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Do I agree this film’s story is true?

February 1, 2017 in Reading Journal

I came across this film from an email I received from the Guardian. I think it’s a statement showing what we have seen in the past.


I think in recent years, Outreach work in HE sectors and the work of Student Services and Careers available whilst a person studies has vastly changed this perspective. Society accepts more of what was once thought taboo (Mental Health, Anxiety, financial backgrounds, class, cultural barriers). Though more work in these areas alongside current political climates will change perspectives again.

by Nehanda

Who are my students? Tutorial Group Session

January 31, 2017 in uncategorised


I attended the first tutorial group session on Friday, where I had an opportunity to meet colleagues from Cohort C.  We were asked to prepare in advance for giving an informal presentation about who we expect our students to be, and to contribute to discussions around inclusivity in learning and teaching in Art and Design.

It was extremely insightful to listen to colleagues speak about their interactions with students and the types of students they will be engaging with throughout this process.  The responses varied quite a bit – there were a couple of people in the class that currently teach – so have a more traditional role with students and the others work closely with students but not in a tutor-student type way.

For my presentation, I decided not to focus on my role at CSM because although I have contact with students, I don’t have a significant / ongoing working relationship with them.  Instead, I spoke about my role as Social Media and Communications Manager at CIAD (Costume Institute of the African Diaspora).  Our main area of research is material culture, textiles, fashion and adornment from the African Diaspora and one of our remits is education.  A significant part of our first major project, Tartan, its journey through the African Diaspora, was to recruit volunteers. Volunteers were key to the success of the project for a number of reasons, we needed the support in creating and invigilating the exhibition, in return we paid expenses and offered opportunities for the volunteers to attend training and workshops.  I explained that originally we wanted to recruit NEETs (Not in Education, Employment and Training), between the ages of 16-24,  but had difficulty making meaning contact with them for obvious reasons.  We advertised through The Guardian and other Art Newsletters and recruited a mix young people from 18 to mid twenties from diverse backgrounds, mostly women with varied education and levels of experience.

The latter part of the session was focused on inclusivity in learning and teaching in Art and Design. We discussed the level of engagement around politics of our students.  I did do some preparation around this as detailed in this blog post .  The local issues affecting students such as the NSS Boycott and the implications of this, and how managing student expectations early on their university careers could save difficulty later on.

(Tutor group meeting 1): Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Art & Design

January 27, 2017 in Reading Journal, Tutor Group Discussions

Some initial thoughts for 27/01/2017 discussion after reading excerpts from:

Liberation, Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum

Retention and Attainment in the Disciplines: Art & Design

  1. In what ways are students shaping institutional policies and practices around inclusivity?

I found this example of how students are actively shaping policies, a short video is found in this link on asking the NUS to investigate and complete an Institutional Racism Review.

I am sure this is one of many examples. In light of the ever-growing focus of fees rising, students have become more aware of the quality of their learning. there is no one archetype of a ‘student’ anymore. Everyone is a student, whether in a HE sector, university building or in less traditional settings.  Some students have vast amounts of experience in certain aspects of life than others.

We all have different learning styles, different expectations from an educational institution. So in light of this need for a better quality of learning some students are finding ways to express their views on institutional policies that may not work for them individually, or even apply to them. One size does not fit all.

Banner with hand written typography 'We Heart Education' With 'He' and 'Art' of the word 'Heart' in contrasting colours black, red and white

Students are evidently:

  • expressing their views vocally and through protest to change policies
  • more reasonable adjustments are being accommodated for students, because they are more confident in asking for aids which will allow them to study better.

2. What progress has been made in terms of inclusivity and ‘liberating the curriculum’ since the NUS report was published in 2011?

Here are some ideas/words/thoughts that leapt out to me when reading through the excerpts of the NUS report:

  • Cultural Competence /Currency /Exchange
  • Asking where inclusivity begins/ends/is reviewed
  • Reflection for students and staff individually and together
  • Student-centred learning
  • Safe environments for critique
  • Confidence building
  • Student-staff exchange of knowledge
  • Object-based learning
  • Liberation of curriculum / de-schooling ‘institutionalised thinking’
  • Connecting with NUS Campaigns to hear the student voice
  • Creating inclusive learning as part of staff appraisal/performance assessment.

