Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ethics in Dance

A debate yet to be had - click on this link to this short article and assess how it colours your view / knowledge on Ethics in the Dance Profession

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A world without Ethics...

This was the big question I did not ask at the campus session on Monday 21st

How would it impact on us personally?
How would our profession conduct itself?
What would the effect be on our students/clients/audience?
How would our organisation operate?
What would the impact on society be?

We started the session by drafting up personal ethical principles and then looking at professional ethical principles. In comparing the two there was general agreement that considering the professional ethical principles was more difficult. There was an awareness that ethics has something to do with morals and with rules – and we acknowledged that ethics is comparative both over time and culture. We looked at three theoretical approaches to ethical analysis which are explained in Reader 5 as well as by Joanna - and used these to analyse the described scene from Billy Elliot (comes from Ethics Dance resource).

We then went on to establish some ethical issues in three short case studies – which was a prelude to drawing up a professional code of practice for three professional groups – Performers, Teachers & Arts Managers. These have been reported upon by two Js – Joanna (Dance Teachers) and Jo(Performers).

The discussions during the session brought up a range of ethical issues from professional practice:

Healthy eating in the profession see ARTICLE from Ethics Dance
Teaching the person v teaching the body
Inclusivity & Equity

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Wrestling with ideas for an inquiry

Someone at the campus session mentioned they were having difficulty coming to a topic for inquiry. The ensuing discussion showed that this was quite normal at this stage in the module. Inquiry questions can take quite a while to arrive at and inspiration can come from engaging and collaborating with others on the module via SIGs, blogs, facebook, wikis etc. Professional networks - teachers, mentors, places of employment can be muses as well. Some questions are quite naturally driven by personal purposes which is the motivation for an inquiry. A trick here is to consider de-personalising your inquiry and refocus on it from that deeply personal imperative to one that would have wider professional resonance / meaning.



How can I change my career path?

What are the challenges to shifting career from performing to teaching.

Are existing skills transferable?

How can I expand my business?

What are effective marketing strategies?

What are models of franchising?

What are the statutory requirements/obligations on arts managers?

How can I overcome injury and stay in the profession?

How is injury dealt with in the profession?

Are dance masters / teachers too pushy?

How important is a knowledge of physiology and anatomy?

How can I deal with a physically disabled pupil in my class?

How can dance teachers ensure inclusivity?

How can dance teachers ensure equity in learning for all?

The literature can shape your inquiry and reading texts and professional journals can help formulate and hone the inquiry.

Every question you ask has, in all likelihood, been asked (and maybe answered) before. But not by you. And not in your professional context, at this time. In considering your inquiry a good question to ask is who will benefit? Clearly you all want to benefit on the one level by using the inquiry towards your degree as well as learning and finding out things for yourself. But is there a wider audience who can benefit? Can your inquiry add anything to the profession? Could it change your professional practice? Could it change the practice of others in the profession? Could it confirm your existing practice? Can you bring the findings and deductions from your inquiry to a perspective employer and say – look – this is what I found out through engaging with a process of inquiry?

In wrestling with your topic for inquiry you should adhere to the following principles:

Make it personally relevant

This is important to as it’s your own idea and question and therefore you will be motivated to sustain momentum throughout the entire process.

Make it doable

Will you be able to access people / resources in conducting the inquiry? Moving onto the final section of the module should clarify this for you. But you should also be talking as early as possible to employers / professional mentors.

Is it ethically beneficial?

How will the world of your professional practice be a better place as a result of completing the inquiry?


Is your inquiry capable of being argued both for and against? Is there are range of opinion / evidence for your to build up an argument from? This could be answered from the existing literature on the topic.

BAPP thus far is leading you towards an inquiry based learning project in the context of your professional practice and this module sees settling on the inquiry topic and establishing what will be the best way to conduct it taking on board an ethical perspective.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Thinking Through Dance: The Philosophy of Dance Performance and Practices

26 February 2011 - Froebel College, Roehampton University, London

This conference explores the philosophical questions raised by and in dance. Relatively under-theorised as it has been in the history of aesthetics, dance presents fertile ground for philosophical enquiry.

