• 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”.
    • 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.
    • Notes towards a Nietzschean pedagogy of the city

      Moran, Paul; University of Chester (Sage, 2016-05-23)
      Philosophical assumptions about identity, being and belonging have, as is well know, historically been bound together; their classical nexus being Plato’s Socrates, who because of this figures as the first philosopher of the city. Especially during moments of crisis, the impulse, both philosophically and politically, even today, is to make abject those who appear not to conform to the appropriate ideal identity of what ought to be. In the first part of our paper we consider the philosophical logic of this pedagogy of the city and its cultural context and implications; and in the second part, we demonstrate this pedagogy of the city as a practice, using ethnographic data derived from a study of a homeless couple and their struggle to become a family amidst the homeless community within which they live.
    • Olympic dreams and social realities: A Foucauldian analysis of legacy and mass participation

      Piper, Heather; Garratt, Dean; Manchester Metropolitian University ; University of Chester (Sociological Research Online, 2013-05-31)
      This articles discusses the London 2012 legacy claim relating to increased activity levels and sports participation. A range of factors which appear to militate against its achievement are discussed. Drawing on data from a recent ESRC-funded research project, the authors demonstrate how this has resulted in a culture of fear and corrosive mistrust, which can only reduce grassroots willingness to take up sports, and the effectiveness and commitment of the coaches required to support it.
    • On the margins: the last place to rebel? Understanding young people’s resistance to social conformity

      Atherton, Frances; McKay, Jane; University of Chester (The Polity Press and the Univeristy of Bristol, 2017-06-28)
      Young people have for decades been the subject of repeated ‘moral panics’ (Cohen, 2002) in western society. From the troubles of the ‘teenager’ in the early post-war period; the mods and rockers of the sixties; the anarchic punk sub-culture of the seventies through to the most recent manifestation of moral panic – the NEET (not in employment, education or training), there is an apparent tension in the simultaneous empowerment and subjugation of young people that manifests through discourses of children’s rights, voice and participation, alongside competing discourses of failure, risk and problematisation. The media portrayal that fuels the moral panic of unruly and out-of-control young people presents an idea that these young people are both frightening to ordinary members of society, and each other (The Independent, 2009), and has extended to the “disruptive use of public space” by young people (Robinson, 2009, p510). In a society framed by risk and austerity-driven reduced life chances for many, anti-social behaviour and disengaged, marginalised youth is fast becoming the norm. In contrast, recent policy trajectories have foregrounded the rights of young people in all areas of policy (McKay, 2014), promoting a more hopeful view of young people as active citizens, participating in civil society, their rights supported through Article 12 of the UN Charter for the Rights of the Child [UNCRC] (UNESCO 1989). Each of these viewpoints has its own literature, its own discourse. Each considers the lives of young people as largely homogenous; seen through whatever policy lens is selected for any given social crisis. By contrast, this chapter considers the way that young people themselves understand and view their position in relation to their social environment, and offers an illustration of the complex and often unintended ways that young people are marginalised in everyday life. Marginalisation is therefore considered, not as an end-product of social dysfunction, rather it emerges as a process by which the young people themselves may negotiate their position in different social situations in order to effect autonomy and self-determination, even within the smallest and most mundane activities. Drawing on the psychological theory of Erikson (1972), we consider what Erikson refers to as the “leeway of mastery in a set of developments or circumstances” which suggested “free movement within prescribed limits” (p.691). A literal translation being space of, or space for, play; what the rules of the game allow. The concept of social play is an important feature of Erikson’s work and relates to the fifth stage of psycho-social development; adolescence. The importance of play in the early years is a well-rehearsed discussion; however, the concept of play in the transition stage from childhood to adulthood, adolescence, provokes a re-consideration of the ways that young people explore and learn about themselves and their world. We consider freedom and autonomy for the young person to follow their own particular motivations, yet within ‘prescribed limits’. The chapter explores how space is negotiated and at particular points of intersection, potential conflict is tempered to maintain the freedom which boundary spaces may offer. It considers the important role of resistance at places of intersection, where the desire to define a new liberty, a free space (Robinson, 2010) is bargained, for as she suggests, “leisure practices can…. Involve opposition, resistance and transgression” (p.508), and these are the key emerging elements of the young people’s social play that we examine.
    • Opening Words

