7 Jul 2011

Dance TRACES: the blog as reflective tool

Posted by Carole Kirk

Sarah WhatleySarah Whatley (Professor of Dance and Director of Research; ICELAB Coventry School of Art and Design Coventry University)

Abstract: The D-TRACES Project (Dance teaching resource and collaborative engagement spaces) set out to exploit the digital archive; Siobhan Davies RePlay  (www.siobhandaviesreplay.com) as a teaching, learning and research tool within the dance curriculum at Coventry University.  Despite the archive’s accessibility, dance students and staff do not make full use of the archive and have not explored the way in which they offer methods to facilitate a process of self-archiving. The D-TRACES project set out to resolve this problem by embedding the archive within the Personal Development Planning (PDP) element of the undergraduate dance curriculum. The project used the Jerwood Bank 2007 project microsite within the archive; the students created blogs as online PDPs using the archive as a model for stimulating ideas about how to record, collect and organise dance objects online and self-reflections on those objects.

Students were overwhelmingly positive about the project, now seeing the importance of learning to communicate their creative work to the outside world. They had been motivated to look for other resources add to their blog and saw it as an excellent means of being able to keep everything ‘all in one place’ and to organize thoughts. The blogs provided the students with a different kind of creative or ‘thinking space’. Collecting, wording and organizing helped students to find structure and meaning in what might have initially appeared as an arbitrary thought; thoughts that gain meaning, purpose and reason over time – and for many replaced the hard copy journal as an effective reflective tool.

DTRACES Sarah Whatley (Click to download Sarah’s presentation as a PDF)