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Co-participative Research in Dance-education Partnership:
Nurturing Critical Pedagogy and Social Constructivism
Linda Rolfe, Michael Platt and Veronica Jobbins with
Professor Anna Craft, Dr. Kerry Chappell, and Helen Wrighti
Abstract: Drawing on the Dance Partners for Creativity Research Project, this paper will
consider the research methodologies and methods employed by a team of dance education
professionals who seek to contribute to reinvigorating practice in relation to young people’s
creativity in secondary level dance education in England. They have developed a focus on
investigating the kinds of creative partnerships that are manifested between dance-artists and
dance-teachers in a range of school settings. Using critical pedagogical and socio-constructivist
approaches, the research draws on ethnographic, participatory and reflective methods. The focus
is on how partnerships can function as research sites, with participants as co-researchers.
Introduction: Setting the Scene
Dance Partners for Creativity (DPC) is a co-participative study involving university-based
researchers and school-focused partner researchers investigating the over-arching question,
“What kinds of creative partnerships are manifested between dance- artists and teachers in co-
developing the creativity of 11-14 year olds, in dance education, and how they develop?”. It is
a two and a half year study, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
which commenced in April 2008, funding Core and Partner Researcher time. From this over-
arching research question flow three subsidiary stimulus questions focused on investigating and
developing the dynamic roles and relationships of partnership; further understanding shared
conceptions of creativity; and problematising the notions of creativity and creative partnerships.
Four partnerships in Key Stage 3 (11 to 14 year old) dance education are involved in this
qualitative collaborative study. Dance practitioners and teachers partner to develop dance work
in a school site, and also to co-research it alongside the core research team (thus acting as Partner
Researchersii) having determined their own site-specific research question. As the practical work
developed from late 2008 with these partnership researchers, the over-arching and site-specific
project questions were used as through-lines to guide co-participative investigation. Research
activities are resourced and shared between core research team, partner researchers (i.e. teachers
and dance artists), and, where appropriate, young people, developing productive relationships
between research and pedagogy. Thus co-researchers work to co-participatively study dance
teaching and learning in context, in order to understand and develop practice and partnership
models. Using critical pedagogical and socio-constructivist approaches to develop change and to
recognise the social construction of meaning, the core research team draws on a range of
ethnographic, participatory and reflective methods, as well as being responsive to methods
proposed by partner researchers.
This qualitative study arose from growing concern among practitioners, professional
development leaders, academic researchers and those working within examination systems that
creativity in dance was being stifled by increasing constraints from the English testing and
attainment agenda. It was felt that pressure to assess attainment was leading to students
producing formulaic choreography rather than authentic, original dance ideas. In order to address
this and contribute to reconnecting secondary practice with the creativity inherent in the artform,
the core research team developed an over-arching research focus as indicated above,
investigating the kinds of creative partnerships that are manifested between dance-artists
and dance-teachers and how these develop, both in terms of pedagogy and systemic
organisation. Influenced by a broad critical theory stance oriented toward critiquing and
challenging, in which we sought to manifest through our enquiry, change in dance pedagogy, we
also adopted a version of critical pedagogy in our research team approach in that we encouraged
dispositions toward critique, questioning and looking below the surface. As a multi-faceted
research team comprising four University researchers, four teachers and six dance practitioners,
we co-researched relationships between teaching and learning in digging deep into meaning,
context, experience of the process of partnership in each research site. We sought to enfranchise
all members of the research process, recognising the social construction of meaning and thus
situating all data collection and analysis in a social constructivist frame.
Within the key over-arching question driving our study, about kinds of creative
partnership and how they developed, were three subsidiary stimulus questions which perhaps
exemplify our critical pedagogy and social constructivist framing. The first focused on
investigating partnership roles and relationships. The second focused on gaining understanding
of, and developing, how creativity is conceived and facilitated; and the third focused on
questioning and challenging partnership practice.
