Decolonization Dancing Earth (who I am going to see perform on Saturday)- Jacqueline Shea Murphy, and New Hula movements in terms of activism – Adria Imada. A question that resonated across the three papers was the idea of commodification as a counter-colonial tactic. That is the economy to support these dances is often through competition etc.. Such as Pow Wow dancing supporting itself through the pow wow sales and competitions since it is unlikely to get any funding, at that scale, as an art form from Government funding. I thought that it was also to do with placing value  on forms that come from cultures that have historically been de-vauled in Western mainstream (art).

Then I went o a workshop on the history of contact improvisation – Nita Little.
·      Some great ideas and points of conversations were:
·      Opening towards not just making the body available.
·      Thinking about pathways in space and in the other body as part of the same thing.
·      The world is full of beautiful partners
·      Contact improvisation is a rhetoric that teaches a particular politic – goodwill.
·      If you start to fall my job is not to save you but to help you find a good way down
All these conversations and ideas were part of a bigger idea that the experience of Contact Improv. and the principles for it to happen are also the same as for wider life. All the above could be about movement or about living in general.

I went to a working lunch: Diversity Working group.

Then I presented my paper. It was part of a panel called ‘How Newness Enters the World: dance  (in) Transition’. It went well, some interesting conversations after the presentation. I talked less about identity than I had planned but I think you cannot have too much in one talk. In the paper itself I go much more in to identity and the gaze of the audience.

Then I went to a ‘Outstanding Scholarly Research in dance award plenary’. The award was given to Susan W. Stinson. It was great to hear the history of her work in Dance Education particularly. She talked about the importance of reflection. How she identifies and idea with in her own body (experience) then look to it as a kind of metaphor for a wider understanding and then critiques her ideas using theory. So it starts with a bodily feeling and generates out to a scholarly critical reflection. She talked about the importance to her of:
Curriculum theory: personal narratives, lived experience and embodied description, action research and collaboration.
Voices of young people: interpretive inquiry and critical reflection, research as art-making
She said that rather than looking for X (what I would call ‘answers’) we should attempt to be wide awake. The uncertainty and discomfort of your work is important, just as finding the ‘troubling’ in your work is important because it is part of being wide awake.

Karen E. Bond talking about Sues work said Sue asks two questions
What is the meaning of life?
How shall we live together?
The work must respond to these questions to avoid being trivial. I felt that the idea was that we all have two questions like this and in order to continue to work within a framework that we will not look back at and think we have trivialised what we care about, we must constantly refer to those questions in order to give our work rigour and in order to be ‘wide awake’.

Lastly, I went to a copyright workshop talking about fair use of images and video  etc… in scholarly work. It was really useful although I am not sure if the law is at all similar to UK law.

Very tired.

Friday, morning

Yesterday afternoon was the opening Plenary. Three dance scholars spoke. It was really inspiring for me because they talked about ideas within the terms of dance rather than ‘about dance’. I found that how they presented resonated with my thinking that dance study is about starting within the thinking and knowledge that dance (and the arts) offers and using this to critically look at the (whole) world not just how high your arabesque is. Dr. George-Graves talked about her life, citing bell hooks call to connect our lives through honest openness to our research, in order to acknowledge the messiness of things at times. She talked about her washing machine braking, Children’s theatre, the texts and performance legacy of slavery and also said sometimes she feels as if she is banging her head ‘against a brick wall and a glass ceiling’ at the same time – totally verbalises my feelings at times too!!!!

Dr. Garcia talked about oppressed and labouring bodies the way Mexican migrant worker’s bodies are treated. New possibilities in interdisciplinary work, that can explore more complex identities in a multi-cultural world. How dance is connected and disconnected to cultural studies.

Dr. Wong talked about how dance can situate itself. How people see it as ‘fun, entertaining and eye candy’ and as dance scholars we sometimes have to defend the very aspects of dance we are critically deconstructing. (example me defending Ballet last week at Re:Generations London!!!)

I was affirmed in feeling that dance gives a kind of knowledge and this knowledge can be brought to other fields. Not so much inter-disciplinary as a widening of the narrow expectations that people outside dance assume we are interested in.

Today is a full day. I present this afternoon.  In other news it turns out I am almost in the heart of the city (downtown) its just people don’t really walk much!!


Thursday, 8 November 2012


This week I am at a dance conference (CORD). It is my first big conference in USA and I have given myself the task of sharing the experience with you!! I am posting duel posts on my MAPP and BAPP blogs. I wanted to share the experience because it is a bit foreign to me and I thought if I share my experience then when you go to give a paper (or maybe you have) or give your oral presentation, you will have the friendly voice of my experience in your head along with all the newness.  Shared experiences across a community of practice as a benefit to the whole group. I sort of did this when I went to the conference in Berlin in 2010 see past BAPP posts 

Going to talk about BAPP and hear what other people are doing

Conference continues (first day)

Conference second day

I am in a room in the very big hotel. The conference is being held in the hotel also. It seems to be quite far out of the centre of town but then USA towns are often not walking-to places anyway (so maybe I am in the centre of a town with big spaces between the buildings). I arrived last night and went for a walk along a highway to a Mexican cafĂ© that was like the New Mexican equivalent of a caf. in East London but with Mexican Food and no English speakers!  

