On the 10th July 2017 the third annual CSPACE education conference took place at Perry Barr campus of BCU. The conference was a great success and it was wonderful to see so many engaging and exciting research contributions from colleagues from across the university. The conference was entitled ‘Connecting Communities: Spaces for Creativity and Collaboration in Education’ and presentations covered a diverse range of themes related to this.
The conference kicked off with a keynote from Laura Watts, Simbi Folarin and Liz Garnham (MBE) who run Dens of Equality, a not for profit community organisation which is focused on creating inclusive community play leisure and learning opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged children across Birmingham. Laura, Simbi and Liz discussed the strengths and challenges of working at a grassroots level engaging in community capacity building and embedding local partnership against a landscape where play work remains consistently undervalued. Conference delegates gave lots of positive feedback about the keynote and the inspirational work Laura and colleagues are doing with access to extremely limited funding and resources.
Presentations covered a wide range of topics at the conference, from the use of touchscreen technology in the early years to the importance of multi-agency working for young people’s creative musical engagement and lots in between! It was fascinating to see the work that colleagues are engaging in across the university and was great to see such a wide representation from both experienced academic staff and newer researchers and post-graduate students. Given the conference themes of community, creativity and collaboration it was important that students were included within this and so we were thrilled to include undergraduate student researcher awards for the first time.
There was also a great range of hour-long workshops on offer at the conference, including a symposium on improving learning and teaching in Higher Education through collaborative observation, a workshop on rhythm analysis and a performative ‘armchair discussion’ on practitioner inquiry into research supervision. During lunch delegates had the opportunity to view the impressive posters offered by colleagues and vote for their favourite one.
As first-year PhD students organising the conference was a steep learning curve! Each of us also presented at the conference and although we were all incredibly nervous it was wonderful to be able to share our work in its initial stages surrounded by supportive peers. The conference offered a real climate of collaboration and the questions and comments posed by colleagues were extremely useful in extending our thinking around our research.
It was also great to get to meet so many colleagues from across HELS and the wider university and we all agreed organising the conference really helped us to feel embedded into the community of BCU. It was also great to see some really positive comments on twitter from conference delegates, search #cspaceconf17 to relive some of the best moments of the day. We hope that you all enjoyed it as much as we did and are looking forward to #CSPACECONF18!
Bethany Sumner, Emma Nenadic, Bally Kaur, and Gail Kuppan
CSPACE Conference 2017 Committee
Dr Carolyn Blackburn, Research Fellow in Early Childhood Studies, and Ian Axtell, Subject Leader for Music Education, Centre for Research in Education.
Participants in this study appeared to recognise the value and importance of children’s spontaneous musical activities and to encourage it describing the benefit for children’s holistic development and the role of music in attachment and bonding. However, they also appear to have identified benefits for children in attending organised, structured musical activities both within the home, but more substantially outside the home.
- It is recommended that parents and carers are offered guidance and advice about the importance of acknowledging and valuing young children’s spontaneous musical activities in the home. It is a matter of concern that parents might lack confidence to instigate and encourage young children’s musical activities in the home;
- It is recommended that an online database of trialled and validated musical resources be made available for parents and carers to use in the home;
- It is recommended that this study is extended to include particular groups of children and families such as minority ethnic groups and children with disabilities;
- It is recommended that a study to explore young children’s musical activities in early years settings be conducted to explore the understanding and practices of early childhood practitioners given the importance of young children’s spontaneous musical activities in their overall and holistic development as noted from the literature review in this report.
Download the full report here: communicative-musicality-report-130987955021412745
Victoria’s research is exploring different approaches to assessment without levels in schools, comparing them with assessment for Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs.
Kirsty’s research is investigating how the assessment of composing in UK secondary school examinations is impacting the teaching and learning of composing within schools.
Becky’s research looks at creative writing in Key Stage Four, exploring English teachers’ creative writing pedagogies, including how they shape teaching practice.
Eddie’s research is on Family Learning Birmingham, an initiative which aims to provide guidance for parents or carers who are either unemployed, on benefits or have very few qualifications by providing a way for families to learn together.
Amanda French, Alex Kendall, Phil Taylor
Aim of research
- improve student understanding of employability as a dynamic, lifelong concept
- offer students the opportunity to investigate, analyse and describe the literacy practices of workplaces and placements that they encountered whilst at university
- identify and evaluate workplace literacies in structured contexts
- make contributions that add value to employers
- encourage tutors to co-investigate workplace literacies with their students
- provide a meta-narrative of workplace literacies across different occupations
- embed overt instruction of workplace literacies into curriculum design across different disciplines
Read more here: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/research/stories/literacies-for-employability
Martin Fautley (Birmingham City University), Pam Burnard and John Finney (Cambridge University), Pauline Adams (Institute of Education), Jonathan Savage (Manchester Metropolitan University).
- How can composers and teachers be supported to work most effectively together?
- How do professional composers make judgements about the quality of compositions and what are the indicators of progression? What correlation is there between these criteria and those of exam boards?
- What does creative progression look like – for example the difference between a Year 7 and a Year 9 composition – and how can we ensure progression within the secondary curriculum, particularly given the genre-based approach?
- What are the challenges around assessing creativity and how can students be supported to take risks, fail and experiment in a system where assessment is central?
To read more go to: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/research/stories/listen-imagine-compose
To read full REF report download the pdf: Birmingham City University – 25 – Creativity in Education
PhD student Shannon Ludgate of the School of Education talks about her research on children’s use of touchscreen technology. Shannon describes her research and what she hopes to achieve during the course of her PhD.
Martin Fautley, Professor of Education, Victoria Kinsella, Research Fellow in Education (Creativity), Phil Taylor, MA Education and Masters in Teaching and Learning Course Director, Jane O’Connor, Reader in Childhood Studies
The National Foundation for Youth Music has awarded grants to support 10 Exchanging Notes projects across England. Each project (a partnership between a school and specialist music provider) works with young people at risk of low attainment, disengagement, or educational exclusion to see how participation in regular music-making activities can enable achievement of musical, educational and wider outcomes. Researchers in the School of Education are supporting the project over a four-year period through the evaluation of the educational and musical outcomes of these new models.
Aim of research
This project aims to:
- See how participation in regular music-making activities can enable achievement of musical, educational and wider outcomes
- Explore these benefits across a variety of different musical approaches and styles
- Stimulate fresh thinking and support the aspirations set out in the National Plan for Music Education.
Read more here: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/research/stories/exchanging-notes