We recognise that whilst there is a great deal of creative partnership work ongoing across
and beyond the arts in education, spawned in part by the landmark report by the National
Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE, 1999) which advocated
creative partnership activity and led to large scale national funding in England, this project has
been about searching for and coming to understand and develop, pockets of really strong creative
partnership practice in dance. Our hope is to make a contribution by critiquing and developing
both practice and policy.
Philosophers such as Greene (e.g. 1995, 2003) have argued the arts have the power to
challenge and transform by creating spaces for new and different hopes and expectations. The
approach that the English dance education community has brought to developing its partnerships
is undoubtedly artistic. De-construction and articulation of theories of creative partnerships in
dance may thus provide an innovative reflective stimulus or provocation both for the dance
community and for others engaged in creative partnership.
This paper focuses on the theoretical framework and methodology to the study and how,
through a combination of critical theory and interpretive perspectives, we are currently
developing our methodological approach. Focussing on one of the four research sites in the
project, the evolving research design, data collection and analysis methods which underpin the
empirical phase are explicated and explored.
An educational context for creativity and partnership
We initially present an overview of the broader educational context in England that
informed our original interest in researching this area. This is followed by a short review of the
literature that initially framed our perspectives on creativity and partnership, and we conclude
with a summary of how this informed our methodological stance.
At the forefront has been the educational climate that has been promoting creativity
within schools for some years. This can be traced back to the All Our Futures: Creativity,
Culture and Education, a report produced by the National Advisory Committee on Creative and
Cultural Education (1999) which ultimately led to Creative Partnerships (2002), currently
described as the “government’s flagship creative learning programme”(CCE, 2009, 1). In many
ways Creative Partnerships has led the way in investigating and formalising the relationship
between teachers and artists in schools. Working by 2009 in a third of all schools in England, it
has represented a significant investment by the government which has led to support for
considerable artist engagement in schools, including dance.
The Roberts report, Nurturing Creativity in Young People (2006) reviewed government
strategies and initiatives proposing a framework for how creativity could be further developed
for children and young people and prompted a formal government response (DCMS, 2006). This
concern to develop creativity was reflected in the new secondary curriculum (2008) which
included a creativity strand within the programme of study for each of the ten subjects in the
More recently there has been a shift towards a “culture” agenda. Just over a year ago and
drawing on the work of a Parliamentary Select Committee (2007) investigating creative
partnership work, the government announced the launch of the Find Your Talent (2008)
programme which through ten pathfinders, has been seeking to define and develop a ‘five hours
a week’ cultural entitlement offer for all children and young people. This was followed by the
formation of a new agency, Creativity Culture Education (2008) to oversee this work and that of
Creative Partnerships. Although the cultural agenda is not synonymous with the arts the Find
Your Talent programme places high value placed on young people working with cultural venues
and providers including of course dance companies and practitioners.
Further recent changes in education have seen the Rose Review of the Primary
Curriculum (2009) identifying Understanding the Arts as a distinct area of learning which
includes dance. This is in contrast to the current national curriculum where dance has been
located within physical education since 1988. Space precludes a longer discussion of the issues
here, but a significant shaping factor on dance in schools, as opposed to the broader landscape of
creative or cultural education, is the long standing debate as to whether or not dance is seen as
part of physical education or as an arts subject, within the school curriculum (Jobbins 1999). We
cannot ignore the place of dance within the physical education curriculum as being potentially
influential in dance education practice, especially as the physical education curriculum in turn
has been influenced by government policies concerned with increasing levels of physical activity
among children and young people, in part, to combat obesity (with one dimension of the latest
21st century schools pledge to children being provision of five hours of sport / physical activity
per week in school – DCSF, 2009).
Finally, in providing a contextual overview of dance in schools, it is relevant to mention
the publication of Tony Hall’s Dance Review (DCSF and DCMS, 2008), and the government
response which included a series of measures to increase dance opportunities for young people
both in and out of schools.
