Arts and Humanities Conference 2016: session sixteen abstracts

16.1: Stepping up; 100% embedded employability
Art & Design
Lisa Webb, Coventry University

The Graphic Design programme at Coventry University employs PDP as a holistic mechanism feeding directly into, and from its employability strategy. The programme designed over three levels, is punctuated at level two with a professional practice module which sees one hundred percent of our students undertaking a professional experience of some kind. Typically this is divided into three opportunities: placement, live project briefs or exploring the world of freelancing.

Peculiar to many disciplines students in A&D tend to undertake short placements which now seems common place in the creative industries. Beyond placement live projects offer flexibility and opportunity for all students to extend their professional learning, and to explore different aspects of professional practice, for example: different projects, companies, types of clients. This presentation will present the holistic programme, focussing particularly on professional experience, and will evidence its strength moving into level three and beyond to graduation and positive DLHE returns.

16.2: "Inspired to engage": Placing employability at the heart of the student experience
Art & Design
Celia Jackson, University of South Wales

This presentation celebrates the positive impact of collaborative industry-facing projects upon undergraduate students studying photography. Using an array of examples drawn from the last three years, I demonstrate the value of such ‘live brief’ projects to clients as well as to students, and how they enable staff to place employability at the heart of all our activities. I place them in context by drawing on Johnny Rich’s recent HEPI paper, Employability: degrees of value (November 2015), which articulates the notion of “three components” of employability - knowledge, skills and social capital. I show how these elements can be developed and nurtured into full bloom by applying a blend of inspiration, enthusiasm and a highly visual approach to collaborative practice in a diverse range of business and creative environments. I conclude with some remarks on the potential of visual imagery as a tool to measure the impact and effectiveness of teaching.

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16.4: Embedding critical study skills in core curricula: Supporting and acknowledging the contribution of diverse students in higher education
Tamsin Hinton-Smith, University of Sussex

This presentation discusses the experience of developing and delivering modules embedding critical higher education study skills in core curricula across a number of disciplinary areas in undergraduate arts courses. This course provision has been developed drawing on reflective practice as an institutional course leader for HEA Fellowship and PGCertHE provision, and as such utilises a model of perceiving actively supporting students’ reflective learning skills development as a mirror for complementary provision supporting colleagues’ reflective teaching skills development. The presentation identifies the centrality of acknowledging, developing and assessing students’ wider skills, to the HE equalities agenda, in validating the contribution to the HE classroom brought by students from diverse backgrounds. Doing so empowers students including those of different ages, cultural and social class backgrounds to contribute to HE learning environments, transgressing limited and limiting assumptions of a one-directional flow of value, implicit in many traditional assumptions around the HE knowledge economy. At the same time, such a focus supports development of transferable life skills with currency for students in their lives beyond the HE classroom. Yet too often development and assessment of skills have been falsely juxtaposed against the imparting of academic knowledge, as though the two represent mutually exclusive approaches. In contrast, this presentation reviews models of practice that have integrated critical study skills alongside imparting such core disciplinary content.

16.5: Aspirational beauty:... Painting class
Art & Design
Sarah Taylor, Leeds College of Art

Using Painting Research to Inform Teaching– embedding research in the curriculum. Art historian John Golding referred to painting as the “most aristocratic of art forms”. Artist Grayson Perry has cautioned that art schools are turning into posh white ghettos. So how can an education in painting practice be accessible to and have contemporary relevance for all interested students?

I will argue that one way is through Life Writing. In my research I use Life Writing as a method to explore and articulate my class background and to inform my painting. Combining perspectives from history, sociology and English literature, Life Writing supports interpretation of the consequences of class as felt and lived beyond the personal, bringing the realisation that what we refer to as autobiographical is largely historically and culturally determined. Significantly, the introduction of life writing within the art academy indicates that institutions are listening to and acknowledging the personal voice.

16.6: Embedding employability in English programmes
Billy Clark, Anna Charalambidou and Sylvia Shaw, Middlesex University

This presents work in progress on a project which aims to embed work on employability throughout a BA English programme at Middlesex University. The project builds on existing work and aims to embed practical and reflective work on employability throughout the programme. Employability-focused work is tied closely to work on Personal Development Planning, involves contributions to assessed work at all levels, and requires students to make explicit connections between work at different levels of the programme. The paper aims to share insights from the project and to initiate ongoing discussion to share good practice across institutions. Input from students involved in developing this work will be presented alongside examples of classroom materials and assessment tasks.

16.7: ‘Stina & the wolf’: Film production as a tool for education
Media & Communications
Paul Charisse, University of Portsmouth

An animated feature film called ‘Stina & the Wolf’ is presently in production by the University of Portsmouth involving staff, post and undergraduate students, alumni, external schools and industry contributors. The project has presently raised over half a million pounds worth of funding in kind from external industry partners and is set to run, providing a vocational film industry experience for the next 5 years. It’s aim is to address perhaps the most difficult and relevant vocational skills our students require: the demands of using the latest software & techniques in a full production environment. Due to the reactive nature of industry practices, it is difficult to incorporate these into unit structures quickly to reflect current trends. This approach has allowed us to convince industry to engage with us on common ground, as well as providing a working industry model that can help the students secure the jobs in the field they are interested in.

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16.8: # CovNorth
Art & Design
Alexis Taylor, University of Northampton and Phil Perry, University of Coventry

In 2014 a collaborative project took place between first year BA Graphic Design students at Coventry University and BA Graphic Communication students at The University of Northampton, which aimed to develop team-working skills.

Graphic design is a dialogical profession where expert communication is integral in building successful relationships not only between designer and client, but also between individuals and groups in the development of a project. Students are therefore required to develop and deploy not only their conceptual and technical skills but also their team-working (soft) skills as they move through undergraduate programmes.

International collaborations are commonplace in the 21st century workplace, where communication between parties has moved into digital domains. This paper will discuss findings drawn from a simulated OIL project where assumptions of Strauss and Howe's “switched-on” Millennials will be challenged; online discussion, it appears, is not the cure-all academics want in helping students’ self-manage collaborative assignments.

Publish date

Thursday, 3 March, 2016

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