• Presence that makes a difference: cultivating a transformative agency in education through research-based applied theatre and drama

      Bragby, Kerstin (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-08-14)
      Applied theatre and drama (ATD), defined as an ecology of practices in a variety of fields, is often attributed with the transformative outcomes integral to social change achieved through co-processual art. However, how the nature of transformative learning and change is activated in practice is hard to establish. In this thesis, activation centres on re-cultivation of the core of different professional roles, identities and learning cultures embedded in the disruptive crises and questions of our time. It involves; renewing professional motivation, skills and cocreative performativity in alignment with sustainable inclusion of competition, oppositions, conflicts and systemic demands from a changing world. The thesis explores how cultivated sensitivities, competences and sociality in ATD processes, originating in devised actor and ensemble training and progressive pedagogies, can activate transformative adult learning. Central concepts used are fictional frames in role-taking, improvisation and staging. These allow for self-mirroring one’s own socio-culturally individual and collective enactment as spect-actor; making explicit, the intra- inter- and transsubjective contextuality that otherwise would remain implicit. Transparency and negotiation allow for de- and re-construction, spontaneous re-combination, rehearsal and actualization of alternative realities. A triangulated- socio-cultural systemic and ATD theoretical framework is used to analyse how the generative socio-aesthetic practice of ATD can re-cultivate knowledge process’. This thesis takes the form of an action research project over an 8-year period, a multi-method study of four cases aspiring to socially innovate professional and educational process. The four cases focus in turn on; teachers, female entrepreneurs, adults with functional variations, my own educational and professional trajectory as theatre actress and university teacher. The primary research approach is practice-led research-based ATD informed by a spectrum of social science methods used to develop an interfacing pedagogical, co-learning, co-creative, and co-researching methodology. Inspired by Scharmers systemic view of an advanced tridirectional approach to social science this intertwines the constitution of knowledge, reality and self as a coherent framework. Phenomenologically this involves observing the firstperson’s individualized consciousness and the evolution of self when active in co-creative involvement; it is concerned with engaging collective dialogic conversing social fields in second-person social transformation. Action research connects third person science through embodying and representing the internalised actual enactment of institutional patterns and structures. The findings indicate that these expanded ATD-processes can establish collaborative trust and social explorative creativity through serious playfulness with personal and collective difficulties, excitements, and adversities. These are conceptualised as pedagogical entrances that allow for the cultivation of subtle and complex qualities of presence, meta-awareness and advanced co-inquiring observations. The individual and collective improvisational skills emerge as critical and creative social re-imaginings that can feed transformative learning; raising awareness and critical perspectives, shifting points and frames of references that help re-frame pre-assumptions, habitual blind spots and behaviours and negotiate new meaning and understanding. A core cultivated social capacity is identified, resembling theatre actor’s stage-self, transmittable to different professional regimes. It is defined as a transformative agency, experienced as an expanded centred sense of omni-presence, distributed self and identity. It allows a flexible, improvisational mind-full and socially reciprocal character to emerge.
    • An examination of the lived experience of students passing through the eleven-plus grammar school selection process: An interpretation through a Bourdieuian lens.

      Moran, Paul; Atherton, Frances; Sheldrake, John, L (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-08)
      There are currently 153 grammar schools in England (Bolton, 2017). The option to attend a grammar school for secondary education is based on successfully passing the eleven-plus assessment. Government discourse when justifying the grammar school system has repeatedly highlighted the emancipatory nature of the selection process, citing increased opportunities for social mobility for those students from lower income households (Foster, Long, and Roberts 2016). Research has shown that there are potential dangers of high stakes testing on young people in terms of their mental health and wellbeing (Hutchins, 2015). Based on a review of the literature on selective education in England, there is a lack of research that focusses on the emotional impact of the eleven-plus on the young people who are in a selective system. This study aims to obtain accurate information about the very emotional personal experiences of children moving through the selection process for secondary school. The 'draw, write and tell' technique is used in order to gather the data. ‘Draw, write and tell’ involves the child drawing or constructing a piece of art using another medium such as clay and creating a piece of artwork which illustrates their thoughts or feelings about a particular research topic. The child is also encouraged to write words around the work and openly discuss their work with their peers which assists in the accurate interpretation of the work. The data obtained is from a sample of five students from a primary school based on the Wirral peninsula in the North West of England, this is a fully selective education authority. Using the tools of Pierre Bourdieu as a sociological lens through which to explore the selection process, the aim of this research is to highlight the significant socio-economic disparity between students who attend grammar schools and those who do not. Through the careful analysis of the children’s own narratives, many of Bourdieu’s key themes including habitus, capital, fields, doxa and symbolic violence are applied to the existence of the elevenplus and the reasons why students from deprived backgrounds are more likely to be unsuccessful in their endeavours to gain access to grammar schools. A clear emergent theme that comes from the analysis of the narratives within the context of the local data is that students who have access to capital in all its forms, are far more likely to pass the elevenplus. The study draws conclusions that support Bourdieu’s assertion that education serves to maintain the status quo in society and that despite the potential damaging effects of the selection process on the self-esteem of the students, individuals continue to behave as their habitus would predict and many strive to be a part of a field that they deem superior. On this basis it is recommended that if government want to address the issue of social mobility then the focus should be on promoting educational quality in all comprehensive schools in order to make them a more attractive destination. Efforts in improving outcomes from the comprehensive education system may reduce the desire for students to go through the selection process, which creates high levels of stress and anxiety for many, as well as public feelings of failure for the majority. The findings of the thesis suggest that whilst the selective education system does in fact largely maintain the status quo in society, the pressure experienced by students as they go through the selection process is largely dependent upon their socio-economic status and their familial habitus.
    • Making sense of educational leadership. An autoethnographic journey from Soviet totalitarianism to the neoliberal condition of the UK