Are we liberating the curriculum creatively in the Art & Design HE sector? I have seen an example of this at CSM where a ‘DIY Art school’ was set up in collaboration with live, external arts venues such as the Tate Exchange:

And in another example, creative briefs were provided to a 1st year group in the CSM BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design course, with an underlying objective: to allow the students to familiarise the assessment process staff will use as the framework to mark these students’ work in future. By swapping roles the brief allowed space for students to scrutinise and rationalise this assessment framework with teaching staff, at an early stage in their course

3. How might a diversity audit enhance inclusivity on the course(s) you are involved with?

As a slight comparative to begin thinking about this question, the following link is to a short article in Time Out about people with hidden impairments on their  experiences of seeing live music:

Imagine this article as a ‘mini audit’ of access facilities in music venues. Already I can see that a simple re-design of website structures for these music venues can have a huge impact on the experience of a future customer with  a visual impairment. Changing the environment and the impression of the environment, not highlighting the restrictions.

I wonder if an audit of this kind, if done collaboratively with students, would encourage more understanding of each others’ behaviours, attitudes, of cultural mindsets. What environments has every student come from to be in this same environment (eg the lecture theatre/studio)? Does this differ a small or large amount to environments they are used to working and living in? How confident does that make a person?

I will be working on the Graphic Communication Design course at CSM. With this course and college in mind for this audit, I think a key element to providing inclusivity is to create this safe environment within the group of students on this course. Safe in a sense of every individual being confident to express their ideas in their work without prejudice. This would effectively enhance the group’s confidence in producing work, but also in providing valuable, constructive critique to their peers and even being bold enough to challenge ideas or critiques made on their own work with an intellectual response/reflection.

by Nehanda

Discussion: Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Art & Design

January 20, 2017 in Tutor Group Seminar

We’ve been asked to consider the following questions for our group tutorial this Friday:

1. In what ways are students shaping institutional policies and practices around inclusivity?

Student-led movements in the UK such as #liberatemydegree #ualsowhite #whyismycurriculumwhite #decolonisingthecurriculum #whyisntmyprofessorblack were created to address the issues of male/euro-centred, hetronormative, colonalistic curricula that is being taught in institutions. These campaigns have garnered a lot of attention in the media and online, students across the UK took umbrage to the disparities of attainment gaps from BME students, lack of representations and diversity in reading materials and teaching staff.

Students are feeling more empowered to voice their experiences, their feeling of isolation and exclusion are being validated. They have been given platforms to create work centred around their experiences. Forums for discussion has forced institutions to respond and stop playing lip service to diversity and inclusion policies.

 – Staff inclusivity training, anonymous marking, alternative methods of assessment, reviews of the way curriculum is designed using the HEA self-evaluation framework.

2. What progress has been made in terms of inclusivity and liberating the curriculum since the NUS report was published in 2011?

3. How might a diversity audit enhance inclusivity on the course you are involved with?

As I have yet to fully engage with courses/programmes, its a difficult question to answer. But I believe conducting a diversity audit would make the classroom/studio a more democratic and inclusive space – an ideal environment to learn.

by Nehanda

First Lecture: Present and Future context of Arts & Design in HE

January 19, 2017 in Lectures

Wed 18 Jan

I arrived at High Holborn expecting to see my Teaching Within colleagues, only to be greeted by a mass of people, most of them colleagues from across the University.  It had completely slipped my mind that I would be attending the PG Cert with academics and technicians, and of course, that the course was designed with them in mind *insert increased anxiety*

Due to the nature of my job I know quite a few people.  Acting as a conduit for senior management puts me in the way of people so I end up being acquainted with all types of people employed at the Colleges. I was of course asked if I was also doing the PG Cert a couple of times.  Again, my role puts me in the strangest places so I could have been attending the session for a number reasons.  Because of this, I did feel it necessary to qualify myself, giving explanation to why I was there and what I do outside of CSM.  I realised almost immediately that this was more about my insecurities rather being made to feel like I didn’t belong there.

The first lecture was given by James Wisdom on the Context of HE.  Very experienced, entertaining lecturer.  He managed to present in an engaging way, using humour to present necessary but quite dry information.

The second lecture was given by Professor Susan Orr on Art, Design and Media: Higher Education in Context.  Susan had a different lecture style to James, and was equally engaging. The most memorable thing from her presentation was the Imposer Syndrome slide – see the text below:

It’s years since I studied…

I don’t really teach as such…

I did geography, not design at university…

I don’t work in a university…

I’m not an academic…

I haven’t written an essay in years…

I started teaching all of two minutes ago…

I don’t do much teaching…

I’m not an artist…

I know nothing about teaching theory…

This slide presented statements that most people in the room agreed crossed our minds , and why we believed ourselves to be frauds.  We were asked to talk in groups and come up with some more statements. These statements really did resonate with me because I was in a room with people who had much more experience. I guess if people with PhDs, in teaching roles or jobs that put them in direct contact with students feel like this, then maybe I was in the right place.

Interview and poster tutorial with Geoff White

October 31, 2016 in 3 Visual Language, typography

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