Registration is now open for the SCUDD conference and AGM for 2017. It’s at the University of Huddersfield on 7-8 April. We are organising it as a joint conference with colleagues in NAMHE and Dance HE, the subject organisations for Music and Dance. In titling the conference Challenging Futures in Drama, Music and Dance in Higher Education, we will focus on the idea that challenges may pose both threats and opportunities. In teaming up with colleagues in music and dance we hope to discover the strengths of facing those challenges across a wider set of disciplines.
SCUDD is the biggest subject association of the three involved and we want to make sure there is a good turn out of Drama reps. It is also important to make sure that the AGM is quorate. We are offering the conference free of charge this year and we hope that you will take advantage of this. If you cannot attend you may send someone from your department as a delegate but it vital that all those attending book through the link below.
When you register, you will receive a list of suggestions for accommodation with your invitation. Please note that parking will not be available on campus, but is available in nearby multi-storey car parks, e.g. Kingsgate, opposite the University.
Please do make sure that your institution is represented at this important and exciting gathering.
Here are the statements from the candidates for the two available posts of SCUDD treasurer, and ‘ordinary member’ of the SCUDD executive. Below these is a link to send a vote that represents the view of your department or membership unit. The vote is not for individuals.
Nominees for Treasurer
I would be honoured if you elected me to serve as SCUDD Treasurer for the next three years. During the last three years in post, I have focused my work on the key areas of, operational matters, funding for research and working groups, and the long-term financial stability of the organisation. I am pleased with what has been accomplished, but there is more to be achieved, and I would welcome the opportunity to dedicate more time to these areas.
In order for SCUDD to operate efficiently, to best serve the interests of the discipline, and to support research activity and working group initiatives, there are a number of priority areas which will require attention over the next three years. Continuing to make the day to day operational procedures more digital friendly, in terms of online banking, BACS transfers, and the digital processing of claims, will be important to ensure that SCUDD can function effectively. I have taken steps to re-evaluate expenditure for award money and travel expenses in line with changes in inflation and the cost of travel. This area requires greater monitoring to ensure that the value of the SCUDD awards does not depreciate, and that we can more accurately forecast outgoings. These areas have a significant impact upon the long-term financial security of SCUDD. Whilst we currently have a healthy balance, our expenditure is greater than our income. With the likelihood of year on year increases to travel costs, and the SCUDD Executive engaging in more events to represent and defend the discipline, greater demand will be placed on the SCUDD surplus, and serious consideration needs to be given to what measures need to be taken to ensure the long-term financial stability of the organisation. I believe that I am best placed to continue work in these areas, and would welcome the opportunity to serve as Treasurer again in order that I can continue to work to make the SCUDD accounts stronger, and through our financial procedures, more flexible and better placed to respond to the challenges faced by our discipline.
We live in turbulent times. The attack on the arts and humanities has been relentless over the past 18 months where isolationism and anti-internationalism have coalesced as central lynchpins of a growing discourse that celebrates anti-intellectualism as its central tenet. The fallout from this is something we live with every day, but in order to survive and find appropriate responses, we need to build a stronger organisation that is committed to the goals of our discipline. The role of Treasurer is key on the SCUDD executive where it can act as an engine for change as well as a source of consistency and enablement.
As a former Chair of the SCUDD Postgraduate Committee, I have direct experience of working on behalf of SCUDD, which I would put to good use. The Glynne Wickham Scholarship remains a central way in which SCUDD can continue its investment in the future of our subject but I would like to see it more broadly promoted and more widely allocated across the spread of our membership. This role is critical to the continuing health of our organisation and I would hope to harness the active support of those who know me as well as build the trust and confidence of our wider membership. In addition to managing large school and faculty budgets, I have also been a trustee on a number of boards as well as the former Chair of the Trustees of Hoxton Hall. As a result, I have extensive experience of ensuring fiscal prudence and financial reporting through pro-active budgetary management. SCUDD must continue to play its vital role in being the voice for our discipline in a range of different arenas and in order to fulfil that duty it needs to have the assurance that its financial affairs are being held to the highest standards.
