Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Creative Enterprise 2008: Part 2

I am astonished to find a whole week has passed and I haven't managed to complete this feedback from the conference! Here is what I said I'd cover:

- Some of the great student presentations
- My own presentation
- The dynamic duo (otherwise known as Kath and Andy Penaluna)
- Other longitudinal research
and the final panel discussion

So following Linda Ball's outline of research, past and present. Some very engaging students and beneficiaries presented their businesses within the context of the support they received. I was reminded about how hearing some authentic stories from ‘the front’ can really put some meat on the bones of this type of , otherwise relatively academic, conference. The students were two from the MA Media Enterprise, run by Birmingham City University and two from the NESTA Insight Out programme. What was nice was to get to hear some brief comparison between the two styles of provision.

Back in 2006 (Creative Enterprise 2006) Gaynor Richards reported on the DCMS findings, which identified 5 unique styles of enterprise provision for creative disciplines these were:

- Curriculum Embedded Assimilated /Bolt-on
- Extra-curricular activities
- Post-Graduate Courses
- Continuing Professional Development
- External Agency Provision

Here we got to hear some of the ways in which students benefited from these different styles. They also highlighted some key aspects of the provision which have been most useful, namely, the application of the course work to their actual business and career development 'I used my own company as the case study'. Other key things were the access to networks and networking and the increase in confidence they all felt.

After a really very good lunch we broke into workshops. I was in a strand looking at the research side and pedagogical considerations. Here I presented some early findings from a piece of research I have been involved in since 2006. I work in a business school and since 2006 (just before the last conference) I have been seconded (just a day a week) to our school of art and design. Here I have had a research role and have been capturing the entrepreneurial learning and the journey of the first cohort of students on the afore mentioned MA in Media Enterprise. I presented some of the early indicators again highlighting all the things the students had mentioned plus some issues around success criteria (i.e. if a students leaves to start a business - that's a success right? unless you are a big institution teaching that student maybe?) this raised a bunch of issues around whether universities are the best place to teach enterprise and was picked apart in more detail in the Big Debate later on.

After me were Kath and Andy Penaluna. I've seen this pair present before and generally speaking they are a breath of fresh air in the big academic conferences, where one frequently sits through seemingly endless papers and PowerPoint presentations. They describe themselves as a left and right brain couple and stood each in their respective sides of the room. Andy the left, the creative and Kath, the right and ex-bank manager. What was great was how their own story, which they regaled, highlighted some significant differences in approach from a traditional business school approach to an art and design approach to teaching and learning generally and teaching enterprise specifically. Again this simulated a lot of questions about the role of the business school in all of this.

Finally Antonia Walker gave an interim view on some research she has been carrying out at Bath Spa University. This is a longitudinal study capturing the perceptions and aspirations of students, tracked through their lifetime within the university. Here she is capturing a more real picture of what students’ imagine they will be doing once they graduate. This will certainly prove to be a telling and important part of the overall picture as this field of research matures.

In the late afternoon I was joined by Andy Penaluna and Sian Prime (now a freelance consultant but previously she headed up the NESTA Academy), between us we responded to questions from the audience and from Dr Paul Long who chaired this more open, panel debate. The discussion ranged from what constitutes an entrepreneurial university? to how creativity, education and enterprise can meet. If anyone has any further comments or feedback on this or the other parallel session please do 'comment'.

That's it for now.

A paper about the last conference abstract here.
A paper about characteristics of art and design education and implicit enterprise education

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