Selected feature articles from the Networks archive

Archived feature articles from Networks magazine, issues 1 to 12


Covers of Networks issues 1 - 12

To celebrate Networks' 5th year in publication, we are resurrecting some pertinent feature articles that were originally published in hard copies of the magazine. Another article will be added to this page each week; we hope that you will find these of interest…

Learning on Placement: An investigation of work placement opportunities within the designer-maker community 
Andie Robertson, Buckinghamshire New University
Fashion, Textiles and Related Industries: Work-related Learning and the
Student Experience

Catherine McConnell, Northbrook College Sussex

This section, taken from Networks 5, was compiled by Andie Robertson and Catherine McConnell. Their articles (pp. 15 - 22) summarise findings of two related projects co-funded by ADM-HEA and Skillfast-UK, the Sector Skills Council for Fashion and Textiles, examining employer engagement, work-related learning and the student experience. Their ‘Conversation’ (pp. 23 - 25) provides some practical advice and solutions to challenges encountered by students, tutors and work-placement providers in developing mutually beneficial work-related learning.

The Learning on Placement research project, set out to identify the relationships that currently exist between the fashion and textiles student, tutor, course and designer-maker business, as seen from the perspective of designer-makers. The data collected during the project, while valuable to the specific subject area, raises important issues around skills training, learning experiences and entrepreneurship (pp. 15 - 18).

The Fashion, Textiles and Related Industries paper outlines the findings of research exploring employer engagement activities currently taking place across a number of HE and HE in FE institutions delivering fashion and textiles curricula. In addition, the article also seeks to examine the staff and student experience of work-related and work-based learning in the fashion and textiles educational sector and identify some of the challenges faced by educators in this field and effective responses to these (pp. 19 - 22).

Published in Autumn 2008: Networks, Issue 5, pp. 15 - 27. 


Doing Media 2.0
Julian McDougall and Steve Dixon, Newman University College, Birmingham

This article describes and evaluates a curriculum intervention – the development of a new module, ‘Media 2.0’ in the context of the broader debates in what Lister and Dovey call ‘a very uneven field’ (Networks 07). To avoid reproducing the debate throughout the Media degree as peripheral, the subject team designed a new module to ensure a foundational context for students in which to reflect on their ‘prosumer’ activity as well as what happens to ‘the media’ as a result. 

Published in Autumn 2009: Networks, Issue 8, pp. 23 - 25.


Sound, music and radio in the creative curriculum: perspectives on undergraduate study
Tim McClellan, Southampton Solent University

The appreciation of the impact of sound in our lives and our learning is ignored in many undergraduate programmes. Whether focussing on sound as a different learning style, putting together a podcast as an alternative to written coursework or listening to radio broadcasts with a more critical ear, creative students need to recognize how sound plays a major part in the way we interpret the world and how we present ourselves. Embedding basic radio production skills and an appreciation of sound and music into a creative undergraduate curriculum can help access an individual student’s own creativity for exploration and growth academically, personally and professionally.

Published in Summer 2009: Networks, Issue 7, pp. 14 - 16.


Communication and media studies: curricula responding to a changing world
Arran Stibbe, University of Gloucestershire

Communication and media studies curricula have always prepared students to be responsive to the changing world around them through critical, systemic and creative thinking. This article considers some of the global challenges that students are likely to face as they lead their lives in the twenty-first century (peak oil, climate instability, food insecurity, etc.) and questions whether curricula will need to become more grounded in the ecological embedding of human minds, individuals and societies within the larger systems that support life.

Published in Spring 2009: Networks, Issue 6, pp. 14 - 17.

 Widening Participation and the Media Student Experience
Angela Devas, Thames Valley University

Angela Devas examines the experiences of non-traditional learners applying the analytical methods of Cultural Studies to educational inequalities in higher education. The paper won the first ADM-HEA Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Prize at the MeCCSA Annual Conference 2008. The prize was awarded for the best paper analysing key issues impacting on media, communications and cultural studies higher education.

Published in Summer 2008: Networks, Issue 4, pp. 11 - 15.

Perception / Interpretation / Impact
Bernadette Blair, Kingston University

Bernadette Blair examines the design studio critique and the learning value of formative feedback. The focus of her doctorate thesis was the formative verbal feedback design students receive in studio crits and the learning achieved through these experiences. The full findings of this study are published in Dr Blair’s EdD thesis; this article is a précis some of the findings.

Published in May 2007: Networks, Issue 1, pp. 10 - 13.

‘A-Z of Sustainable Materials’: using a hands-on workshop to engage students
Clare Qualmann, London Metropolitan University with Rosie Hornbuckle, Kingston University and Tracy Sutton, Pearlfisher
This case study focuses on the design and delivery of a hands-on workshop involving second year Interior Design students in the Sir John Cass department of Art, Media and Design (JCAMD) at London Metropolitan University. The workshop was delivered in December 2009 to 40 students studying a module entitled ‘Responsible Design’ and gave students the opportunity to activate their learning, combining theory and practice to engender a deeper understanding of the complexity of sustainability issues in relation to design practice.