      Hulse, Bethan; Lambert, Steve; Beattie, Liana (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      This autoethnographic study seeks to explore educational leadership in contemporary higher education in the UK as experienced by a group of academics with a Soviet background. Prompted by personal experiences of both Soviet and neoliberal environments as well as by the obvious lack of attention in literature to the subject of followership, this thesis brings the followers’ perspectives on educational leadership to the forefront of investigative inquiry. Using an original postmodern methodological approach of ‘symbiotic autoethnography’ in combination with Foucauldian theoretical ‘tools’, the study disrupts traditional modernist categorisations of leadership and followership through unveiling a complex interplay of subversive powers as potential determinants behind the followers’ constructs of educational leadership. Thus, the contribution of this study to the current state of knowledge is on both theoretical and methodological levels. My theoretical approach of contrasting modernist theories of followership against postmodern ways of thinking contributes to redirecting current research agendas away from modernist static and hierarchical assumptions toward more dynamic explorations of educational leadership and followership as spatially- and historically-located problematic concepts that are shaped by a multiplicity of contexts, experiences and powers. In addition, using Foucauldian aspects of discipline and objectification in my analysis provides an opportunity for fellow-researchers to explore further his ‘toolbox’ as the means for developing an understanding educational leadership as an instrument of state power, thus, equipping academics with additional mediums for resisting the existing powers of neoliberalism and intervening in the transformation of the social order. On methodological level, the proposed conceptual framework of symbiotic autoethnography offers a possibility of another contribution, as this methodological approach can, potentially, help those engaged in autoethnographic study to use it as an adaptable structure, capable of accommodating the diversity, the ambiguity and the dynamics of their subjective experiences across varied contexts and disciplines.
    • A reflexive arts investigation: An examination of the shifting gendered identities of mother and daughter through psychodynamic and feminist discourses.

      Sampson-Chappell, Lynn (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-02)
      This research is the culmination of nine years of collaborative and individual arts practice with my daughter, using a range of collaborative and individual art practices to document the stages of my daughter’s development and learning through play and experimentation with art materials. The thesis is a lived enquiry which gives my daughter authorship as co researcher, offering a unique insight into her understanding and learning through arts practice. The arts practice provides a voice to the child, which has been lost to the performativity metrics of the school institution. The research acknowledges the multiple identities of the researcher, mother, artist and educator. As an artist I live and embody the creative and critical inquiry, as the researcher I respond to the culture of the research community and as an educator / mother I respond to others involved in the artistic inquiry. The practice-based thesis consists of two interconnected elements: an exhibition of art practice created by me and my daughter working both symbiotically and independently accompanied by a written account of the process. The art work is a collection of early drawings and experimental mark-making, photographs, screen prints, casts and embossed papers which trace my daughter’s emotional development as she navigates her infancy, latency and emerging adolescence. At the same time the Exhibition documents the parallel processes in me as an artist/teacher and mother of my only child, through her infancy, childhood and adolescence. The practice-based thesis illustrates that healthy separation is a crucial feature of normal development, emerging identity and the journey from dependence, interdependence to independence. The shared and individual arts practice creates an external representation of what is usually an internal, invisible emotional struggle as mothers separate from their children and children strive for their right to become adults independent of their parents. This iii transitional movement is visible in the art practice. Psychodynamic ideas such as the mother as an object and a container are explored as boundaries are maintained by the mother despite being challenged by the daughter; at first these challenges are resisted and then, reluctantly relinquished by the mother. The mother’s own childhood is inevitably present in the art work and the analysis. This thesis adopts an autobiographical, ethnographic and reflexive approach, consequently the findings can only be subjective. It exposes a highly personal journey which is both painful and joyful. It offers insights into how an artist/teacher/mother can engage with a developing child through providing a containing relationship in which shared arts practice reveals and exposes in painstaking detail how separation is navigated as an ongoing, dynamic process. The art itself explores in very concrete ways how boundaries are sometimes held firmly and how they sometimes move, how emerging identity evolves, fades, changes and is finally brought into sharp relief. A parent who herself is not contained will find it difficult to contain her child through the ordinary turbulence of childhood.
    • Leaving everything behind: understanding the experiences of Palestinian academics and their families in the UK

