Cross-sector conversations & constellations
Published on 19.03.19
This short post reflects on exciting times for FE and collegeHE research. It considers how far a mixture of existing networks and digital platforms can sustain conversations and create new ones. It was great to be invited to the Learning Skills Research Network (LSRN) meeting in London last Thursday. LSRN have been going since 1996. The group continues to be run
This short post reflects on exciting times for FE and collegeHE research. It considers how far a mixture of existing networks and digital platforms can sustain conversations and create new ones.
It was great to be invited to the Learning Skills Research Network (LSRN) meeting in London last Thursday. LSRN have been going since 1996. The group continues to be run by a small team of volunteers, who work or have worked across the post-16 sector. Importantly, they have remained independent and stable in what has been a period of great change across this large and diverse sector.
It’s lovely at LSRN meets to catch up with people already known from online networks, like Jo Fletcher-Saxon, of Ashton Sixth form College, who organises FE Researchmeets, and Paula Jones. It is also great to meet new people and hear about new initiatives. I met Bryony Evett-Hackfort, who is developing a culture of research and scholarship at Coleg Sir Gar, and also managed to discuss the forthcoming AoC HE Research and Scholarship conference with Phil Miller from New College Durham from The Scholarship Project.
Face-to-face meetings help us share ideas, but equally valuable are digital spaces, for example the fabulous matrix of constellations by Lou Mycroft,which signposts to conference and events, and (for collegeHE) on The Scholarship Framework. Not forgetting the Networking the Networks initiative, which is developing a space to enhance connectivity between the various networks and organisations which inhabit the post-16 research and development landscape.
Currently, FE and collegeHE seem full of interesting online spaces to connect. There are slack discussion spaces for #FE research. On twitter it’s worth looking at #collegeHE and #FEresearch hashtags; but these are just a starting point. Each site you visit brings more links and opens out the landscape (try #digitalprincesses). And there will be many more spaces out there than the ones I’ve mentioned here. What is exciting is that I can fill a short blog post with links whilst reflecting only on the past week in FE/cHE.
From a personal perspective most exciting of all is Lou Mycroft and Kay Sidebottom’s collaborative and rhizomatic initiative of online writing rooms (at The Bower), which offer space to write and peer review work. Personally, I find writing in a vacuum nearly impossible, so it’s lovely to have an open opportunity to connect with a myriad of ideas and different perspectives online through writing.
I’m looking forward to continuing all these conversations, online and face-to-face, to explore our different perspectives on research and all things education, and create spaces for collaboration. And, as Jo has reminded me, there will soon be a chance to participate in a physical constellation where we will collaboratively design the future of our education. #ReimagineFE another hashtag to follow, and also, if you’re interested in learning technology, #ALTC19.