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Title: Surprising spaces : artistry in university lecturers' professional development
Author: Loads, Daphne Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6957
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2012
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In this qualitative study I investigated an aspect of my own practice as an academic developer. My research question was: How do I understand and theorise what happens in art workshops that contribute to university lecturers' professional development? Taking a self-study approach (McNiff and Whitehead, 2006) in which theory is understood as generated by close and intense engagement with individual practice, I invited university lecturers to create, interpret and discuss collages in relation to what teaching meant to them. I interviewed the participants and the co-facilitator shortly after the workshops and again at the end of the study. Bringing together understandings from academic development, adult education and therapy, I claim that these workshops can be understood as restorative spaces where lecturers undertake and explore troubling experiences, leading to surprising insights and opening up the possibility for transformative learning (Mezirow, 1997). Drawing on Eisner's (2003) concept of artistry, I introduce the notion of the apercu: The noticing of a surprising detail that troubles settled ways of thinking and feeling. I explore the relevance of stochastic processes that combine random and non-random elements. I suggest that physical engagement with art-making balances the disembodied nature of much academic work; dialogue with colleagues, including expression of feelings, develops intimacy and safety that are often absent from professional encounters; and metaphor work opens up fresh and surprising ways of making meanings. I recommend that academic development practitioners should consider integrating an element of artful practice into development programmes as a necessary counterpoint to those activities that are narrowly instrumental and concerned with performative values. In order to avoid inappropriate personalisation of structural issues and unthinking perpetuation of the status quo, I argue that it is important that activities focusing on artistry should be complemented by strategies that draw on scholarship and address social and institutional change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available