Nominees for Ordinary Member
De Montfort University
I have recently been involved in the development of platforms, with support from members and industry partners, that explore, develop and evaluate models of practice that exist between HE and professional Theatre. Such models and the opportunities they offer (and also the challenges they pose) are becoming increasingly important across the sector. Where the role of ‘employability’ within drama and theatre curricula is established, the term itself acts as a by-word for a host of skills and experiences that range from good communication skills to emerging artist. Embedded professional industry experience and practice across the sector, now a common USP, is additionally complex and prompts questions concerning professionalism as well as asking us to revisit distinctions between, for example, conservatoires and HEIs. Related challenges concerning student ‘volunteers’ and internships are part of larger debates well known to the membership about paid/unpaid work, and the impact on industry specialists (actors, technicians, designers, for example) who may see their roles as being de-professionalised in such circumstances.
My main priority then, as an Ordinary Member of the SCUDD executive would be to develop discussions about professional practice, to broaden the platforms on which such discussions take place, and consolidate outcomes on behalf of SCUDD that can be shared beyond the membership. Additionally, I am keen to contribute to the day to day workings of SCUDD more broadly and to play a more active role in raising its regional and national profile.
Pedro de Senna
I am seeking re-election for the position of Ordinary Member of SCUDD’s National Executive. In my first tenure, I have convened the Working Group on Diversity in the Discipline, producing research into the levels of diversity in member departments, representing SCUDD at external events and reporting back to conference. I wish to continue to use my position to champion diversity, in its broadest sense, in our departments (particularly in light of Brexit – with its potential detrimental effects on staff and students) and in our syllabi.
As well as persisting with the work on diversity, I would like to bring to the Executive a focus on sustainability. Theatre can be a very wasteful art form, both in terms of energy and materials, and I believe as a subject association we can do more to highlight and share good practice among member departments (and beyond) with regard to making and teaching theatre in a more ecologically sustainable way.
While SCUDD is not a political organisation, we need to position ourselves in relation to a number of policies that are being pursued by the current government regarding Higher Education, and liaise with other subject associations to present the case for education in the arts in the UK. I have been a departmental rep since 2009, first for Bucks New University and, since 2012, for Middlesex University, and I firmly believe in the importance of collegiate participation in matters concerning the discipline as a whole. We face a renewed set of challenges, and we need a steadfast subject association to speak on behalf of its members. My commitment to SCUDD and its aims, as well as my experience as a rep and executive member, place me in a strong position to pursue these objectives.
University of Roehampton
As an organization SCUDD is seeking to intervene in a wide array of issues involving the academy and the wider community. With its recent initiatives in diversity, mental health, employability, career development, and government relationship to the arts, SCUDD has been expanding its role in the academy and the wider community. The existing board has no shortage of additional ideas it could implement.
This expansion of SCUDD’s role has created an opportunity for a technologically-minded board member. At present, all our email inboxes are inundated with messages from a variety of sources. There is potential to miss important announcements. As a board member I would seek to improve on the existing communication systems. I have already begun this by creating discussion boards for the mental health and diversity working groups. In the future, SCUDD members could subscribe to individual discussion boards on an array of subjects, saving the general email for announcements. Such discussion boards also provide the opportunity to create a repository of resources that could be more easily searched and referenced than the current email list.
Aside from this mechanical contribution, as an American, I have some insight into programs being implemented internationally as other academies try to solve issues and respond to opportunities analogous to those we encounter here. I also take joy in organizational tasks, which makes me well suited to assist in the implementation of some of the grander visions that were advanced at the last SCUDD general meeting.
In short, I view this nomination as an opportunity to offer support and an additional voice to SCUDD’s ongoing projects.
University of Glasgow
I have worked in the Theatre Studies department at University of Glasgow (GU) for fourteen years, following the completion of my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast. During my time at GU I have undertaken a number of key roles including Head of Theatre Studies, Graduate Attributes Officer for College of Arts, and Postgraduate Convenor. This, coupled with external examining roles, participation in course/programme reviews and peer-reviewing for QAA Scotland’s annual ‘Enhancement Themes’ Learning and Teaching Conference, means that I have experience of a range of institutions; considerable knowledge of the governmental policy environment that Higher Education and the subject domain operates within; as well as excellent knowledge of key developments and challenges (funding landscape, REF and TEF) that impact on the student experience, on the research environment, and on the operational support of Learning and Teaching. I have also been an active member of SCUDD having served as the GU rep from 2006-2009 and co-organising and hosting the 2011 SCUDD Conference on ‘Partnerships and Collaborations’.
