Creative Shift: Careers and Employability, University of the Arts London
Creative Shift aims to build authentic relationships, where “scaling up means going deeper, being more vulnerable and empathetic” ...where there is humility “to learn, to be taught and to have teachers” (students are our teachers and this project is one of listening).
“Many of us have been socialized to understand that constant growth, violent competition, and critical mass are the ways to create change. But emergence shows us that adaptation and evolution depend more upon critical, deep, and authentic connections, a thread that can be tugged for support and resilience. The quality of connection between the nodes in the patterns” -quotes from adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy (2017)
This work sought to evidence the quality of connection between the nodes and patterns of Creative Shift by designing and embedding processes that ‘evaluate through’ their varied activity. My aim was to capture and connect data that articulates the impact that Creative Shift’s distinct method and practice has on its target students and embed this through their outputs. Through out 2021, we worked as a team to absorb learning from our iterative work to develop a ‘elastic’ framework that reflects Creative Shift's central ethos of community, cooperation and compassionate pedagogy. One that can operate across the micro interactions, mid-scale support and long-term projects they deliver as well as recognise the impact that repeat engagement has on students.
Each intervention interconnects to a wider system, that measures: the presence of their Access and Participation Plan Theory of Change indicators, how well each activity's learning aims, and objectives have been met, gathers research that seeks to respond to the changing needs of the group and the collection of engagement numbers. We anticipate analysing this alongside wider data from the University Central Planning Unit to reveal meta patterns regarding participation, attainment and progression in their target groups as well as mobilising insights and learning in the team to shape programming in the future.
After designing the tools and training staff the system is now live, and information is being captured through both qualitative (polls, forms, thematic termly think ins, case study/interviews and embedded reflective activities) and quantitative modes (recording interactions, engagement - online and offline, participation, student numbers). The ongoing analysis gives particular attention to balancing narrative and numbers in a way which seeks to evidence, differentiate and represent the necessary nuance and effects that come with operating at depth; to celebrate, evolve and sustain the CS programme whilst maintaining its core values and share their practices in the sector.
I continue to work with Creative Shift remotely as one of their associates, supporting the team and their strategic development.