      Poole, Simon E.; University of Chester
      An edited collection of Short Stories for children, with an editorial.
    • 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.
    • Participation as governmentality? The effect of disciplinary technologies at the interface of service users and providers, families and the state

      McKay, Jane; Garratt, Dean; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2013-01-10)
      This article examines the concept of participation in relation to a range of recently imposed social and education policies. The authors discuss how disciplinary technologies, including government policy, operate at the interface of service users and providers, and examine the interactional aspects of participation where the shift from abstract to applied policy creates tensions between notions of parental responsibility and empowerment, participation and ‘positive welfare’. Three important issues/questions are raised: whether existing mechanisms for engagement between service users and service providers enable any meaningful participation and partnership in decision-making; whether multi-agency service provision is successfully incorporated within a participatory framework that allows service users to engage across and within services; and whether on the basis of our findings, there is requirement to remodel mechanisms for participation to enable user-experiences the opportunity to shape the way that services engage with families.
    • Partnerships in a global dimensions specialism on a BEd primary programme

      Pickford, Anthony; University of Chester (London South Bank University, 2011)
      This book chapter discusses the 'Global Dimensions' specialism, which is key component of the four-year primary undergraduate initial teacher training programme at the University of Chester.
    • Philosophy, qualitative methodology and sports coaching research: An unlikely trinity?

      Garratt, Dean; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2013-09-02)
      This article presents a critical account of the relation and unlikely trinity of philosophy, qualitative methodology and sports coaching research, in order to challenge assumptions about the nature of qualitative data analysis. A more radical departure and critique from a philosophical-hermeneutic perspective is encouraged. The key argument presented is that qualitative data analysis should have less to do with ‘method’ and more with philosophy, where ‘practical reasoning’ forges a dialectical relation between the intellectual and practical in the analytical process. This argument is illustrated with reference to published empirical work in the field of sports coaching research.
    • Physical education and the global dimension

      Jones, Luke; Tones, Steven; University of Chester (Trenthan Books, 2008-09-01)
      This book chapter discusses PE activities in primary school.
    • Planting Critical Ideas

      Adams, Jeff; University of Chester
      Jeff Adams discusses ideas about art education and artists tackling the environmental crisis, using the theory of anti-mimesis. The video features drawings by the author of pine trees in Wirral and Bethlehem. The video is based on the paper: Adams, J. (2020) Planting Critical Ideas: Artists Reconfiguring the Environmental Crisis, International Journal of Art and Design Education, 39.2, pp. 274-279. DOI: 10.1111/jade.12293.
    • Planting critical ideas: Artists reconfiguring the environmental crisis

      Adams, Jeff; University of Chester
      This article looks at possible artistic responses to the environmental crisis, using the theory of anti-mimesis as a means to rethink and reconfigure the ways that the crisis is understood. Initially using the nineteenth-century idea of anti-mimesis, or life imitating art, where art brings nature into existence in people’s minds, the article looks at the work of contemporary artists and writers who are challenging existing assumptions about human interventions into the natural world and the ways in which thinking may be reconfigured by these responses. In particular the sluggish response of governments towards tree preservation and planting is used as an example of the potential for artist educators to revivify the thinking around this issue through their creative insights, hence the metaphor of planting critical ideas, with the aim of creating a momentum of consciousness about the preciousness and fragility of our natural environment.
    • 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.
    • Playing with Ekphrasis

      Poole, Simon E.; University of Chester (2017-05-30)
      Inspired by Walter Benjamins response to a painting by Klee, 'Playing with Ekphrasis' is an anthology that deals with the tensions between community and identity. Using photographs of nature I've taken throughout my life, each exhibited photograph has an accompanying QR code so the viewer can also hear the poem. There is also a publication that embodies all of this process.
    • Policy 'making' discourses in University sponsored Academy Schools: Radical educational reform through autonomy, accountability and partnership

