The University of Chester traces its roots back to one of the earliest training colleges in the country, beginning the training of teachers in 1839. While it is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the UK, it is also a modern, innovative institution and has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its education. The Faculty was recently awarded 'Outstanding' status by Ofsted, credited with delivering "high levels of academic and pastoral care" - Ofsted Report 2010.

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  • Conflict and trust during Covid-19

    Lambert, Steve; University of Chester
    There is no doubt that the lives lost to Covid-19 are tragic. However, it has forced many institutions to re-evaluate quickly how their staff work. In higher education, senior leaders promptly cancelled face-to-face lectures and encouraged staff to transition to online teaching. However, this has caused an element of uncertainty in terms of how leaders within higher education manage their teams in the new virtual world. With individuals required to work from home, leaders need to be clear around expectations they place on staff in an education system that has had trust eroded already at a government level (Bormann & John, 2014). This raises the question: Has Covid-19 given rise to trust issues between leaders and their staff? In order to address this question, this paper explores a conceptual model of trust and uses it as a lens to examine the impact of working from home that has been forced upon us as a consequence of Covid-19.
  • Why do we need a new journal about writing for wellbeing?

    Poole, Simon E.; Bangerh, Kiz; Bertrand, Jennifer; Etherington, Kim; Lee, Deborah; Lengelle, Reinekke; Southwell, Deborah; Thompson, Kate; Williamson, Claire; Wafula, Esther; et al.
    A discussion among practitioners and researchers, forming an editorial article for the first issue of LIRIC
  • National arts and wellbeing policies and implications for wellbeing in organisational life

    Poole, Simon E.; Scott, C.; Storyhouse and University of Chester
    There is general agreement nowadays of the value of the arts to our health and wellbeing, for instance, personal experience of music to lift depression, words to express our lived emotions, the aesthetic quality of a work of visual art that can take us to deeper understanding. The arts include a “broad and diverse landscape of interrelated creative practices and professions, including performance arts (including music, dance, drama, and theatre), literary arts (including literature, story, and poetry), and the visual arts (including painting, design, film) (see UNESCO 2006)” (Wall T, 2019; p. 1). For many, their relevance to mental and physical health is a given, to sustain, to prevent deterioration, or to improve the healing process. An appreciation of their value to health and wellbeing is often due to specific personal experience. Indeed, as Victoria Hume, Director of Arts Council England’s Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance stated in an interview, (July 2020), “People get it when they’ve done it”, observing that it is a “slow, iterative process of building champions” who are conveying the necessary messages that shift attitudes. The event of the pandemic and lockdown in 2020 has caused many to consider again their priorities and how they can better sustain their own situations, as Dr Clive Parkinson, international arts and health advocate, Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University UK, and Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales Australia, observed (July 2020) “The importance of culture and the arts in all their forms, to impact of health, wellbeing and social change, has never felt so relevant”.
  • How Music Accessibility can be used in Art Based Research experiences

    Solé, Lluis; Poole, Simon E.; Storyhouse and University of Chester
    Arts-based Research (ABR) ‘can be defined as the systematic use of the artistic process, the actual making of artistic expressions in all of the different forms of the arts, as a primary way of understanding and examining experience by both researchers and the people that they involve in their studies’ (Knowles & Cole, 2008, p. 29). However, music is an art form that in Western culture, the practice of which is usually restricted to a few individuals with specific skills. Commonly, musical activities are left out of ABR works because of the inherent difficulties of the musical process. In this article, we review and provide multiple ways of how, through accessibility processes, music can be made by a wide range of participants regardless of their musical knowledge. The argument is made that the ways of accessibility presented open up the possibilities of using a wide-ranging use of participatory musical activities in research inquiries, assessment and evaluation. This chapter thus focuses on the ways in which music making can be made accessible and so increase the possibilities of its use partially or entirely as a provocation for inquiry, in collecting and analysing data, as a means of dissemination in research, assessment and evaluation processes.
  • Sustainable leadership and its implications for the further education sector,

