Monday, 12 May 2014

The moment of truth !

I'm sure we are all in the same position right now, debating whether we have done enough? Will they understand my concept? Did I pick the right inquiry topic?

It's all done now and all we need to do is wait! But after doing so much work it's hard to sit back and relax while someone else decides the fate of your work! However I am going to make the most of it.

Doing this so far away from home has brought on many challenges all of which I have faced and moved forward with. The next challenge lies ahead with the presentation but in comparison to what we have just done I think it will be a walk in the park! Until it comes to calling/skyping the university!

But that's another challenge in itself.

Keep and eye out for my presentation and I'm planning a power point so will post the slides on here!

Also if anyone wants to look at my artefact type in Hannah Stewart professional artefact to YouTube and it's now uploaded on there:)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How to sum up our learning journey!

I'm sure I am not the only one who feels like they have come a millions miles since our first ever campus session back in September 2012! 

Through out the process we have all grown not only as professionals but people too.

When it came to writing my critical review it seemed impossible to put into words how far we have come. It's not something you can measure easily but more of a feeling. One which only you can understand however I will try my best to sum it up into words.

I now feel like a professional who has the skills to excel in my choosesn practice as well as the skills to help me achieve milestones my personal life. This BAPP is very well designed as from day one I have been on a journey of self development and accomplishment, anyone who got their hands on my learning journal would be able to see the small steps I took personally and my blog from day one is evidence of my academic and professional milestones. 

Even once our submission date has come upon us I will continue to strive for greatness utilising everything I have learnt along the way. For example I am already thinking ahead towards August which will be when I am unemployed. I have actively been connecting with my networks since my short break in January so that when I return in August I either have something lined up or have plenty of auditions. Also in our industry it's important to be in the know and know what's coming up production wise and whos casting what so it's vital I connect with my communities of practice and use social media to keep on top of all that too. 

I will also take away personal achievement and accomplishment come graduation day. Although this course is designed to be working professionally along side it, it doesn't mean it doesn't come with hard work and an up hill struggle. This last module for me has present exactly that for me. Having been on board a cruise ship it has presented me with many challenges. First of all the last 6 weeks have involved installing all of our shows so I have been battling a rigorous rehersal schedule as well as performing in our usual shows. Because of that we have also had limited port time as that is when the theatre is normally free, therefor my access to decent Internet has also been limited which has meant I have had to be extremely organised within my planning. Also our schedule is likely change at any minute so it means I have to be flexible about when I work, and sadly sometimes that means yet again less port and good Internet time, so it's vital to work quickly and efficiently when I do have it! 

Time management is an important professional skill but also a very useful life skill too, I feel expecially after tackling module three I can happily say I excell with in this area!! 

I am excited to complete my degree and to also see what is around the corner. Our industry can be very unpredictable which can cause several worries on many different levels however with the tools I am now equipt with I feel I am ready to handle anything that may be thrown my way! 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Oral Feedback

Feeling a million miles away, I decided it was time to touch base with Paula.

I emailed her with a very rough draft of my work and we decided I would attempt to call her from the ship. Although we were presented with a few difficulties, the phone cutting out, delay, and on occasions not being able to hear her, we ended up having a very productive chat. Which left me with some pointers and some research to be done.


I had managed to look upon alot of outside sources when looking into acquiring expertise but hadn't looked closely to dance related experts. This brought me to exploring dance practitioners. When it comes to acting and you speak about practitioners Stanislavsky comes to mind, with in dance its a little bit harder. Today I have focussed my research into dance practitioners and finding out their point of view on acquiring expertise. Also looking into what they have done for the world of dance and how they have all given something to our industry.

Many whom I'm sure you have all heard of came to mind and arose within my research the main three included ;

Martha Graham
Twyla Tharp
Matthew Bourne

Also some of them more personal, including where I trained and have either been taught by or worked with ;

Betty Laine and Laine Theatre Arts
Penny Withers and the Scottish Ballet

Choreographers include ;

Peter Darling, (Whom I worked with in Billy Elliot the musical and has choreographed such works as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate factory)

All of these sources have either come from my personal training and experience or have effected the wider world of dance and how we work and train. Martha Graham even has a technique named after her and went on to influence the likes of Twyla Tharp who has produced many well rounded pieces of work as well as supporting a dance company, just like Martha Graham.

