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Catherine McConnell

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 13 years, 2 months ago


Catherine McConnell

University of Brighton staff page


I am particularly interested in the learning relationships that students develop whilst on placement, in particular those who secure work experience with micro-businesses in the creative industries.  Small and micro-businesses can provide students with unique insights into freelance and self-employment progression routes, and offer the chance to develop professional and entrepreneurial skills invaluable for final or subsequent years of study.


This SCEPTrE Fellowship will be used to explore the use of activities and resources that prepare students and micro-businesses (designer-makers) alike, with the appropriate tools to secure and carry out a successful placement experience.  The development of these tools will also draw upon particular findings and recommendations from the work of the UK Teaching and Learning Research Programme carried out by Michael Eraut (2009), into Improving the Quality of Placements[2], such as: 

  • enhancing situational understanding
  • developing perception, emotional intelligence, problem solving


Building upon the outcomes reported by students and designer-makers who participated in the CEPPL funded project Placement Learning in the Creative Industries: Establishing a placement framework format and agreement for use with students and the designer-maker community[1] (Harper, McConnell and Robertson, 2009). (See pages 17-27 of Networks ADM-HEA publication), ongoing findings include:


  • the need to prepare students more adequately before placement in a 1:1 setting
  • the need to support designer-makers with activities such as induction, health and safety, intellectual property
  • pre-placement and post-placement activities, for example about professional conduct, interpersonal communication, managing change, problem-solving
  • support for reflection during placement, through creative writing, online journals or diaries
  • a peer support mechanism for students about to embark on placement, specifically a placement conference


These activities are planned for the 2009/10 academic year, and will draw upon student experiences from the University of Brighton, and Buckinghamshire New University - mainly courses in Fashion, Textiles and Wood Metal Ceramics and Plastics.


If you are interested in getting your students involved with the project, perhaps from another disciplinary perspective, or from another institutional dimension, please feel free to contact me at c.mcconnell@brighton.ac.uk.

[1] Harper D, McConnell C and Robertson A (2008-9) Placement Learning in the Creative Industries: establishing a placement framework format and agreement for use with students and the designer-maker community. Ceppl funded innovation award. University of Plymouth.

[2] Eraut, M (2009) Improving the Quality of Placements. Findings from the UK Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Presented at the AERA annual conference, Symposium on Learning in the Workplace, San Diego, April 2009.

Comments (3)

Russ Law said

at 10:24 am on Sep 18, 2009

Great to see that you and Chris managed to overcome the technical problems, Catherine. Well done for establishing your wiki presence! Good luck with it all as the year gets off to a start.

I'm sure that others, eg Doris, will be keen to hear about aspects of professional communication.

Doris Dippold said

at 3:01 pm on Oct 9, 2009

Dear Catherine

I am the Doris Russ mentioned, and my own project is on Professional Communication. I will develop a web-based resource on professional communication that aims to support students during their placement year, but at the same time I also want to conduct some research on how students are best supported to learn about professional communication.

I would be interested to hear more about your project, so if you want to touch base, my e-mail address is d.dippold@surrey.ac.uk.

Russ Law said

at 1:32 pm on Nov 4, 2009

Hello, Catherine - Thinking of you and the others who can't be here in person today at the Fellows' Festival and Fair.
Best wishes from all of us who are able to attend.

By the way, I went down to Brighton a few weeks ago to take a friend's daughter to start uni there (art and design and textiley stuff), and all of us on the trip wanted to stay there... It was a lovely sunny day, and the whole place seemed so vibrant.

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