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Publications and Talks

FORTHCOMING:

POSTER PRESENTATION - 'The Warwick Handbook of Innovative Teaching: Enhancing the Student Experience', Warwick Teaching and Learning Showcase, May 2016

TALK - 'Alternative Learning Spaces: A smooth and organic pedagogy', Gregynog Ideas Lab V, July 2016

TALK - 'Sport, Philosophy, and Practice: Integrating the extracurricular', Windows Into Teaching, Warwick, November 2016

PUBLICATION - The Warwick Handbook of Innovative Teaching (mid-2016): internal publication for use by Warwick staff and students before seeking external publication

PUBLICATION - Literary Studies and Philosophy of Literature: New Interdisciplinary Directions (Palgrave Macmillan, late-2016), co-edited with Andrea Selleri

PUBLICATION - ‘The Dark Would: An Impact Case Study’ and ‘The Dark Would Playbox: A toolbox to get your students playing’ – Online resources for Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) (late-2016), co-written with Amy Clarke, Rebecca Fisher, and Naomi de la Tour

PUBLICATION - 'The Dark Would: A Pen Portrait' for The Power of Play in Higher Education (under review), co-written with Amy Clarke, Rebecca Fisher, and Naomi de la Tour


TALK - 'All Philosophy Begins in Wonder' (April, 2016)

From 30/03/16-02/04/16 I attended the American Philosophical Association's Pacific Division meeting. On the final day of the conference I led a workshop entitled 'All Philosophy Begins in Wonder' where I had participants engaging in tasks I use in some of my teaching which are designed to ellicit a sense of wonder and allow for movement from wonder to philosophical wondering. To read a short overview of my talk and report of the conference click here.


TALK - 'Dealing with complex and difficult issues with children' (February, 2016)

Warwick's Law School held an interdisicplinary workshop on 'Writing About Human Rights for Children'. It was a pleasure to speak at and to see how the interest in children's literature and childhood studies has really grown at Warwick over the past five years. Sandwiched between a talk by Laura Wood on effective writing for children and Carren Lu on illustrating children's books, I talked about my research around children's books that tackle difficult issues, how I approach such topics when they arise in schools as part of my philosophy sessions, and where the possible issues in creating a children's book on human rights might be.


TALK - 'Approaches to Module Design' (November, 2015)

I presented at one of Warwick 'Windows on Teaching' sessions on the lessons I have learned over the past few years whilst creating my modules and researching module design. A video of the talk can be found here.


TALK - ‘Innovative Teaching - IATL’ (May, 2015)

Warwick hosted the annual 'Teachers' and Advisors' Conference' this year. The event was aimed at secondary school teachers who wanted to gather more information on Warwick and the university application process for their students as well as network with other teachers and advisers in the sector. Throughout the day they could attend talks and workshops delivered by various departments. My own talk was on the innovative teaching supported by IATL. After setting up the campfire from ‘The Dark Would’ installation I invited the teachers to consider the below quotation from Dwayne Huebner in The Lure of the Transcendent. After discussing this I shared the “story” of my creative module ‘Applied Imagination’ and invited those attending to share their own stories of innovation and creativity. Those who attended fed back that it was a very positive and stimulating experience but it did highlight how secondary-school in particular has, in general, become a setting that can often stifle innovation and creativity through the pressure to achieve a variety of narrow professional and goal-orientated constraints. However, I hope to work with some of the schools that were present on how we might bring ‘The Dark Would’ to them or help them in creating their own spaces within those constraints.

"Only as a result of unusual teaching do we break through this mask formed by the repressive requirements of education to again see glimpses of the spark, the curiosity, and the wonder and awe of the young child. Frequently only at the doctoral level and sometimes not even then, where the student can explore on his own, seeking out newness and strangeness, going down dark paths alone and without fear, urging his professor to follow along - is the pre-school spirit of joy, of curiosity, and wonder regained. What happens?"


TALK - "All grown up...ish": Primary School Pedagogy in Higher Education (May, 2015)

As well as organising The Dark Would conference (see conferences and events) I delivered a session with Pavandeep Ghuman from Earlsdon Primary School - a teacher who I have worked with for around a year now and whose classroom techniques, alongside The Philosophy Foundation methods, have greatly impacted upon my thinking in terms of implementing my thesis ideas. Our session used a task Pav had recently set her class, room design, and a live tweeting session with Pav's class in Earlsdon in order to draw out ideas concerning ownership of space, immediate impact and gratification in terms of tasks set, taking the educational needs from the group, and creating communal success criteria that reflect the group's needs and understanding. We then considered the importance of these ideas and how they may be achieved in a time- and results-bound higher education environment.


PUBLICATION - The Dark Would (IATL Newsletter, May, 2015)

This small publication brings together the underpinning pedagogical philosophy of The Dark Would event and team as well as reflections on the innovative nature of the Applied Imagination module. However, the online copy linked in the title does not show how the physical artifact also but unfolds like a map to reveal hidden ideas and contributions.