What has been interesting for us, and underpinned the premise for our research project,
has been the dichotomy between an educational climate which is seemingly actively encouraging
and supporting creativity within schools and educational settings, and the professional climate
within dance education (and elsewhere, eg Craft & Jeffrey, 2008) where there is growing
concern from practitioners and professional development leaders (Ackroyd, 2001), academic
researchers (Chappell, 2007, 2008), and those working within examination systems (Jobbins,
2006) that creativity is being stifled by increasing constraints from performativity. Pressures to
assess attainment in all phases of education, but particularly within dance examinations, are
producing formulaic choreography rather than authentic, original dance ideas. Recent national
inspection reports from the Office For Standards in Education (OFSTED) concern that creativity
is assumed as a dance education product when this is not always so (OFSTED, 2006).
The first aspect of the research context is the DPC perspective on creativity. Creativity in
dance education has been studied and framed in a number of different ways. Of particular
relevance to this study is Smith-Autard’s (2002) Midway model which advocates an equal
emphasis on creativity, imagination, individuality and acquisition of knowledge of theatre dance.
Whilst acknowledging and drawing on aspects of Smith-Autard’s work, Chappell develops
Craft’s (2000) notion of creativity-in-relationship using John-Steiner’s (2000) “creative
collaboration” to articulate a framework of creativity in dance education as inter-relating layers
of individual, collaborative and communal embodied creative activity. Whilst articulating the
importance of personal attitudes and attributes, as well as understanding of creative process, the
theory articulates the dynamics of individual, collaborative and communal creativity. Core to this
is an emphasis on teacher as well as student creativity; the collaborative dynamics of
controversy, complementarity, integration and leadership; and the communal characteristics of a
group movement identity, cross fertilisation, shared ownership and interaction with wider circles
Clearly there are other ways that creativity has been studied and framed internationally.
For a fuller discussion of this and further details of the literature, see Chappell, Craft, Rolfe and
Jobbins (in press). For the initial stages of the research Chappell’s framework has been used to
contextualise the study, however, it is vital to allow for emergence of different conceptions of
creativity as the research unfolds.
The second aspect which is part of the context are the studies around creative partnership.
In investigating partnership a number of recent studies (many funded by Creative Partnerships,
established in England 2002) have offered insights into the roles and relationships between
artists and teachers, for example Galton (2008), Griffiths and Woolf (2004), Pringle (2008), and
Hall, Thomson and Russell (2007). These studies offer a particular kind of perspective,
emphasizing difference between teachers and arts practitioners, frequently highlighting a model
of teaching and learning akin to learning through apprenticeship as researched by Lave and
Wenger (1991). However, more pertinent to DPC is Jeffery’s (2005) research, which produced a
dynamic four-fold model of the shifting nature of the teacher/artist relationship in context. The
positioning of DPC is in exploring the nature and development of co-participative, dialogic
partnership, rather than on emphasising difference. Our intention is to understand the complexity
of interaction and negotiation and we have drawn on the models of developing co-participative
partnership from Jeffery (2005) which distinguish between:
Teacher as artist – creative practice of teacher (personal and institutional)
Artist as educator – artist’s role on boundary between institutional and informal learning
Artistry of teaching – pedagogy fuelled by cycle of research-planning-action-reflection
Artistic work as model and educator- participation in the creative process as learning
Jeffery argues that a strong model of Creative Partnership involves all four perspectives, plus
− Investigating and using places/spaces beyond the everyday
− Taking working into a shared public realm
− Emphasising dialogue in learning and assessment
− Recognising identities beyond the given situation
More recently, an investigation by Chappell, Craft and Best (2007), also considered the nuances
of these partnership roles, particularly where enquiry is a key part of the partnership work done
together. DPC aims build on this research in a new context.
The third aspect of the project is the methodology that we have chosen to work with. The
research is using a qualitative methodology underpinned by an epistemological standpoint
acknowledging the social construction of reality, and thus as indicated above values co-
participative investigation of how meaning of that reality is constructed. In building theory thus,
the research is broadly informed by critical theory, oriented toward critiquing and changing (as
opposed to theory oriented only to understanding or explaining), as we build theory and practice,
with an emphasis on collaboration and partnership in these processes. We are looking to find
space for change in how we interact with each other in our research, classroom and studio
practice. Within this dynamic, it is vitally important to consider the relationships between the
different members of the research team. Gore (2003) warned against critical theory researchers
themselves working in an ‘unreflexive’ fashion.
