Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nesta, Ugly Betty and other TV moments

Disclaimer: one or two popular culture type references which will be meaningless to some are included.

Last Monday I took the slow train down to London - I was heading for the launch of the HEA, NESTA and NCGE funded ‘Creating Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship education for the Creative Industries' research. En route I bumped into someone else who was also attending. As we headed over to Nesta together they asked if I'd ever seen 'Ugly Betty?' (U.S TV show for the uninitiated) "Yes, why?" I said. "You'll see" they said. Low and behold the NESTA HQ could have been a set; from the all white, glass covered surfaces right down to the 'blue tooth head-setted' receptionist. I did chuckle.

Here the similarities ended as proceeding and eye ware took on a more serious nature (sorry so many funky/fashionable glasses in one room was heady). Anyway enough of this trivia. The presentation of the authors offered a little insight into what had been found, and from early indicators it would seem that little in terms of 'know-how' and 'evidence of what works?' has changed in the last year (since our Creative Enterprise conference findings were published)- although the extensive evidence base is very welcome and I shall certainly make use if it in my own work(they interviewed and consulted widely across creative inds HE).

Sir Christopher Frayling, the Rector of the Royal College of Art and Chair of the Arts council made a point about the ‘importance of the practitioner teacher with in art and design’ and that ‘there seemed to be little research out there that had picked up on this’. I was struggling to keep quiet at this point as in January I presented a paper at the MeCCSA-AMPE 2007conference making this very point having analysed various strands of data that highlighted the teacher as practitioner influence and potential entrepreneurial role-model.. aaggh. As a good colleague of mine says: 'if it isn't published, it didn't happen', or something like that. That said a version of this paper should be published in the next 12 months.

Later that day I had another TV moment as I checked myself into the Travelodge in Lancaster, having disembarked my London to Lancaster train sometime shortly after midnight all suddenly felt very Alan Partridge. The Travel lodge in Lancaster doesn’t boast proximity to the lake district as other Lancastrian hotels do. No it boasts access to a Burger King as it is situated in a motorway services. Nothing ‘Mode magazine’ about that I can promise you!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Travels and thoughts

I have been extremely busy in the last couple of months. To give a flavour of life as a researcher, at least where I work, here is a snap shot of my working life. I am in the process of completing the evaluation of the TE3 project, this has been a fascinating insight into what appears to have been a really successful multi-university collaboration looking at technology enhanced enterprise education (hence the three Es). Well on Monday evening, following a flying visit to London to hear the HEA and nesta research findings of creative entrepreneurship I am off to Lancaster to the Symposium: Engaging HEIs in business and the community: A learning perspective where I will be presenting a paper co-authored with Dr Kelly Smith from Birmingham University. I am back in Birmingham from Thursday and hoping to get back on track with some of my other projects specifically the MA in Media Enterprise course which I am involved in some research work - you may recall the Creative Enterprise conference last year, we are now in the process of putting together a follow up conference for next year (please do email for any info) as well as this I am going back to the students to interview them as part of my tracking their progress.

Last week I was in Sardinia on a study visit for the Agender project (Challenging gender stereotypes in the work place). Apart from 30 degree blue sky conditions we got taken on a tour of various incubator projects and university spin-offs, a trip to Tiscalli's head quarters and all the projects we were taken around had a focus on supporting women and in most instances in new technologies or entrepreneurship. Sardinia have similar issues to the West Midlands in terms of graduate retention but very high unemployment, currently 10%. It's interesting some of the schemes they have for attracting ex-Sardinians back. While away I got an email through from EQUAL works an organisation that flag up good practice that the funding has generated (the ESF EQUAL funding that funded the Agender project). I was a little surprised to see this little gem (apparently I don't look like this in real-life... I do hope not).

Other things that are bubbling under and which I will no doubt mention in more depth soon are the 'post graduate researcher teaching course' I am doing, a possible cross-faculty project I have some involvement in and service design - a new project for the university which I am learning more about.

And breath....oh yes my PhD 14 x hours per week. I think my daughter thinks my laptop is attached to me!