As course leader and senior lecturer, I am responsible for the successful managing of the course of 200+ students and 8 staff, across 4 levels, including our new Master’s course in Historical Costume. The role requires that I develop curriculum and a diverse range of projects, managing student recruitment, expectation and achievement in a changing HE environment. Prior to my academic career I worked as a professional theatre designer (from 1988), designing for many national theatres including: The Riverside Studios, Watford Palace, Theatr Clwyd, The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, Perth Theatre, The Gate, The Man in the Moon and The Bridewell to name just a few. Since 2006, I have designed over 7 productions within the Arts University Bournemouth and produced numerous short film projects.
Teaching & professional practice
Recently, I have been working to focus on student employability, by engaging with many external work providers. Students also enjoy a wealth of work placements (over 100 placements in 2018) whilst on the course – due in some part to the active endeavour of the course team and myself to encourage an active discourse with industry. The course has strong links with leading theatres in the UK: NT, RSC, Glyndebourne, Theatre Royal, Winchester, Oxford Playhouse, The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset Corset and Gobbledegook Theatre as well as numerous West End Theatres. We also have present students and many graduates working on feature films throughout the UK and the world including the Netflix production, ‘The Crown’. I have focused more work this year on further developing these links, a fact which has provided a 90%+ graduate job statistic for the graduating cohort. I have worked with the team to develop a ‘doing it for real’ experiential model of learning and teaching with most of my Level 6 students completing live projects in their third year.
- Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) (2017–Present) (2017–Present)
- Chair of The Associated Courses of Theatre Design (ACTD) (2011–2013) (2011–2013)
- Full member of USITT (United States Institute of Theatre Technology) (2009–Present)
- The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, for 'Distinguished degree level education in costume design for the UK's leading creative industries. (2016–2018)
My research into effective teaching methodologies for costume supervisors has resulted in a monograph detailed below. I was fortunate to be able to work with Carol Lingwood, the Head of Costume at the National Theatre on this publication. My other research interest is related to the idea of developing ‘Designer thinking’ amongst student scenographers. Drawing as a practice is an additional research theme that I am developing. In March 2016 I curated the Drawing Theatre: Pamela Howard installation which was the culmination of a very productive creative collaboration between Visiting Professor Pamela Howard OBE and the BA Costume and Performance Design course team and students. Pamela’s belief and passion for ‘the scenographic costume’ has led and influenced the specific and unique culture of the course. I edited and contributed to a publication to accompany the event. This followed a collaborative exhibition (between BA Costume and Performance Design, BA Fashion and BA Textiles), entitled A Stitch in Line in November 2015, that examined stitch as a medium for creating art.
I am studying for a Doctorate in Education with a focus on pedagogy relating to developing the ‘soft skills’ required by student costume and design students. My research intends to provoke a critical turn in the discourse around the subject of costume supervision partly to raise its status. The research encompasses areas related to drama training technique and then costume manufacture and embodies a generally interdisciplinary approach to the multiple components of scenography. My work is inspired by the classic texts authored by Artaud, Brook, Stanislavski and Howard. The theorists Barthes and Benjamin and well as Greer and Butler inform the socio-political context of costume work as I see it.