The conference will enable dialogue about dance between different philosophical traditions, and will examine a range of themes.

Keynote speakers: Graham McFee and Nöel Carroll (tbc) Supported by the British Society of Aesthetics and the Society for Dance Research.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Emerging questions on the blogs

The diagram above shows the range of questions being posed by you about your professional practice on the blogs. This is not a comprehensive selection of professional questions but the diagram illustrates the range of questions being posed and they all suggest further and deeper questions. What is also noteworthy is that some of the questions are in the same zone and these are identified by the same colours. This is one way of getting a SIG going ..... Some people have already started wikis as I discovered - this is another technological tool to support a SIG which you can use.
PS: Click on the diagram to enlarge it.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Special Intertest Groups (SIGs) and Facebook: you talked - we listened

SIGs are a vital component to learning in this module and augment the analysis which was carried out in the previous module (3002) on Professional Networking. There are tasks indicated in the Module Handbook where you are asked to work with your SIG, so, it’s a good idea to pay attention to how SIGs should function / develop and be used. SIGs are of course a two way street – not only do you expect feedback and help from your SIG(s) but you should also provide support and feedback. There are responsibilities as well as opportunities. At the campus session people discussed in teams the following questions and reported back to the group as a whole.

  • How should SIGs form in BAPP?
  • How many SIGs should we be a member of?
  • How can we decide membership of SIG?
  • Should they limited or open?
  • How much participation is expected?
  • What responsibilities should we have to the SIG?
  • What technologies can we use to support communication?
  • Any other points?

There was broad agreement that SIGs should not be limited (at this time) by size nor should there be a limit to the number of SIGs we can join. SIGs should be self forming and managing and can be limited by purpose / time. In terms of participation there was a discussion on whether people should be excluded for not contributing. But Etienne Wenger’s ideas on Communities of Practice came into the discussion regarding peripheral and core participation and that while someone may not be active all the time in a SIG they may get involved usefully at an appropriate time. Jo suggested that SIGs should be checked at least once a fortnight and this seems fair enough considering the length of the module – but policing this could be challenging and time consuming.

The favoured technology to support SIGs was Facebook. It was suggested that initially the discussion tool could be used to start of threads in these discussions. Depending on SIG activity, it was proposed that dedicated blogs on the subject matter could be started, if that proved necessary. Mention was also made of google docs / wikis and using the blogs as well for posting more considered thoughts. Whatever technology is used, (e.g. e-mail, facebook, blogs, skype, wikis) as ever, it is recommended that copies of relevant communications are retained – these may prove useful for portfolios and as evidence of development of ideas.

Paula and I agreed to set up a BA Professional Practice page on the Facebook platform as the SIG incubator. It was set up from my newly created Facebook page – so hook up to the BAPP page and get threading those discussions.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Student reports on Campus Session 1

I have spotted three accounts which provide useful perspectives on what happened and if you were not there please check these out. Firstly Mark Iles volunteered to report back the views of his group on carrying out an inquiry as an insider. What was asked for were 3 opportunities and 3 challenges in carrying out an inquiry in the workplace or in an arena of professional practice and how these would be dealt with. While some of these points may resonate with you may well have some of your own and you should think this through for yourself and check the last few pages 19-21 of Reader 4 on the BAPP blogs.

Nicole Lousie Geddes provided the report back on this from her group, as well as giving a longer review of what occurred at the campus session – many thanks, Nicole - it was good to meet you. Finally, Natalie Less has had her thinking shifted as a result of attending the campus session. The activities made her original question appear less important now as she suspects she already knows the answer. This is a point worth noting and people could reflect back on Adesola’s hand drawn graph at the end of my last blog as well as reflecting on the competent / capability tension which is discussed in Eraut’s article.

Exercise: Mapping the Knowledge of Professional Practice

The previous entry on my blog shows the activities we undertook at the Campus Session. This blog is looking at the first activity - indeed the one which we spent the greatest time on. In order to get started we had a general discussion about our understanding of professional practice - what do we need to know in order to be a professional practitioner. Paula had already e-mailed everyone a reading by Eraut which was a useful platform for this discussion and I had passed around an aide memoir of the key points in the article.

