Using & Cultivating Imagination new #creativeHE conversation > Join us!

Using & Cultivating Imagination
April 15-21st 2018
#creativeHE Google+ Forum
We believe the ability to imagine – to envision the possible – lies at the core of being human and living a fulfilling life. It is also essential to being an effective and creative parent, teacher or any other practitioner.
This #CreativeHE conversation, during World Creativity and Innovation Week, will explore some of the ways imagination features in our lives and how educators can encourage and enable learners to use and develop their imaginations.
Through the conversation we are seeking to gain a better understanding of what using imagination means to participants in educational, work and other settings, and how they stimulate and cultivate their own imaginations and the imaginations of others.
From the perspective of educators, teachers and professional developers we seek imaginative examples of how they use and develop their own imaginations, how they engage learners and/or peers, and how they practice imaginative pedagogy.
1 Why is your imagination important to you? What concepts of imagination do you hold and how are these concepts useful and relevant in your everyday life? (We need to establish why this topic is worth discussing. We are hoping for some practical illustrations that connect the abstract to the concrete. We can provide some background reading on concepts).
2 What is the role of imagination in your discipline or area of work? How do you use your imagination in your practice? (We are hoping for some practical illustrations that connect the idea of imagination to the concrete imaginings and doings of people. We welcome visual representations of what using imagination means in your everyday practice).
3 Imagination Challenge.  Sometimes we need to change our contexts (eg actual locations, ways of engaging, practicing or thinking) to get our imaginations going; we need to purposefully step outside of our typical practices to more easily envision new possibilities and alternative perspectives.
The goal of this challenge is to stimulate the imagination of someone else and the challenge requires you to literally (and figuratively) get outside.  We want you to take a walk with wonder and curiosity with something in mind that you teach or you might help someone else learn
If you are a teacher or educational developer seek the affordances for teaching/learning this topic outside. What imaginative task or activity might your students do while outside (walking or in stillness) that could enhance their imaginative engagement and meaning-making and enable their creativity to flourish. 
Alternatively, perhaps you are a parent/guardian or grandparent, or an auntie or uncle, seek the affordances for teaching/learning something outside. What imaginative task or activity might your son/daughter, grandchild, nephew/niece do while outside that could enhance their imaginative engagement and enable their creativity to flourish. 
If neither of these scenario’s works for you, perhaps you can imagine a scenario in which you engage the imaginations of some friends while out on a walk.
Please plan to share your idea(s) and engage with others at the end of the week. (Note: This challenge is inspired by a resource called The Walking Curriculum: Evoking Wonder And Developing Sense of Place (K-12). The author, Gillian Judson, plans to develop the ideas in collaboration with educators in Higher Education.
4 In your practice as an educator, teacher or professional developer what types of activities stimulate the imaginations of the people you teach or help to learn and why and how do such activities engage people in this way? (We welcome specific illustrations drawn from your own experience. In the discussion we might draw out the characteristics of such activities and practices?)
5 In your practice as an educator, teacher or professional developer how do you show that you value the imaginations of the people you teach or help to learn? How does imagination feature in your assessments of learning and achievement? (We welcome specific illustrations drawn from your own experience).
6 Imagination ChallengeSharing & Dialogue. Today please share with our group how you responded to our imaginative challenge!  If possible include some images or a narrative that indicates how changing the context for learning—moving outside your typical teaching space—sparked imaginative ideas for engaging your students, or members of your family or friends, in learning.

On behalf of Gillian Judson and Norman Jackson



Can you explain what helps you to become an excellent teacher?

This request has been posted to a Jiscmail list, and we thought it might be of interest to more people. Please contact the authors directly if you are interested in contributing.

“We are inviting short case studies on what enables someone to develop their teaching. This is for the second edition of Kahn & Walsh’s (now Kahn & Anderson) Developing your Teaching, and we would like to refresh the case studies. The book is part of Routledge’s popular Key Guides for Effective Teaching in Higher Education series, edited by Kate Exley.

