I am an ESRC Doctoral Researcher, working on a collaborative award between The University of Warwick and Stan’s Cafe in Birmingham. My research interests include cultural policy, education, the arts and inequalities. My research sits between the Department of Sociology and the Department of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies and is looking at arts education and the potential for social and political change.
I have worked in formal and informal education, design, and in arts education and policy for regional and national organisations. Beginning with youth work and democracy, I have volunteered with organisations such as Coventry City Council, UK Youth Parliament, The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
My first degree was in graphic design and advertising at the London College of Printing, followed by the setting up of a design studio based in London focused on participatory design practice with children and Young People. Later I worked as a regional cultural adviser to the governments Building Schools for the Future programme, developing partnerships between cultural organisations, schools and local authorities to explore the transformation of education through arts and culture. After this, at MADE (Midlands Architecture & the Designed Environment) - I worked as arts and cultural programmes manager developing and leading the built environment programmes and public events for artists, Young People and other built environment professionals.
My Masters at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick explored the potential for cultural citizenship within the English education system, and after this I worked at A New Direction and Arts Council England in the national learning team - and have shaped and lead a number of regional and national programmes, projects and consultations. I have worked with a wide variety of practitioners, schools and organisations and have shaped, produced and spoken at national conferences and developed research programmes with partners that include large-scale quantitative studies, action research and ethnographic studies. Highlights have included a two-year Department for Education programme ‘Strong Voices’ looking at cultural engagement of disadvantaged and vulnerable young Londoners, and a national consultation with Virtual Schools looking at arts and culture alongside the education of children looked after.
Ruck, A. (2020) Artwashing Education? The International Journal of Art & Design Education
James, S. Houston, A. Newton, L. Daniels, S. Davies, L. Morgan, N. Cohu, W. Ruck, A. Lucas, B. (2019) Durham Commission on Creativity and Education Durham University and Arts Council England.
Davies, L.M. Ruck, A. (2018) The Durham Commission on Creativity in Education: Creativity – Why Now & What Next? Durham University and Arts Council England.
Conferences & Workshops:
InSEA (International Society for Education through Art) Conference, Art education: conflicts and connections. 9th-11th October 2019, Valletta, Malta. Paper: Cultural capital: is the glass half full or half empty?
Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Working Collaboratively Workshop. 30th April 2019, University of Warwick. Presentation: Stan’s Cafe: Devising, Creativity, Collaboration
iJADE (International Journal of Art and Design Education) Conference 2019, Creating Spaces:Inclusivity, ethics and participation in art and design education. 22nd-23rd February 2019, London. Paper: Art-washing Education?
10th midterm Conference of the European Sociological Association Research Networks Sociology of the Arts & Sociology of Culture, Creative Locations: Arts, Culture and the City. 4-7th September 2018, Malta. Paper: A New Cultural Capital? Social and political potentials for arts and cultural education in England’s Second City
'Shame, Snobbery & Ultra-conformity' Critical explorations of inequality in creative education.
Arts Council England, Children & Young People Team National Summer School. 30th July 2020.
Arts Education, Schools and Emotional Rebuilding.
The Roundhouse, Teachers Network. 14th July 2020.
Guest Lectures - University of Warwick
Asking questions for research in theatre and performance studies
Looking critically at policy and practice – educational inequalities
Associate Tutor - University of Warwick
2018-19 TH116 Performance Analysis
2019-20 SO244 Educational Inequalities
Connecting Cultures GRP Advisory group member
Politics Power Culture (Facilitator):
A video, created and developed by Young People, exploring politics, power and culture as part of Parliament Week 2014 at the Houses of Parliament.
Cultural Capital Conference (Organiser):
An event that looked at how London’s arts and cultural sector can come together with organisations that work with disadvantaged young people to ensure equity of access. We set out shared priorities for Young Londoners, and heard about A New Directions latest research and programmes that shed light on the lives of all young Londoners.
Strong Voices Conference (Speaker):
A presentation with Lara Stavrinou sharing the findings of the two-year programme looking at connections between the youth and cultural sectors, working with disadvantaged and vulnerable young Londoners,
ESRC Doctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology & Department of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies
A New Cultural Capital?
Social & Political Potentials for Arts and Cultural Education in England’s Second City.