Fourthly, we draw on recent work exploring the development of a shared space between
teacher, external partner/artist and research mentor, in the development of partnership, which
extends across role boundaries. Thus, we are looking to evolve a new, third-space canvas, for
DPC. This draws on Zeichner (2008) who, drawing on Soja’s concept of ‘Thirdspace’ (1999:
265) as a reflecting ‘thirding’ or ‘Lived Space’ (1999: 269) melding the ‘Firstspace’ or
‘Perceived Space’ (1999: 265) and ‘Secondspace’ or ‘Conceived Space’ (1999: 266), refers to an
educationally focused concepf of the Third Space. Zeichner proposes researchers’ “border
crossings” between universities and schools as generating a “third space” which is particularly
useful in facilitating researchers to break out of the patterns of relationships between
“academics” and “practitioners”.
Within this methodology it is vitally important to consider the relationships between the
different members of the extended research team in the choreographing of a shared ‘Third
Space’. Yet, Gore (2003) warned against critical theory researchers themselves working in an
“unreflexive” fashion and we are mindful of this possibility. The shifting roles and power
relationships within the team of researchers necessitates the development of trust and openness,
whilst recognising that each individual brings their own particular professional knowledge to the
Wenger’s (1998) perspective on communities of learning is also helping us to illuminate
and conceptualise the varied ways that individuals endeavour to understand and support learning
in this research community. Through being active participants in the research our aspiration is
that a community of practice will form, which entails the three dimensions which comprise a
community of practice identified by Wenger of mutual engagement, a joint enterprise, a shared
repertoire of practices. At this point, around six months in to the full project team’s work
together, we are beginning to understand that this will require, among other things, the
development of a vocabulary to talk about experiences of participants in the research that shape
their learning. This development of a shared vocabulary is a tension that is already being
explored by the community, in particular the ways that language can direct our perceptions and
The theoretical background to the areas discussed briefly above is given in more detail on
the project website, http://education.exeter.ac.uk/dpc where various Powerpoint presentations
and papers can also be found.
In seeking to develop a Third Space and a Community of Practice, then, the DPC team
uses a range of arts-based methods to try and capture specific voices of the artists, teachers and
students. These include adult and student reflective and semi-structured interviews, conceptual
drawing, photographic/video evidence, cultural mapping, written observation notes, reflective
writing and blogs. In each of the four sites a lead researcher and partner researchers (artists and
teachers) are all involved in the data collection, so for the purposes of the research there is a
three-way partnership in place (university researcher-dance artist-teacher). The team has been
responsive to on-site activities, applying cycles of data collection and analysis at the levels of
both the site-specific and the over-arching question, in the following process.
Layer 1: the lead researcher and partner researchers in each site each carry out “open
coded/free thinking” analysis of data, this is then coded and stored online (accessible to all
project participants). For partner researchers the data analysed is a ‘slice’iii of all data collected
and is related to the site-specific question. For lead researchers there are two data sets; the first
is a slice of data and is related to the site-specific question. The second encompasses all data
produced in that site, and is related to the over-arching project question.
Layer 2: Lead researchers in collaboration with partner researchers carry out a
triangulation analysis of the slice of data that relates to the site research question, using site-
specific tailored approaches. The triangulation discussion focuses on firstly articulating analytic
commonalities (i.e. common categories) and secondly identifying key differences. The lead
researchers carry out a triangulation analysis of a slice of the data that relates to the over-arching
research question. Again triangulation focuses on commonalities and differences. In each case
the outcome of the layer 2 discussion is an agreed set of codes which describes the current set of
responses to the research questions.
Layer 3: This layer is in process at the time of writing. It involves a second Lead
researcher blind-analysing a slice of data in relation to the site-specific question and then
carrying out a triangulation analysis with all three site-focused researchers, resulting in a
triangulated code list. For the over-arching research question, the process of triangulation is
being devised to involve partner researchers, possibly at a whole-group meeting. An example of
Layers 1 and 2 for a site-specific question is given below, to illustrate some aspects of this
analytic process and also to consider the strengths and possible limitations of these methods.
