Call for Papers for our new journal JUICE


The Creative Education Network is proud to announce the call for papers for the inaugural issue of our new journal, JUICE – the Journal of Useful Investigations in Creative Education.

JUICE welcomes contributions from both established and early career researchers, and provides a platform for those working in creative education and related areas to share their research. The journal is open access, all submissions are peer reviewed, and there is no article processing charge for publication. Your submission can be entirely text-based, or consist of text, images and video (please note that you must have appropriate rights to all images and video prior to submission).

For our first issue, we invite you to submit research into:

  • Creative teaching
  • Innovative assessment
  • Creative Arts Education
  • Creative use of learning technology
  • Creative curriculum design and redesign
  • Supporting learning in creative contexts
  • Creative approaches to employability and student success
  • Inclusive teaching and supporting learning in creative contexts
  • Co-creation of curricula with students
  • Internationalising creative arts curricula

We welcome submissions in the following formats:

  • Articles
  • Case studies
  • Opinion pieces
  • Reviews (e.g. books, technology, exhibitions)
  • Conference reflections

Our editorial board consists of:

  • Editor: Tony Reeves
  • Sub-Editor: Sallyanne Theodosiou
  • Editorial Board: Dr. Nicholas Houghton, Annamarie Mckie, Ray Martin, Heidy Waywell

The deadline for submissions is 31st August 2018 – please respond with your proposals to We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Posted in Creative Education, JUICE | Leave a comment

Understanding and improving the student experience: making a real difference in the new age of metrics

8 things I learnt about student engagement at the SEDA Conference, Leeds, May 2018

  1. Metrics are an important element of TEF, but we also need qualitative evaluation alongside metrics mindedness. Rather than getting everyone looking into the same challenges, it is better to support small practitioner-led Student Success projects.  This is something we are doing already at UCA through the Student Success Committee  – see the Creative Education Network for details of Induction and Tutoring sub group activities, research on interruption and non-continuation and first year experience projects.
  2. Student engagement with the academic challenge of their university experience and their sense of belonging to their institution have been linked to improved retention and progression.  Most universities are investing a lot of time and effort into defining this with their students.  At the University of Derby, for example, they have put together a Student Experience Framework, which offers a map to students of how they can immerse themselves in the whole university experience – learning, studying, undertaking personal development and making the most of the social and cultural aspects.
  3. Research suggests that student engagement also leads to the achievement of higher level learning outcomes and increased student satisfaction with their educational experience (Krause, 2005).  But… student engagement also implies that a whole body of students are disengaged.  How are we defining student engagement at UCA, and what does disengagement look like?
  4. Offering a huge range of timetabled activities for induction does not work.  It is information overload.  Many universities now believe it is more important that students have a sense of what to expect from their studies and the sort of community they are joining. What do we do at UCA for our students pre-arrival?
  5. It is important to know the demographics of your student body. Scheduling needs to consider All of the students, ie not just 18 year olds.  We know at UCA, that 26% of our students are BAME; 21 % have a declared disability; 96.3% of entrants came from state schools; 13% of our students come from Low Participation Neighbourhoods and only 31% of the student body is male.   When we think about retention and progression activities, we should be cognizant of the diversity of our community of learners.
  6. In an age of instant opinions and information overload, maybe universities should focus more on the benefits of reflective thinking for students in terms of developing cultural capital? What are the ways that we embed reflective thinking skills for our students?  How do we teach them about reflection? Is it time to return to PDP or personal development planning?
  7. Do we make it clear to our students that mistakes and failure are a part of learning? We know that learning is a tricky business in which you are in a constant state of perplexity, hesitation, doubt..’ (Dewey 1938). You will venture into new places, strange places, anxiety provoking spaces  (Barnett, 2007).  If learning is uncomfortable, are there ways we could foreground this to our students?  What are the ways we could be encouraging students to befriend uncertainty and welcome the unknown?
  8. Employers want students with good teamwork and collaboration skills.  Adopting a Team based learning approach at the University of Bradford has apparently lead to a very high number of 1st and 2.1’s.  Creative arts graduates have these softer skills in abundance. How are we making this explicit within our curriculum? Do all our students realise they are learning these skills and that they are key graduate attributes?
Posted in Retention, Student Engagement, Student Success, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turn your PGCE or PGCert into an MA in Creative Education


The world needs you.

The system we live in is in desperate need of new ideas. Education should be a way for people to drive positive changes by finding new and creative ways to make a difference.

But all too often, teaching follows the ‘banking’ model in which students become passive consumers of knowledge. Every day there are thousands of missed opportunities to inspire the next generation to take control of their destiny and have a positive impact on the world.

If you’ve made it to this page, you’re interested in driving change. UCA’s MA in Creative Education is for those with teaching experience who want to take their teaching to the next level. It’s a 120-credit ‘top-up’ and builds on what you have learned in your PGCE or PGCert.

What does it cover?

Continue reading

Posted in Creative Education, Internationalisation, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Internationalising the curriculum

tomaszGuest blog post by Dr. Tomasz John, Coordinator and Lecturer for UCA’s Pre-sessional English for Art and Design courses.

