The Bristol Inter-disciplinary Group for Education Research (BRIDGE) – Seminar

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Bristol Inter-disciplinary Group for Education Research (BRIDGE) invites you to a lunchtime seminar on Monday, 4th March 2019 — 12noon-1pm — Room 2S603. We are pleased to have Jade Parnell, the Centre for Appearance Research, the University of the West of England, and Dr Maryam Almohammad and Dr Jane Andrews, the Department of Education and Childhood, the University of the West of England.

Promoting Acceptance of Socially Stigmatised Appearances in Young Children in Primary School

Jade Parnell, the Centre for Appearance Research, the Department of Health and Social Sciences, the University of the West of England

In this talk I will discuss my PhD, which aims to promote acceptance towards various socially stigmatised appearances in young children. Appearance-based stereotyping and prejudice emerges in early childhood, and can exist by the age of 4 years. Children from negatively stereotyped or stigmatised groups (e.g., higher weight, visible difference) are at increased risk of experiencing stigmatisation from other children, resulting in negative outcomes such as poorer psychological adjustment and quality of life. The talk will focus on a recent study, where children aged 4-9 years, from various Primary Schools in the South West of England viewed, in a randomised order, five digitally designed, realistic child characters. The images included a character; with no stigmatised appearance, wearing glasses, of higher weight, with a facial burn and in a wheelchair. All characters had similar features (e.g., face shape, height, race and eyes), but varied slightly according to the stigmatised appearance. Children were asked open ended questions and quantitative measures assessing their attitudes and possible subsequent behaviours towards the individual characters. Discussion will consider the possible findings in relation to the literature; along with implications for researchers and education professionals regarding strategies for promoting acceptance of socially stigmatised appearances in young children.

Artmaking, Materialism, and Multilingualism in Welcoming Environments for EAL Learners

Maryam Almohammad and Jane Andrews, the Department of Education and Childhood, University of the West of England.

The Creating Welcoming Learning Environments project, known as CWLE, (AHRC-funded, AH/R004781/1)) is a follow-on project from the large grant Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, the Law and the State (AH/AH/L006936/1). The project involved a “creative collaboration”, using Vera John Steiner’s conceptualisation (2000), between creative artists, school-based teachers and teaching assistants, local authority advisory teachers and university researchers. The project operated on a co-operative development model of teacher development as articulated by Edge (1992) so that, through a series of workshops, teachers participated in arts-based practices, assembled artifacts and interpreted them to reflect on their identities, bodies, languages and cultures. This was prior to teachers engaging in a process of transformation of their first-hand experiences of creative techniques into activities for their own learners in the different school contexts they work in, including primary, secondary and special schools in England.

In this paper, we approach the data generated in the workshops and in interviews, using Bennett’s concepts of “thing-power” and “discursive agency” (2010). Bennett (2010) uses the term “thing-power” to describe the qualities that objects have that in many ways are indescribable and intangible. Power is among all material bodies, both human and more-than-human, and therefore does not belong to bodies independently, but rather happens because material bodies are always dependent on one another. This is known as distributive agency (Bennett, 2010). In the CWLE series of workshops, teachers worked with materials: cardboard, maps, colours, stones, textiles, dyes and symbols. Working with art materials teachers engaged with the role of objects in art and meaning-making and reflected on the potential of material transformation in EAL contexts. Materials constructed during our workshops serve as reflective tools on the body experience and materials surrounding the body. Teachers transformed the art practices in their school spaces, such as the use of the identity suitcase box. The artmaking of suitcase/boxes offered teachers and learners an opportunity to engage with the taken for granted value of both human-human and human-non-human relationships. Through a co-creative process and collective action between animate and inanimate things, teachers and learners could be seen to no longer separate human from non-human. In this sense, humans are no more valuable than materials and objects with which they interact. In our paper we analyse one example of educational practice in a specific secondary school in England. Therefore, not only the divide between human and non-human ceases to exist, and new ways for knowing the self and the object as interbeings emerge (Anderson & Guyas, 2012), but also the divide between the ‘us and them’ can be seen to finish. Distributive agency of materials may be seen to help humans cooperate with each other in the art-and-language classrooms.