    Lambert, Steve; University of Hull
    The purpose of this article is to review the models of sustainable leadership which are currently available in the compulsory sector to establish whether the models are appropriate for post-compulsory education, and in particular for general further education colleges. Due to the complexities of the environment in which further education colleges operate, models of sustainable leadership have not been applied to this sector. In order to achieve this, leadership challenges for further education will be explored and the sector’s responses to these will be considered. Many of these challenges are based on government pressure for efficiency and effectiveness savings, and so will be contextualised in a new managerial framework. The article then goes on to examine current models of sustainable leadership, looking at whether they are applicable for general further education colleges. Should they not be appropriate, then a suggested model will be put forward which draws on the transferable components for existing models with additions which are appropriate to the post-compulsory sector.
  • Leading for the future

    Lambert, Steve; University of Chester
    Developing the next generation of leaders is critical to the success of further education colleges. However, this has to be more than talent development or succession planning if colleges are going to succeed in the highly complex and political environment in which they currently operate. This book looks at developing future leaders through a different lens. The book advocates for leadership development to be located within a sustainable leadership framework which encompasses a range of existing leadership theories. This enables leadership to be developed holistically from deep within an organisation and provides a framework for developing individuals who have the skills necessary to lead further education colleges.
  • Defining a tri-dimensional approach to the development of leaders of further education colleges.

    Lambert, Steve; University of Hull
    This article presents a review of current leadership practices of principals in further education colleges and suggests that principalship is more than a two-dimensional functional model comprising internal or externally focused activities. During the past 20 years further education leadership has become more demanding, with greater accountability imposed by a state-controlled system and, as Hargreaves and Fink (2005) suggest, this has impacted on the number of individuals entering senior leadership posts. In light of these changes it is appropriate to review the role of the principal and what is known about the way the role has changed. As a result of the way in which principalship has evolved, this article introduces a tri-dimensional model of principalship first by reflecting on leadership practices of college principals and identifying the key elements of their role, and second by suggesting that college principalship compasses three theoretical aspects: a public, an internal–public and an internal–private.
  • The implementation of sustainable leadership in general further education colleges

    Lambert, Steve; University of Bedfordshire
    Sustainable leadership as a concept is both in its infancy and also under researched, with much of the previous work in the area concentrating solely on the compulsory sector. Lambert (2011) argues that existing models are not entirely appropriate for further education due to the landscape in which colleges operate. This paper presents the findings of empirical work which sought the views of principals of general further education colleges (equivalent to United States Community Colleges) in the south east of England and London, UK, as to whether they are in agreement with the component aspects of the framework of sustainable leadership for further education colleges suggested by Lambert (2011).
  • A multi-dimensional approach to principalship

    Lambert, Steve; University of Bedfordshire
    In the last two decades, principalship within further education has moved from being the chief academic officer to one which has bought about the combination of the chief executive element with the academic role, imposing greater demands and levels of accountability on the postholder. In light of these changes, it is appropriate to ask what is known about the nature of the role and how individuals can be encouraged to aspire to principalship. This paper considers what principals themselves perceive the role to involve and looks at existing literature on the way in which the principalship can be categorised. Relatively little has been written on the role of principals within further education colleges, yet at a time when Frearson (2005), Hargreave and Fink (2006) and Davies and Davies (2011) are debating the 'timebomb' within educational leadership more needs to be understood about the nature of the role if individuals are to develop into the next generation of college leaders.
  • Developing the next generation of leaders

    Lambert, Steve; University of Chester
    This chapter discusses the importance of developing future leaders from deep within an organization. The collective benefit is that those seeking promotion into leadership roles will be better prepared for the challenges they face. For those recruiting into leadership vacancies, they potentially have a greater pool of talented individuals to select from, reducing the risk of simply appointing the best person on the day rather than the best person for the job. The chapter suggests that sustainable leadership as a conceptual framework might support organizations in developing leaders and why given the neoliberal policy context that western education systems operate within, this is becoming increasing important. While having a framework is important, there are practical steps that organizations can take which will support individuals. However, it is important to recognize that these activities, such as work-shadowing and mentoring cannot be done in a vacuum. Staff need time and space to be able to put into practice their new skills. In addition, they need to understand the theoretical elements that underpin their newly acquired skills if they are to be used effectively. The chapter draws together a number of issues associated with the current policy context for needing to develop future leaders alongside the aforementioned conceptual framework that might support leaders to realize the potential they have within their staff.
  • The Plastic Ceiling Project: Representing the Pain of Mothers that Work and Study

