Theme Lead - Mark Smith
The broad theme of practice captures convergent directions of travel across the different discipline areas within the School. All disciplines are concerned with professional practice. This theme considers the nature of contemporary professionalism and the need to educate new professionals to be comfortable in working with complexity and strangeness. This, in turn, asks questions of whether our current teaching practices, with an emphasis on applying ‘theory’ to ‘practice’ within a tightly regulated, codified and (ostensibly) ‘evidence-based’ context may in fact be inadequate preparing students for an increasingly fluid world.
Other features of practice involve deeply ontological and value-based dimensions, which would accommodate interests around professional identity and personal/professional ethics within such a theme.
Crucially, a theme of practice would also, by its nature, involve a dynamic interplay and exchange of knowledge between academic and agency partners, possibly made concrete by a university/community hub. It addresses, fundamentally, the University’s transformation agenda, which is concerned to ‘transform lives using an interdisciplinary thematic approach, transform knowledge and practices through excellent research and engaged scholarship and education …’.