If you looked at my publications, my research agenda might look somewhat haphazard. But it’s not. I’m interested in change which makes life chances and everyday life better for the people that policy and social institutions generally do badly by and for. That means that my research might focus on groups of people who are having a hard time in times of austerity, or on practices that are affirming and offer horizons of hope and possibility.
To put it another way, I’m interested in how ‘stuff” that is currently elite (what we might all high cultural and social capitals) can be made more widely available… how education writ very broadly can benefit more people, how the arts can be something for everyone and so on. I’ve been concerned with trying to make the ‘games’ that lead to the acquisition of elite cultural and social capitals visible and comprehensible and do – able. So my work on the arts sits under this umbrella, as does that on research methods and doctoral writing, and that of school and community change. As part of this broad agenda I’ve been particularly working in recent times on how organisations and communities change. Sometimes I do deconstructive policy analyses. Ive also been thinking about change via social media.
And in order to make this work more accessible Ive been looking at how we can ‘see’ and understand what happens when people are engaged in (broadly defined) learning experiences. How are they changed? What do we look for to understand what is happening?
This interest has led me to questions of formative evaluation and how we make judgements about what counts as ‘impact’ and ‘value’. I mainly pursue this question through ethnographic and case study research. Ive most recently worked on this question in relation to community theatre and in work on professional development and public engagement in galleries and museums.
You can see some of this work archived online:
Performing Impact. a project looking at how arts projects might be evaluated.
TALE – Tracking arts learning and engagement, with the Royal Shakespeare Company Education and Tate Learning, funded by Arts Council England.
Quality in alternative education, a project funded by the Princes Trust.
Filming Live Art as research method – a cultural value project funded by the AHRC which looks at how we can understand young people’s understandings of the value of learning about live art.