      Hulme, Rob; Garratt, Dean; Cracknell, David; Hart, Melissa (University of Chester, 2016-05-31)
      Sponsored academies schools were set up in England to raise educational aspiration and achievement specifically in areas of high social deprivation through independence from Local Authority control, and freedoms in governance, staffing structures, space and time, as well as pedagogy and curriculum. The study considers the current education White Paper, 'The Importance of Teaching' (Dffi, 2010), and the discourse of academy school actors in relation to policy rhetoric of educational improvement through autonomy and accountability along with new forms of partnership and collaboration. Given the recent 2015 change in U.K. government from Coalition to Conservative it is a pertinent time to consider current policy discourses as we move into the next phase of educational policy development. This study was informed by 'policy sociology' (Ozga, 2000: 144) illuminating local academy school enactment and critique of broader social change. The study also used Foucault's (1991) notion of 'governmentality' and the disciplinary policy technologies of normalization, dividing practices and surveillance as a theoretical lens to critically analyse academy school actor policy discourse. Throughout an 18 month period the researcher adopted semi embedded participation in two academies sponsored by a University Multi Academies Trust (MAT). A post modem form of radical hermeneutics (Caputo, 1987) was utilised whereby written, verbal and non verbal communication construction and analysis was subsumed into a written account. A reflexive research approach highlighted ethical dilemmas and tensions. The research illuminated a complex discourse of academy actor freedoms and constraints. A 'no excuse' for poor educational performance adopted at academy meso level contrasted with teacher discourse of pupil deficit, failure by self and others, and a perpetual state of low confidence, along with some resistance to change. The sponsor and Academies Trust focused on securing a share of the teacher training market and business survival as opposed to providing direct support for educational improvement. Disciplinary policy technologies were reinforced by the Academies Trust and Partnership Academy as meso level government conduits (Glatter, 1999; Lubienski, 2009), further legitimized by technologies of self. The Partnership Academy encouraged an Ofsted based 'gaming behaviour' as opposed to one directly focused on educational improvement. Autonomy was only prevalent in discourse where teachers saw their professional role as being separate from those dominated by performance regimes. Despite successes in raising educational performance academy achievement above Ofsted base levels had not been established. A business based corporate image, and new building at one academy, and positive discourse of student recruitment existed, yet staff recruitment and retention was surrounded by a discourse of mistrust, competition, and coping with change. There was a limited discourse of changed academy reputation, curriculum development, pedagogic innovation and professional collaboration, and tensions existed between traditional and creative practice.
    • Post-conflict identity crisis in Nepal: Implications for educational reforms

      Pherali, Tejendra; Garratt, Dean; Liverpool John Moores University ; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2014-01)
      This article discusses tensions of national identity, as played out in the evolving context of post-accord transitional politics in Nepal. The rise of ethnic politics following the peace agreement in 2006 has ruptured the notion of unified national identity. Educational reconstruction must deal with the notion of identity as part of a measured process to correct the legacy of ethnic, linguistic and caste-based marginalisation in Nepal.
    • Practitioners’ perceptions on the delivery of services provided to children and their families in a disadvantaged area in an Indian context

      Devarakonda, Chandrika; University of Chester
      Several successful children’s programs around the world have highlighted the importance of the quality of relationships among and between the adults involved in the delivery of services. This will enable the adults involved including parents to identify the skills, knowledge and dispositions that will influence the holistic development of their children’s current and future lives (New R.S. (1999). The aim of this research study is to explore the perceptions of practitioners on the delivery of integrated services provided to children and their families living in disadvantaged areas in India. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a government-initiated programme that has been successful in providing the needed services almost on the families’ doorstep. The practitioners - especially those working at grass roots levels, from the same community and a range of different practitioners involved in the delivery of integrated services to children and their families were interviewed using semi structured interview schedule. The interviews were tape recorded in order to accommodate analysis. The findings indicated that the delivery of integrated services for children and their families from disadvantaged families adopted a personal and flexible approach. The families and the members of the community especially women were successfully encouraged to be involved in the education and health aspects of the services provided. The success of the programme as perceived by the practitioners highlighted on the personal qualities such as commitment, high levels of motivation of the practitioners at different levels of implementation of the programme.
    • Premature labour? A reflexive appraisal of one young teacher’s journey into first time motherhood and her return to teaching.

