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
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
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.
Name: Dr Tony Armstrong
Role at BCU: Director of PGR Studies in Education
- Professional Doctorates
- Research supervision and developing supervisors
- The austerity of theory in education
- The PGR student experience
- Historical research in education
Research you are currently working on: I am currently looking at the whole area of 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. Perhaps it’s my main contention that, as a consequence, in many ways Professional Doctorates invite a different approach to the process of supervision and the discussion of the impact of the Doctoral experience itself.
Research methodologies you are using: I am currently starting to look outside of what may be regarded as the well-established canon of research methodologies in education and drawing tentatively on ideas and arguments that have emerged within the arts and humanities. For example, more creative and active approaches to interviewing, participatory research and the mapping of alternative impact. In addition, I am also fascinated by the notion of history as practice and the wider public history movement that has grown in recent years. What can we learn from these new methodologies for educational research?
Current issues, thoughts and reflections on education & research: What we often define in professional discussions as educational research tends to have rather rigid and conventional boundaries and practices. Arguably, these boundaries and practices need periodically to be challenged in order to reinvigorate the field. The whole educational environment in which we currently work and operate is changing all around us with accepted nostrums in noticeable decline, yet this has still to impact fully on educational research itself.
Most influential research you have read/seen: I tend to use a constellation of ideas in my own teaching and research drawn broadly from the sociologist, philosopher and educationalist Pierre Bourdieu. Undoubtedly, his most influential writing for me over the years is often rather ignored by others: The Rules of Art published in 1996 and inspired by his study of Flaubert,
Advice for new researchers: Make a start and keep going. Dig where you stand and dance where you dig.
Mini fact about you: I attended a lecture by Pierre Bourdieu in Oxford but could hardly understand a word of it as he spoke in French for the whole hour.
The creativity cluster had an exciting day out visiting the Big Bang data exhibition at Somerset house in early Feb. Reader in education Geof Hill has written a review on the exhibit and presents some interesting reflections on data collection, use and meaning.
“One strong theme that was evident throughout the exhibition was the adage ‘a picture tells a thousand words’…”
“A second installation spoke to me of the humanity that often gets overlooked in collection and representation of quantitative data.”
To read the full review go to: https://supervisorsfriend.wordpress.com/
**Watch this space**
More blog posts to follow from staff and students reflecting on the exhibit and trip
Kirsty Devaney, PhD student, School of Education,
Education PhD student Kirsty Devaney paired up with Dr Alison Daubney from Sussex University to host a webinar for the Incorporated Society of Musicians . This webinar is designed to help music educators to choose the most appropriate qualification for their pupils by considering the key changes and exploring the new qualifications from each awarding body in depth. What the video here:
Written by Shannon Ludgate, PhD Student, School of Education – Early Years
Shannon has been with us just over a year and starting to collect data – here are some of her reflections:
“It feels rewarding being out and observing practice, knowing that my PhD is going somewhere…”
“I am looking forward to hearing the children’s views on using touchscreens in their settings; this will hopefully give me a good insight into how the children feel.”
Read the full post on her website: https://shannonludgate.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/data-collection-time/
Are you new to the PhD? Read Shannon’s reflections after 4 months of being a PhD student and let us know if you feel the same: http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/education/2015/06/22/my-phd-experience-four-months-in/
Martin Fautley, Professor of Education, Birmingham City University
Martin writes a very successful blog all to do with music education and assessment. He makes us question how and why assessment is done in music, but he also relates it to wider questions about education assessment:
“If we do know what we expect, are we simply providing a self-fulfilling prophecy, and at the same placing a glass ceiling on attainment?”
To read the full blog go to: https://drfautley.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/a-short-blog-in-which-i-worry-about-flightpaths/