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My own progressive practice
Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice
Various, Worldwide
My approach to creative education and engagement is influenced by different theoretical ideas and practice-lead methods. Below are some ideas, approaches and contexts that have shaped my own progressive practice.
An FdA student installing her work at their group show

Progressive practice in Universities

I have had a number of artist residencies at and collaborative with universities in the UK and Europe.

I worked as Programme Leader of the Oxford Brookes University Foundation Degree in Creative Arts and Design Practice at Swindon School of Art. I also ran the dissertation studies and writing modules on the BA(Hons) Illustration degree at Swindon and taught on experimental drawing practice modules.

FdA Programme Leader

As FdA Programme leader I managed all creative, academic and pastoral support for students. I led studio practice & critical and contextual studies modules, organised seminars, lectures, external trips and workshops.

I organised an extensive range of external exhibition, work experience, professional practice and promotional opportunities (I made a range of Tate Shots style videos for example), that set them up for professional working practice.

One of the FdA films I made to promote and showcase student exhibitions
Collaborating with BTEC Art & Design students at St Charles College, London

Progressive practice in colleges

I have formed CoP’s with young adults in colleges in the UK and taught A Level Art & Design, BTEC Art & Design, A Level Textiles.

I’ve run numerous engagement programs and projects that explore conceptual and participatory processes, painting, drawing, sculpture, portfolio making and creative thinking.

Our Community of Practice for change at Newman Catholic College, London, 2016

Progressive practice in schools

I have worked in schools as resident artist through galleries (Cubitt gallery) with school aged young people with Widening Participation and held residencies with teaching responsibilities in schools in the UK and India.

I am also a qualified teacher and I’ve taught Key Stage 3 and GCSE Art & Design. More recently I co-develop creative engagement sessions with neuro and mobility, diverse children, young adults and their families through WECIL, Bristol.

Engaged pedagogy on the street

Engaged pedagogy the street

Exploring human rights, social structures, political frameworks and emergent issues inform my teaching and engagement work with young people in diverse contexts.

Engaged pedagogy in the studio

Students have collaborated with me in my studio and participated in performances and events during residencies (Take Me Home at Mildmay park care home for example).

A painting of the jungle Calais by a former student with lived experience of migration

Experiences of migration and immigration

Working at large, urban colleges in London for many years introduced me to talented, hardworking and resilient young people from all over the world. Many of those students educated me on their journeys of migration and integration.

In one college I worked at a student shared his experiences of fleeing persecution in Eritrea and his journey through refugee camps.

I have learned a lot from them about the marginalising forces British culture and society enforced both in the past and in the present.

Exploring personal experiences safely

We discussed how to explore these experiences in way that was empowering and gave safe emotional boundaries and distance.

We developed a collaborative project. The group made a version of Monopoly set in the Calais Jungle where everything had to be determined in context (swapping items and skills instead of buying properties for example).

Progressive practice inspires action

Hearing from students about their experiences of migration also helped inspire my decision to go to the refugee camps in Europe myself.

Summer School Creative Leader
Murals and changing spaces

Mural commissions

From 2015- 2017 I was commissioned by the headteacher at Newman Catholic College to create a number of murals to transform spaces around the school and 6th Form buildings.
I painted a book staircase leading up to the library, the library doorway and corridor, the sports hall, 6th form block, changing rooms, Languages corridor and the glass panelled staircase by the RE department. I trained and paid my BTEC 3 students as design apprentices.

Changing spaces

The transformation of these spaces extended beyond rejuvenating spaces and actually transformed their function. The positive impact of such a simple intervention in relation to behaviour, aspiration and wellbeing inspired more transformations around the college.
In effect Newman Catholic College also became patrons since I funded much of my work in refugee camps in Europe through these commissions.

A selection of images of some of the murals and painted spaces at Newman Catholic College, London
The Book Bench National Literacy project at Newman Catholic College

Government schools in Ghana

In March 2013 I travelled to Ghana with teaching colleagues from St. Martin-In-The-Field School, Brixton, London. We traveled to Ghana to make a link with St. Andrews High School and as part of that visit I researched, devised and taught an Adinkra project.

This trip introduced me to a number of inspiring teachers, including a teacher from Antem High school in Cape Coast who invited me to return to volunteer in her school in August 2013.

I was invited to a number of state and village schools across the Cape Coast region, donated fundraised resources and responded to the needs in each context (from fixing school furniture, to painting murals and making visual resources).

During the two months I spent in Ghana I learned more about Kente weaving, Adinkra and traditional printing techniques. Learning about these art forms in context has inspired many projects and curriculum plans within and beyond the classroom.

Land Art with middle school at The School (KFI), Chennai, India

The School, Krishnamurti Foundation, India

At The School (Krishnamurti Foundation India,) I lived and worked on the school campus on Besant Nagar in Chennai from 2008- 2009. I was invited to devise my own curriculum for the year for students aged 5- 18.

I ran workshops, gave talks and created events and exhibitions that encouraged experiential learning. I contributed to the outreach program and participated in weekend seminars on educating young women.

Ongoing inspiration

I became passionately involved in finding out more about Indigenous art. I met artists from Gond and Warli contexts (through Tara Publishing). I frequently draw inspiration from the indigenous work, collective and interdisciplinary making processes I was introduced to in India.

My experiences in India gave rise to my Crowd Work series (2008- 2013). My time in India also inspired many paintings (exhibited and sold through Fine Art Consultancy Gallery 2006- 2014).

Thinking through making

Teaching is an excitingly creative and inexorably collaborative learning process.

Hiring students on paid commissions and creating and supporting new opportunities for young people sparks exciting learning.


Communities of Practice

‘Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.’
Etienne Wenger, 2002.

‘Communities of practice (CoP’s)’

Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning and it is this age-old process (but relatively new term) that characterises my approach to creative learning and engagement.

Mixing different people who have diverse experiences of similar interests is a characteristic process of how I co-create spaces and experiences.

The Communities of Practice that we develop enable and encourage intergenerational learning, peer sharing and utilise inclusivity as a creative asset.

‘Teaching to Transgress’

In her book, ‘Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, (1994), Bell Hooks advocates for teaching students to transgress against racial, sexual and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom.

‘Engaged Pedagogy’

Hooks advocates for ‘engaged pedagogy’ that is holistic, progressive and inclusive since “to educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn”. These ideas have been instrumentally formative for me.

Our creative Community of Practice inside the ‘Hamman’ at Katsikas Refugee Camp, 2016