      Atherton, Frances; Moran, Paul; Owens, Allan; Elwaheidi, Muayyad T. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2018-09)
      This thesis presents a critical study of the experience of Palestinian academics living and studying abroad. Two key, interrelated research questions guide the study. First, how does a Palestinian academic living and studying abroad experience displacement from origin? And second, how can these experiences be written about and communicated? The thesis constructs an experimental proposition by refusing to make distinctions between data, epistemological content and myself as the researcher. Situated at a juncture between theory and story, I draw from my own direct experience of dislocation and displacement, using a narrative mode of storytelling as a mode of inquiry which is then intersected by critical readings of supporting theory. The discourse which emerges is a heterodox mixture of narrative and theory which challenges the conventional separation between researcher, data and epistemological content. This experience is mainly engaged with the theory of the State of Exception by Giorgio Agamben. The study tries to question to what extent Agamben regarding the State of Exception can be applied to the situation in Gaza Strip and the lives of those academics and their families. It deals with this by analysing the day-to-day experiences of Palestinian people, especially Palestinian academics and their families and in this study a Palestinian educator. The work of Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze and others emerges within this study as a recurrent conversation on the subjects of the State of Exception, bare life, symbolic violence, nomadism, and the rhizome. Just as the narrative voice of the thesis “reterritorializes” the space of academic discourse, so the text shifts between thick descriptions of the spatial conditions of Palestine as experienced by myself and other Palestinian academics and educators and broader critical reflections on the nature of space and subjectivity. Additionally, this textual discourse is joined by a curatorial discourse which frames the events discussed with visual images and objects, the material and visual signs and traces which refract the experience of Palestinian academics living and studying abroad. Questioning conventional limits, the overall contribution of this thesis is to push and experiment with new methodologies of arts-based research which will enable my own subjectivity to present in the data in order for my experiences to be documented.
    • Discourses of incapacity and emancipation: an autoethnographic study of CPD courses delivered by Western educators in an Ugandan context

      Owens, Allan; Devarakonda, Chandrika; Smith, Sharon (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-05-01)
      This thesis examines the complex nature of teacher-led professional development delivered by Western teachers in a Non-Western context. I use an autoethnographic approach and employ a range of reflective and reflexive methods, such as visual images, journals, interviews and sketches to expose and explore the tensions experienced when engaging with CPD in a culture vastly different to my own and within a post-colonial context. This thesis employs theories from Homi Bhabha to explore the key concepts of postcolonialism and decolonisation, Zygmunt Bauman to examine the concepts of community and identity, and Jacques Rancière and Etienne Wenger to explore theories of education and learning such as stultification and emancipation and communities of practice, all of which are pivotal in understanding the complexities and tensions of experience throughout this research. I scrutinise moments of dis-ease, a term borrowed from Sweetman (2003, p.528), whereby the programme appears rooted in a form of neo-colonialism fuelled by globalised models of education that reinforces little more than a discourse of incapacity and a reiteration of a single story of African Otherness. Conversely, I also observe moments where there emerges a community of practice that offers an emancipatory model of education and offers participants the opportunity to reinscribe their identities as part of a global community. I conclude that programmes such as this have the potential to be both positive and negative and that, unlike examples of voluntourism in which the participants serve to create and perpetuate deficit-models of colonialist thinking, there is a need to accept that participants engaging in professional discourse have the capacity to review and decide whether the positive impacts are valid and valued enough to make their pursuit worthwhile. It is critical to resist the urge to make a sweeping generalisation about CPD programmes in vastly different cultural contexts because too many variables exist to make such a broad stroke accurate, but there must be an onus on all involved to evaluate the ramifications of participation and to continue or desist in these programmes as is appropriate.
    • Living and learning through song.

