NTF Wild Flowers!

In April we met for the Association of National Teaching Fellows annual symposium in Birmingham and two of the organisers Kirsten Hardie and Laura Ritchie gave us all a packet of wild flower seeds to sow and watch grow.  The photos attached show my efforts at horticulture…clearly still a lot to learn!

NTF wild flowers

NTF wild flowers

Wild Flower Seeds

by Julia Pointon

As always the symposium event was a time to renew previous friendships and make new ones.  It was a time for reflection and for planning.  Since April as a committee, we have had the opportunity to meet again at the HEA Annual Conference in Aston.  We held a planning day and tried to scope out and understand the implications of the changes at the HEA and what they might mean for the Association.  With unlimited support from Caroline and Rosa at the HEA, and the unparalleled commitment and sheer hard work from our committee chair Kirsten, we have started to plan our approach.

This includes gaining approval for the establishment of our own bank account – something we have been wanting for a long time and which will enable us to take greater control over the budget.  The visioning session provided some really exciting ideas and Julian Parks and I are planning to incorporate as many as possible into the revised strategy.  In July, the writing retreat in Lewes, so ably organised by Tim Bilham…(many thanks) resulted in excellent progress being made towards the next piece of work from the NTF community…..so all in all, we are, just like the flowers in the photo, blooming, looking pretty and growing from strength to strength.

Here’s to the next ‘gardening’ year ahead.

Blog article by Julia Pointon
NTF, De Montfort University


ANTF Writer’s Retreat 17-18 July, 2014

Association of National Teaching Fellows WRITER’S RETREAT!

19 NTFs came together for two days at Pelham House in East Sussex for a writer’s retreat. This was the first retreat organised by the association, and participants had all written abstracts outlining aspects of change, innovation and collaboration, and this was the starting point for a rich first day of discussion and development. Areas of expertise ranged from geomorphology to dentistry, medicine, business, sport, music, design, working with deaf children, employability, cognitive styles and the outcomes were equally exciting and reflected this diversity.

The facilitators had devices to aid the writing process, and in no time, Clive’s hexagons began to tessellate.

Clive at the writer's retreat Group working at the retreat

The initial book had emerging themes and working ideas for titles: “Space for Change: Where minds meet”. “Making educational change and innovation in HE happen”. “Empowering innovation in L&T in HE”. During the retreat,  lots of ideas and section abstracts came together centered around various aspects of ‘space’ such as physical space, imaginative space, diologic space and how learners and teachers work within these, and ideas also explored the concerns and issues that arise in these areas. As the time progressed, editors were chosen and progress felt real.

During the process, other ideas for publications – books, journals, collaborative projects – all began to emerge and the desire to include more NTFs grew. People put forward pitches for other publication ideas.


Brainstorms and mind maps filled the room as cells of people discussed ideas.

Writer's retreat brainstorming Writer's retreat activity

 In these two days, we came together, made connections, stimulated each other, and found common passions in education!


Will Katene embodied what we all felt with what he said at the end of that video clip:

It is all about working together. You have got to work together to achieve a common goal, and look what we have achieved in the last couple of days. Thank you to the organisational committee for what we have been able to do in such a short space of time. Look at the impact that we’re going to have when we share this collaborative practice. (words in Maori) Thank you!


Exciting, explosive, watch this space!

Blog article by Laura Ritchie.


Playing the tune and bringing the students with us.

On February 28th at the University of Chichester, I played a concert with my long-time accompanist and Head of Music and Media, Ben Hall. What was so special about this concert as we are both musicians? Well, in our daily roles, the students see us as lecturers, researchers, and really as overall musical academics, but seldom do they see us in the capacity of being professional performers.

We took this opportunity to draw the students in, with the Multi-camera Live Event module filming the event as part of their assessment there was a team of 8 students with 4 cameras, complete with a rolling track for moving shots, and the Music students advertising and hosting the event. It was a chance to use students to document and showcase the use of the University’s prized piano. The Centennial D is probably the oldest Steinway concert grand piano in Europe. It was made in 1876 and really defined what was to become the modern piano. The instrument has a different iron frame to modern grand pianos, with less tension, richer harmonics, and there is tri-stringing further down the tenor register. The sound is pure velvet and second to none, but I might be biased.

Laura Ritchie and Ben Hall

Laura and Ben photographed by Andrew Worsfold, keen music enthusiast and employee at the University of Chichester.


The event was also a personal challenge. Balancing academic duties with presenting a memorised concert was my way of showing the students that I am up for the same processes that we expect them to undertake. None of us ever stops learning, and conveying that to the students, staff, and public is important to me. Actually, it is essential, because if you believe, have drive and commitment, then so many limits to how much you can learn and accomplish are lifted. I am certainly going to keep stretching and growing. I hope you do as well.


By Laura Ritchie
2012 National Teaching Fellow