High five!

Thank you to everyone who came to the High fives: spaces for doctorateness symposium including all our speakers for bringing such interesting, honest and diverse insights and energy to the day.

There’s been some great feedback about the 5 minute pecha-kucha style presentations establishing a rhythm and maintaining engagement throughout the afternoon. There were also positive comments on bringing researchers together and – as was raised as an important and not to be underestimated element in facilitating communities and conversions – lots of nice food and drink!

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BIAD will shortly be merging with the Faculty of Performance, Media and English (PME) to become the International Faculty of Arts, Design and Media comprising 9 schools (Architecture; Art; Fashion, Textiles and 3D Design; Jewellery; Visual Communication; Acting; English; Media; the Conservatoire).

High fives really highlighted the exciting potential and spaces opened up by researchers creating dialogues between these Faculties, as well as beyond, through talks by researchers at the School of Education, the School of Health, the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE) and PGRNet, BCU’s Postgraduate Researcher Network.

Whilst professional development and ‘doctorateness’ may be in part specific to the context of certain faculties or schools, it seems that such conversations across BCU open up spaces for a multifaceted and expanded sense of doctorateness through fostering a rich, diverse and supportive research community, enhancing personal and professional development and well-being amongst researchers.

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Call for presentations!

We are looking for research mentoring and KED partnerships to give short pecha-kucha style presentations (10 slides in 5 minutes) for our final event of the academic year on Thursday 3rd July 2014.

The aim of the event is to hold a small symposium that shares and disseminates these projects. Alongside these presentations, there will also be other talks in this format to keep the event fast-paced, informal and fun.

We invite you to:

  • share your experiences
  • reflect on your partnership
  • discuss knowledge exchange

Within the 5 minutes we encourage you to do this in any creative ways that you feel are appropriate.

Deadline for applications: 09th June 2014

Download an application form to present here

Please email your completed application form to Dr Jacqueline Taylor at Jacqueline.Taylor@bcu.ac.uk by 9th June.

We will contact successful applicants on the week commencing 16th June 2014.

‘We could all benefit from a mentor’ by Toni Mayner

I joined the mentoring scheme because I wanted to decide whether studying a PhD was the right thing for me. What I didn’t expect, was the impact that meeting other PhD students and hearing about their research would have on my decision.

Having spent 18 months attending courses and researching the possibilities, the enthusiasm about their subjects, shared experiences, opportunities and challenges that the mentors and mentees have shared and expressed at our meetings have all led me to decide that a PhD is possible and something that will enhance me and my work.

I have never had a mentor before and have found the experience to be delightful. My mentor is generous with his knowledge and has already shared a considerable amount of  his in-head bibliography on sources of inspiration, references and others artistic practice with me whilst enabling me to explore and refine my ideas.

At the recent professional development event the word we discussed as a group was ‘sustainability’. There were many interpretations of what this might represent, however, for me at this time, the mentoring scheme, catch-up events and research cafes all contribute to my being able to sustain the commitment and work required in achieving study at this level and have transformed what was an individual experience into me becoming part of a research community.

Toni Mayner is a lecturer at the School of Jewellery and a practicing jewellery artist whose current research examines themes of loss and remembrance.

Celebrating professional development!

Right now, we’re holding our Celebrating Professional Development event. Yes, that’s right – we’re live blogging!

The aim of today’s session is to celebrate BIAD researchers as creative individuals, and their development through knowledge exchange and working collaboratively. As well as PhD researchers from both Knowledge Exchange in Design (KED) and Research Mentoring schemes, there are also faculty staff and we are delighted to welcome external KED partners from a range of organisations including IE Design, Ikon Gallery and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG).

So far, Prof Richard Coles has welcomed us with a story of Archimedes in the bath as a way of thinking about the journey that leads us to that unexpected Eureka! moment. Jacqueline Taylor then introduced the BIAD Professional Development Network and our Research Mentoring scheme.

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This was followed by a talk by one our mentoring partnerships Gregory Dunn and Zoe Millman. This provided insights into their mentoring relationship and how it has grown to be supportive and productive for both mentee and mentor.

Jayne Sharples introduced the KED scheme, going back to how it started and current residencies as at IE DesignIkon Gallery and a collaborative project at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery and Coventry University.

Following this, Sian Vaughan has introduced our activity. Our participants have been split into four groups in which each group has been given an Easter egg. After being unwrapped, each egg has revealed the group’s themes iced onto their egg: collaboration, sustainability, impact or discipline. Participants are encouraged to break off bits and to share their thoughts as they do and are currently discussing these themes …

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There have been some really interesting and thought-provoking conversations around these themes which have only strengthened the importance of the schemes we are running and the need for them to be sustained. We are looking forward to unpicking these further and incorporating them into our future events this year.

Of course, we couldn’t properly celebrate professional development without food and drink! After final remarks from Anne Boultwood, participants are now continuing their conversations over wine and canapés. There is a real buzz and we hope it has been an enjoyable evening for all and thank everyone for coming!

We would love to hear from you! Continue discussions by adding any comments to this or any other posts. If you would like to write a blog post for us, email our website editor Jacqueline Taylor at Jacqueline.taylor@bcu.ac.uk. 

Learning to mentor by Mattia Paganelli

In the process of becoming an academic researcher, one learns in unexpected ways; teaching has been one, mentoring at first seemed no different. Yet, I was quickly proved wrong. The dialogue with a prospective PhD researcher is an entirely different experience, miles away from the inevitable limitations of the lecturing format at BA level I already knew. It is a curiosity platform, where questions are exchanged and one offers his experience in tackling them. It requires creativity in reorganizing one’s experience beyond the structure of a specific subject of study, in order to understand to someone else’ work.

Thus mentoring has become an opportunity to explore the tutoring role in a broader and more rewarding way. This offers great help in the specific case of art school, where developing studio tutoring skills requires more than simply passing information, and one must learn to be flexible in order to respond to different sensibilities and different practices.

In the conversations we have, I find I am sharing the excitement for having a study project that is entirely my own. The experiences collected in making art in a globalized technological world and the knowledge gained studying merge in this dialogue, becoming valuable references when discussing why and how undertaking postgraduate research; not to mention the more delicate task of advising how to embark in the PhD adventure with the right mixture of foolishness and determination.

Mattia Paganelli is a PhD student at the Centre for Fine Art Research, BIAD whose research examines the relation between aesthetics and epistemology in contemporary art practice.

Research Mentoring Initiative launch

The BIAD Research Mentoring Initiative has now officially launched! Through a successful induction event held at the School of Art, Margaret Street, both mentors and mentees were able to meet each other and engage in discussion over tea, coffee and cake.

We are please to announce that there are 18 researchers taking part in the initiative, forming 9 partnerships overall. Those involved include PhD researchers at various stages of their study, recently completed students (Early Career Researchers) and those actively thinking about embarking on PhD study at BIAD.

There are researchers from a multitude of rich and diverse backgrounds from School of Jewellery, School of Art and Parkside campuses, incorporating home, EU and overseas students and practitioners across a range of disciplines from Philosophy to Typography, Fine Art and Idea Management.

We wish all of our mentoring partnerships the best of luck and look forward to hearing about how they are developing!

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Regularly check our website to stay updated on the Research Mentoring Initiative, read posts by mentors and mentees about their experiences and more. You can follow us by clicking on the link at the right-hand side of the page to receive email updates when new posts are published.