Task 4a (Part One)

Are there any ideas from Work Based or Organisational knowledge theories of learning that could be used to understand your own professional enquiry?

Peter Senge's theories of the learning organisation were quite interesting to me; he focuses on 'decentralizing the role of leadership' to enhance creativity within a group. I found this related to my experience of working as pat of a group of practising professional performers, as we all bring our own strengths and experiences to the common goal of a group;

For example; when producing a show - in my performance community of practice there are members whose strengths lie both in writing and performing comedy, both musical and scripted, one member who comes from a sound, lighting and stage management background and who is skilled at developing and running the technical aspects of a production, and those who have strong networking skills to source new performance opportunities such as a venue or promoter who may book the production. There is no 'leader' as such.

While I found Argrys' studies of organisational learning interesting, I don't feel that they helped enhance my understanding of learning theories. The statement of a contrasting 'theory-of-action' and 'theory-in-use' was very interesting as it implies a difference between how we believe we would or should act in a given situation, and how we actually act in that situation. I think that this is something I will look at further in the future but I don't think, at the moment, that it is a particularly relevant theory for me personally.

I looked into other theories of work based learning, including those of Raelin and I also looked back at Kolb's Cycle. Something that has struck me about the theories is the importance they place on the role of an organisation and how vital organisational support is to a learning process. Individual learning can impact a group as a whole yet a group can help or hinder the learning process.

As a result of this study I am now firm in my belief that I need to expand my professional network to include practitioners currently working in Dramaturgy; I have suspected for a while that it may be difficult to create an inquiry without professional support and I am intending to redouble my efforts to make beneficial connections with those who may be able to assist me in my development.

Raelin's model of work-based learning, which is also similar in its stages to Kolb's learning cycle, draws on the importance of reflection and emphasises the importance of a network or community in the process of learning.
Image Source: niatx.net

Do you work within a disciplinary context in the arts? Or is your situation more trans-disciplinary?

I believe that my past practice has consistently been trans-disciplinary; while my focus has always been performance, I have been required to develop knowledge of small business and social media marketing; I have created a website for which I learned (extremely basic!!) coding and html; I have experience of event planning and marketing, and much more besides, all falling under the supposedly 'disciplinary' heading of "Performer".

From my reading and research on Dramaturgy, I believe that this is also a very trans-disciplinary area. Paula found this website for me; (http://artsonthemove.co.uk/resources/dramaturgy.php) which I found extremely useful in understanding the wide-ranging possibilities of the role. One of the many books I have sourced; "The Process Of Dramaturgy," was also very interesting as it gave almost a step-by-step guide for aspiring Dramaturgs working in many of the areas listed on the website.

Screenshot: artsonthemove.co.uk

What do you know? How do you know it?

I'm not sure about this question; I know lots of things - some useful, some not so!

I suppose the correct answer, regarding professional practice, is that I know the best ways, for me, to market and run my business and I know this through experience; both that of myself and others.

I feel that this links back to Peter Senge's theories of learning in an organisation; while my personal organisation may not be a formal structure, say that of a bank or office, there is still a heirarchy of learning, without any 'leader' as such, that is conducted through social media, and through observation and conversation both online and at events.

Regarding my intended practice; I don't know all that much at all! The little I have learned has come from books and online materials, however until I put this learning into practice I can't say with any certainty that I know anything aside from a vague theoretical understanding. For me, I can make links back to tasks in Module one; from Kolb's Learning Cycle, regarding Dramaturgy, I am currently unable to make the move from Abstract Conceptualization to Active Experimentation. I can also see that, while I learn through a Read/Write preference, I need the Kinaesthetic experience in order to solidify my learning experience.

Make a brief list of your competences and capabilities:
What knowledge and skills do you think you will need for the future?

Screenshot: my personal LinkedIn page, 'skills' section.

From the reading I have done regarding Dramaturgy, I believe I will need to work on several skills I already have, including Research and Organization, and critical writing, and I would like to consolidate knowledge on Theatre theory and Stage Management as I believe these will be useful to me in the future. Several sources have stated that Dramaturgs often work on translations of foreign plays, and, while they work with translators (a direct translation of a phrase may not be true to the meaning intended by the writer, and a Dramaturg's job is often to work on the translation to help it make sense to an English speaking audience while retaining the original intentions of the script), I feel it may be helpful to have a basic knowledge of several languages, so I would like to work on this.

I am working on developing these areas of skill and knowledge already; I have begun using this blog to review shows I have seen recently as this will help me work on my critical thinking and writing skills, and is helping to enhance my ability to watch and learn from performances. 
I have several books on theatrical theory and am currently reading the performance theories of Li Yu, who I find quite interesting!
I have a very basic knowledge of French and Spanish, and would like to work on developing this languages, and intend to also attempt to improve my minimal German, Italian and Polish.

What were some of the points in the reading that you will use to develop your topic?

I found it difficult to begin this task; I wrote recently about feeling as though I was at a sticking point in developing my inquiry.

"Sometimes the boundaries of professional inquiry relate to what is required by the next step in someone's career as much as solving problems about existing work situations. Often emerging and establishing professionals share common goals within work and career, especially those who work within similar sectors in the arts"

After working through these questions I don't think I am any nearer to coming up with an inquiry question, however I am more relaxed about it as I now feel as though I have the steps clearer in my mind regarding where I need to go and what I need to do in order to develop the beginnings of a line of inquiry.


I have read through the rest of Reader Four, the questions or actions posed at the end of the sections I couldn't directly relate to my practice. I did find the sections on research extremely interesting, however, and will post my thoughts on this shortly.


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