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Monday, 14 July 2014

Track O - Creativity in Collaboration Across Disciplines: Writing, History and Photography - Peter Thomas, Anne Burke and Gavin Fernandes (LDU/A&D)

This session, delivered by Peter Thomas (AWL), Anne Burke (ML  VCD2396) and Gavin Fernandes (SL in Fashion and Photography), presented the collaborative approach they have taken to creatively support students on the BA Photography. Their work demonstrates a real coming together of practice, studio and academic writing experience and expertise.

Anne has been module leader for five years. In the second year there is a Critical Theory Photography module. Anne has identified that students typically find writing and reflecting difficult and has been trying to find ways to deal with the disjunction between studio and writing practices. Students often view writing as something relating to history and theory, rather than as a dynamic element of studio/making practice. In trying to marry the practice with the theory, photography and reflection, and in working with Peter (AWL) and Gavin (studio based), a summative reflective journal has been introduced where students are asked to practice their writing. The first year yielded a spectrum results with some students finding it easier to engage than others. The journal proved difficult to mark given differences in the volume and quality of the writing.

Moving forward, the brief has been tightened up with more embedded, structured support in place. The students now participate in two writing workshops. Activities address the fact that students find it difficult to apply their ideas and theory to their handling and understanding of images. Gavin’s input helps students connect with real practice as he shares examples of his own academic writing and work as a photographer. The end result has demonstrated an integrated input that has really enhanced the output.

The team will continue to develop their approach and have presented their work at the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing, Central European University, Budapest, 2013.

 Session video

Report by Kirsteen Macdonald, Lead Academic Developer, Centre for Academic Practice Enhancement

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