This quote by Martha Graham stood out for me ;

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”

I would be interested to hear who you feel is a dance practitioner and what they have done to influence dance.

About the writing!..

Paula and I also discussed that with in the report of the Inquiry its important to 'STATE THE OBVIOUS' and not to be afraid in doing so. The people who will ultimately be reading this don't know anything regarding context, who we are, how we came up with the ideas etc, how we went form a to d ? All of these things need explained. Something simple you may feel is irrelevant may help the reader understand where you are coming from. Also they don't know how you know things and how you have gained your inside knowledge, for all they know you could be making it all up so its important to show them how you know ? Just a brief explanation in the intro perhaps or if its too long add in an appendix! Thats what they are there for !


Im not sure about anyone else but the bibliography of all my sources completely slipped my mind. Its vital the reader knows how we came to our conclusions and what information we used to get there. Paula reminded me and now I am collecting all my sources in order to create my bibliography. She suggested about 10-20 which I think is the range of what I have so on the right tracks there.

Would be grateful to hear any thoughts and opinions of follow bloggers on any of the subjects above!

If only time and resources weren't an issue!

Today I have been researching Martha Graham one of the great dance practitioners. While researching her I came across a journal from a member of her company. The was the journal is put together fascinated me and opened many possibilities for an artefact. If time and internet were not an issue I would strive to create something like this.

Check out the link below and let me know your thoughts on this interactive journal.


If the constraints mean I stick to my original artefact plan I will strive to continue producing something like this even after the Inquiry is submitted as I think it would bring a lot of value to the project in hand.

I also think it would be a great tool for future BAPP's to use as a way of keeping track of their learning journal in a more interactive way. It would also be a great tool to share more personal thoughts and learning processes with the rest of their peers.

I would love to know what you think about this so please comment below!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Thinking ahead

Although there is still plenty of time to think about our oral presentation I am already having thoughts on how to present mine.

Due to the fact I am currently cruising around the world, being there in person is not an option. Also because of the wifi being so bad I won't be able to do it on Skype. I will however be able to do it over the phone using the one situated in my cabin. 

Although this Is not ideal it is the best option for me , both Paula and I have discussed it and feel this is the way to go. 

As part of my presentation I want to create a slide share, I find the ones Paula does for the campus sessions really informative and helpful so I feel I want to do something similar. Also if the phone line cuts out which it has a tendency to do, or the signals really bad atleast my audience will have something to look at and focus on while we're reconnecting. Moreover I think it will help me in the process of creating the presentation and enable me to present something that makes sense from start to finish. 

I know I'm thinking very far ahead but in my working environment I feel I need to be one step ahead as circumstances on the ship can change very suddenly. 

Once I have concluded my findings and finished the professional inquiry I will start to form the slide share and during its work in progress will post certain parts and hope for some constructive feedback. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tools and resources I have used throughout the inquiry process

Through out the inquiry process I have used several tools and resources. Everything we have learnt from module one onwards has came in to play at some point in time as well as many others.

To begin pulling everything together I decided to draw a spider gram 

Due to the lack of resources I have currently onboard the ship the scan is not of a very good quality how ever it gives you a good idea of the amount on aspects that we have relied on. 

Just glancing at the spider gram you can see all the different tools and resources that immediately came to mind, I may have missed a few off accidentally, for example networking however it highlights to me how far I have come from module 1. Before we started if you had handed me this list I wouldn't have understood the importance of them not only for our inquiry process but ultimately for our professional practice.

When embarking on this journey I remember feeling apprehnsive when hearing the term Net Savvy or trying to set up a blog, now these terms along with many others have become second nature, something of which at the beginning I would have never of thought. However something I have now come to realise they can be very valuable tools to help us evolve our expertise. 

Everything we have learnt from day one onwards has become a part of this professional inquiry we are currently producing, and everything resource and tool we are applying now will continue to help us even once the submission date has loomed upon us.

Being a professional dancer and self employed means we are our own boss, so we are in charge of our self development and progression as professionals. The tools above which we have been exposed to can now play a key part in this, and for that I am very thankful to Middlesex University and the work based learning course for enabling me to realise the importance of these and how they can effect my practice. 

