Phase 3 @ UAL

April 2015 – August 2016

Phase Three has been a pivotal stage of SoN’s journey and growth. We have had a busy phase growing our student outreach and involvement, awareness and presence across University of the Arts London and relationships with other Art and Design institutions.

Key Challenges of Phase Three:

  • Communication clarity of what we do
  • Perception of SoNs role to support pedagogic practices
  • Uncomfortable with the unknown

Key Achievements:

  • Oversubscribed events
  • Several courses teams embedding events into core curriculum
  • More senior staff engagement and presents
  • Increased enquiries

Content

Content development has been a key focus of this phase. The Content Team have produced over 150 new blogs, started a youtube channel and have increased the reach of our resources across the institution.

Social media has been a useful tool for reaching out to students and academics from creative institutions, as well as broadening our industry links.

Key stats:

  • Our site has visits from across the world
  • 100% increase in new likes on Facebook
  • With 200k+ Post reaches based on original and re-shared content
  • On Twitter we have had an SoN record of 720 K Tweet Impressions.  
  • We have also launched new platforms such as Instagram & Tumblr  

Student Development

The Phase Three team has included 8 students and alumni in total. In addition to this we have also had a number of contributors from other institutions involved with events and creating content.

We have facilitated support for student lead projects such as Black Blossoms and Diversity Matters. As well as supported students with their final major projects.

The impact on students is hard to quantify, however, we are aware that students do reference the work of SoN in their writing, that there is a clear personal growth in the team members who are involved and that the safe spaces we create are valued and give release to express frustrations.

Staff Development

Through phase 3 SoN built upon our work with Higher Education staff this includes, building on the the commissioned staff development and course handbook reviews with Ravensbourne in collaboration with Black British Academics and begun work with London College of Communication.  ‘Whilst the workshops were very challenging, they were very useful in discussing issues of diversity and sharing different perspectives as well as being armed with sector knowledge’. Lecturer Ravensbourne.  Additionally SoN continues to be a vital contributor to the Post Graduate Certification (Pg Cert) in Academic Practice unit Inclusive Teaching and Learning  ‘This unit is transformational, it has changed my teaching practice, provided me with so much information and confidence, allowed me space to be reflective and impacted my life’. Pg Cert Graduate 2016, UAL Lecturer

Events

Phase Three heralded a new form of SoN Events, which were received well across the institution and outside of it, most were over subscribed. our events we have had representatives from from CHEAD, Arts Council, and HEA. One recent email from a staff attendee from Brighton University states ‘I want to thank you for these events, for having the courage and initiative to create the opportunity for change, awareness, and solidarity which informs the curriculum.  Would there be scope for you to deliver staff training next academic yearOver this phase we held four student focused panel discussions. This facilitated the space for students, academics and professionals to come together and discuss the following topics in a safe and open space:

Funding for the Arts

Race, Religion & Free Speech: The Power of Social & Broadcast Media

Beyond Gender: The Identity of Fashion

Feminisms – Arts of a Woman

These events also seeded the SoN Terms of Reference Zines. Although since 2011 we had always provided a terms of reference document, however these Zines have taken this concept to the next level and have continued to grow in size and cultural wealth, and have not only found a home in UALs libraries but have also been circulated globally. Please find the Annual here.

In partnership with UAL Graduate Futures week, we also organised a dinner with the aim of bringing students and professionals together. This was attended by a number of competition winning students from UAL, artist Yinka Shonibare, Members of the BAFTAS, UAL Governors and the Senior Management Team.

Next steps

Phase Four launches in September 2017. We will be starting this phase with an expanded team and ambitious plans to run events at each of the UAL colleges and at partnering institutions. A key focus will be developing a new Educational Resource Platform, which will bring together the knowledge and expertise of the SoN Academic Network. We will also be facilitating training and new opportunities for PoC in the Institution.