Extra Curricular Fun, you say?!

I thought I’d just write a short post to say why I think these posts are at all relevant to my Research in Practice.

Firstly, I think organising any events and being part of fundraising or gaining experience as a volunteer demonstrate what sort of person I am and give a well-rounded idea of what I do. If I want to write about my Research in Practice then it’s good for people to get a feel of why these things interest me.

I suppose it’s also gratuitous.

Ok, reflecting on what I’ve just written I’ve probably just lied. I like writing about the things I do because they are important to me. I blog for Mary Arden’s because I think it’s worth going to see it and I want people to experience the fun I have there and I want it to do well as a place. I like to share my Meet Up Group because I only have 9 people so far but I am really happy about it because it is something which I started and which brings people together who I can socialize with and go to gigs with which makes me happy. Bringing people together is a great feeling and I like that. I guess that’s why Arts Management attracted my interest. I’m always trying to organise people to do fun things. The Arts gives me the chance to do that for a day job!

Reviewing new venues is a way for me to encourage my brain to remember great places I went to and what gigs I saw. It’s good practice for writing copy too. I like writing newsletters and things. I won an award when I was younger, The W H Smith Young Writer’s Award ’95, and I think I owe it to little Alex to keep it up.

W H Smith Young Writer's Award Publication
W H Smith Young Writer’s Award Publication

It’s part of who I am. So that’s why I have, “Extra-curricular fun,” which I suppose, will be, “Professional experience,” when I graduate from my Masters course and have to write a CV of what I have actually done to suggest I would be good in an Arts and Project Management job!

Alex out.


Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Warwickshire

Mary Arden’s Farm

I worked here last year and am a volunteer this year. We do a Living History and it’s a wonderful place for history and animal enthusiasts, kids and families. Here’s something I blogged on our Facebook page earlier this week:

What a lovely day it’s been on the farm. With the chickens, turkeys and geese out and about; the goats being halter-trained, the middens getting turned and the Tudor maids being trained in their pottage-making skills, the farm is really getting into gear for the season to start later this month!
Here are some pictures of the cows getting a bit of fuss from Mistress Rose, Shashika and the kids from Welcombe Hills who’ve been helping put fresh woodchip on the playground today!

New Hereford bull calf
New Hereford bull calf
New Gloucester calf

Bring on March 17th! Do check out the website for details about Mary Arden’s Farm! Loads of fun events and activities coming your way very soon!

Handwritten Reflective Journal [Electronic version]


In October last year I went to a meeting about ‘Research in Practice.’ I wasn’t doing research in practice as a module until January so I was just going out of curiosity at that point. We had broken off into groups and one of my classmates, quite innocently, asked me what my practice was. I said none, “unless my previous job as a Living History Demonstrator (at Mary Arden’s Farm) counts.” She asked me why I was there. Well, everyone seemed to be going. They’d sent out an email to everyone, so I went.  I remembered later that my lecturer had said it would be good to network and meet people on other Arts-based Masters courses. But it did make me think about belonging and that, if I’m not an artist who is researching their practice (which most people on the Arts-based Masters course seemed to be), then I wouldn’t count or I would be missing out on a learning experience everyone was getting. I felt a bit outside the artist clique so I distracted the group with images of Mary Arden’s Farm and hoped for no more follow-up questions.

This situation had made me think about why I wanted to study. I was searching for a more structured and supported way to get a more permanent or well-paid job in the Arts sector. Studying Arts and Project Management reminded me of a quote which often comes back to me.

‘There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred’[1] ‘…which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!’[2]

It’s one of those ideas I pin up on my notice board because just starting something helps put events in motion. And on the day of that research in practice lecture the lecturer, Carol, highlighted a quote by Schon about how students have to ‘plunge into doing – without knowing, in essential ways, what one needs to learn.’ [3] So the MA was my “plunging into doing” and that starting point was quite exciting because I think I permitted myself to be an Arts person, having definitely decided THIS is what I wanted to do and I believed it was leading to a productive and good place. I’d also realised that Arts and Project Management was my practice so, in order to research it, I needed to get a head start on Arts Events Internships.

[1] William Hutchison Murray, The Scottish Himalayan expedition, (Indiana, J M Dent & Sons 1951) [digitized 2008, accessed 28.2.14], 7

[2] “German Myth 12: The famous “Goethe quotation,” http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth12.htm, (accessed 28.2.14)

[3] Donald A. Schön, Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions, (California, Jossey-Bass Inc., 1987) 166