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After the successful workshop where we explored Genre as a Pedagogical Resource in November, I’m happy to be able to announce the follow-up event: a conference on reGenring Academic Writing and Assessment, hosted by the Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) at Nottingham Trent University in conjunction with Writing-PAD.

workshop participants making their own nametags in November

workshop participants making their own nametags in November

We will start the day with invited speakers in the morning (not quite finalised who yet, but I’ll keep you posted!) and give over the afternoon to a sharing session – and for this we need YOUR examples of practice! The idea is to have this fairly informal and give everybody who registers their interest some space to show off some artefacts or practice, that could be via posters or by bringing examples. We are also planning to put together a special issue of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (guest edited by myself and Dr Fiona English), so what you bring could be linked to an article you want to write for that (although it doesn’t have to be).

If you are playing with genre in your teaching or assessment practice (in any discipline) and you want to share some of this with us, please email Alke at tactileacademia@gmail.com with a brief description of what you are doing and what sort of artefacts you would like to bring to show. Please use ‘reGenring’ as the subject title of the email and indicate whether you would be interested in contributing to the special edition of the journal.

For more information on the conference and to book your place, please click here.

At this week’s HEA Arts and Humanities conference, I was able to present an update of the fishscale research. The title of the 90 minute session was ‘Hunting Seamonsters – how to bust the ghosts of academic practice’, a nod to both the conference theme (Heroes and Monsters) and the strand (Ghosts) the abstract had been submitted to.

It was conceived as a ‘training montage from an 80s movie’ (a format suggested by the conference organisers), and this post is about this format rather than the content of the session. (The content was about the Fishscale of Academicness, if you want to know more about that, check the dedicated page on this blog.)

I love the idea of thinking about a presentation or a workshop in terms of a movie. I’ve been doing something similar with my students when talking about framing and structuring their writing, but I hadn’t quite realised this is also what I do when I plan my presenting. When doing my Post-graduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education, we were told to vary the activities in a session every so often to keep the attention of students. And we were encouraged to plan our sessions in certain blocks, breaking down the different delivery methods and student activities. This was recorded (and planned) on a form, so basically a list. But there is no reason why it shouldn’t be a storyboard.

When putting together the abstract for this conference, the format of the training montage was incredibly helpful. I co-wrote this with a colleague from our School of Education and we wanted to bring in different perspectives of the Fishscale – the initial inspirations, the problem, the context, what other people are doing about this, the fishscale concept itself, the different activities for the students to consolidate the learning, the feedback from students, the feedback from other staff, an analysis of how the fishscale is working, and an idea of the research we are in the process of doing in order to evaluate whether it is actually working. This is a lot of stuff, even if you have 90 minutes to do it. Having the training montage in our heads, it became much clearer that we need to think not about all the content we have (or could have), but about editing it together. This was not going to be a documentary on one specific process, it was about selecting one important image/issue that could represent an area (and I have done a number of presentations that look at just one aspect of the fishscale). We are not shown every push-up that Rocky makes to get in shape, after all.

So in a way, we started planning with the cuts. We wanted a clear change every time we altered the perspective, and we ended up with six sections, alternately delivered, each time also swopping the delivery method – ranging from powerpoint presentation, to prezi, from group activities to discussion with the whole group.

Thinking about this planning as a training montage meant that my thoughts shifted from all the stuff I could have put in to just the most important things: what would give a flavour of this data? what do people need to know about in order to understand the fishscale? – How many push-ups do we need to get a sense that push-ups are being made regularly? How much can you reduce information to convey push-up-ness?

This is not a big shift from planning a session as a list, but I have found that story-boarding mentally can really help to condense and refine your content to make the most impact it can. So I will in future be conceptualising my session planning more as two parallel storyboards – one narrative of what I do as a presenter, and one with what I task my audience to do.

 

P.S.: while the Hunting Seamonster session went well, it had to be replanned last minute because Katy was ill and couldn’t do ‘her’ scenes. But while not all of the ‘cuts’ were as pronounced as they could have been, with me delivering most of them myself (I had another colleague standing in for some bits, but there wasn’t sufficient time for a full brief of everything), the integrity of the montage stayed intact, and this was a very different session than if I had planned it for myself without thinking about the visual of the training montage.

While going through the latest Design Research Society newsletter, I came across these two conference that might be interesting to check out…

Cumulus Dublin 2013 – more for less – design in an age of austerity

November 7-9 2014, Dublin, Ireland

(but call for papers ends on 21st June… yes, slightly extended- phew)

 

11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2014 – Learning and Becoming in Practice

June 23-27 2014, Boulder, Colorado

Call for paper ends 8th November  (…phew some more time for that one)

 

As some of you may know, after doing a variety of workshops in the UK, we (Sarah Williamson, Lisa Gold and myself) took the Tactile Academia idea to the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference this October. We were accepted to do both a pre-conference workshop (Pop-up Tactile Academia – Developing Reflective Thinking through Visual Book-making) and a panel (Tactile Academia – Integrating Creative Practice into Teaching and Learning).

The idea was to allow the workshop participants to try out the idea of using collage, drawing and the concertina-book structure to keep their own notes of the conference, and thus experience the potential reflective book making has for themselves. We were also hoping that at least some of them would join us at the panel session to talk about their take on the ideas and processes explored.

I’m happy to report that both workshop and panel were well-received and that some lovely books were created during those few days. I will hopefully do a more detailed post in the next couple of days about all the other things I attended (and about how my own book progressed). Plus there will be more pictures from the workshop!

Here are the slides of the workshop: Pop Up Tactile Academia Canada Workshop Oct 2012

I attended and delivered a paper at the 3rd Annual Conference of the International Journal of Art and Design Education in Liverpool 19-20 October 2012. Due to my lecturing schedule I was only able to attend the Saturday session where I presented my paper “The Artist Book: Making as Visual Method” to the “Creative Thinking” strand.

ekm_iJADE2012_ArtistBook

ekm_The Artist Book_paperFINAL

Here I attach my paper and my presentation which focus on the embodied knowledge developed through the development of my first artist book. The paper and book were well received, delegates appreciated looking at and discussing artefacts as so much of the conference focused on the teaching and learning of art and design subjects (and rightly and importantly so!). One delegate asked me, “What will you do now?” which is such a supportive and encouraging question. “More making, reading and writing” was what was on the tip of my tounge but I knew she wanted something more specific. I told her I was going to work more into the photographs I had taken and make more books and collages. Interesting that my reply was based on my practice rather than the theory/methodology…something has shifted in my practice and how I view the way to push my investigation further. I simply can’t wait to get back to my visual practice after the hard graft of writing the paper.

I still have my Lit Search to do though…..rather large detail to not ignore…..

The process of making, researching and writing the book and the paper have been richly rewarding and have pushed my thinking and practice much further along. I now feel my doctoral study is practice-led rather than practice-based.