      Adams, Jeff; Devarakonda, Chandrika; McCarthy, Elaine P. (University of Chester, 2016-02-28)
      This Ethnographic/Autoethnographic study reflects in rich detail a young teacher’s life as she navigates the changing landscape of her first pregnancy, the birth of her child and her subsequent return to work as a full-time teacher. Using data which has been collected from a personal journal which she kept throughout the eighteen month period of the study, it examines the practical and emotional challenges which she faced, and the commitment, self-sacrifice and dedication required of her for the continuation and advancement of her career. By combining her data with observed field notes, semi-constructed interviews and reflexive narrative, I have been able to offer a holistic and balanced account of her experience and expose the complexities of motherhood today and the impact they have on a woman’s life choices and professional decision making. My study revealed how this new mother faced a myriad of decisions and dilemmas, decisions, which ultimately impacted on her emotional well-being, and her power and identity as a woman, a wife, a daughter and a professional teacher. Its findings suggest that notwithstanding the historical political and legislative policies which have been implemented, in reality, little has changed since my own experience of being a working mother some thirty years ago. It recommends that if the increase in working mothers is to continue to rise, more must be done, both culturally and institutionally to alleviate the physical and emotional pressures which currently only serve to exacerbate the guilt and stress which appear to be an innate characteristic of the maternal condition. It concludes by recommending that working mothers need to harness “their strengths, their ability to learn, their confidence and joy in their work –[because this is] all part of being a woman now, [it is] part of [their] female identity” (Friedan, 1963, p.331), and rather than accepting motherhood as being a moderating factor, they should allow it to become an influence for further personal and professional growth and liberation, so that they can reassert their power and fight back to assume their equal place in society (Kristeva, 2015).
    • PREOCCUPIED: The role of peacebuilding in formal education in the West Bank

      Evans, Martin; Wright, Anne-Marie; Arya-Manesh, Emma (University of Chester, 2021-01)
      This thesis is an ethnographic study of six teacher educators working in university settings in the West Bank, an Occupied Palestinian Territory. It explores these teacher educators’ perceptions, values, and attitudes about the role of peacebuilding in Formal Education (FE). It focuses particularly on the teacher educators’ practice, which is to train student teachers to be certified as competent to work in schools either managed or run by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE). The research shows that there are tensions surrounding the conceptualisation of the meaning of teacher competency among contributors to teacher education. The tension lies most noticeably between schools and universities. This thesis thus captures the (dis)continuities of an FE system caught between the conditions of colonial and military occupation and performative measures and strategies enforced by the MoEHE. These problems are compounded by the complex associations of FE with Palestinian liberation. From the expressions the teacher educators used to convey their ideas, metaphors provide a powerful analytical device. The thesis employs a narrative analysis to foreground these metaphors as more than a rhetorical device. The metaphors provide reflexive insight into the (extra)ordinary lives of the teacher educators and the specificities of the cultural and political context from which their understandings of peacebuilding arise. The data shows that the teacher educators have individual and shared tensions about the underlying principles of peace, which consequently inform the roles of peacebuilding in FE from complex and contradictory positions. These metaphors expose an FE system that is a victim and a perpetrator both of forms of violence, and of the complex conditions under which peacebuilding either thrives or is diminished. The data also shows that peacebuilding in FE is most contentious where there is a disconnect with social justice and a connection with tatbi’a (normalisation) and counterinsurgency. In its final analysis, this thesis draws on the perspectives of Johan Galtung, Paulo Freire and Pierre Bourdieu to disturb deep-rooted thinking about peacebuilding in the West Bank. As a consequence of exploring the data through these theoretical lenses, the thesis exposes deep fractures in thinking and beliefs which are perpetuated by deeply entrenched, competing discourses that cannot be easily resolved. This thesis encourages academics and policy makers in the fields of critical peace education and education in conflict to consider generative peacebuilding frameworks that focus on conflicts within Palestinian society as well as those arising from the Occupation, and see them as mutually reinforcing rather than treating them purely as separate issues.