      Poole, Simon E. (University of Chester, 2019-01)
      autoethnography is concerned with the tension between innovation and tradition in the craft of songwriting and the learning this allows for. It is formed by two parts; the following written thesis and a choral song entitled ‘The Walk to Kitty’s Stone’. The work draws upon my own experiences whilst writing this song and qualitative data obtained through recorded discussions with other songwriters, with whom I am part of a folk group called ‘the loose kites’. The thesis is structured and viewed through a folkloristic lens. Bausinger’s work and his concepts of the spatial, temporal and social horizons expanding provide this lens and offer a theoretical framework for folk culture in the digital world to be investigated. Two research methods of songwriting are used within this framework to consider the learning that occurs. The first method allows for an expression of a psychogeographical understanding using a machine called a ‘Perambulographer’ which enabled me to draw graphic scores for composition while walking. The second method was an exercise in ekphrastic lyric writing. Learning is considered in terms of informal education, and music pedagogy and as such builds upon Green’s research. The key interpretations from the research highlight notions of authenticity, respect, political awareness and democratic values as significant features of songwriting. This study does not offer any new pedagogy but instead highlights how songwriting as ‘craft-based practice as research’ might offer an opportunity for songwriters to appreciate the relationships and values that they embody in their practice, specifically with regards to their own identity, when teaching. The work proposes that a songwriter’s home and folk culture has a significant influence on their identity and how they write songs. The main advance in practice is the development of a theory of ‘be-longing’ underpinning the advocacy of a folkloristic disposition in the context of education.
    • Making and Relational Creativity: An exploration of relationships that arise through creative practices in informal making spaces

      Adams, Jeff; Bulkeley, Jane; Bennett, Lindsey, H (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-27)
      This thesis investigates the connections between making and relational creativity, exploring relationships that arise through creative practices in informal making spaces. As the researcher, my background is that of both artist and educator, and I combine both roles to work alongside students within the space. The aims of the study are to explore the impact such spaces have on teachers professional relationships with students together with the impact on student relationships. In addition, the research also aims to address the implications of informal making spaces for the school curriculum in England. The research is centred around the A/R/Tography Collective, a making space created to allow students the opportunity to meet and create after school outside of lesson time. The research builds on the democratic learning practices of Room 13 and Reggio Emilia models of learning. Using a qualitative approach within a narrative paradigm in the form of case study, I work alongside students within the field. By employing an immersive approach where field notes were written up retrospectively and reflected upon, I have been able to offer a holistic and balanced account of both my own and participant experiences, exposing the complexities and problematic nature of creative practices emerging outside of the curriculum framework. My findings reveal that by deconstructing traditional pedagogical frameworks, the lived experiences of students are revealed through the process of making, providing a unique insight into their lives. The findings suggest that the current art and design curriculum in England is not meeting the needs of students, and recommends the value of making spaces that exist outside of the curriculum framework to enhance learner experience. The research recommends that by allowing students freedom of expression within curriculum time, relationships between students and teacher are developed and strengthened. This in turn positively impacts on student performance within curriculum time. The research recommends the need for educators to inhabit a more holistic role, to tailor their pedagogy to meet the individual, ever changing needs of students.
    • The impact of work based learning: A creative exploration of learners’ experience

      Scott, Deborah S. (University of Chester, 2019-03)
      The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the impact of work based learning through a creative exploration of learners’ experience. The impact expected in work based learning is at personal, professional and/ or organisational level, and might extend beyond the organisation, to social order. However, the nature and extent of impact is variable, and sometimes not evident at all. This variability and apparent lack of impact is of pedagogical and economic concern for all parties involved in the tripartite work based learning relationship: learners expect to perceive some benefit from undertaking such a course of study; higher education providers need to show relevance to the working world; organisations assume there will be operational or strategic outcome from their employees’ engagement in work based learning. Wider than this, the significance of learning of relevance to the United Kingdom’s productivity is articulated in the government’s Industrial Strategy (GOV.UK, 2017). The investigation takes a narrative research approach to explore the experiences of recent Masters graduates of a negotiated work based learning programme for distance learners. The data were analysed using the concepts of Thirdspace, equality, creativity, and critical reflection. The creation of play scripts is an innovative feature of this thesis, representing an interpretation of participants’ stories about their work based learning experience. This imagined embodiment of learners’ experience facilitated greater empathy and understanding, supporting a critical perspective on the nature of impact. Insights emerging from the research suggest that impact was experienced by all research participants, but varied in nature and extent due to factors such as employment position; self-confidence, self-perception and personal experience; the culture and economic position of the organisation. Some participants’ employment position supported their use of their work based learning to instigate organisational change. For others, a marginal employment position offered opportunity to use learning for professional development. However, marginalisation might also hinder impact beyond the personal when combined with other factors such as an organisation’s financial constraints, and might prevent enactment of emerging radical ideas about the social order. Even when impact was deep, it might not be overt. A further insight was that collaboration was significant in effecting impact. This investigation offers a new perspective on impact in the context of work based learning, which highlights the creative, subtle and emotional aspects. The findings prompt review of teaching, learning and assessment practice leading to identification of strategies to accommodate and support students’ performance and development.
    • The Out-of-School Creative Practice of an Art Teacher