    Adams, Jeff; Bamber, Sally; Misra, Sarah (University of Chester, 2019-08-27)
    My previous research around mothers that work and study, showed that many of their everyday, emotional experiences could be regarded as “unseen” in that they were routine, invisible and unnoticed and were often played out in private. For those experiences that could be regarded as emotionally painful, their “unseen” nature was further complicated as tendencies toward denial, withdrawal, and self-isolation were common reactions to deeply felt emotional pain. Thus, these experiences were frequently concealed in two ways as they were both “unseen” and hidden. A fundamental principle of feminist research is to liberate by exposing, that which is concealed and suppressed and to make feminine lived experiences visible. Modern, feminist research uses a wide range of research methods and in recent years, arts-based and narrative research have emerged as disciplines from within the broader field of qualitative research. Feminist scholars have found visual, narrative inquiry methods to be useful tools in obtaining rich data from traditionally marginalised perspectives and have stressed the transformative opportunities for the development of continuities between the “unseen” and the “seen” through potential to reveal and expose hidden oppression, promote empathetic understanding of the ways in which people experience their worlds and present new opportunities for communication, protest and campaign I believe that artists and ethnographers often share strong, emancipatory affinities through their research intentions and so could productively collaborate and learn from each others’ practices. An artist-practitioner and mother myself, I also had responsibility for leading the postgraduate teacher training provision in a local university full-time and studying for a doctorate and I became interested in the potential of using arts-based, ethnographic research to investigate and tell the stories of other working/studying parents. I was particularly interested in findings from previous research which had identified that whilst all parents routinely reported similar issues around practical issues of balancing multiple roles; the painful, emotional aspects of managing life as a working/studying mother were exclusively female territory and had been described by almost every female participant as pernicious, significant and disempowering aspects of their lived experiences. I set up The Plastic Ceiling Project with the intention of developing an arts-based research methodology unequivocally and explicitly grounded in emancipatory feminist principles. My initial research question was simply; “why do mothers that work and study often report painful emotions such as guilt, shame, frustration, anger, and loneliness?” This work is an exploration of The Plastic Ceiling Project and its effectiveness in realising these challenges.
  • Travelling to the top of the mountain: The use of found poetry to explore Palestinian and Arab teachers' perceptions and experience of their participation in a drama in education summer school

    Owens, Allan; Adams, Jeff; Bamber, Sally; Alsawayfa, Fadel (University of Chester, 2019-07-16)
    The purpose of this qualitative arts-based research study is to illustrate the potential of using found poetry to explore Palestinian and Arab teachers' perceptions and the experience of their participation in a drama in education summer school. The study sought to gain insight of how nine teachers from Palestine and Arab countries start their journey in learning drama and how they make sense of their experience. This study is grounded in narrative inquiry and interpretivist standpoint theories and presents teachers‘ lived experience in poetic form. In this study, I adopted a qualitative case study design paired with poetic research methodology to interpret and analyse the teachers‘ experiences in depth. The study uses semi-structured interviews and the reflective journals of nine participants in the drama in education summer school. Three key themes were identified: space and place, coexistence and the power of drama. I created forty found data poems representing these thematic findings in the words of participants. The poems were briefly analysed to open discussion and allow the readers to make their own interpretations. Found poetry was illustrated as a means of data analysis and re-presentation in qualitative research. The analysis and re-presentation of the teachers‘ interviews and reflective journals through found poetry led to an in-depth understanding of their experience. The findings of the study revealed that the summer school had a positive impact upon them. It offered them an opportunity to interact, communicate and coexist. The findings also revealed that drama had a positive impact upon teachers personally and professionally. It is concluded that researchers, education policymakers and teachers may benefit from understanding the experience of teachers‘ participation in the drama in education summer school through poetry.
  • 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.
  • Mind the gap: Identifying barriers to students engaging in creative practices in Higher Education

