April 17, 2014

Seminar reflection

The content of the seminars delivered by my peers were interesting – but I learnt more from the range of delivery methods. I particularly enjoyed the active elements employed by Corinne who asked us to engage with hypothetical situations in small groups and to engage with diagrams that indicated our reflections on the issues she presented. I would definitely be tempted to get learners to work in this way when I can find suitable material within my sessions. It was great to discuss and shape ideas in small groups.

In terms of my own seminar I feel that I am able to deliver content in a relaxed way that conveys key points. I felt that the best way of demonstrating participatory practise was to get my peers to engage with some of the principles directly through forum theatre. It is much easier to see the impact you can have as an active participant when you are directly involved in a process – in contrast to purely imagining what the possibilities might be.

PDP Action plan Note

  • Warwick University provides notes on effective Seminar delivery and contribution. The most important note for me is that seminars should be supported by notes and not a full text.


Artworks (Artworks Navigator, 2012) is at the core of my investigation into participatory practise and has been commissioned to raise standards connected to artists and organisations working within participatory arts settings and to enable frameworks to raise aspirations for arts and engagement. It impacts my professional practise as my reading into prtaicipatory practise shapes the manner in which I work, deliver my courses, engage with participants and create artwork. It looks to facilitate a community of practice and incorporates a number of pathways born out of extensive research strands delivered from 2008. ArtWorks: Developing Practice in Participatory Settings is a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Special Initiative with funding and support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Creativity Culture & Education (supported by Arts Council England) and the Cultural Leadership Programme (Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 2010) . Artworks works with art employers (such as Nottingham Contemporary) artists, government and HE and training providers in the UK (Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 2010) . The Artworks research centres on arts organisations that have participatory practice and engagement at the core of their arts practice. It is therefore wide-ranging in content but is united by in approach (Artworks Navigator, 2012) .


Ethical Considerations for Action Research

My interest in ethical considerations for my action research may be found in the following points;

Respect for the group I am considering in my research

Am I able to acknowledge my own position (privilege?)

Are participants/stakeholders able to make a decision about being involved in my study?

All of these points have actions that I need to follow up with. Of most interest to me is how I outline my own position within the process as an observer. I will be considering carefully how to work with/for my chosen group and specific needs. The final point might be less relevant due to my research being informal and not widely distributed, nonetheless I shall be talking to my workplace and using the guidelines already in place.


Active methods for learning;

This web page has some good download sources for methods for active learning;


Geoff Petty talks about the importance of active learning in enabling learners to make their own meaning. This is facilitated by making learning relevant. In my sessions I often encourage learners to provide their own graphic representations of concepts discussed – this means that learners are engaged with their own interpretation of the concept and can grapple with theories.

How to provide more opportunities for learners to address wider skills in the curriculum;

This could be through embedding skills within sessions that learners are able to use outside of the classroom, for example I often ask learners to hone their presentation skills as this can help with communication outside of the classroom.

Thinking about Functional Skills;

I rarely embed maths skills within my workshops – but my workshops are always rich with language, communication and learning. I embed digital skills within my workshops at all levels, from planning and delivery through to documentation – I also get learners involved at each stage in a digital way – whether that’s deciding on content, making digital content or learners documenting the sessions through video and photography. In some of my workplaces I have restrictions on the digital learning inputs in my work due to equipment availability.

I provide ongoing formative assessment through designing opportunities for feedback – (tutor/learner and peer to peer).

April 16, 2014


An action plan for improving my presentations;


•Thorough Research
•Refining Sources - and linking to my own interests
•Should consider the audience (for delivery)

Making the presentation;
•Refining sources further
•Considers how to communicate the key points in a succinct and relevant way
•Considers how to communicate visually and verbally

•This should be improved by rehearsal
•Should compliment and reinforce the visual elements of the presentation
•Should be clear, unhurried and pitched at the right level

Active Assessment

The QIA guidelines (2008) on Assessment for Learning particularly strengthens the argument for learners taking ownership of their own learning and being motivated to do so. This is achieved through continuous dialogue between the tutor and learner about the learner’s requirements and individual targets. Assessment for learning is supportive and shaped by the learner and tutor; it should guide learners in ensuring they know why they are learning something. Assessment for learning differs from assessment of learning which provides marks for accreditation, however both methods support accreditation.

In terms of my own practise it is important for me to allow learners to engage in active learning. I can target this through embedding the ILP as a working document that is referred to throughout my course, where learners reflect on their initial desired outcomes for the course, whether they are meeting them and if there are any changes they would like to pursue. I am also able to provide constant constructive feedback at the end of sessions and through talking to a learner with their sketchbooks. I think it is important to allow learners space to talk about their own work through one to one sessions and with peers.

January 27, 2014

Linking work in the gallery with work in schools and colleges

Writing about web page http://www.trinity.nottingham.sch.uk/art/2013/ealCelebration/default.aspx

This page from a wonderful collaborating school for a recent Garcia programme explains the connections between the Gallery and teachers.

(taken from http://www.trinity.nottingham.sch.uk/art/2013/ealCelebration/default.aspx)

Nottingham Contemporary Workshop 3

On Friday November 8th, seventeen of Trinity School's EAL pupils attended a celebration event at the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery.

The English as an Additional Language pupils were there to view the video performance work produced with the artist in residence, Sam Metz.

Four other schools were also involved in the project and we were given the opportunity to see the work produced by them too. The quality of the work was fantastic.

