Meet the Team

CSPACE Core Academic Staff

Alex Kendall 

Martin Fautley – Researching Music for young people at risk of exclusion, investigating Music Lessons for Disabled children & assessment in secondary school music lessons.

  • Music Education
  • Creativity
  • Assessment

Amanda French – working with a number of local primary schools on a participatory research project called Pupils as Research Partners in Primary (PARPP).

  • Writing for academic purposes
  • Participatory research with children
  • Feedback innovation
  • Perceptions of academic writing practices
  • Employment literacies
  • Widening participation and social justice
  • Post-qualitative methodologies
  • Critical pedagogies
  • Postgraduate teaching and learning

Jane O’Connor

Matthew O’Leary – The impact of the government’s austerity agenda on further education; the politics and pedagogy of peer review in Higher Education; observing teaching in Higher Education

  • Classroom observation
  • Teacher assessment
  • Teacher identity and professionalism
  • Teacher improvement
  • Teacher as researcher
  • Professional learning and development for teachers
  • Vocational pedagogy

Rob Smith – FE funding and the impact of the funding regime on teaching and learning.

  • Marketisation in education
  • Education and social justice
  • Education funding
  • Educational leadership

Geof Hill – I have just published a practice-led inquiry on my using cabaret as research dissemination. I am working with a colleague to make explicit a notion of ‘provenance’ which we have situated in practice-led inquiry as a reflective process to initiate practice-led inquiry.

  • Practice-led research and using that in any of the professional practices.
  • Creative ways of publishing and disseminating one’s research and specialise in publishing my research in cabaret.

Tony Armstrong – Professional Doctorates with a particular interest in EdD provision. Undertaking a Doctorate as an established working professional, often in mid-life and mid-career, has its own challenges and this is an area of research that is much under appreciated.

  • Professional Doctorates
  • Research supervision and developing supervisors
  • The austerity of theory in education
  • The PGR student experience
  • Historical research in education

Barbara Howard-Hunt

Victoria Kinsella – Youth Music Exchanging Notes Evaluation, Koestler Trust Arts Gateway Mentoring Scheme, One Handed Musical Instrument Teaching Project, Saatchi Gallery/ Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools External Project Evaluation, Stringcredibles Evaluation Project.

  • Creativity in Education
  • Activity theory
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Music Education
  • Art and Design Education

Carolyn Blackburn – the influences on children’s learning and development from a bio-psycho-social perspective. In particular I am interested in relationships between caregivers (both in the home and out of home contexts such as early years settings) and children. I am also interested in relationships between professionals and families and the ways in which professionals work together. Much of my research has focused on vulnerable learners and families.

  • Young children’s musical experiences in home and out of home settings
  • Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs

Alex Wade – working on research involving sexting and young people, use of Simulations in Speech and Language Therapy, fundamentals of General Practice Nursing Evaluation, Lunch and Brunch Clubs Evaluation and British Videogames of the 1980s

  • Technology and Education
  • Young People
  • Digital Media and Relationships
  • History of Technology


CSPACE Research Assistants 

Adam Whittaker

  • Music Pedagogy (both current and historical)
  • Historical models of intellectual thought
  • Musical applications of rhetoric
  • Music in media as educational tool
  • Assessment in Music Education

Vanessa Cui

Elizabeth Naseem

Fadia Dakka

CSPACE Graduate Teaching & Research Assistants (PhD students) 

Mary-Rose Puttick – concepts of identity and community from the perspective of culturally-diverse, second-language mothers in Birmingham Family Learning classes. Within this I’m also looking at the impact that the government’s Prevent strategy has had on these women.

  • Issues faced by refugees / asylum seekers which influence marginalization / integration
  • Inter-cultural communication with second-language parents around U.K. legislation such as Safeguarding, FGM, and Prevent
  • Complex identities of culturally-diverse migrant mothers attending Family Learning classes
  • Empowering second-language parents with low-literacy skills in their first language by drawing on alternative cultural ‘literacies’

Suzanne Savage – Observations of classroom practice, teacher learning and teacher professionalism, how to capture teaching “quality”

  • The use of digital video recordings in the observation of classroom practice
  • Reflexive observation practice in HE teaching
  • The TEF and teaching “excellence”
  • Video as surveillance in schools and colleges

Shannon Ludgate – young children’s experiences using touchscreen technologies in early years settings. This study focuses on children aged three and four years old.

  • Touchscreen technologies
  • Young children in early years
  • Social learning
  • Activity Theory
  • Teaching and Research relationship

Kirsty Devaney – investigating composing in upper secondary schools at examination level. I am looking at how the assessment of composing impacts the teaching and learning of composing in the classroom.

  • Music Education – composing in classrooms
  • Creativities in education and school
  • The creative & composing processes
  • Assessment of creativity
  • Technology in music education

Becky Snape – teachers’ perceptions of teaching and assessing Creative Writing at Key Stage Four.

  • Creativity and Creative Writing in schools
  • Widening Participation in Higher Education
  • Special Educational Needs and Inclusion

Eddie Hulbert – Family Learning initiatives in Birmingham

  • What does family learning mean to parents, children and practitioners?
  • What does best practice look like in different contexts?
  • How can best practice be implemented in all family learning institutions?
  • Can a framework for monitoring the benefits of family learning be established and embedded into institutional practice?

Vicky Birmingham – Assessment without levels in Primary Schools.


CSPACE Lecturer/Researchers 

Ian Axtell – How can Signature Pedagogy in Music Education be defined?

Chris Bolton – how drama teachers create meaningful learning in drama using personal resources and oral history. Additionally, I am also researching how the essence/ purpose/ nature of drama learning is influenced by drama’s place within secondary education in the UK.

  • Drama in Education (DiE)
  • Drama in secondary education
  • The creation of democratic spaces using drama pedagogy



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