• 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.
    • An exploration of ‘child voice’ and its use in care planning: an ethnographic study with a looked after child

      Bacon, Johanna (University of Chester, 2015-05)
      This thesis uses an ethnographic study to interrogate the policy discourse of capturing ‘child voice’ specifically in relation to a ‘looked after’ child. In recent years, attempts have been made to involve children who are ‘looked after’ in discussions and decisions about their care arrangements to ensure that their voice is heard. To ensure this happens, children ‘in care’ are asked about their care placement regularly as part of the care planning review process and their views are incorporated into decisions about their care plan. This study focuses on the lived experiences of a seven-year old female child, who I have referred to as ‘Keeva’, who is ‘in care’ under a Kinship Care arrangement. Over a period of a year, I was based in Keeva’s home one afternoon a week to gain insights about her lived experience as a ‘looked after’ child and how she represented herself. I also observed three care planning review meetings to see how her voice was captured by those charged with her care and how she was represented. I relate Keeva’s experience through seven narrative episodes to capture the rich complexity of the social world she inhabits. I explore aspects of her home and family, her interactions with others and her experience of exploring physical spaces both inside and outside the home. I suggest that these experiences underpin her sense of self and how she relates to others. Drawing on the ideas of Bourdieu, I suggest these experiences and her sense of place in the social order write themselves ‘onto her’ through her habitus and dispositions. Using a Foucauldian lens, I problematise the notion of voice as I contest that the child I observed engaged fully in the statutory processes that surround her. I suggest Keeva, a child who is ‘looked after’, will neither have nor feel she has the agentive properties to influence the care planning process. Instead, as her voice is irrevocably bound up in a bureaucratic process that is uncritically accepted as representative of her, she is obscured as a consequence. I also examine the multivocity in representations of Keeva highlighting the competing discourses of safeguarding, child protection and the ’rights-based’ agenda. I conclude that Keeva was not well represented in care planning reviews and had very little influence in decision-making about her care plan. Despite believing the opposite, those charged with her care failed to hear her or take note of what she said. Furthermore, there was an absence of criticality in representations of Keeva allowing Keeva to be constructed by those professionals involved with her care, in an unchallenged way. As a consequence she was silenced and less visible than the process itself.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Crafting Collaborations of Art and School: Contextual Studies in Sweden

      Adams, Jeff; Owens, Allan; Cedervall, Sofia (University of Chester, 2020-03-15)
      This study explores relations, experiences and processes between art and school collaborations at policy, organisational and individual levels. This is done through a historical account of policy documents as well as a contemporary qualitative study. The study focuses on two professional theatres in Sweden with extensive experience working with schools. In that context, professions of actors, teachers and drama pedagogues participating in collaborative projects, their roles, craftsmanship and a community of practice (CoP) as well as their encounters as professionals have been investigated. The study results show that theatres collaborate with schools because of their ruling policy and aim of reaching all children. Schools collaborate due to policy requirements, own interest and improvement. Drama pedagogues are much involved in the whole creative process, and the profession seems to be heading for a higher status at theatres. The individuals collaborate because it supports the creative process and the aim of their craftsmanship and/or personal mission. For drama pedagogues and artists, collaboration becomes a tool in itself, but for teachers the arts become a tool. The teachers have a personal interest in and experience with the arts. Encounters with professional artists can encourage teachers to use or continue to use artistic skills in teaching. The actors are rooted in the craft of their art and values driven in their wish to have encounters with children and youth. The drama pedagogue’s roles as mediator and confidant are important for the success of a collaborative project but also risky due to information accommodated. All encounters in this study were strongly framed by a drama pedagogic CoP. Within the frame, rooms of artistry based on the actors’ CoP occur. These rooms indicate the creation of a regime of competence, a shared CoP where the professionals are able to encounter each other as equals and share a creative and social process of meaning making. The fictional part of the study indicates that the drama pedagogue can become a border guard as much as a bridge in collaboration, standing in the way of teachers and actors directly sharing and transmitting valuable knowledge. A dialogue on aims, practice and competence become crucial for the professionals in order to achieve cooperation and thus learning.
    • 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.
    • Drama as an Ecotone in the Ecosystem of Primary Education

