National Teaching Fellow 2010
Until May 2010 Alison was Director of one of the UK's Centres for Excellence, where she initiated and promoted an exciting range of creative opportunities to help others develop their teaching practice. A lifetime spent teaching embroidered textiles informs her work; her mission is to highlight and tap into the pedagogies of creative practice which are rich in experiences, contain many opportunities for dialogue and are centred around material artefacts.
These characteristic ways to learn about practice are the foundation for creative ways to teach. Research can inform the development of good teaching practices and help to explain why things don't always seem to work. Leading by example, Alison has inspired others to engage in pedagogic research into their practice. Her work at the Creative Learning in Practice CETL at the University of the Arts London (UAL) has '...created confidence and competence in pedagogic research. And these staff then go on to influence and support colleagues with a knock-on effect.' (CLIP CETL Evaluation report)
Through her own research and developing others Alison has inspired a culture shift in the university, placing teaching and learning on the map as something valued and valuable and helping colleagues to support student learning creatively.
Staff involved in projects describe the benefits of taking part in development and innovation schemes Alison has designed, one of them commenting: 'Thank you for giving me the opportunity - it has changed my life and has already impacted on students and alumni.'
She created the UAL annual Teaching and Learning day to share these individual learning experiences and allow colleagues to build on projects in their own disciplines. A Dean found her college foyer buzzing the morning after the event, with staff exchanging ideas about what they had heard and exploring plans for changing their own practice. The whole university benefits from staff who engage like this, students improve their learning outcomes and tutors are rejuvenated.
I've seen people becoming excited about their jobs again. People have come up with some really exciting ideas. (Evaluation Report)
Alison has been central to this cultural change in teaching and learning in art and design.
Head of School, Design Craft and Visual Arts
Buckinghamshire New University