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Developing a Pedagogical Research Network: webs, strings and tightropes

Date posted: 16/03/2009

This case study describes the approach taken to develop and sustain a pedagogic research culture and network within a Higher Arts Education Institution. Critical of top-down professional development interventions, and skeptical of the value and appropriateness of such approaches particularly for a professional group within an Art and Design context, the case study describes a more creative, consensual and capacity-building approach.

The pedagogic network described aims to develop a pedagogic awareness, stimulate research curiosity, generate and support research and involve practitioners at all stages of their research careers. These professionals may be ‘students’ teaching on fractional contracts, heavily involved in their own artistic practice and  just beginning to consider a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, to those at post doctoral and professorial level who might benefit from the development of a community of practice.

The approach taken and described provides a number of messages and recommendations for those working in the field of art and design education at both FE and HE levels. There is a salient point regarding the interface of teaching and research, and how reproductions of hierarchical notions of each are counter-productive. There are also messages regarding the ways in which communities of practice may be nurtured which better reflect the collaborative and capacity building ethos inherent in the core, political aim of widening participation.