Art Project Celebration at Nottingham Contemporary

Art Project Celebration at Nottingham Contemporary

A Wonderful Experience

The experience of working with a practising artist was wonderful and it gave pupils the chance to have their own work exhibited in The Nottingham Contemporary Gallery.

Well Done

Everyone fully engaged and participated and the attitude and behaviour was impeccable as usual. You did Trinity School proud! Well done.

Nottingham Contemporary Workshop

On Friday 13th September, eighteen of Trinity’s English as an Additional Language students visited Nottingham Contemporary for the afternoon. They took part in a workshop run by the Contemporary’s artist in residence, Sam Metz.

EAL Trip to Nottingham Contemporary Gallery

For the first part of the visit the students got the chance to look around the gallery’s current exhibition ‘Aquatopia’. The students spent time learning about the work, investigating different ways of experiencing art and taking part in activities related to the artworks’ themes.

Photo Gallery

EAL Trip to Nottingham Contemporary Gallery

EAL Trip to Nottingham Contemporary Gallery

EAL Trip to Nottingham Contemporary Gallery

Student Responses

The second part of the afternoon was spent splitting the students into two groups and helping them to create their own responses to the idea and themes they had discussed.

The students really enjoyed themselves and it was a fantastic opportunity to engage and experience artwork in a different way.

In the next few weeks these students will take part in a second workshop within Trinity’s Art Department. The work created will then be displayed in the gallery.

January 23, 2014

Curriculum evaluation

My curriculum seeks to embed experiential learning and is influenced by John Dewey who sought to create learning experiences that had continuity and possibilities for interaction and reflection.

Experiential learning is key to my approach, this works well for the context of my learning environment - an art gallery. I always look to create engagement opportunities with exhibition content and opportunities to further develop individual reflection.

My learners will be involved with testing processes, reflection and aesthetic engagement. Utilisation of Dewey’s experiential learning theory entails that I use a process curriculum design. A focus on process curriculum enables me to think of the curriculum design in a more holistic way.

Notes for improvement in my curriculum are to provide greater areas for learner/participant reflection. I am confident that my sessions are very interactive and involve some learner reflection - but I think that the reflection element can be improved.

November 22, 2013


How does my curriculum match the needs of my learners (with consideration of equality and diversity)?


I work within an art gallery in an education team delivering arts based workshops that respond to and offer engagement opportunities for current exhibitions. My projects are often short predominantly single ranging to 4 workshops with the same participants, (although I do deliver ongoing workshops of up to 7 sessions I feel it’s more useful for my practise to consider inclusion, equality and diversity improvements within shorter sessions).

The amount of information I have before a session starts can vary and is co-ordinated with educators’ community members and the learning team at my place of work. I work with teachers to ensure that the session I am delivering is closely aligned with school/college/university curriculum as well as the opportunities proffered by exhibition content. I offer opportunities for development and new experiences. As an artist delivering sessions there are a number of key things I need to know such as access requirements and additional need requirements so that I can ensure that the activity I deliver is inclusive for participants with disabilities and additional needs (this often involves considering accessibility issues and the provision of engagement tools). I am however often not party to information such as participants learning style, ability, behavioural issues and other needs that might be pertinent to the delivery of my session. I am often reliant on the teacher I liaise with to ensure that support is in place for learners who may require it.

Instead there are a number of things I try to do to make my sessions as inclusive as possible.

Before the session/s

Where possible I try to establish a strong working relationship with teachers and lecturers to gain insights into participants.

I send session plans to teachers in advance of workshops and ask for advice on whether or not they think the session content would be appropriate for their learners.

I ask the teachers/ lecturers a number of questions about needs and requirements of participants, although I feel this is a key site for improvement. I am therefore considering ways of changing these questions to target inclusivity and equality and diversity more effectively.

I plan sessions with consideration of the needs of participants in relation to the information I am given. It’s very important in my teaching to allow participants an equal opportunity to experience artwork and to develop ideas. I am very passionate about making reasonable adjustments to enable students to engage with work, I frequently work with participants with learning difficulties and I think of methods of changing the way I deliver ideas or often engagement opportunities to include participants. I often supply additional handling tools within the gallery to allow participants to layer their experience – such as textured materials that invite sensory engagement.

I plan sessions with consideration of participant’s current learning (e.g. current themes in curriculum)

During the session

I set ground rules that where appropriate are negotiated with the participants. These ground rules often include creating a comfortable environment for sharing created work so that participants feel safe in expressing themselves.

I am very keen to take time to make adjustments and to step back to get a wider view of the session to observe any changes that may be necessary and try to give support where possible.

I use handling tools that extend the artwork and invite sensory engagement (audio and tactile) to allow learners a number of ‘routes in’.

For learners who I deem it to be appropriate to remove risk of anxiety I spend a lot of time considering routes into the gallery that are calm and metered. I focus on the transition into the space often working with learners to consider the building and context and vantage points into the space before entering galleries.

Other steps that I am very keen to take is involving young people who create great responses in helping other participants.

I challenge inappropriate use of language in sessions and address any issue that I feel may lead to participants feeling excluded or intimidated (e.g. due to matters of gender, race, class, religion or sexual orientation)

Due to the nature of my work engaging with a range of artworks, I am lucky that exhibition content very often leads to conversations around cultural engagement and people from diverse backgrounds. I am keen to encourage discussion around these aspects in a supportive manner.

Post visit – I use visits with a range of learners to inform best practise for future visits. I allow responses and interaction from learners to shape future sessions with the same and different learners.


The key area for improvement in terms of my practise here is asking appropriate questions from educators to give rounded pictures of the learners I engage with to aid my session planning.



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