      Owens, Allan; Adams, Jeff; Piasecka, Shelley; Einarsson, Anneli (University of Chester, 2020-01)
      This thesis investigates the tensions that emerge as drama is implemented in the teaching at a primary school. The thesis analyses drama practice in relation to a rationalistic and a holistic theoretical framework, and employs the epistemological view that subjectification and socialization are as important as the qualification dimension in education. A metaphorical model was developed, Schooling–Ecotone–Art, in order to deepen the understanding of drama as a subject in relation to the educational discourse. The ecotone, a notion deriving from ecology, symbolizes drama and serve as a tool to explore the tensions created at the borders of the adjacent habitats. The study describes the developing diversity within the drama practice in relation to the staff’s teaching and the pupils’ learning and meaning making. The empirical data are gathered by field studies at a primary school in Sweden, during one year. A project was made possible by a grant from the local municipality, through which the school was able to engage in a collaborative project with a local culture centre in which teachers and drama pedagogues worked together on a weekly basis. The doctoral study was initiated by an invitation from the school and the culture centre. Anchored in critical ethnography, the data include observations, interviews with staff and pupils, video recordings, questionnaires and email correspondence. The findings reveal different levels of tensions as drama is implemented in the teaching, which reflects the materiality of the discursive order and institutional power in education. Further, the study demonstrates the levels of progression as drama is practiced regularly, in which carnival play was a factor in the initial turbulent phase, and thus a major challenge for the staff. The study suggests that the phases in the progress demonstrate that drama comprises a unique and subject-specific content, which is needed in a holistic epistemology in primary education. Additionally, the progress describes how diversity emerges in the staff’s teaching as well as in the pupils’ creative work and that questions of interculturality are illuminated. The study concludes that there is a need to deconstruct a rationalistic epistemology, and develop a holistic epistemology, in order to achieve a sustainable education. The thesis contributes with deepened knowledge of drama as a unique habitat, and the possibilitiesfor diversity asthe tensions created in relation to adjacent habitats, schooling and art, are viewed as possibilities rather than obstacles to avoid. 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.
    • Drama in School - Events of Learning and Processes of Becoming: An example from Sweden

      Owens, Allan; Garratt, Dean; Rosén, Susanne (University of Chester, 2019-10)
      This thesis deals with issues relating to how learning takes place within drama education. The overall aim of the research study described in this thesis is to contribute to knowledge regarding what drama can be and how learning takes place in drama education when it constitutes a recurring part of compulsory schooling in Sweden. A sub-aim is to examine the components that co-produce such learning. A research study was conducted in Sweden where drama is not a compulsory subject in the national curriculum. Throughout the thesis, the focus is placed on the discursive formations and the components of dramatic form, content and processes of becoming. Explicit emphasis is placed on how these both articulate and iterate in drama educational practices. A combination of post-constructionism and drama theory is employed as key conceptual tools to capture and interpret pedagogical processes. Post-constructionism as a tool can be described as moves into and beyond stances of social constructionism and post-humanism. Within the broader frame of social constructionism, Dewey’s educational philosophy has provided a means to understand the role of social interaction and communication in education. Within the post-humanistic field, a nomad philosophical approach provides the theoretical means with which to explore interrelations of discourses, materialities, social interaction and aesthetic symbols and further analyze doings in spaces in-between. A key point of departure is that educational practices on macro- and micro-levels are interrelated. Therefore, a genealogical analysis of discursive formations of drama education as a part of the compulsory school system in Sweden, and an empirical study of local drama educational practices have been undertaken. All schools that participated in the study offer drama as a scheduled subject at some point over time. Four classes in three schools have been followed during drama lessons, and participating pupils have been interviewed. Both individual and group interviews were undertaken, and in the group interviews, drama is integrated as one method to construct data. The study concludes by claiming that drama education can be understood as events where what we perceive and know (the actual) and what potentially may be (the virtual) are working on the same immanent plane. In drama educational practice, the components of dramatic art form, content and processes of subjectivities are interconnected. Learning and becoming take place as processes in-between, in the conceptual AND. The deployment of the analytic conjunction AND implies a non-dichotomous approach to drama education. In drama, the common, embodied creation and exploration of potential ways to act and become lead to engagement and to learning. This together with a focus on the common doing in the work of dramatization contributes to the meaning and simultaneous creation of ‘drama’ and ‘group’. An important corollary is that who we can be, and hence our creation of meaning within the world, takes place as a synchronous process. Thereby, drama education mobilizes a pedagogy of learning and becoming that both challenges and complements the otherwise realized school education. Because drama opens up diverse ways of knowing in one and same educational event, it can contribute to equity in education.
    • 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.
    • An exploration of creativity in the lives of English teachers: Representing voices through found poetry

      Bamber, Sally; Jones, Luke; Matthews, Martin (University of Chester, 2020-10)
      This arts-based research sets out to explore the place of creativity in the lives of a group of English teachers in one secondary school in the north west of England. More specifically, it uses found poetry to examine creativity in the lives of English teachers who work within the context of an increasingly performative educational system. As well as interrogating the place of creativity in the lives of the participants, the study also explores how found poetry can be used as a research method to represent and analyse data and communicate research findings in a manner that is democratic and illuminating. The words that created the poems came from two semi-structured interviews with each participant. After the first interview, the participants were able to scrutinise and reflect upon the content of the found poems before returning for a second interview. This recursive process helped build confidence in the findings and gave a deeper understanding of the experiences of the participants in relation to creativity whilst eliciting further responses in the interview process itself. The findings suggest that English teachers have limited space to be creative, or to think differently in their teaching practice. The limited space to be creative comes from the normalising practices of a performance culture, but the restrictions are both real and self-imposed by the participants. There is perhaps a need to find a new space for English teachers to act, or think creatively and form notions of resistance in order to re-think English teacher identity.
    • 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.
    • Learning to teach mathematics: navigating the landscape of teacher education