Example of methodology in action: The Eastern England Partnership
The project involved partnership between a drama specialist and a dance specialist, and it
was also a partnership between an established teacher in a school and a visiting artist. In the
initial planning meetings the drama teacher, Helen, was eager for Michael as the artist to bring to
the project his experience as a dance specialist and for him therefore to offer pupils a new and
challenging creative experience. This would enable the drama department to extend beyond what
they would normally have the resources and expertise to offer. The teacher and artist undertook
both defined and shifting roles.
Defined roles: The artist planned and led the practical five week project. Decisions on
content, teaching styles, lesson organisation were his. He “drove” the project towards its final
dance presentation and maintained the overall perspective of the work. The teacher was
responsible for the administration of the project and liaising with all partners. She maintained the
“normal” school expectations and rules throughout the project – dress, behaviour, timetable etc
and ensured all pupils were aware of why they were doing the project and expectations of them
within it. She had a more informal relationship with the pupils than Michael during this project
perhaps reflecting her knowledge and experience of working with them, which she also drew on
to provide specific support as and when needed.
Shifting roles: Whilst Michael as artist planned and led the project, both teacher and
artist were actively involved in the practical sessions, in different and constantly shifting roles.
As they worked and researched their activity, they began to notice that this was unspoken and
intuitive rather than structured and planned. A positive relationship based on mutual respect
developed, based upon a prior working relationship, together with increasing awareness of the
defined roles and where these shifted or overlapped.
They reflected over time on how they both valued equality not hierarchy; each with a
very visible presence in the dance studio. Each practitioner, passionate about pupils’ learning
journeys, sought to take on the roles of teacher, leader, supporter, encourager.
The Site-specific Research Question: The partner researchers spent a long time discussing the
areas which they were interested in “unpacking” about their practice in a partnership project.
Areas agreed upon fell into four categories:
1) Developing dance skills and awareness of how dance can be used to express and communicate
ideas and emotions, which build on the physical theatre experience of pupils in drama lessons;
2) How the creative dance experience facilitates the social and emotional development of
3) The value of having an end goal (performance opportunity); a tangible outcome to motivate
learners, possibly deepen quality of creative response and guide overarching teaching structure
4) The benefits and/or disadvantages for learners and teachers of working in vertically grouped
classes (in this case 12-13 year-olds working with 16-17 year-olds)
The researchers wanted to investigate these areas separately and also how their interrelationship
might contribute to the pupils’ learning but they were ultimately gathered together under one
umbrella question for the site encompassing the others: How do we actively create learning
situations which influence/promote creativity/collaboration and independence?
Methods: Across the five week project to address the umbrella site-specific research question,
each session was filmed, a (still) photographic record was made and written observations made
by the lead researcher and partner researchers. Interviews were conducted by the lead researcher
with partner researchers and students, also other adults connected with the project such as the
head teacher. Students also interviewed each other. Partner researchers kept an audio diary
(proving more realistic than keeping a written journal).