Please comment if you feel there are some tools or resources you think I should add in, and then I will post a new and improved version?!

Campus sessions

Due to the fact I can't physically get to the campus sessions I have been reading up on Paula's blog for old ones so I can keep in the loop and on top of my work. 

The first three which I have followed have been a great help. Paula has produced slide shares which I was able to download and follow offline. They are all full of vast amounts of information which has proved very useful. Due to module three being such a project it was a great help to realise it's not as big of a monster as you make out it to be in your head. 

Campus session 1

Before delving into the inquiry Paula asks us what we think a professional inquiry is?

In my opinion it's a journey in which we produce a piece of work by using many resources and tools which we can be proud of, it also sets us up with skills in which we can take onto other aspects of outright life's and professional careers. also within the context of the course it's something to help us within our professional practice too. 

Paula's own definition highlighted the importance of learning, developing, evolving, problem solving, reflecting and progressing through a process. These factors sum up my journey all the way from module one! 

In the first campus session Paula reminds us that we must not stress! It's important to identify milestones and decide on our actions in order to remain stress free and focused. A very important point I feel, I often find myself stressing but once I have sorted out the tasks in hand and figure out how to complete them it all seems less daunting. 

During the campus there is a lot of talking about the analysis of both literature and data, both are important as they form the basis of the inquiry. Paula mentions Theory's that we have previously touched upon in readers through out the course! I myself have been reading Blaxter and Hughes 'How to Research' (4th edition) I have found the methodologies mentioned in their book very helpful and we be applying some of them to my own Inquiry.

Through out the campus session there are tasks set out for pairs to discuss their work. I carried out these tasks with some of my professional peers with whom I work with. All the tasks were very helpful and informative. 

Campus session two 

This session focuses more on the structure of the professional inquiry and the importance that the literature we gather holds.

The literature not only expands our knowledge and understanding around the subject ares it also gives the inquiry validity and a reference in which you can use when analysing your findings.

Paula gives us a few tips - 

shape the writing In according to your needs to explain what you are doing.
Develop writing that's more efficient with fewer words.
Read aloud, be clear at stating your point of view.

In short be meaningful and concise 

It was pointed out how important the introduction can be, also what it should entail.
The best piece of advice I took from this was that it's important to define the vocabulary and terms used throughout the inquiry. Many words often evoke different meanings, making it important to iron out exactly what you mean for your readers, as it's vital they understand exactly what you are trying to say. 

Paula explains analysis by showing a triangle of data, below are my notes on the triangle. This visual aid helps me link all the data together.

The session also highlights other aspect that you gain from analysing data but don't immediately think of, for example did any further inquiry topics arise or did you conduct or plan any activities/events/interventions that used what you found out from the inquiry .

Campus session three

During this session there is talk about how data can be gathered an displayed, ethics, reporting certain understandings in order to draw conclusions more or analysis and the critical reflection. 

The most important things I took from these slide shares were the guidelines on analysing interviews and how to manage the data for both interviews and focus groups as these both play a big part of my inquiry. 

Three of the main points I picked up on were,

1. A good way to catogerize complex data gathered from interviews is to look at themes that are emerging.

2. It's vital to organise that data in an organised way so that comparisons, contrasts and evaluations can be made.

3. The main aim is finding the meanings of the evidence presented. 

In regards to managing data Paula mentions a very valid point, it's important to keep all tapes and transcribed data not only in a safe place but to keep it until the end of the process just Incase the university need to check up on it. 

To conclude the third campus session the critical reflection is touched upon.

It is of the upmost importance as it serves the purpose of showing your learning journel to the academics. This course is designed so we can undertake it while working professionally, and an important part for the university is that we show we have learnt equally as much undertaking this course than we would have done being sat in the university for four years. 

The critical reflection is a self analysis of our learning through out the process. It is an opportunity to explain how and if we have acquired new knowledge and understanding on several topics, our selfs, our jobs, our workplace, our communities of practice. 

We are able to air our own views and opinions on how we have evolved as both a person and a professional from module one to the present day. More over the effect this course has had on our future and how our professional practice has been affected.


Obviously there is a lot more to the campus's sessions that what I have summarised but I took what I believed to be the most important segments to share with you. 

I look forward to downloading sessions 4 and 5 when I get my next good serge of wifi!