Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Widening Participation Forum

Thank you to everyone who has contributed and participated in the WP Forum over the past four years. The Forum will not be running in the 2017/18 academic year.

If you have questions please contact William Rupp (w dot h dot rupp at warwick dot ac dot uk; x50413).

Past Forum Minutes

Spring Term, 2017
Outreach, the arts, and community

Acting Out

As post-war Coventry was rebuilt so was a theatre for the community (the Belgrade). The Council Statute laid out the theatre’s longstanding commitment to build links between drama and young people. 50 years later, the Belgrade has continued to work with groups of young people, from primary to secondary school age, in the theatre, in the community, and in schools in Coventry. The Theatre’s 14 regular groups meet weekly during term-time, and in addition there are holiday camps and summer schools. Each group works closely with a trained dramaturg (a crafter of stories for the stage), sharing and shaping experiences into dramatic form. This offers young people an opportunity to reflect, share, rethink, and transform their stories.

But this isn’t enough for arts funders, they want proof of the so called ‘impacts’ that drama has on young people’s lives. So Emma Parfitt (Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick) and Justine Themen (Associate Director, the Belgrade Theatre) decided to form a collaboration. Their project involved talking with previous participants of youth programmes between 2004 to 2009. Emma and her team investigated what subsequent engagement young people had with the arts and further education and provided the video footage to the Belgrade. During this presentation Emma will be talking about the findings from the study alongside video footage of the participants own words which supports the importance of continued access to the arts and drama for young people from diverse backgrounds. There will be a presentation by undergraduate researcher (Hawo Hussein) about her experience of research-led teaching.

The effect of the camera

Hawo Hussein (PAICS) will be discussing 'The effect of the camera'. In her first interview the participant had a very different persona and tone about certain issues depending on whether the camera was on or off and this affected how he answered the questions.


Earlsdon-based poet and artist Mary Courtney collaborated with the Department of Chemistry on an IATL-funded project. The result, "A Being ObJECTIVE" is an animation-film that uniquely includes drawings from both students and staff across different University departments -- and stars the animation character “Anna Lytic”. In 12 or so minutes the film playfully questions how objective we can really be in research.

For more information about the Belgrade see:
For more information about Emma go to:
For more information about Mary go to:

Autumn Term, 2016

Fab Field Trip

Fab Lab is a city centre resource, supported by University of Warwick, Coventry University and Coventry City Council. It builds on the City’s industrial heritage by using advanced manufacturing to give Coventry people, with a focus on young people, the power to turn ideas into reality and to energise them to learn more about science, technology, engineering, enterprise, arts and maths through an accessible, fun, learning environment in the City Centre.

It exists both as a workshop and laboratory and as an outpost and new space in the centre of the city. We would like to invite the WP Forum membership to come and see the space, hear from some projects underway and hopefully be inspired to help us explore the use of the facility for outreach. We would like to challenge the idea that it is only for STEM subjects and consider arts, social science and interdisciplinary projects.

Spring Term, 2016
Talking (and Listening) to Young People

We were extremely excited to be able to welcome Sheila Bates, Coventry City Council's Children's Champion.

Sheila, who works with the Council's Participation Team, joined the WP Forum to discuss her work in giving voice and agency to the young people of Coventry. She looked at factors impacting on their lives and on how we as individuals and an institution can work with them.

Sheila also discussed concerns colleagues had around working with young people and/or individuals for whom the higher education environment is very alien.

Think Higher provided an update on their network development.

Autumn Term, 2015

This term's WP Forum looks at two projects, one ongoing -- Boys Dancing -- and another -- Coventry tutoring centres -- in the ideas stage. Both have wide-reaching potential for transformative action.

Boys Dancing is a long-standing collaboration involving the Warwick Arts Centre. Join us to hear Brian Bishop (Education Director, Warwick Arts Centre) discuss the Boys Dancing project and the importance of engaging young men in creative production.

The second part of the Forum will centre around an idea that is developing out of discussions currently coordinated by Martin Price, Collaborative Outreach Network Manager. Participants will have the chance to learn about and discuss a proposal for extending Warwick's activities in communities in Coventry and north Warwickshire. Through a series of 'tutoring centres' we aim to provide a place where children who live in our least advantaged communities can work alongside staff and students of a university, allowing the young people to talk to, consult and listen to people who can present a whole new world of support, information and inspiration to school age students.

Summer Term, 2015 Collaboration

Update by Paul Blagburn on the recent activities of the Widening Participation and Outreach team, including information on the WP Development Fund (now accepting applications; deadline Friday 3 July), and forthcoming opportunities for collaboration between all interested University stakeholders.

An update from Nuala Clarke (Modern Records Centre) on Archives aLive, a WP Development funded project

Round table discussion on how to improve collaborative working, sharing of ideas and data, and disseminating best practice.