      Bamber, Sally (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      Metaphor provides a potentially powerful rhetorical device to help me to tell informed and persuasive stories about mathematics education. In this ethnographic study I consider key episodes that serve to exemplify the complex experience of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students of secondary mathematics education. I use a narrative analysis to shine a spotlight on the experiences of six beginning teachers so that the metaphors in their stories expose the impact that separately situated sites of teacher education have upon their beliefs and behaviour as teachers. Tensions between school and university contributors to teacher education have been well documented over many decades, but recent policy changes in the nature of post-graduate ITE in England bring these issues to the fore. In this study, I consider the influences of school-based and university-based teacher educators upon the beliefs of student secondary mathematics teachers and interpret the students’ perceptions of these influences on their actions as novice teachers. My analysis is framed by a model of experience and education articulated by Dewey as well as a framework of representations of knowledge in a culture of education articulated by theorists concerned with the relevance of constructivism and situated cognition as theories of learning. In this study, disturbances and discontinuities relating to the location and culture of ITE, together with the development of ITE students’ professional knowledge are uncovered, warranting further research.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Mythical Performativity in Neoliberal Education: The Curse of Ofsted and Other Monstrous Tales

      Moran, Paul; Hanson, Diann (University of Chester, 2021-05)
      Mythical Performativity in Neoliberal Education: The Curse of Ofsted and Other Monstrous Tales conducts an innovative investigation into neoliberal educational policy and its enactment through Ofsted and school leadership practices. Through its focus on a secondary school requiring special measures intervention following an ‘unsatisfactory’ Ofsted inspection outcome, it examines the role of ‘super head’ leadership in embedding neoliberal identities of success in failing schools. The research takes an original theoretical and methodological approach by exploring the role of myth in such ideologically driven practices. This proposes that mythical performances are observable in the positioning of head teachers as ‘rescuing heroes’ in failing schools and questions the monstrous effects of Ofsted-driven transformational practices on lived experience in school communities. Through a novel reading of the research data through the concept of plasticity, the thesis considers the interdependent relationship between discourse and mythical performativity in informing and sustaining ideological principles and normative social structures. It investigates how claims made to objectivity and scientific method in educational practices are, paradoxically, bolstered through enactments of mythical archetype. The research further examines the role of myth in naturalising neoliberal frameworks, rendering alternative socio-economic forms as invisible and absent from collective consciousness. This qualitative study revitalises its ethnographic roots by engaging with plasticity as method, informing a textured analysis of interview and documentary data secured from teaching staff, pupils, and operational documents at the school. Pupil responses develop investigation of identity and the heroic, providing points of comparison with the fabricated identity of neoliberal success modelled through the school leadership and its strategies of improvement. By proposing an interdependent relationship between myth, discourse, mythical performativity and ideology, this thesis extends understanding of the process of transforming failing schools and offers wider insight into structures that sustain social and economic power structures and inequalities.
    • A new felt presence: Making and learning as part of a community of women feltmakers

      Adams, Jeff; Owens, Allan; Spry, Georgina C. (University of Chester, 2020-05)
      The purpose of this qualitative art-based autoethnographic research study is to examine the lived experience of contemporary feltmaking from both collective and individual perspectives and the relationship between personal practice and the learning that takes place in a community of shared practice. The thesis exists as an exhibition of feltworks alongside a written piece, which presents qualitative and arts-based data comprising of my own experiences documenting both my journey through treatment for stage three breast cancer and the learning and teaching taking place as a member of this female community of feltmakers. It explores the principles of tacit knowledge in feltmaking alongside the concept of flow as a key marker of mastery, incorporating an analysis of the collaborative learning elements which facilitate the process of its members’ transformation from novice to expert, within a broad base of abilities, skills and experience. The thesis begins with an examination of the history of feltmaking, and the learned traditions passed through cultural generations. This is followed by an exploration of textile ‘pockets’ in women’s history, examining patriarchy, privacy and interiority through a narrative. Within this context, shared felting projects are presented. The feltmakers’ pockets are displayed as Tripartite Helix, examining international and local felting techniques alongside shared privacy within the physical pockets, the three sections denoting elements of felting as a collective sense. My own work Hushed Reverberations explores privacy, interiority and its exposure to the exterior. My practice and autoethnographic mesearch research are embedded throughout the study to illuminate the experience of learning and teaching of feltmaking in order to appreciate the process as much more than mere material transformation. This art-based research establishes a connection between feltmaking, historical, patriarchal and cultural influences and an autoethnographic, mesearch research methodology. The thesis reveals the affiliation between personal narrative through feltmaking craft and biography as a relational connection between shared journeys, intertwining autoethnographic learning, feltmaking, narrative and cultural history. It also reveals that learning in a collective does not take place simply through increasing participation in an experience, but is also fuelled by pedagogical, social and historical factors. The research contributes to an understanding and an expression of how the process of feltmaking can be used as a way of communicating and conveying a personal journey which can provide the means for individuals to support themselves and each other. However, the basis of the women's experience in crafts cannot be explained in isolation from the environments in which they take place but must be connected through culture, history and gender. The thesis concludes that women can use feltmaking to make sense of life-changing events and adversities, and to begin the healing process, bringing comfort and sense of community during periods of turmoil.
    • 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.