Do you have an anecdote or incident on how you have developed your teaching that you could share? Case studies were a well-received feature of the first edition, with a high profile within the book. Contributing a case study in this way can provide greater exposure for your ideas, and your name and institutional affiliation will be included within the text.

We would like to see a focus on the processes of developing your teaching. What is it that has enabled you to demonstrate excellence in your teaching? We are looking for case studies that link to the chapter titles below. We are also interested in case studies that are co-authored with students. 

  • Case studies should be around 500 words in length, with a take away message. 
  • Your case study should be submitted to Peter or Lorraine (see below) by Friday 4th May 2018
  • You are welcome to discuss your ideas with us before putting your case study together.
  • We will be in a position to let you know by the middle of June whether your case study will be included in the book (with publication by early 2019).
  • Please feel free to share this call with your colleagues.
  1. Introduction: The Teaching Landscape
  2. Securing a Teaching Qualification
  3. The Disciplinary and Professional Dimension
  4. A Partnership with Students
  5. Engaging with Reflective Practice
  6. Shifting Collective Practice
  7. Connecting to Drivers for Change
  8. Taking a Lead in Teaching
  9. Creating Impact through Researching your Practice
  10. Claiming Teaching Excellence
  11. Career-Long Enhancement
  12. Conclusion: Stretching the Boundaries

Why not take a look at the first edition at Google Books ? 

Dr Peter Kahn, Director, Centre for Higher Education Studies, University of Liverpool

Dr Lorraine Anderson, Assistant Director Student Services & Head of the Academic Skills Centre, University of Dundee” 

next #creativeHE meetup on the 16th of March! All welcome ;)

GooglePlusLogoA warm and open invitation to join the next #creativeHEmeetup on the 16th of March!

#creativeHE is an open collaborative community for creative and innovative practitioners which exists online at through which a series of events and courses have been offered by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Creative Academic and facilitators from a range of institutions nationally and internationally.

We will continue connecting, collaborating, experimenting and learning together online this year and have just launched the Creativity in Practice project led by Prof. Norman Jackson.

This academic year, we have introduced meetups in the North-West in collaboration with the University of Salford and the University of Manchester.

Our next meetup will take place at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 16th of March, 12-2pm in the John Dalton Building E249 on Oxford Road. The focus of this meetup is the creative use social media. Please bring your ideas along to share them with a wider audience. Staff, students and the wider public, all very welcome.

For more information and to register, please access We are very much looking forward to seeing you there.

More info about the #creativeHE initiative:

It aims to support pedagogical rebels and free-thinking innovators in experimenting with, developing, sharing and getting support for novel learning and teaching ideas as well as initiate and disseminate research activity around these that have the power to transform the student and staff experience within and beyond institutional boundaries.

This community is open to anyone who would like to join, academic staff, students and the wider public. All who have an interest in creative and innovative approaches to teaching and helping others learn.

We meet physically on a monthly basis, each time at a different institution. During our meetups, we will have the opportunity to get to know each other, share and grow new ideas, take risks and support each other in our creative adventures, experiment and play, as well as test and develop pedagogical ideas and identify ways to take them forward.

We will continue using the #creativeHE online community space which now supports and connects a global community of over 600 people. Furthermore, this space will offer additional opportunities for professional development through online discussions, events and courses that are organised through #creativeHE, the Creative Academic and the wider academic community. The openly licensed #101creativeideas project will help us collect and share our ideas and the pedagogic innovators project (#pin) to engage in related research activities.

We suggest that each meetup features time for socialising. As the meetups will all be free and open, we encourage each participant to bring a gift of food and/or non-alcoholic drinks to share with other participants. Homemade and more healthy contributions are very welcome as are foods from different cultures. In this simple way we aim to encourage sharing of the many cultures that make up our society.

The institutional contact will coordinate the monthly gathering and a booking system will be in place through CELT at Manchester Metropolitan University. If you would like to become a #creativeHE champion in your institution, please get in touch with us.