    Solé i Salas, Lluís; Sole-Coromina, Laia; Poole, Simon E.; University of Chester and Storyhouse
    Creativity is nowadays seen as a desirable goal in higher education. In artistic disciplines, creative processes are frequently employed to assess or evaluate different students' skills. The purpose of this study is to identify potential pitfalls for students involved in artistic practices in which being creative is essential. Three focus groups involving Education Faculty members from different artistic disciplines allowed for the identification of several constraints when creativity was invoked. This initial study used a quantitative approach and took place in the ‘Universitat de Vic’ (Catalonia, Spain). Findings suggest a correlation with existing literature and simultaneously point at some nuances that require consideration: emerging aspects embedded in creative processes that may help decrease some limiting effects that being creative can generate. The main limitations of this research derive from the very nature of the methodological approach. Focus group has been the single used source. Other means of collecting data, such as the analysis of programs, could be used in the future. This case study, while culturally specific, offers a useful insight into the potential of further work in non-artistic disciplines but crucially across disciplines. It has tremendous value for the development of intercultural understanding in the HE sector, specifically in terms of assessment.
  • 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.
  • The walk to Kitty's Stone

    Poole, Simon E.
    A 17-minute, 144 voice choral piece.
  • Understandings of creative practice and pedagogy by teacher education communities in West Bank, Palestine, and North West England

    Adams, Jeff; Al-Yamani, Hala; Arya-Manesh, Emma; Mizel, Omar; Owens, Allan; Qurie, Dua’a; Unveristy of Chester; University of Bethlehem; University of Chester; University of Bethlehem; Unveristy of Chester; University of Bethlehem.
    This paper discusses a collaborative research project that aimed to explore approaches to creative practices and pedagogies by teacher education communities in the West Bank, Palestine, and North West England (Bethlehem and Chester). The project explored the values, attitudes and perceptions of teacher educators and student teachers in relation to creative pedagogies and the conditions under which they flourished in each community. We found that creativity was understood to take many forms, according to the cultural values and conditions present in each community, and that creative pedagogical forms emerged from the specificities of their cultural and political contexts. Creativity in education is a contentious issue in both cultures, but an area that both education communities wished to explore further. Despite the differences, there were surprising commonalities between the two communities about the value of creative practices and the relation of creativity to democratic and critical practices in the classroom.
  • The Biopolitics of Art Education

    Penketh, Claire; Adams, Jeff; Edge Hill University; University of Chester
    Editorial introduction to special issue of the Journal Of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, by guest editors Penketh and Adams, for this issue on the topic of 'The Biopolitics of Art Education'. This issue of JLCDS offers a timely opportunity for an extended discussion of current practices at the intersection of art education and disability studies, a discussion that has the potential to further practice and theory in both domains.
  • Emotional awareness amongst middle leadership

    Lambert, Steve; University of Chester (Emerald, 2020-05-26)
    The purpose of this viewpoint paper is to explore middle leaders’ ability to recognise emotions in the context of workplace research, and to propose measures that might support them in their role. This paper combines a contemporary literature review with reflections from practice to develop more nuanced understandings of middle leadership. The paper applied the Geneva Emotional Recognition Test (GERT) to explore the level of emotional recognition of 86 individuals (teachers, to headteachers (equivalent to school principals)). The preliminary findings suggest that teachers and headteachers have higher levels of emotional recognition than middle and senior leaders. This paper subsequently argues that the task-orientated nature middle leadership compounds an individual’s ability to engage effectively in relationship-orientated tasks. This explains why middle leaders scored lower on the GERT assessment. This is further inhibited by the anti-correlation in the brain’s ability to deal with the TDM and DMN processing functions where individuals operate in one neural mode for long periods. The viewpoint paper proposes a number of implications for middle leaders and suggests that middle leaders should proactively seek out opportunities to engaged in activities that support the DMN function of the brain and subsequently the relationship-orientated aspects of leadership. For example, coaching other staff. However, it has to be recognised that the sample size is small and further work is needed before any generalisations can be made. This paper offers a contemporary review of the role of middle leaders underpinned by a preliminary study into individuals’ ability to recognise emotions.

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