      Bamber, Sally; Adams, Jeff; Lloyd-Johnson, Jude (University of Chester, 2018-12)
      This research aims to give a greater understanding of the impact my teaching role has on my creative practice as a self-portrait photographer. This aim has been researched and explored using self-portrait photography and personal experiences in and outside of the classroom. Using the street photographer Vivian Maier as inspiration, I have reflected on how using the techniques of another practitioner could influence my practice and teaching. Pursuant to this, I have produced a portfolio of Street and Home Life selfportraits. With the application of auto-ethnographic research methods and a/r/tography approaches, I explored the tensions and parallels within my creative practice and my role as a researcher and teacher. As a photographer, researcher and teacher, I have found that each of these roles and identities are intertwined and interlinked such that it is impossible to separate them. I found that my creativity does not generally follow a journey from initial starting point to final piece and taking photographs in the style of another photographer limited the generation of my own ideas. Therefore, as a result of my research, I propose that there are two types of art, school art and creative practitioner art. The former follows a set of rules and criteria and is primarily assessed on the merit of the pupil’s skill level by the schools’ examination board. The latter can be organic and sometimes stilted in its creation, but judged by either art critics or purchasers of the art practice.
    • The Neoliberal Educational “Imaginary” as experienced by a group of Primary School Headteachers

      Moran, Paul; Carr, Victoria L. C. (University of Chester, 2019-05-14)
      In this thesis I undertake a critical policy analysis in which I place education reform in the UK within the context of a changing social structure, transformed since the advent of neoliberalism in the 1970s, and examine the implications of reform on the role of primary school Headteachers. In particular, I situate my analysis within increased promotion of global economic competition and policy supported by neoliberal ideology in which the prevailing government seeks to retain legitimacy by claiming to institute reforms to improve education, whilst simultaneously reducing direct funding which is, in fact, destabilising it. Neoliberalism is a distinct political ideology that has flourished in the Western world over the last four decades and is based on theories of the free market; underpinned by economic efficiency, bureaucracy, rationality and measurable performativity. I look in detail at how the leadership of schools has changed, as a direct result of the implementation of new managerial instruments, and how resistance to these changes has been largely futile. Lacanian thinking would suggest that ideology which assumes education is a physical state that is inherently part of a democratic process, inextricably linked to politics, positively transformational and measurable, is in fact imaginary (Lacan, 2006). Our imaginary “order is embedded in the material word” and woven into the reality around us (Harari, 2012, p.127). It is within this ‘imaginary’ conceptualisation that my research is positioned. I present, and analyse, empirical data gathered from a number of primary school Headteachers from a range of contexts that outlines their lived experience as they attempt to navigate the, what could be described as, strongly surreal or ‘Kafkaesque’ (Löwy,1997) educational ‘imaginary’, as it is currently configured and, explore the efficacy of a forum that is used to support them as they therefore attempt the untenable. The significant issue of school context as an effect of how a school performs in testing regimes is substantial. It is clear that context greatly impacts on the extent to which Headteachers must shift their beliefs and practice to satisfy performative expectations. I conclude with an acknowledgement that to attempt to rationalise the educational ‘hyperreal’ without an appreciation of power and manipulation is impossible and, that the role of primary school Headteachers may only be plausible with the scaffold of forums such as the one examined within this research.
    • The LGBT+ Pupil as the Abject: An Ethnographic Exploration of Subjectivity and Discourse in UK Secondary Schools

      Moran, Paul; Wright, Anne-Marie; Clark, Natalie E. (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      According to many scholars, schools are the last bastion of permitted homophobia (Beadle, 2009; Grew, 2008; as cited in Formby, 2013). Primarily using the theories of Foucault, Kristeva and Butler, the thesis uses critical theory as a means to both understand and critically analyse the construction of subjectivity within and throughout discourse in the hetero-/cis-normative institution, and how this related to the potential abjection of LGBT+ pupils. Whilst it is agreed in this thesis that LGBT+phobia is still widespread in both schools and wider society, it was found in this research that the impact of direct LGBT+phobic discrimination was less evident. Instead, the discursive spaces where LGBT+phobia had been silenced were filled with hetero-/cis-normative discourse. Concomitantly, the impact of LGBT+ invisibility, the silencing of positive discourse surrounding sexuality and the institutional rejection of performative LGBT+phobia without cultural or organisational change meant there remained a negative impact on LGBT+ young people, despite a reduction in visible LGBT+phobia (DePalma and Atkinson, 2006/2010). Through the use of short vignettes taken from a period of ethnographic research, I have used discursive reflexivity to offer an alternative discourse surrounding the LGBT+ pupil in the school. In a thesis preoccupied with language, the institutional denial of appropriate language, the lack of positive space for LGBT+ young people to construct their identity and the potential risk of abjection from the hetero-/cis-normative institution are all highlighted as points for discussion. Viewed through a critical theory lens, the exemplars used to illustrate these complex theories are chosen from 72 workshops undertaken in schools with Year Nine pupils over a the 2015 to 2016 academic year in the Merseyside region, and also from self-identified LGBT+ young people (also in Year Nine during the academic year 2015 to 2016), who were part of discussions in an LGBT+ Youth drop in based in Liverpool city centre. Intertwining academic analysis and philosophical reflection, the research finds that not only is the LGBT+ pupil abject in the school, but this abjection is threefold. It is enacted by the institution, the peer group and by the internalised LGBT+phobia of the abjected pupil. In the conclusion, it is reflected upon how the impact abjection from school continues to affect LGBT+ people into adulthood.
    • Artist teachers and democratic pedagogy