In our changing times and as our subject areas in higher education face challenging futures, SCUDD’s role is crucial in advocating for and representing the interests of Drama, Theatre and Performing Arts in the Higher Education sector and beyond; and in promoting and stimulating discussion and debate not only between SCUDD members but also within the wider creative industries concerning how we can contribute to shaping future policy and practice, and how we can forge new pathways of thinking and working in HE and beyond. A further key role is the enhancement of Learning and Teaching through the sharing and dissemination of new teaching initiatives and of good practice – especially in relation to embedding work-related learning into the curriculum and enhancing Graduate Employment. A third key priority is supporting early career researchers and teachers through networking opportunities and working group. If elected, I would relish the opportunity to be part of the SCUDD team and to work with SCUDD members in carving out new futures for our subject domain.
Please enter the vote for your department below.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
There are three candidates for the role of SCUDD secretary, as Royona comes to the end of her term in the position. Statements from the three candidates can be found below. SCUDD member departments can submit one vote, consisting of a first and second choice from the candidates. Second choices will only be taken into consideration in the case of a tie.
(Please note that you cannot vote as an individual, but that only one vote can be registered from each SCUDD member department, so please do ensure that you conduct your own local poll or come to a consensus in any appropriate manner).
Glenn Odom’s statement:
The current secretary has done an amazing job with the duties enumerated in SCUDD’s constitution. I would strive to continue this standard, particularly with regard to the minutes of meetings which are both exhaustive and clearly organized.
In addition, as we enter an era of increasing regulation of our sector, I see the role of the secretary of SCUDD evolving. I am committed to creating additional platforms on which our members can carry out debates and make suggestions. The mailing list in its current form is designed to disseminate information quickly and easily. It is not designed as a forum for debate and discussion. A chat-board would serve this purpose well, allowing for a linear discussion that was accessible by interested parties (but did not encroach upon the email space of people uninterested in a particular issue). This would provide a repository of materials for the various SCUDD working groups to draw on as they draft responses to the changes in REF, TEF or any other issues that arise. Such a forum would also give the officers a chance to respond directly to member concerns.
In addition to the secretary-specific tasks, I look forward to being actively involved in SCUDD’s new initiatives. As a recent transplant from the U.S. Academy, I feel I bring an additional viewpoint to the table which could be useful.
University of Roehampton
Gareth White’s statement:
I have worked at Central School of Speech and Drama for 11 years, following some years as associate lecturer (or similar) at Goldsmiths, Wimbledon College of Art, South Bank University, and others; along with external examining and course reviews this gives me experience of a range of institutions. I am an active member of the research community, for example as a working group convener at TaPRA. The role of the secretary is to act as the organisational anchor of the executive, as well as to join in and stimulate discussion of the many pressing challenges facing our discipline. After a stint as Pro Dean at Central, and several years as a senior member of a course team, I have a wealth of experience of teamwork, and course and departmental organisation.
SCUDD’s role in our changing times is to be a forceful advocate for the coherence and relevance of regulation, structure and funding of the university sector as it impacts upon our discipline. The ecology of provision of drama, theatre and performance must remain varied and vigorous. The recent REF evidenced the energy and diversity of research in our area, demonstrating that practice and thought, the esoteric and the impactful, are mutually generative and necessary; but there is more to do in this regard. The threat of a metrics and NSS-based TEF is even greater: a flattening out of teaching provision and practice as institutions chase higher ratings and rankings. The narrowing of the curriculum proposed for the English Baccalaureate would undermine preparation for university, as well as schools’ ability to inspire the students we work with.
Resisting these pressures from within our institutions after the fact will not be enough, continued advocacy is required, coordinated not just between SCUDD member departments, but with other stakeholders in industry, in education at other levels, and in related disciplines.
Reader Theatre and Performance
Central School of Speech and Drama
University of London
Rob Dean’s statement:
As SCUDD Secretary my two central priorities would be to enhance efficiency and promote inclusivity. Reports, current initiatives and minutes will be promptly circulated and the time required for members to read, consider and respond to the material disseminated will be prioritised. Similarly, while ensuring that procedures are adhered to and debate is encouraged I aim to minimize bureaucracy and manage the level of e-mail traffic members have to process. Particular consideration will be given to the time of year when key events in the SCUDD calendar are scheduled and where they occur in relation to the academic year in order to avoid busy periods and term time clashes. As secretary I would contribute to the curation of the annual conference with the intention of ensuring that its programme reflects and addresses the shared interests and mutual concerns of all the organisation’s members. I would take a proactive role in canvassing opinion and inviting agenda items from SCUDD representatives and the membership as a whole, particularly with regards to sharing pedagogic practice and approaches to shared institutional and national issues. Thank you for your time.
University of Lincoln