Creating Welcoming Learning Environments: Using Arts-Based Methods with EAL Learners

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What’s the project about?

Dr Jane Andrews and Dr Maryam Almohammad at the University of the West of England, Bristol have been working on a 12 month research project since September 2017. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council who have “translating cultures” as one of their current research themes. The project is a collaboration between teachers, local authority and school staff who specialise in supporting children developing English as an additional language, creative artists and the researchers. Together we are aiming to develop and trial some teaching techniques which combine arts-based methods and supportive techniques for celebrating children’s languages and developing their English language skills. The project is working with school-based staff in both primary and secondary schools. Colleagues who work at Integra, South Gloucestershire (Lois Francis and Dominique Moore) are collaborators on the project.

Why this topic?

The focus for the research comes out of the arts-based methods used in a larger 3-year AHRC-funded research project entitled Researching Multilingually at Borders . In that project researchers from different academic disciplines (global mental health, anthropology, law, modern languages, intercultural communication, education) worked together with creative artists working using drama, poetry, music and textiles. The project explored the role of language in contexts where people experience pain and pressure at times of migration. The sites for the research included the Islamic University Gaza, the Lira district of Uganda, the border state of Arizona, USA, Scotland, the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria and Ghana. The current project was funded by the AHRC to extend the reach of the 3-year project to explore how arts-based methods can be combined with work celebrating children’s linguistic diversity and supporting their developing English.

What has the project done so far?

We have developed our way of working which has collaboration firmly at its heart. We have built on the work of Julian Edge who proposed a model of CPD named “co-operative development” which seeks to ensure that all participants are empowered to share their knowledge and expertise while learning with and from others. Using this approach we have offered a series of one day workshops in which participants have i) shared their current approaches to supporting children’s developing English and celebrating their different languages, ii) taken part in a hands-on workshop experiencing one or more creative arts techniques and iii) planned how the techniques experienced could be adapted and transferred into the specific school contexts in which they are working.

In our first workshop, the creative arts inputs have been provided by Katja Frimberger (freelance) who demonstrated drama techniques for use in class including singing in different languages and setting up a “Bristol’s got talent” friendly competition. Katja also shared a film she had made in which students and staff at Glasgow University spoke to camera in their different languages as a way of extending exposure to the institution’s shared languages.

Maryam Almohammad shared the work of the UNHCR with the use of cartoons to convey refugees’ stories:

Film making projects were planned in two schools. One school has audio recorded children and young people making announcements for the school day (for use on the tannoy system) in their own languages other than English.


In our second workshop, Lyn Ma (a lecturer at Clyde College, Glasgow) provided input into how crafting techniques such as collage and model making can be used to provide young people with opportunities to express themselves in ways that they choose to their peers and teachers. In the workshop we as participants created our own decorated suitcases and explained how and why we had chosen to decorate them as we did. Jane Andrew created a suitcase in which she included a map of Somalia and the connection with the Somali community in Bristol.  Jane has not been to Somalia but feels the connection because the Somali community forms a great part  of the British societies.


In our third workshop, Naa Densua Tordzro and Gameli Tordzro (University of Glasgow and Pan Africa Arts, Scotland) introduced participants to using musical instruments in an exploratory way to generate a sense of community. Naa Denua and Gameli also shared with us traditional Adinkra symbols from Ghana whose meanings we learned about and discussed. We then chose symbols we wanted to print using silk screen printing techniques.


Our fourth workshop was on Poetry and the Spoken Word with professor Allison Phipps and poet Tawon Sithole from the University of Glasgow. Allisson and Tawon  did activities which include the use of material object and spoken word through a process of reflection. After reflection and contemplation on objects, teachers wrote a poem about these objects. The whole team got involved in the co-writing of a multilingual poem.


Teachers transformed and contextualized the art-based activities in their school environments according to their students backgrounds, needs and practicality. Then we ran a conference for teachers and school-based staff on “Creativity and EAL” where ideas tried and tested in schools was shared on Thursday 12th July at UWE, Bristol.