Today I am going to work on my presentation (‘The Jingle Dress- claiming a philosophical legacy as a cultural act.’), which I give on Friday. Registration for the conference is at 1:30 so I have sometime to deal with the jet lag too! I have looked on line at the draft schedule and I know a couple of people from guest teaching I have done and I also know one person - Dr. Welsh-Asante from the Re:Generations Conference last week at the Place, London. I am really excited to say hello to her here and hear her presentation (‘Gender-bending in traditional African Dance: The case of the Ganksete and Manjanata Dances’)

More later

Monday, 5 November 2012

Campus session, Module Three

I team taught this session with Paula. Paula did a great power point which she as posted on her blog http://paulanottingham.blogspot.com . I talked mostly about the Professional Artefact. This was about how you can start to envision what it will be. However you can not really start to work too much on the artefact until you have done some analysis. There were two really important points that came out of the session for me.

Firstly, analysis is not just summing up your data. Analysis is a critical look at the whole experience comparing three things – the literature (the ideas other people have said), your own experience including your experience of collecting the data, your reflective diary, and the experiences before the inquiry that led you to be interested in doing it in the first place, and lastly the data you collect. Looking at themes and resonance and contradictions across all three of these is called triangulation. Doing this is how you can critically look at the questions you posed at the beginning of the inquiry. Doing this unpicks everything and is always (whatever level of work you are doing), always disorientating, some what frightening and confusing because it is the point where you are opening yourself up to look for something new, to stretch yourself beyond what you know you know. But that is the heart of the inquiry; be brave. Because it is after data collection you might feel you need to tidying everything up not make a mess in your head but the data collection is not the climax of the inquiry it is just getting something to do the inquiry with. After collecting data it is not time to tidy up, its time to get cooking all the ingredence. See some of my past blogs.

Secondly, the artefact is NOT the result of the inquiry, like the answer to the whole thing. The artefact is as much about the process as the critical review paper you are writing.

So please think as if you are in fact handing in TWO artefacts. Two things that explain the inquiry.  The first is in the form of a formalise academic artefact – a critical review. The second is in the form of something that is found in your professional practice (culture) it is a professional artefact. We can not say what this will be because it is different for each person according to their work / profession. We can help in telling you what the first artefact (the critical review looks like – in fact we give you guide-lines on what it looks like how many words etc… and we also give you guide-lines on how to start making it – when the start drafting etc…). But just because we help out with what the academic artefact (the critical review) looks like doesn’t mean the critical review IS the inquiry. It is a result of the inquiry just as the professional artefact is too. The Inquiry – what you are documenting with the two artefacts is the activity and reflective thought you do. Many people think by writing (I don’t) so maybe making the critical review will be how you analyse the inquiry, but the professional artefact could just as well be how you work out what it’s all about. So think of the Professional artefact as another way of explaining your inquiry. So you can see you need to do the whole inquiry before you can be really clear about the content of the critical review or the professional artefact. But now is the time to start to open a space for what the professional artefact will be even if all you do is plan out time in your diary in early December when you will start working on it.

So in fact you will explain your inquiry in three ways through writing (critical review), through talking (oral presentation) and through x? (professional artefact. Each of these ways of sharing offer unique advantages for communication and have things that can not be communicated very well through them. Think about how you will use the three forms.

One more thought about analysis: I suggested it is like your inquiry was  a mountain. You don’t want to stand in one spot and describe the mountain. You need to describe it from all sides; give us a 3D view, with 3D (not one dimensional) people and ideas. Of course in the short time of 12 weeks you can only do so much. If people want an aerial view you don’t have to give it to them but you should know the direction to point them to get one. In other words you can say:
“XXX could be looked at from the perspective of YYY but it was beyond the scope of this inquiry for me to do YYY, however Robert Goodwill goes into this in his book XYXYY. “
“If I were to look more deeply ino XXX I would have gone to get data from BBBB but I did not have time to do this and felt it distracted from my main interest in GGGGG.”

Here are some points people in the session said they thought were useful check their blogs for further discussion of the point.

1)   the idea that we have three ways to explain the inquiry – Alice Chambers http://alice-chambers.blogspot.com
2)   The artefact communicates to your industry. Its something that is seen in your profession that people can relate – Sarah Pearson  http://leyasgreenball.blogspot.com
3)   Try not to be consumed with one theme, analysis is about finding different perspectives and different angles – Victoria Ellingham http://www.victoriabapp.blogspot.com
4)   The inquiry is about different opinions rather than one solution – keep an open mind – Tiffany Newson   http://tiffanynewson.blogspot.com
5)   Try not to find your answer before the inquiry – find things as you go along – Rozane Ghaffor   http://www.rozana-g.blogspot.com
6)   The literture is your having a group of friend, it represent different point of view, some you agree with and some you don’t. But it is who you turn to explain your ideas. It is a group of friends who all say exactly the same thing – what you want to hear!!! – Rhoda Parker http://rakparker.blogspot.com
7)   The power point that discusses exactly what should be in each part of the critical review particularly the Introduction – Hannah Kenneally-Muir http://hannahkm.blogspot.com
8)   Talking your ideas through with some. Explaining what you did to someone who doesn’t know in order to organise your thoughts – Charlotte Ballot  http://clmbentertainment.blogspot.com
9)   The idea of triangulation the data, liteature and your experience – Corrinda Hall http://corindahall.blogspot.com

How’s it going for you? What do you think?