Spotlight on Dr Helen Millward

My most recent research has explored how change can be facilitated in local communities using creative methods of engagement, to the benefit of the community as a whole and for the individuals residing in the area. In doing so, I have had the opportunity to work with local people and organizations such as a theatre, a food bank and volunteers. As a consequence, inclusivity, regardless of an individual’s background has played a strong role in my research. This is something I aim to replicate within my teaching practices. Through group discussion and the use of case studies designed to illuminate theory in real life situations, students are able to engage with opinions and cultures that may vastly differ to their own. This can also be beneficial in helping students to develop the reflexive capabilities so often sought by employers.

My research on creative methods of engagement also informs my teaching practice, allowing me to vary activities to keep students engaged throughout the academic year. The use of creative methods can be beneficial in developing student understanding, as some students may prefer a more practical approach. For example, in a tutorial activity aimed at understanding stereotypes, students may be tasked with drawing an image of a leader in two minutes. Without any further direction and with a short time period to complete the activity, students typically draw their own stereotyped interpretation of a leader. After comparison with other students’ images, conclusions about students’ stereotypical assumptions of a leader’s physical characteristics can be drawn.

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