Analysis: For Layer 1 analysis, all the interview transcripts were disseminated to the research
team to analyse for key themes. The lead researcher open coded all the adult transcripts and a
Layer 2 triangulation resulting in key themes, which were agreed amongst the site-specific
research team. The partner researchers then returned to a Layer 1 analysis and open coded the
student interviews to complement and focus a photographic analysis. Individually and
collaboratively, the partner researchers made an overview analysis of the 400 photos to make a
selection of 50 which related to the key themes emerging from the transcript analyses. They then
each led an in depth analysis of 5 selected photos, using the “See/Think/Wonder” protocol,
(Tishman & Palmer, 2006). The partner researchers found the ‘See/Think/Wonder’ method to be
a particularly rich, objective and informative way to analyse photographic data from work in
which they had been closely involved as the teacher/artist. The first stage of this protocol –
“What can you see?” guides a factual and objective viewing of the image and results in a series
of factual statements. For example: “four older students are dancing in the centre of the space
whilst around them a mixed age audience are sitting on the floor. The dancers are moving with
energy and vigour as seen by the movement of their hair and active body shapes.” The second
stage of the protocol asks the question “What do you think about that?” and focuses the observer
to make a statement: “I think that”… stimulated by what can be seen. For example: “I think that
the dancers are moving with confidence in front of their audience because of the way they are
spread out and the apparent energy of their movement.” The final stage of the protocol is driven
by asking the question, “What does it make you wonder?” Key themes arising from the
“wonder” stage of analysis provoked Michael as artist to probe much deeper into why he had set
up this performance / observation situation and how it related to the creative journey of the
young people across the project. Both partner researchers felt this was a method of analysis
which, through promoting more and more questions, facilitates and seeing how the emerging
themes of one situation resonate across the project. Each photograph analysed with the
“See/Think/Wonder” protocol was then accompanied by four further photos relating to themes
emerging from the analysis.
For Layer 2 analysis, triangulation of a ‘slice’ of this data was undertaken between the partner
and lead researchers, resulting in a set of agreed codes across the whole data set.
Finally, for Layer 3 analysis, triangulation of a ‘slice’ of the data was undertaken between the
team of three and one other core team member, resulting in a final set of agreed codes in
response to the umbrella site question.
The realities of co-participative research
Reflecting on the example of the Eastern England partnership, together with experience gained in
ongoing analysis occurring in the other three sites, some key issues are surfacing about the co-
participative nature of the study.
Time for the site research teams to meet was difficult and needed planning in advance, in order
to address this both phone and face to face meetings were held to help triangulate the data and
discuss the findings. There was often little opportunity for spontaneous talk during or after the
sessions about the project and therefore both written and taped records were kept by all
researchers as a means of capturing their reflections. The project funding did however ensure
that all partner researchers could allocate time within their normal work schedule to focus on
the analysis process, with half day and full day meetings to share findings and communicate with
the lead researcher.
The amount of data collected across the project can be overwhelming. With the lead researcher
and core team’s help it was possible to prioritise which area would be analysed and by whom,
and how this would then contribute to the team analysis. Some themes emerged which were not
necessarily congruent with the site question/s and had to be put on the back burner.
The team is currently exploring the appropriate terminology and language to use to describe
and share the findings. There is also a tension between using dance specific or project specific
language and communicating our findings to a wider audience in an accessible way.
What have we learned about this methodology?
Finding research spaces, methods and, indeed, means of dissemination within which to
incorporate an acceptance of “partial knowledge” and respect what it means in practice provides
an ongoing challenge for all members of the DPC research team.
Zeichner’s work on a “3rd space”, which recognises the border crossings between the 1st
place perspective of practitioner knowledge and 2nd place perspective of academic knowledge
was a useful starting point for delineating time, space and resource for the DPC lead and partner
researchers to work together, however, we already feel that our understanding of what constitutes
this space has moved on.
The development of the ‘Third Space’ which Zeichner identifies feels in practice
constrained and compromised by the tensions of time and space identified particularly by the
teacher partner researchers as they continue to struggle with the demands of their reality in
schools. As lead researchers the emphasis is placed upon them to maintain the momentum of the
research and whilst attempting to take account of different kinds of knowledge there is
sometimes a tension between the various roles such as critical friend, researcher, and dance
educator. In addition, there is a dynamic of meaning-making which the Third Space concept
perhaps inadequately represents.
Within the sites, there is already a strong, ongoing rolling partnership established between
the dance artist and teacher, into which the lead researchers are stepping. As the research is
unfolding the lead researchers are shifting between two places within this working space. At
times the lead researchers find themselves more at the edge of the space, whilst at other times
they are at the heart and yet simultaneously the edge of this space injecting the particular kind of
criticality and challenge that depth and perspective in research brings. We are becoming
especially interested in the spatiality of interactions in this challenged and challenging Third
Space (Chappell and Craft, 2009). In further theorising the dynamics of these interactions, or
‘learning conversations’ (Chappell and Craft, 2009, 1) we are influenced by Lefebvre’s concept
of ‘lived space’, of open, dynamic, continuous, disordered engagement, with no closures, rather
what Soja (1999), interpreting Lefebvre (1991), calls ‘radical openness’. At this point it seems to
us that the methodology of our work in which learning conversations inhabit space between and
across dyads, teams and institutions, represents living ‘dialogic spaces’ (Chappell and Craft,
2009, 1) echoing the ‘disordering, reconstructing and tentatively reconstituting’ that Lefebvre’s
lived space involves.