Published in Autumn 2010Networks, Issue 11, pp. 46 - 50.

Making marks: assessment in art and design
Susan Orr, York St John University
This article offers a brief overview of key points emerging from Susan Orr’s research into art and design lecturers’ assessment practices. She has worked in this area for some years and has carried out a range of interview-based and observation-based studies across more than eight universities. In this article she discusses the ways lecturers assess identities, artistic practices and artwork holistically. Her key point is that art and design assessment is best understood as an artful practice - indeed it might be likened to a form of connoisseurship.

Published in Summer 2010: Networks, Issue 10, pp. 9 - 13.

Student engagement: paradigm change or political expediency?
Christine Hardy, Nottingham Trent University

This article reviews the concept and measurement of student engagement, drawing on the approaches taken in the USA, Australia and … the UK. It critically explores these methods that impact politically on institutional approaches to educational practices, … to make tentative conclusions as to a possible effective holistic approach to student engagement within the UK. It concludes by calling for a reframing of the concept, arguing that normative conceptions of good educational practices vary amongst institutions, programmes of studies and student subcultures. 

Published in Spring 2010: Networks, Issue 9, pp. 19 - 23.

Beyond the Beanbag? Towards new ways of thinking about learning spaces
Jos Boys, University of Brighton
This article, published in 2009, looks critically at some of the assumptions in ... ideas about learning spaces, especially the arguments in favour of a shift from formal to informal learning spaces. It suggests that the formal/informal divide hides more than it reveals about the complex relationships between learning and the spaces in which it takes place; and that learning spaces in postcompulsory education remains an under-theorised and under-researched area.

Published in Autumn 2009: Networks, Issue 8, pp. 16-19.

Don’t mention the ‘c word’: the rhetorics of creativity in the Roberts Report
Mark Readman, University of Bournemouth
Mark Readman writes, ‘Creativity in education is almost universally acknowledged to be a positive, desirable thing. But even in the field of art, design and media there is considerable disagreement about what this ‘thing’ might be. … Despite this lack of coherence, we find ourselves using the term in accountable contexts – in programme and unit titles, learning outcomes and even assessment criteria. Consequently it is necessary to examine our usage and application of this slippery signifier.’

Published in Summer 2009: Networks, Issue 7, pp. 8 - 9.

Education for Sustainability and beyond: contemplating collapse
Arran Stibbe, University of Gloucestershire

This article explores the educational implications of collapse and argues for the importance of equipping students with the ability to break conventions, exercise creativity, and invent new stories to base life on in the very different conditions of the world to come.

Published in Autumn 2010: Networks, Issue 11, pp. 28 - 32.

Finding your ‘voice’ as postgraduate tutor: Some thoughts and provocations
Lauren Anderson and Kerstin Leder, Aberystwyth University
In this article, published under the ‘Student Voice’ section of Networks magazine, Lauren Anderson and Kerstin Leder, who were doctoral students at the time, discuss the issues facing postgraduates who teach within the media studies context, including negotiating a complex, threefold identity as students, researchers, and teachers.

Published in Summer 2008: Networks, Issue 4, pp. 22 - 24.

Transforming Learning: Building an Information Scaffold
Tara Brabazon, then at University of Brighton
Tara Brabazon offers models and examples of the ‘information scaffold’, ensuring that students learn how to not only find information, but to evaluate it.

Published in Summer 2008: Networks, Issue 4, pp. 16 - 21.

Issues of Engagement for International Students in Art and Design
Margo Blythman and Silvia Sovic, University of the Arts London
This article reports on a CETL funded project that explored some issues of engagement for international students. … Issues emerging include some particularly relevant to art and design education such as the privileging of ambiguity, group work and explorations of personal identity. The article suggests some strategies including Holliday’s ‘small culture approach’ (Holliday, 1999).

Published in Spring 2010: Networks, Issue 9, pp. 24-27.

Questioning assumptions on widening participation in art, design and media
David Hayward, University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury
Much has changed in UK Higher Education since this article was published but the questions it posses remain as pertinent as ever. As David Hayward writes, 'All of us would agree that Higher Education should be accessible to everyone who might benefit from it, whatever their background or circumstance. We assume that there is a classlessness about art and design but, ... is it an assumption that we need to question?'

Published in Autumn 2007: Networks, Issue 2, pp. 8 - 11.

The Best Use of Infinity: Open Educational Resources and the Politics of Knowledge
Alan Clarke, York St John University
This article addresses the issue of what have generally become known as ‘Open Educational Resources’ (OER), essentially, the practice of putting educational resources online for free. Alan Clarke examines the idea of the ‘fair use’ of intellectual materials and the concept of educational and creative matter being in the ‘commons’ and commonly available to all.

Published in Autumn 2009: Networks, Issue 8, pp. 20-23.

Qualitative rather than Quantitative: the assessment of arts education
John Danvers, University of Plymouth
This paper addresses concerns about quantitative systems of assessment on a taught MA programme in Fine Art. It is clear, however, that the issues raised have significance and application across a broad spectrum of art, design and media subjects and levels.

Published in May 2007: Networks, Issue 1, pp. 14-19.



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