      Adams, Jeff; Atherton, Frances; Hoekstra, Marike (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      Combining artistic practice with teaching is not unusual for teachers in the visual arts. A dual professional practice, which can be found throughout the field of art education with art teachers in all levels of education, requires a negotiation of roles and positions on a personal level and has impact on pedagogy. However, the binary opposition of artist versus teacher fails to comprise the diversity of practices where art making and teaching are combined. Not only does identification with artist or teacher vary, so does the extent to which the two disciplines are fused, to the point where it can be called a hybrid practice when the distinction between art and teaching is no longer relevant. The democratic nature of contemporary visual art making further problematises a singular model of artist teacher practice. In order to do justice to the personal strategies artist teachers employ in balancing their dual professional roles, this thesis proposes a multifaceted concept of artist teacher practice. In this thesis, the notion of hybridity and diversity in artist teacher practice and the implications for democratic models of teaching and learning is subject to both theoretical, empirical, and artistic inquiry. The employment of different lenses enables a multi-layered approach to a complex practice. By focusing on the knowledge incorporated in the practice of two Dutch artist teachers this thesis informs how artist teacher practice relates to models of democratic teaching and learning. The miniature dioramas visually explore my own perception of democratic learning spaces and add an extra auto-ethnographic layer of understanding to artist teacher pedagogy. Central in this thesis is the notion of a pedagogical thirdspace. A spatial representation of social realities helps to create a critical understanding of human life. A thirdspace is a place in the margins between reality and ideals (Soja, 1999). When binary models of understanding are exchanged for real-life knowledge of the pedagogical practice of artist teachers an ambiguous open space emerges, where there is room for experiential learning, uncertainty, risk-taking, care, equality, inclusion, tacit experience, sensitivity, play, flexibility, and conflict. The engaged pedagogy (hooks, 1994) of artist teachers emancipates learners because of the fact that the duality of the artist teacher invites learners to join in a democratic, living model of artistic practice.
    • An autoethnographic exploration of creative self-efficacy (CSE)

      Adams, Jeff; Bristow, Maxine; Smith, Helen (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      This autoethnographic study investigates my self-perception of my artistic abilities which I posit as my Creative Self Efficacy (CSE). This is a part-practice thesis which uses arts-based research methods to investigate shifting self-perceptions and understandings of creativity and how these may have influenced my visual arts practice. CSE can be defined as one’s view of and belief in one’s creative abilities. Many scholars have written about the power of self-efficacy to condition behavioural choices, motivations and persistence. This research provides an autoethnographic enquiry into how these self-beliefs can shape, limit or enhance the possibilities for creative practice. The primary aim is to better understand the relationship between my own CSE and the influence of these on my creative practice. Arts-based methods enabled me to explore this territory, allowing a self-awareness to be developed through responding to the self-judgements and doubts experienced during the creative process. Reflexive resonances between these experiences of self-efficacy and pedagogical implications were made and framed through the lenses of theories such as habitus and my different roles of artist, teacher and researcher. Main findings include the influences of social comparisons, parental socialisation, and approaches and attitudes to art-making to my CSE, culminating in an experimental shift in practice which embraces a process approach. These findings suggest implications for pedagogical practices and approaches to art-making which demonstrate awareness of self-evaluative judgements and embrace uncertainty, ambiguity and not knowing.
    • The experience of women as mature students in Higher Education