We recognised that there is discrete knowledge which is unique to our respective professions and we acknowledged the difference between "Knowing that" (hard knowledge) and "Knowing how" (skill). Some of our knowledge and skills in absolutely bound up in our profession and other knowledge is generic and transferable.

We then considered the distinction between competency and capability - Eraut's article suggests that the first is yes/no outcome (you either can or cannot ride a bicycle). Capability, on the other hand can be graded into various levels of competency. Self reflection can indicate gaps in our knowledge in order that we are professionally proficient and suggest topics that we would like to do an inquiry on in order to enhance our professional knowledge.

After this discussion there were four groups of professional practitioners identified:

  • Performers
  • Arts Managers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Dance Teachers

Each group thought carefully about what they needed to know and represented this graphically. Looking at them can suggest areas for development in your own professional practice or should inspire you to do the exercise yourself.

The Arts Managers drawing above used building blocks with generic skills / knowledge on the base line building up to professional specific knowledge at the top. The knowledge in the top block which is "specialised" does fit in with Schon's proposal of the four facets of professional knowledge - for instance, this knowledge would not necessarily be useful to the Graphic Designers.

The Graphic Designers chose to represent their professional knowledge on a ladder with five key stages indicated. This diagram indicates overwhelmingly that a process is being described. A good question to ask of this representation is that if graphic design was not written on the page would we know what professional knowledge is being represented here?

The Performers representation explosively demonstrates the strands and areas of knowledge required for the profession. Some of the entries invite links to be drawn between entities which could suggest inquiry topics or questions to investigate further. For instance there is a line between technical ability and castability which could suggest an inquiry topic.

The Dance Teachers went beyond the generic and profession specific and introduced transdisciplinary knowledge from other subject domains e.g. Psychology, Business and Finance.

While we all recognised the "knowing that" and "Knowing how" as alluded to by Eraut, Mark Iles introduced the notion of "knowing who" .....

While all this work was being produced, Adesola worked quietly on a graph which she presented at the end of the exercise.
The Y axis (vertictal) shows knowledge while the X axis (horizontal) indicates the practitioner. She explained that as a beginner we set out with a what we beleive is a great deal of knowledge and skill and as our knowledge develops towards an advanced stage we regcognise that there is more unknown than known. This is when we get to the point of where we "just know" or could we call this enlightenment.

This exercise was useful in that it got us thinking about our professional practice - the "discipline" of it, what we need to know both "that" and "how" and what we have yet to know. Reflecting on this activity should stimulate a question in your mind. Which should lead to another question and so on. You are asked to blog about these questions as you can see from the first task set out in the Module Handbook.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Campus Session Activities 8th Feb 2011 3835

Mapping the Knowledge of Professional Practice

Work on your own and list the things you need to know in order to be a professional practitioner what do you need to know in your sector?

Join a group and share what you have produced so far and then work together on the graphical representation and present this to the whole group and discuss.

Triggering questions you would like to do an extended inquiry on.

Reflect on these and use them as a stimulus to suggest questions worthy of an inquiry.
Identify any gaps between your competency and capability

Establishing question(s) of inquiry

Find a partner and tell them your big professional question and why it’s important to you. Then listen to their question and why it’s important to them
Move on to new partner and tell them what your previous partner told you and listen to what their previous partner told them.
The report back to the group what their last partner told them.
Listen for your own question reported back – have you changed the question in any way? Make a note of this and use for future reference

Insider Inquiry

In groups – identify 3 opportunities and 3 challenges in carrying out an inquiry in the workplace or in an arena of professional practice. How would you deal with these and report back.

The groups agreed to blog their findings – so look out for these among the blogs

Networking and Special Interest Groups (SIG)

In teams work on the following points and report back to the main group where we will receive the thinking

How should SIGs form in BAPP?
How many SIGs should we be a member of?
How can we decide membership of SIG?
Should they limited or open?
How much participation is expected?
What responsibilities should we have to the SIG?
What technologies can we use to support communication?
Any other points?