TALK - 'What I wish I'd known before I started teaching' (April, 2015)

I spoke to a number of postgraduate students embarking upon teaching at Warwick about practical advice and how to orientate themselves to thier teaching ideology and preferred methods. The talk was part of a Warwick Grad School series.


PUBLICATION: 'Conversations with...Anne Fine' (April, 2015)

This article contains an interview with one of the biggest and enduring names in children's literature, Anne Fine, as well as an introduction and aside on the role of children’s literature in our lives and development, and our adult perceptions of the suitability of childhood reading material. Click here to see the article.


PUBLICATION AND TALK: '21st Century Theories of Literature: Where do the traps lie in interdisciplinary events?' (Various)

This piece reflects on the recent experiences Andrea Selleri and I had in organising and running the conference '21st Century Theories of Literature' and has turned into a publication with Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal, a blog post for Rowman and Littlefield International publishers and a talk at Durham's 'Transfusion and Transformation' event.

CLICK HERE to read a short reflection on the Durham conference.


TALK: "The 'Childlike' Learner" (May, 2014)

On 10/05/2014 I attended 'Crossing Boundaries: Warwick Centre for Education Studies' annual interdisciplinary postgraduate conference'. This was a fantastic event and a chance to engage with and present my ideas to a different department and new audience. One who I know will ultimately have an impact on my thesis, my future career, or both. Click here to read my conference report and some of my thoughts on attending an interdisciplinary conference after trying to run one myself.


TALK: '"Prezi-Power" - Introducing Students to Prezi' (Windows Into Teaching session, February, 2014)

Although PowerPoint can be used efficiently and effectively, the resultant presentations are often very static, create a "been there, done that" feeling in an audience, are overly textual, and induce a sense of complacency in a presenter. Through my role as Learning Grid Adviser I have been at the forefront of planning and delivering workshops that aim to introduce students to thinking about presentations as a visual metaphor and how this aids academic presenting, presentation skills in general, and even essay structure and revision. This talk went over the basics of how Prezi is used and how these workshops developed in order to present it as both a interesting presentation tool but also a valuable pedagogical one.

If you are a Warwick postgraduate student/member of staff you can see the larger WIT database by clicking here.


TALK: 'Securing Happiness through Nostalgic Children's Texts' (November, 2013)

On the 16/11/2013 I attended the conference ‘Born Happy: Happiness, Childhood, and Children’s Literature’ at the University of Oxford. The aim of the conference was to bring attention back to something that has been neglected since the early 1980’s; namely, a sustained study of happiness in children’s literature and a questioning of what value and role the portrayal of happiness has in this literature. In the first parallel session I delivered my paper ‘Securing Happiness through Nostalgic Children’s Texts’. My paper sought to bring together empirical research, philosophical criticism, and children’s literature criticism about what nostalgia is and why we both deplore and are drawn to it. It did so in order to expose what characteristics of the nostalgic children’s text could be rescued and shown to be conducive to happiness. This talk was a condensed version of the above forthcoming paper.


TALK: ‘"Seeking a new form of attention" (Cathy Davidson): finding spaces for employability in the undergraduate curriculum’ (Windows on Teaching Session, November, 2013, Teaching Grid, Warwick)

This session examined what 'employability' might mean for and to undergraduate learners, before moving to consider potential avenues for skills building and peer development at undergraduate level. In the first half of the session, I presented what the Learning Grid can offer undergraduate teachers and learners through a demonstration of a session run in the new Learning Grid Studio by myself and Catherine Hampton (module leader) for an undergraduate French seminar. I spoke about the approach taken and how I got the students to brainstorm and select visual metaphors for their work that could then be transformed, (a) into the basis for a innovative presentation (particularly using Prezi or Screenflow) or poster, and (b) into an effective revision tool. The second half was led by Catherine and invited attendees to think more broadly about other means of establishing a shared working community amongst staff and students, imbuing students in a variety of contexts (including distance learners abroad) with the kind of responsibility that might be expected in a professional working context.


TALK: '"Real Adventures for Real Heroes": Does Dungeons and Dragons deliver what it promises?' (August, 2013)

This talk was my first every presentation at an academic conference. The Nine Worlds academic conference was one track of the larger Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013 Science-Fiction and Fantasy convention in London. Getting to present my ideas to a potentially non-philosophical but academically minded and hugely enthusiastic group was both challenging and rewarding. Click here to read my full report of the conference and convention.


PUBLICATION: 'Tina's Ghost' and 'Bobby the Punching Bag' in The Philosophy Shop

Since publication The Philosophy Shop has been awarded the Gold award in Foreword Reviews' Philosophy Book of the Year Award (2012), Education Resources' Educational Book of the Year (2013), and won the Compilation/Anthologies category of the New England Book Festival (2012).

Described as "a one-stop shop stacked to the rafters with everything you could ever want to tap into young people's natural curiosity and get them thinking deeply", The Philosophy Shop is a book of philosophical thought experiments to be used inside and outside the classroom. It is edited by Peter Worley and its contributors include A.C.Grayling and Angie Hobbs. My own contributions were short but I am excited to be part of such a book.


