Developing a Voice To Tell Our Story: Sharing expertise and making change through partnership and reflection.

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Abstract

‘A voice to tell our story’ is a 3-year project funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) delivered in two phases. This paper focuses on the experiences of phase one. This qualitative, participatory research project created by Beaford arts organisation in North Devon. Craft (2005) talked about the importance framing, brokering and the role of Arts partnerships in fostering creativity in Schools and this is at the heart of the project. It brings together expertise through partnerships in research - from the University of South Wales in the areas of storytelling and education; artform - four artist experts working in storytelling, visual art - sketchbook practice, photography and film and education- working with 10 schools from two Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) across rural and coastal North Devon. Over the 3 years, the project will focus on research questions that explore impact of the project on individuals, curriculum and professional learning. A particular focus is what do artists, children and teachers believe ‘Arts Mastery’ to be? How does this manifest itself and take shape over the life of the project?
The methodology is one of collaborative inquiry involving all stakeholders. CPD is offered to teachers and professional artists on the methodological approach. Data collected by observation; survey; reflective diary and interview/focus groups. Analysis will also be done of student profiles not to identify individual children but as a class benchmark. The specific data collection tools are designed by the project team based on initial experiences with the stakeholders. This was an important point of reflection for us
The project is embedded into the curriculum of the 10 Schools involved and we have ethical approval to work with teachers, professional artists, pupils and parents to help us evaluate the impact of the project from their perspectives. Each phase involves working closely with 5 classes and the project will follow this class, a lower KS2 cohort, over the two years to focus on progression and development of skills.
In year one the class will experience Storytelling and Sketchbook Practice. Delivered with a focus on traditional stories, known, new and adapted stories, personal stories, and curriculum linked stories over the year. This has had to be adjusted due to Covid restrictions but has allowed the project team so additional time to consider the reflective and evaluation approaches
In year two, the class will experience Film and Photography. This delivery model will differ per term and will have been planned and agreed with each school by the summer term of year one, due to the necessity of being ‘residency’ artforms: to photograph and film ‘on location’. There will be a focus of applying stories and skills from year one in digital media.
Each year will conclude with story sharing events such as ‘tellings’ and exhibitions of artwork in actual/virtual experiences. (Public events will be subject to guidelines at the time)
The project will be evaluated using a number of frameworks. Alongside Bloom’s (1969; 1974)model of Learning Mastery and Black & Williams’ (2009) model for formative assessment, developing the reflective practice of all participants is a core theme (Schon 1983 and Rogers 2002). Gibbs Reflective Cycle (Gibbs 1998) is the basis for the sense-making and understanding conversations built into the evaluation of the project. This practice will be documented, reflected on and evaluated over the 3 years. It will take place between teacher-artist, lead teacher-partner teacher, and together with all partners so there is a natural evolution of skills, evaluation, and refinement of standard and experimental teaching and learning methodology to best support curriculum and project aims. The importance of an opportunity for ‘creative learning conversations’ (Chappell and Craft 2011) is built into the project. This also links with the work of Kirkman and Brownhill (2020) who explore reflection as a way of developing the freedom meet competing educational demands which they discuss as ‘academic, standards-based, developmental, or social-transformational in nature’
This paper reports on our experiences of phase 1. As a collective developing our approach to reflection and evaluation and working as a partnership with all stakeholders. We will share our findings, reflections and direction of travel. The research is contributing to debates around developing methodologies and new epistemologies on creativity in education. It considers the ambiguous role of creativity in educational policies (Kupers et al 2018) and the challenges of on the one hand creativity being encouraged and the tensions that that the particular emphasis on skills and testing (Ball, 2003, Craft 2005, Galton 2008)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2021
EventBERA Annual Conference 2021 - online
Duration: 13 Sep 202116 Sep 2021
https://www.bera.ac.uk/conference/bera-conference-2021

Conference

ConferenceBERA Annual Conference 2021
Period13/09/2116/09/21
Internet address

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