      Atherton, Frances; Hanrahan, Lindsay J. (University of Chester, 2018-08-30)
      There is a substantial body of knowledge into the factors that can influence women’s experiences of Higher Education (HE) such as social class, ethnicity and gender. Additionally, there is a significant focus on women and education in relation to their academic abilities such as comparing their achievement in terms of their gender. However, much of this research focuses on attainment between groups such as men and women or explores the impact of one specific characteristic. The principal aim of my study was to explore the experiences of a small group of women who had returned to education and entered HE. Through a series of conversations their unique stories were revealed, including the challenges and opportunities that they had encountered. The original contribution to knowledge that my study makes is in the way it documents five mature women’s experiences who traditionally would not have been expected to go to university. These women are working class, with caring responsibilities, who did not anticipate a time in their lives when they would continue into HE. To attain an undergraduate degree or professional qualification seemed beyond their particular sphere. In this study, the stories of five women over the age of twenty-one, returning to HE is captured and reveals the complex issues faced as they navigated their way through unfamiliar territory. During the research recurring themes emerged in the women’s experiences including personal motivations and aspirations, challenges to learning, networks of support and learning communities which shaped their time in HE. My ethnographic analysis of their stories is framed by my own experience of returning to HE and is viewed through the lens of feminist theory. The overall conclusions from the research reveal that the five women were able to complete their courses successfully and highlights a range of positive factors about returning to education including the opportunity to engage with fellow students, increasing personal confidence and independence and developing understandings, knowledge and skills. However, my study also illustrates the real barriers and constraints to learning that proved to be tough for the women to overcome both emotionally and practically. By examining several Marxist feminist writers such as Benston (1969) and Putnam Tong (1993), I recognised how women may be oppressed or restricted in their choices based on the numerous roles that they must perform in the home. For some of the women, attempting to study in addition to fulfilling other domestic and caring responsibilities proved to be very demanding. Overall, the research highlights the complexities that this group of non-traditional students face when attempting to improve their prospects and fulfil hitherto latent potential.
    • An exploratory study of women’s experiences regarding the interplay between domestic violence and abuse and sports events

      Garratt, Dean; Keeling, June J.; Moran, Paul; Swallow, Jodie (University of Chester, 2017-06)
      This qualitative study aimed to examine and critically explore women’s accounts as to how their abusive partner’s interest in sport (team combat sports in particular) impacted on the domestic violence and abuse they endured. The study was underpinned by feminist standpoint epistemology and Lacanian theory. Values aligning with feminist standpoint epistemology, such as the nature and balance of power, were central to this research which had at its core the voices of marginalised women. At the stages of analysis and discussion the Lacanian model of the Real, the Symbolic and the Imaginary were used to explore the women’s accounts. This model has afforded new insights into this culturally sensitive topic by removing the focus from the women who sustained abuse to the nature of the abuse they endured. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nine women who were accessing women’s support services. The women spoke of the abuse they had endured during the course of a heterosexual, intimate relationship. Thematic analysis provided new perspectives regarding the interplay between sport fanaticism and domestic violence and abuse. This thesis extends existing research which has sought to interrogate the association between domestic violence and sporting events (mainly team combat sports). The significance of this study is that it confers deeper, richer understandings regarding the nature of domestic violence and abuse. It reveals how the perpetrators of abuse use violence and/or coercive and controlling behaviours around their sporting interests as a means of asserting power and subjugating their partners. The study is important in that it discloses how the perpetrators perceived some sports, especially football, as preserve which promoted male supremacy. It suggests avenues for further research and reflects upon the cultural significance of sport and team combat sport in particular. The study concludes by suggesting two key points which emerge from this study which underscore the pernicious, chronic and shifting nature of DVA and highlight the need for vigilance in responding to the cultural resources liable to be exploited by perpetrators of abuse.
    • Challenging the rules of engagement: Co-creation of knowledge in the public art museum

      Adams, Jeff; Riding, Deborah (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      This research examined perceptions of knowledge about art in the gallery and explored the potential of co-creation as a possible model with which to genuinely learn with our audience. Data for the study was generated at a gallery I have been based at throughout the period of undertaking the research. Participants were recruited from this gallery from groups implicated in knowledge co-creation: educators, curators, gallery assistants and audience members. Participants took part in a group workshop at the gallery facilitated by an artist educator, designed to provide opportunities to develop new knowledge together. Following the workshop, participants were interviewed and their experiences analysed. Other data generated through the workshop, as well as analysis of organisational documentation, and reflection on my own practice as a gallery educator, have been drawn together through a bricolage approach. Through analysis of data, I have constructed a situated taxonomy of knowledge types in the gallery and a conceptual model of co-creation. Key paradigms of knowledge have been identified, and the issues associated with the authoritative nature of institutional knowledge presented as a significant barrier to co-creation. Findings indicate that a fundamental shift in the epistemological stance of the gallery is required. A new not-knowing paradigm has been constructed to accommodate models of co-creation shown to be successful in generating a collaborative learning experience, which I have termed ‘learning-with’.The material being presented for examination is my own work and has not been submitted for an award of this or another HEI except in minor particulars which are explicitly noted in the body of the thesis. Where research pertaining to the thesis was undertaken collaboratively, the nature and extent of my individual contribution has been made explicit.
    • Referral to Occupational Health: A Foucauldian discourse analysis of statutory documents and student nurses’ perceptions

