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Rachel Dickinson and Virginia Grainger


Rachel Dickinson is Secondary PGCE Subject Coordinator with Drama and English in Warwick Institute of Education. She is responsible for the CAPITAL-inspired and internationally recognised Postgraduate Certificate and Award programmes in Teaching Shakespeare for Teachers of English and Drama involved in the RSC's Learning and Performance Network and Teaching Shakespeare for RSC actors.

Virginia Grainger is Lead Practitioner in the RSC's Education Department. She formerly worked for the RSC's Touring/Education Departments creating educational programmes, which have reached over 30,000 people from all walks of life in over 15 countries including China, Japan, USA, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia.

Rachel and Virginia will be working together on

The Third Space of Aspiration and Change

This project is designed to re-capture the spirit of invention and collaboration between CAPITAL’s original partners. It brings together the idea of CAPITAL as a third space of creativity, discovery, practice and research betwixt and between the University and the Royal Shakespeare Company with the emerging new CETL agenda. In this new agenda, CAPITAL can represent a third space of discovery and re-invention for HE pedagogies but also as a welcoming place for Aim Higher, GOAL, IGGY and other University initiatives geared to widening participation for under represented student populations.

The project will be in four stages:

  • In the first stage, to provide the space and time for an intensive knowledge transfer project in two National Challenge Schools in Birmingham, Queensbridge and Moseley Schools, with the Fellows co-teaching gifted and talented and other pupils. In this initial phase the focus is on professional development for the two fellows and the opportunity to document and record the confluence of influences, knowledges and experiences in the third space of challenging urban classrooms. This opportunity for a Warwick and an RSC lead education practitioner to discover together what each brings and how each might be changed by the experience of working together in challenging situations has already been identified by both organisations as a key professional development priority. Pupils will go to Stratford to watch a performance at the Courtyard and meet with current and past PG Award Actors from the long ensemble.
  • In the second stage the Fellows will prepare a two-day intensive workshop in the ‘third spaces’ of CAPITAL for pupils from these schools designed to give the confidence and tools needed to ‘aim higher’ and consider: applying for a top English Department in a leading University with a unique track record in bringing Shakespeare alive through performance and active workshop approaches; the life-long pleasures and possibilities of engagement with the theatre of Shakespeare and other powerful culture.
  • The third stage will be the workshop (scheduled for 16 and 17 June) to be monitored and recorded for a number of future uses including disseminating best practice in widening participation to HE. The event will include workshops, lectures, demonstrations and modelling of best practice at HE and Secondary levels. The experience for the pupils will be augmented by campus tours and mentoring opportunities with UG students.
  • The final stage will provide the space for the Fellows to reflect on and record their own experiences and to capture and distil material from the project and the reflections of all those involved. A longitudinal study will track the performance and post-secondary destination data of the young people involved.