Current thinking within the team suggests the dynamics of the living space of dialogue
(developed further in Chappell and Craft, 2009) are related to issues regarding who is taking the
artist/teacher/researcher role at which point, the co-participative balance within each site between
the over-arching umbrella research question, the site’s sub-research question and the day-to-day
creative partnership in the site. These increasingly co-participatively constructed places, role-
taking and balances are still developing during the life of the research and are being carefully
monitored during the team’s methodological and conceptual investigations.
The relationship between theory, practice and reflection is intensified by having an umbrella
question and the inclusion of an additional research layer with each site having its own related
research question. The multiple views and perspectives which are surfacing as we analyse the
data, form part of the living dialogue space that we navigate to negotiate interpretations and
meanings. In some instances the cycles of practice, reflection and analysis are leading to a
deconstruction of the practice in the partnership, in order to rebuild it as the project is happening.
This is both reflective and reflexive as it embraces subjective understandings of the reality in
each site as a basis for thinking more critically about the impact of our assumptions, values, and
actions on others. We are embedded in the socially constructed nature of the reality that is the
partnership and the research.
In undertaking such theoretical approaches, the project team seeks to develop co-constructed
critical pedagogy as we interact with each other in the social construction of our research,
classroom and studio practice.
Linda Rolfe, University of Exeter, England; Michael Platt, Suffolk County Council, England; Veronica
Jobbins, TrinityLaban, England; Professor Anna Craft, University of Exeter, England; Dr Kerry Chappell,
University of Exeter, England; and Helen Wright, formerly Holywells School, currently freelance. This
paper was presented at the CORD Conference by Linda Rolfe, Michael Platt and Veronica Jobbins.
Helen Angove, Rachelle Green, Sian Goss, Bim Malcomson, Melanie Mason-Hoare, Abi Mortimer,
Michael Platt, Caroline Watkins, Carrie Whittaker, Helen Wright
A ‘slice’ denotes a restricted set of multiple data types from within the site
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around dance, the arts and teacher training. She is the founding editor of the journal Research in
Dance Education; a lead assessor for the Council for Dance Education and Training and on the
board of directors for Dance South West.
Michael Platt (Adviser / Teacher / Director / Choreographer) is the Learning and Teaching
Adviser for Social and Emotional Learning for Suffolk’s Inclusive School Improvement Service,
providing creative learning opportunities for young people and teachers, in and through the arts.
He is the director of Suffolk Youth Theatre, one of the regions most innovative youth groups.
Veronica Jobbins is Head of Professional and Community Studies at Laban where she directs
the Education and Community Programme and lectures in Dance Education. She has taken an
active interest in promoting and developing dance in schools and until recently was Chair of the
National Dance Teachers’ Association.
Kerry Chappell (PhD) is the Research Fellow on the DPC and Aspire Research Projects in the
Graduate School of Education at University of Exeter. She is an Associate of the Goldsmiths
University CUCR and the Centre for Advance Training Research Team at Laban. Kerry lectures
and supervises for University of Exeter and Laban and works as a dance-artist when the
Anna Craft is Professor of Education at the University of Exeter and The Open University,
where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on creativity, supervising many
doctoral research students also. She leads the CREATE and Educational Futures research
groups at Exeter, and directs the Dance Partners for Creativity study.
Helen Wright was until recently the Head of Performing Arts at Holywells Secondary School in
Ipswich where she reintroduced Drama to the curriculum in 2007. An ongoing member of the
DPC team, Helen is currently travelling internationally.