We are really looking forward to seeing you again online and locally,

Chrissi on behalf of the #creativeHE team


Update after the meetup

This time we discussed the creative use of social media for learning and teaching. This topic emerged directly through conversations we had during a previous meetup and I think it is a wonderful way to come-up with a focus instead of randomly picking one. It was a smaller group this time but the conversations and sharing were deep. A colleague from Bournemouth university joined us and engaged us in a series that of drawing activities based on her doctorate real research. While these were low tech, we did make the connection to social media and how we could use these as well to add a digital dimension to create alternative and additional opportunities for expression, sharing and collaborative drawing. We could see parallels to the use of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY but also differences and agreed that drawing is a valuable tool in our toolkit that can be interwoven into classroom practice, in and outside the classroom, in the physical and online classroom. Our next meetup is in May at the University of Salford. 

The call for NTF applications is now open!

Dear colleagues,

hea_sia_jpg_fit_to_width_inlineWe would like to inform you that the Higher Education Academy has made an announcement that the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTF) and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) will be offered again this year. The official call for the NTF opened on the 12th of February and the deadline for institutional submission is the 30th of April. The CATE call will open on the 5th of March with further information released then.

CELT has created a special section for colleagues and teams to submit their expressions of interest via a webform to be considered for a National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) or Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) application.

Expression of interest for an NTF application

Expression of interest for CATE application

On the NTF page, you will find the HEA NTF guidelines under Applying for Fellowship

 National Teaching Fellowship support event

This will take place on the  the 8th of March at 11am at Manchester Metropolitan University. Colleagues from Manchester Met and from across the region are very welcome to join this.

Please register at

Further support events have been scheduled across the UK. Please follow the tweet below.


Colleagues from CELT will then be in touch and support individuals and teams before a decision at institutional level is made, about which applications will be submitted to the Higher Education Academy.

The institution is entitled to put forward three NTF applications and one CATE application.

Please share this message with colleagues and teams who deserve to be recognised for their excellence in teaching nationally.

Creativity in the Making March 6-20, 2018 #creativeHE conversation! Join us!

Creativity in the Making March 6-20, 2018
Led by John Rae & Norman Jackson
GooglePlusLogoCreative Academic is exploring the idea of creativity in practice. In this #creativeHE conversation we are inviting participants to make artefacts in response to any life context or situation,  document and reflect on their making process, and how creativity featured in it.
‘Artefact’ is a term that is used to refer to items created or resulting from human action and activity as well as a central concept in the study of practice. Practice is often seen as the production of artefacts (Díaz-Kommonen et al 2004).  The artefacts we produce might be artistic works, crafts, something from the digital world, a song, poem or story, a dance or indeed anything that the maker is inspired to create.
3813913We will consider making to be a process of material thinking — ‘an intellectual adventure’ (Carter, 2004, p. XI), where invention ‘is located neither after nor before the process but in the performance itself’ (Carter, 2007, p. 19). Our challenge, then, will be to think of our artefacts less as products of creativity and more as a means for accessing and using creativity. The ‘artistic or aesthetic quality’ of the artefacts we make, will be a secondary consideration and our primary concern will be the process of making and the insights we gain into how our creativity features in the process of making.
This #creativeHE inquiry will extend over two weeks between March 6-20 and it will include the following stages:
1. An introductory conversation over three days will allow for a platform to be built (or made) by drawing on some relevant literature and by considering illustrations. 
2. A middle period of seven days will allow for our actual making (as individuals or in groups), as well as personal reflection on the process of making. 
3. The final ‘synthesis and reflection period’ of about 4 days will provide an opportunity for each person or group to present or exhibit their artefact and share their reflections about how ideas, feelings and meanings emerged and actions were shaped through making. As part of this synthesis participants will be invited to make and share a map, of their own thinking and making process and how their creativity featured in the process. The map can be in any style or format and it is a mediating artefact to help explain your own process.
After the conversation we will curate the narratives and artefacts that have been shared through Creative Academic Magazine.
We hope that this approach will surface some interesting ecological (connections, relationships and interactions) perspectives on creativity in practice. Our intention is to curate the outcomes from this making process in a special issue of Creative Magazine – ‘Creativity in the Making?’