Over the next few years, UCA “will become a leading force for innovation in international creative education. This will be achieved through a co-ordinated, collaborative and agile approach that will enable the University to operate effectively and efficiently in today’s changing global educational market.” This quote from our new International Strategy indicates that we will all need a more comprehensive understanding of how to support international students effectively.

It is predicted that by 2022/23 the University’s international student numbers will significantly grow at our campuses in the UK, and on UCA programmes overseas. One of the supporting objectives of the strategy refers to curriculum development in a global context, requiring enhancement of the internationalisation of the curriculum and international integration activities. The expectation is that the majority of programmes will embrace the study of creative practice and its management within the context of international consideration of course content.

Central to this strategy is the need to ‘internationalise the curriculum’. But what does this mean, and how do we go about it? Continue reading

Posted in Curriculum Design, Internationalisation, Student Centred Learning | 1 Comment

Tutoring and Retention – Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder

Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder, senior lecturers on Fashion Promotion and Imaging at UCA, share the findings of their research into the relationships between tutoring and retention.

What is the relationship between approaches to tutoring and retention? In 2017, UCA’s Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder interviewed course leaders across the University to investigate the potential link between tutoring practices and retention, attrition and withdrawal.

In this podcast, Lynda and Katie discuss the findings of their research and highlight the key areas of significance that emerged from the data. To help you skip through the podcast, the main areas of discussion are listed below:

  • 1m 19s background to the research
  • 3m 21s importance of getting to know your students as well as possible during the first term
  • 5m 55s surprise of tutors at hearing the severity of the non-academic issues that some students were having to deal with
  • 9m 30s separating pastoral and academic tutorials, students wanting to avoid ‘negative judgement’
  • 12m 05s how did academic staff feel about the pastoral issues they were having to deal with?
  • 14m 27s what sort of training did academic staff say they needed?
  • 16m 33s professional boundaries, and the value of the mental health first aid course in talking about mental health issues with students
  • 17m 41s potential value of using peer mentoring and structuring social interaction to help students feel less anxious

You can read the full report here. 

You might also enjoy listening to previous Lunch and Learn podcasts on the Learning and Teaching Blog.

Posted in First Year Experience, Podcasts, Retention, Student Engagement, Webinars | Leave a comment

Learning is a stage

Kids playing with colorful blocks

What is learning?

Strangely enough, after hundreds of years of research by some of the world’s greatest minds we still have no clear agreement on what learning is, or how it happens.

In a recent article, Michael Luntley (2017) makes this point rather well by proposing that learning is a ‘staging area’. In order to learn something, he argues, we first have to possess a framework or concept to help us represent the thing in our minds. But how do we learn the framework or concept in the first place?

One possible answer lies in the idea of ‘play’. In a recent podcast, creativity expert Dr. Loiz Holzman discusses the importance of play and performativity in learning and notes how children begin to learn language by playing at speaking. Holzman’s research shows how children use play to do things that they don’t know how to do, and that play enables them to learn and transform themselves. Children literally create ‘stages’ on which they play out a range of imaginary scenarios which help them develop new ways of interpreting the world around them. Continue reading

Posted in Action Learning, Art & Design Education, Student Centred Learning | 2 Comments

Happy New CEN!

A very Happy New Year to you all!

New Year is a great time for new beginnings, and so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to announce the official launch of the Creative Education Network (CEN).

What is CEN?

The CEN is a connected learning community that provides educational development opportunities across UCA’s four campuses. You may well be thinking, ‘how is this different to teaching and learning..?’, so let me explain the choice of words:

  • Creative reflects the creativity that is inherent in learning, and the creative focus of the University. We offer ways to enhance educational activity that are contextualised through the lens of your discipline so that they are consistent with creative practice;
  • Education goes beyond the binary opposition of ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ and recognises that we constantly switch between ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ through our work. The term ‘education’ also acknowledges the diversity of educational work that is undertaken at UCA by colleagues in a range of roles;
  • Network describes the expertise that is distributed across the Univeristy, and focuses on connecting people with the knowledge they need.

The CEN is coordinated by myself and Annamarie Mckie, the leader of our HEA Fellowship professional recognition scheme, and its core actvity is driven by the CEN team including Dr. Nicholas Houghton, Sallyanne Theodosiou, Ray Martin, John Sutter, and Gill Wilson. However, the real value lies in the extensive network of knowledge and expertise across the University – this is you. The purpose of the CEN is to provide flexible ways for you to access and participate in this community of excellence in creative education.

What’s in it for you?

The CEN provides contextualised educational development. This means that our focus is on conecting you with the person, the knowledge, or the learning opportunity that can help you solve the problem you are currently facing, and to achieve this through the lens of your discipline. You’ll gain access to:

  • a supportive and extensive community of practice to help you enhance your educational work;
  • contextualised knowledge and expertise to help you tackle a range of issues including retention, achievement and student success;
  • our online database of research and good practice in creative education called ‘Bassline’;
  • assistance with the development and dissemination of pedagogic research outputs Continue reading
Posted in Creative Education, Professional Development | 4 Comments