Since joining the School of Education in 2002 as a Senior Lecturer in Art and design Education, Alison has taught across BA, PGCE (Primary and Secondary) and MA programmes, and taken on various leadership roles, including subject coordinator for art and design, and final year leader for the BA (Hons) Primary with QTS programme.
Alison graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Brighton (1979). After completing a PGCE in Secondary Art and design (1981), Alison taught in a variety of contexts, including two inner London schools, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and in an all-age special school in Brighton as Head of Art. Within the special school setting, she coordinated outreach work, organising the delivery of specialist training in Art and SEND to undergraduate and postgraduate students and teachers. During this time, Alison completed an MA in Art and Design Education at the Institute of Education (1999), and was awarded the 'Teacher of the Year in A Special School' for the southern region as part of the national teaching awards initiative (1999).
Alison has also worked as an international consultant for curriculum development in art and design for two education projects in Egypt and Kazakhstan.
Currently, Alison is studying for an EdD under the supervision of Nadia Edmond and Charlotte Gould (University of Brighton).
Current Research Activity
The title of Alison's EdD thesis is 'Helping novice, non-specialist teachers foster self-efficacy in primary art and design through collaborative creativity: The role of balance between agency and instruction'. The purpose of the research is to investigate ‘collaborative creativity’ in art and design; that is how the teacher creates an effective balance between teacher instruction and pupil agency. This helps develop pupils’ confidence and self-belief in their abilities in art and design, important for promoting inclusive practice in relation to visual communication. Unfortunately, gaining a balance in this way can be a problem for some teachers to achieve, particularly those who lack confidence and experience in teaching art and design. A key aim of this research is to develop a framework of support for non-specialist, novice teachers. However, engaging with the processes of art and design education and professional learning in the current educational context can present both opportunities and tensions arising from a range of factors influencing the abilities and attitudes of those involved. From this perspective, building a collaborative community of art practice incorporating dialogic spaces, critical reflection, and creative and co-constructed learning opportunities, is key in promoting an authentic balance of agency and instruction for the fostering of self-efficacy.
Research projects this year (linked to the thesis) include:
- A chapter in a book on mentoring in secondary art and design (awaiting publication), recognising how collaborative creativity can support teaching and learning in secondary art and design classrooms, co-authored with Sally Johnson.
- TEAN Conference poster presentation about collaborative creativity in secondary art and design, co-authored with Sally Johnson.
Previous research/publications include:
- ‘Positively Different: Art & Design in Special Education’ co-authored journal article with Roy Prentice in 'International Journal of Art and Design Education' (2003 IJADE).
- Art and design and SEND chapter in ‘Learning to Teach Art and Design in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience’, edited by Nicholas Addison and Lesley Burgess (2007 Routledge).
- ‘Including students with SEN and/or disabilities in (primary and secondary) art and design: The TDA Training toolkit for primary PGCE and secondary PGCE tutors and trainees' (2009).
- 'Drawn Together' co-authored journal article with Sharon Harris and Susan Allan in 'Association for Science Education Magazine' (November 2011).
- 'Art Enhancing Science' co-authored chapter with Sharon Harris in 'Enhancing Primary Science: Developing Effective Cross-curricular Links' edited by Lois Kelly (OUP, 2012).
Research interests in own creative practice
Since 2002 Alison has been engaged in her own creative practice as a sculptor and maker, exhibiting her work in local galleries in the south east and as part of the Brighton Artists’ Open Houses organisation. Alison's work focuses on personal explorations of identity and memory and how this is reflected in clothing, making connections to real and imagined garments worn at specific events and/or moments in time. Alison uses and manipulates a range of recycled materials to inspire and give form to her ideas, sometimes incoporating light and sound in her sculptural installations. Her work has been published in Artist Open House and Crafts Council blogs as well as textiles journals. In 2009 it formed part of a touring exhibition ‘Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle’.
Approach to teaching
Alison's approach to teacher education has been informed by her experience as an artist, a researcher, a learner and a teacher.
Alison aims to develop students' agency and self-efficacy in relation to their knowledge, understanding and skills. This involves developing critical thinking and reflective practice in a learning environment which promotes collaborative creativity underpinned by a sense of community, trust and respect.
Alison teaches on and contributes to particular programmes in the School of Education, currently the BA (Hons) QTS:
- EA617: Processes and practice: Developing a Rationale for Art, craft and design in the Primary Classroom
- EP405: Introducing Foundation Subjects (Art & Design)
- EP508: Curriculum Design and Enhanced Practice in Foundation Subjects and RE (Art & Design)
- EP611: Contemporary Curriculum Studies and Professional Development
- EP612: Individual Professional Enquiry
- EP507: Education Studies: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
- EP605: Education Studies: Leading Children's Learning
- MA Education KV601: Dissertation
Master, Institute of Education
Award Date: 1 Sep 1999
Bachelor, University of Brighton
Award Date: 1 Jul 1979
External Examiner, Institute of Education
1 Sep 2004 → 1 Sep 2008
- NX Arts in general
- participatory research
- Art education
- Inclusive Arts, participatory arts, disability arts, learning disability
- Reflective practice
- Communities of practice
- art & design
- Teaching and Learning
- Practice-Based Research
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