Collaborative Dialogue: Connecting, conducting...

Judy Thomas

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This presentation explores the influence and importance of collaborative
practice, investigating the impact of shared learning, with an aim to identify
attitudes that might inform knowledge construction with others. Alongside this
is concern on how we foster independent learning with under graduate
students embarking on BA programmes who lack maturity, confidence and
are unprepared to take initiative.

Drawing upon empirical data, the research explores innovative, interdisciplinary
learning and student engagement through partnership, practical
activity, discourse and play. Using the ‘RE:CREATION’ case study this
describes how collaborative dialogue encourages and supports reflective

NAFAE presentation and discussion submission. Judy Thomas 1
Located in Featherstone Castle, the RE:CREATION weekend encouraged
different ways to engage with place, culture and heritage, offering practice-led
approaches to enhance research skills, raise aspiration and encourage risk
taking within a community of practice. Bringing students and staff together
from partnering institutions, along with alumina, invited professionals, in a
space of productive leisure, the distinctive castle setting offered a multilayered
environment for thinking and reflexivity. Space to ‘recreate’ ideas and
materials through creative exploration and exchange. This gives positive
examples of connections and collaborations encouraging and inspiring the
freedoms of creativity and ownership of learning.
In contrast, it reflects upon studio activities with year 1 BA students who
increasingly start their academic journeys with limited life experience, afraid of
collaboration and lacking insight of what the potential connections and
collaborations can offer. This questions how we prepare students for the role
of ‘superconnector’ or ‘superconductor’, especially those who arrive fresh from
A Level study. As tutors, it is easy for us to identify how shared, creative
approaches offer a distinctive methodology towards learning, generating
supportive environments and conditions that enable participants to reflect,
explore and ultimately learn. We may structure activities that involve
collaboration but there seems to be a worrying resistance towards them that
stems from a result driven culture and an increasingly insular, self-conscious
mentality of individuals.
Following a brief presentation, I wish to stimulate and facilitate debate with
peers that examines transformative learning and individual participants
perspectives, recognising shared processes in which facilitator and
participants benefit. I would like to stimulate discussion exploring:
 How do we scaffold reflective practice with learners who look to
us to give them the answers?
 How do we enable students to become active agents who value
collaborative dialogue?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2017
EventNational Association for Fine Art Education Annual Conference 2017: Artist as Superconnector Superconductor - Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Mar 201724 Mar 2017


ConferenceNational Association for Fine Art Education Annual Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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