Visiting speakers and organisations

On the MA Education Creative Arts programme it's important for us to engage students through our relationships with high profile local arts education providers, as well as have them benefit from our University of Exeter staff expertise. In addition to bringing visiting speakers and organisations into our modules, we also provide opportunities for students to go out into the local arts education community to experience practice in context via field visits and through dissertation study opportunities. Our arts education community includes the full range of arts specialisms and is a strong way to support this element of the MA Education: Creative Arts student experience.

Daisi’s vision is for artistic and cultural experience to be at the heart of young people's lives and learning. Daisi’s mission is to work in partnership with artists from a broad range of artistic disciplines, and educators to enable arts and culture to enrich and inspire the lives, learning and futures of children and young people in our South West of England region.

Within this remit Daisi has a close affiliation with the MA Education: Creative Arts course, and contributes to its modules in different ways including co-hosting course seminars and brokering sites for MA Education: Creative Arts students field visits. 

Daisi believes that engagement and learning in and through the arts transforms lives, and that young people contribute to the cultural lives, futures and heritage of all of us. They aim to celebrate their achievements and to contribute intelligently to the arts education sector's evidence base of the positive impact of arts education activity on outcomes for young people. Daisi is committed to designing, supporting and sharing innovative, diverse and relevant approaches to learning in and through the arts through partnerships like the one with the MA Education: Creative Arts course and collaborations across sector boundaries.

Associate Professor Oded Ben-Horin (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway) held a “Science Opera” workshop for University of Exeter’s MA Education: Creative Arts students as part of the European Commission’s CREATIONS project. During the workshop, students were introduced to pedagogical features of the CREATIONS project, which seeks to raise interest in science and scientific careers through a specific approach to creativity in science education: the inter-disciplinary meeting of science and art in the classroom. Two cases were demonstrated: Write a Science Opera (WASO) and Global Science Opera (GSO). In the former, students experienced exercises which may be used to realize science/art activities with a class of pupils. In the latter, the students were introduced to how global opera productions are realized in collaboration with international scientific institutions. 

The full gallery of photos from Associate Professor Ben-Horin's workshop can be viewed here.

Dominic Jinks is the Plymouth Culture Director which gives him responsibility for driving the role of culture in the city of Plymouth.  His post involves him in creating new events, attracting funding and major investment to the city and leading plans for arts and cultural activities of local, national and international significance. He has more than 15 years experience in the arts with a background in theatre and was previously Head of Arts and Culture at the University of Exeter. Prior to this he was a co-founder of Britain’s Shakespeare touring group and also worked for Arts Council England. With his previous connections to the University, Dominic has been a welcome contributor to the recently conceived our module: Issues of Policy and Practice in Arts Education. Within the module, Dominic has challenged the students to consider how to go about leadership and advocacy within arts and cultural education as well as requiring them to critically appraise some of the accompanying tensions.

Spacex enables access to contemporary visual art in the South West via a programme of projects and events. The organisation works with artists to realise ambitions, pursue new directions and take risks. Through investment in artists at a critical stage in their career, Spacex progresses emerging talent. As an educational charity Spacex also has an excellent record of delivering innovative and accessible learning projects. Collaboration lies at the heart of Spacex. It brings together artists and audiences, initiating dialogues and partnerships to develop projects and commissions. To ensure sustained development Spacex maintains long-lasting relationships with artists and curators, as well as local cultural and educational institutions, arts organisations and funders.

Within this context, Spacex is a long-standing collaborator of the MA Education: Creative Arts course, having contributed by hosting a Topic visit from students on our module Arts and Educational Futures, and by feeding into the Visual Arts specialism within Arts and the Curriculum. It brings in expertise in both hands on visual arts practice and strategic thinking regarding the future of the arts education sector. Rooted in the locality of Exeter, Spacex’s programme aims to work with key partners in this way to contribute to a wider critical debate, regionally nationally and internationally.

Ursula Crickmay is the Live Music Now Director for the South West of England. She has been involved in devising, developing and managing creative projects in outreach and learning environments for the past 17 years. Her main focus has been in developing the Music Learning programme for Wigmore Hall in the role of Director of Learning.  There she programmed work with early years settings, schools, families, young people, hospitals, older people with dementia and in musician development, as well as curating study programmes and family events at the Hall.  On a consultancy basis Ursula has contributed to organisations including the Royal Academy of Music as external examiner for their Music in the Community course, Wiltshire Music Centre, Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra, as mentor for South West Music School, and for the Dartington Hall Trust as project manager.

Drawing on this experience, Ursula was a ‘provocateur’ at the recent MA Education: Creative Arts /Daisi Issues of policy and practice in Arts Education module seminar ‘Sustaining Arts Education Together’. She took the opportunity to challenge local artists and University of Exeter students to consider sustainability in music education and how to navigate the dilemmas around continuing strong music eductation practice. Ursula is also a student at University, having recently begun the MSc in Educational Research. 

Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA) is a 4-16 mainstream, city centre, all-through free school sponsored by Plymouth College of Art. It opened its primary phase in September 2013 and its secondary phase in September 2014.

The PSCA vision grows out of an established art college ethos in response to the serious erosion of the arts and creativity in schools. The School is a place for making things – making ideas, making technology, making art – for discovering how knowledge, values and language, identity or experience is made. It is a place of performance in both senses: performance as doing; performance as achievement. PSCA is a place of creative learning in all subjects. Their goal is to secure academic excellence and learners’ ambitions through structure with a purpose – Creating Individuals, Making Futures.

The MA Education: Creative Arts course and staff have had connections with PSCA since it opened. Most recently this has involved MA students visiting PSCA as part of our module: Creativity and the Arts, to see creativity and the arts at the heart of a school curriculum. PSCA has also hosted MA students on their field visits. In many ways, PSCA could be described as a ‘learning village’, which requires systems and processes that are different from typical mainstream schools and are distinctive to that school. This village ethos extends into collaborations with the local educational community including the University and the MA Education: Creative Arts course.


The MA Education Creative Arts staff are also involved in research relevant to the course. One such project is the EU-Horizon 2020-funded CREATIONs project which aims to engage young people in science education through creativity and the arts. MA Education Creative Arts students assisted at the CREATIONs Masterclass where the secrets of light and colour in butterflies and photography were revealed to school children in Years 7 and 8. The day involved seminars and hands on activities including looking at photography via a Camera Obscura. The event, held at the University’s Streatham campus, was led by Professor Pete Vukusic and Sam White.

Professor Vukusic’s research explores how light is manipulated in the natural world, and Sam is a specialist in photography who works in schools with his Camera Obscura. The event was a collaboration between the University of Exeter's Graduate School of Education and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and run with the help of PhD Physics students and the MA Education Creative Arts students. This Masterclass was also run in association with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Physics Masterclass Programme.