How can I learn more and get involved?

There are a range of ways in which you can get involved, contribute and find out more.

  • We have a twitter  where we share our activities and events.
  • We launched a website and we will be uploading video clips from the workshops so visitors to the site can find out more. The website is new and we are planning to add resources for teachers on the use of art in language leaning and teaching.
  • We are planning a book gathering together teaching ideas about how to connect creativity, multilingualism and EAL to be published by Multilingual Matters. Please get in touch if you’d be interested in contributing to our book.

For more information contact the authors.

Authors: Jane Andrews and Maryam Almohammad

English as an Additional Language and Creativity Conference Programme 2018

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The University of the West of England

Thursday 12th July 2018


Time Talks and Workshops  Room
8.45 am Registration, Tea/Coffee


Sign up for workshop



9.15 am Welcome/Introductions

Dr Jane Andrews, Associate Professor (Education), Lois Francis and Dominique Moore, Integra


9.20 am Opening comments

Professor Jane Roscoe, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, UWE


9.30 am Keynote Speaker 1

Professor Alison Phipps, Glasgow University

“The well in well-being”



10.30 am Tea / Coffee Break



10.50 am St Michael on the Mount – children perform an extract from their play “The Magic Shoes” with presentation from Anna Comfort, Year 1 Teacher and Director of The Magic Shoes.

Anna Comfort and children from St Michael on the Mount, Bristol.



11.30 Workshops (A, B, C, D)


A – Naa Densua Tordzro & Gameli Tordzro –

“Adinkra Creative Links”



A = 2S511



B – Dr Maryam Al-Mohammad

“Using Film-making with EAL Learners”



B = 2S610



C – Alison Phipps & Tawona Sithole

‘Spoken Word, Broken Silence’


C = 2S708



D – Dr Jane Andrews –

“Using craft techniques in the EAL classroom and beyond”



D = 2S705

12.45 pm Lunch


13.45 pm Keynote Speaker 2

Dr Mary Carol Combs, University of Arizona.

Learning in the Third Space: Pedagogies of Hope and Resistance


14.45 pm Creativity Activities from the Classroom

  • Judith Prosser, Cotham School, Bristol:

“A Creative approach to developing oracy skills at KS3- The Suitcase Project”

  • Karen Thomas, EMAS Portsmouth and Becca Reeve, Miltoncross Academy, Portsmouth:

“There are no tigers in Italy: using suitcase art to break down barriers.”

Chaired by Lois Francis and Dominique Moore, Integra



15.45 –

16.00 pm

Closing reflections from Dr Mary Carol Combs





The conference takes place at the Department of Education and Childhood, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY

The conference is free but please make a booking here so we can organise catering and transport.

For inquiries please contact Dr Jane Andrews and Dr Maryam Almohammad

Follow us on Tiwtter: @CWLE_EAL 

English as an Additional Language and Creativity Conference 2018

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EAL and Creativity – Using Arts-Based Methods for Supporting Learners of English as an Additional Language

Thursday 12th July 2018 9.00 – 4:00 pm

The University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY

CWLE team at the Department of Education and Childhood, the University of West England in collaboration with Integra Schools is pleased to invite practitioners to a one day conference.

Keynote speakers:


Professor Alison Phipps, Glasgow University:

“The Well in Welcome: Creating Welcoming Environments for All”.

Dr Mary Carol Combs, University of Arizona.

Learning in the Third Space: Pedagogies of Hope and Resistance

Programme Highlights

Creative art workshops

  • Adinkra Creative Links – Naa Densua Tordzro and Gameli Tordzro
  • Spoken Word, Broken Silence – Tawona Sitholé and Alison Phipps
  • Film-making and EAL Learners – Maryam Almohammad
  • Craft-making with EAL Learners – Jane Andrews


  • Judith Prosser, Cotham School, Bristol
  • Karen Thomas (Portsmouth EMTAS) and Rebecca Reeve

The conference is free but please make a booking here so we can organise catering and transport.

For inquiries please contact Dr Jane Andrews and Dr Maryam Almohammad

Follow us on Tiwtter: @CWLE_EAL 


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