Join the #creativeHE community for this conversation here.

Díaz-Kommonen, L. et al (2004) Expressive artefacts and artefacts of expression. Working Papers in Art and Design 3 available at :
Carter, P. (2007). Interest: The ethics of invention. In E. Barrett & B. Bolt (Eds.), Practice as research: Approaches to creative arts enquiry (pp. 15-25). London: I. B. Tauris.

Make my Valentine workshop at @mmu_cheshire > All welcome, staff and students! Join us ;)

Staff and students are warmly invited to a unique Wellbeing workshop with our very own Gail Spencer on the 14th of February 12-2 pm in Seeley 0.20 to immerse themselves into creative making activities using clay and other materials, for relaxation and regeneration of our minds and bodies. We decided to combine this with our monthly GooglePlusLogo#creativeHE meetup to open-it up to colleagues and students around the region.

Come along with your ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Get inspired by others!

Create something unique for you and a loved one.

We would like this to be the first in a series of workshops to come together more regularly and co-create an artwork that reflects our lives on the Cheshire campus. Come along to explore future workshops together.

Gail, Chrissi and Mike

After the workshop

Our fifth meetup took place at the ManMet campus in Cheshire. It was on Valentine’s day and it was a makers workshop. Gail Spencer immersed us into a range of creative activities using printmaking, clay, handmade paper, sewing. It was a wonderful experience and very relaxing. We all had the chance to immerse ourselves in making art through which we demonstrated our love, love to create and also started exploring how art could create stimulating learning and teaching experiences. There is so much potential to use art- and making-based learning approaches to create hands-on immersive learning experiences that help us express in creative ways. 

Research seminar: Moderation of dissertations and project reports: an alternative approach

On Wednesday 24 January, we were visited by Dr Ender Özcan and Dr Carmen Tomas from the University of Nottingham for a research seminar about moderation. Ender is an assistant professor of Operational Research and Computer Science with the Automated Scheduling, Optimisation and Planning (ASAP) research group in the School of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham, and the level 3 and level 4 undergraduate project coordinator for the School. Carmen is the Assessment Adviser for the University of Nottingham and works on the Teaching Transformation Programme leading on the area of assessment.

Ender and Carmen explained about their implementation of a novel approach to moderation of dissertations and project reports. Carmen explained the background to the project, which aims to ensure consistency and confidence in determining final grades. Like all the best projects, the assessment advisor and the head of computer science found that they were thinking along the same lines and were able to combine forces to create a new approach. I may be over-simplifying here, but the process goes something like this: the supervisor first-marks the assignment and submits a grade. At the same time, three colleagues read the submission in less depth. Each allocates the assignment to a grade band and submits this. Ender then compares the median marks. If the grades are in the same band, as 79% are (16% were identical), then the supervisor’s mark stands. If there is a wide gap, then the project is systematically referred to a full second marking. If there is more than six marks of difference across the markers, then the panel meets to discuss the final grade.

Student submissions are 15,000 words each. Each panel member reviews around 28 submissions and reported that they took between 10 and 30 minutes to review each one, compared to 90 minutes for a full, detailed, grading with feedback production.

Following the seminar, we had a lively debate about the pros and cons of introducing such an approach at Manchester Met. We talked about how this approach would mitigate the risk of single/bilateral marking groups. We also talked about whether it would mask weaker supervision, because the extreme grades may get removed during the process. Ender and Carmen said that there are now more first class marks than there used to be, but that this may be because of the simultaneous introduction of an analytic rubric.

Our thanks to Carmen and Ender for coming over to present to us and for engaging in a stimulating and robust discussion.