      Massey, Alan (University of Chester, 2015-11)
      This study was carried out using a Foucauldian discourse analysis and involved the examination of three statutory reports into the provision of occupational health in the workplace. The reports analysed were the Report of the Select Committee on the Bill for the Regulation of Factories (1832); the Safety and Health at Work Report (1972); and Working for a Healthier Tomorrow (2008). Additionally, analysis was carried out on oral events with nursing students, which sought to understand their perceptions of referral to occupational health. The objective of this study is to explore how referral is constructed through discourse, categorising how this practice is constrained or liberated by specific discourses and how nursing students are positioned by these discourses. My study highlights both structural and subjective barriers to the use of occupational health. At the structural level, it is observed that referral to occupational health commenced as a form of governmentality, introducing dividing practices which subjected the workforce to forms of classification and surveillance. For those classified as healthy a culture developed within workplaces in which health behaviours needed to comply with the standards set down by occupational health and by the risk management approach. Risk management processes and stigmatisation are used to ensure compliance with the state’s wishes for a healthy and productive workforce. This trend is seen across the reports analysed, and is increased within the Black Report to the surveillance of health both in and out of the workplace for those of a working age. Subjectively, occupational health was identified as a disciplining and subjugating structure by the nursing students. The students evidenced notions of Cartesian duality in their discussions of the outcomes of referral, as they readily accepted surveillance of the body whilst seeking to avoid surveillance of their mental health capabilities. Through observation of architectural signs and organisational images of discourse, students categorised occupational health as an instrument of the higher education institute and not as a form of holistic health support. The research highlights how occupational health acts as a barrier to the students’ fulfilling their societal roles as good students and good nurses. The research also highlights a desire on the part of the student nurses to utilise occupational health within a public health framework which addresses their health in a preventative rather than punitive manner.
    • Student Nurses’ Perceptions of Compassion

      Adams, Jeff; Atherton, Frances; Barton, Janet (University of Chester, 2016-04-30)
      Compassion has been associated with the nursing profession since the days of Florence Nightingale. It is a general expectation that nurses should be compassionate when they are caring for people. In the United Kingdom (UK) concerns have been raised recently that nurses are failing to be compassionate as they carry out their nursing duties. There is little evidence within the literature of how student nurses perceive compassion as they engage in the pre-registration-nursing programme. In this study, I use narrative to produce case studies as a vehicle for the students to voice their perceptions of compassion. My ethnographic analysis of their stories is framed by my own experience as a professional registered nurse and nurse educator situated within their learning environment, and applies theories of compassion and learning. In my study, themes emerge that demonstrate commonalities, differences and tensions relating to the students’ individual beliefs and behaviours, and to the impact of their professional development as they transcend from university learning spaces into clinical practice.
    • Understanding ‘belonging’ among undergraduate residential students: A Lacanian perspective

      Garratt, Dean; Moran, Paul; Hughes, Delyth Ann (University of Chester, 2016-03-31)
      This thesis seeks to understand how the notion of belonging is experienced by undergraduate residential students. Framing the research against the influence of neo-liberal policy and practices, this study employs a phenomenological approach and theorises the data using a poststructural framework. Throughout the thesis aspects of Lacanian theory are utilised as an interpretive lens, chosen for its ability to reveal that which is usually concealed. Beginning with an exploration of the reasons that ‘belonging to a university community’ is of interest to higher education student support practitioners, I conclude that this is a result of the therapeutic culture we are currently experiencing in education, along with a need to bring together a heterogeneous group of students who do not seemingly ‘belong’ together. This need comes from a desire to maintain higher education in its position as an elite pursuit which guarantees a better life. Yet paradoxically, in the current economic context, the achievement of a degree qualification can no longer guarantee a better life. Notions of belonging and community are therefore argued to be important in this context, as they serve to retain students and meet government objectives (which are to increase the number of students in higher education, thus sustaining the UK’s edge in a competitive global market). The data from nine participant interviews is analysed and interpreted through a poststructural lens. A poststructural framework is chosen based on my own experiences as a practitioner in this field: that our student support interventions which aim to engender a sense of belonging and community in students are somewhat flawed. Thus, my aim in this thesis is to understand from the students themselves how they experience belonging and community, and in doing so, understand if our University practices have had a part to play in this. Data from participant interviews reveals the themes of ‘stories, memories and rituals’, ‘place and home’ and ‘social networks’ and these are analysed with specific reference to Lacanian psychoanalysis, along with other theorists where relevant. Lacan is chosen as aspects of his theory allow me to take account of unconscious human drives, therefore revealing more than language can alone, and providing a more holistic understanding of how the phenomena are experienced. This thesis concludes with a phenomenological description of belonging, which is a pastiche of my participants’ voices. From this I draw the conclusion that the notion of ‘belonging to a university community’ is largely fictive, and symptomatic of a neo-liberal influence. I contend that experiences related to me by the participants suggest that ‘belonging’ is experienced in a way which is independent of any university interventions, and that ‘community’ is not recognised by students as anything other than a familiarity with their surroundings. I end the thesis with recommendations for student support practitioners and with a reflection on my research journey.