TALK: "Testimony and Trust in Children's Literature" (February, 2013, Warwick)

I gave this talk at Warwick's Postgraduate Seminar series. I presented my most recent ideas on the chapter I am currently working on - knowledge formation in the children's literature. This talk focused on the creation of safe spaces and trustworthy figures and how this might aid some sort of testimonial form of knowledge transmission and how the "author is dead" problem might frustrate this model.


TALK: "Revisiting Schiller's Epigram" (January, 2013, Warwick)

This talk was given to the Philosophy Society at Warwick. My undergraduate dissertation was on a short epigram by Friedrich Schiller which satirised Kant's notions of duty and moral worth. After seminar tutoring for Ethics I this year and finally coming back to some Kantian moral philosophy, I remembered how much I enjoyed it and the fact I hadn't really had chance to share my final dissertation ideas with anyone. This was my chance!

"Gladly I serve my friends, but regrettably I do so with pleasure.
Thus I am often troubled by the fact that I am not virtuous.
(To which the following response is given:)
The only advice for you is to try to despise them.
And thus do with repugnance what duty commands."

This epigram by Friedrich Schiller satirises Kant's notions of duty and moral worth. However, it is usually dismissed extremely quickly in secondary literature on both Kant and Schiller and is considered to be devoid of any real insight. This talk looked at re-interpreting this epigram in a way that highlights issues in Kant's moral philosophy that are not addressed in the traditional rejection of the epigram. It not only showed how the epigram exposes a potential contradiction in Kant's moral thinking but also highlighted a question which often lies at the core of general moral theory: "Do I need to know if I'm moral?"


TALK: "What does a poem demand? A Response" (January, 2013, Warwick)

I was asked by fellow Philosophy and Literature PhD student Karen Simecek to give the response to her paper 'Moral Vision and Meaning Making in Poetry' at the Postgraduate Seminar. Describing my response would make little sense without her paper, but I was delighted to be asked and enjoyed the experience. Karen will be returning the favour Feb, 2013 when she responds to my presentation at the Graduate Seminar.


TALK: "Defending the Sentimentality of Christmas" (December, 2012, Warwick)

I was once again invited back to speak to Warwick's Philosophy and Literature Society. This time I spoke about the sentimentality and nostalgia we often feel at times of year such as Christmas. Nostalgia and sentimentality are almost universally condemned in the academic sphere. They deceive us with their false ideals, they curtain off the harsh realities of the world, and they cause us to act in line with the most irrational and sickly of emotions. So what must we make of Christmas then, one of, if not the, most sentimental of holidays? In this talk I analysed the feelings of sentimentality and nostalgia many of us feel at Christmas in order to show that, despite its drawbacks, sentimentality and nostalgia can play a pivotal and philosophically responsible role in our lives and we need not feel guilty for indulging in them every now and then – especially at Christmas!


TALK: Reforging the Shield of Achilles (October, 2012, Warwick)

I spoke to Warwick's Philosophy and Literature Society on Achilles' shield as it appears through the centuries. In this talk I presented my own interpretation of the shield within the Iliad but I also looked at how others, ranging from Hesiod to Auden, have used the image in their own works. I demonstrated how each new depiction is used by these authors and artists to encapsulate something central to their work and embody a consideration they deem of the utmost importance to the world. As we gazed upon this collection of reforged images we were also be prompted to ponder a plethora of philosophical topics, ranging from life and death to the place and value of an ‘original’, and, as with most galleries, it was hoped that we might emerge that little bit closer to one of the foundations of philosophy and morality – “know thyself”.


TALK: The Learning Grid and Peer-to-Peer Support (June, 2012, Bielefeld)

I was selected as part of my Learning Grid Adviser role to go speak at the University of Bielefeld in Germany on The Learning Grid as a space and the peer-to-peer support model that we offer. This was a conference organised by the German organisation Netzwerk Tutorienarbeit an Hochschulen which the central theme of ‘Working with Tutors’.

You can read my full report of the trip by clicking here.


PUBLICATION: PHIction: A Journal of Philosophy in Literary Arts (April, 2012)

My poem 'Fighting Philosophical Problems in Swadesh' was selected for publication in the April edition of Texas State University's journal PHIction. It was also presented at a Philosophy symposium at the university.


TALK: The Role of Children's Literature in Philosophy (March, 2012, Warwick)

This was my first ever talk as a postgraduate student, and my first academic presentation outside of a seminar setting. I have to thank the Philosophy and Literature Society for giving me the opportunity to give the talk and I hope they, and everyone else who came along, enjoyed it.

 

My PhD in 60 Seconds (2011, Warwick)

Although not many people would include such a small thing in their personal development, I actually found this one of the most fruitful and engaging exploits of my first year of PhD study. Trying to organise and condense my ideas was proving to be difficult anyway, so I thought having to do it in 60 seconds would be impossible. Instead, the exercise helped me to focus and really dig through my ideas towards the bedrock of my thesis. Also, as this piece was not just for myself or other philosophy students - it was going to a wider audience - I was forced to explain my thesis in as clear, concise, and accessible a way as possible. As such, it was an invaluable exercise that I would recommend all postgraduate students attempt!