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What’s happening with the Universities?

Issue: What’s happening with the Universities?

Convener(s): Andy Barrett

Participants: Julie Wilkinson, Geoff Cauldwell, Ava Hunt, Depi Mavropolou, Kelly, Izzy, Alex, Tanya

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

There are more writers teaching in uni’s and more new writers coming out of uni courses.
Where are the jobs for future students? The expansion has created enormous expectation.
The teaching theatre at Exter – Northcott – has had funding withdrawn.
If a uni does not have a drama dept it loses kudos within the art form in the uni.
Unis are now taking many more people. How can we scale this down? is it a problem?
Unis contribute to a developing aesthetic but this can be responsive.
There are problems with exclusivity – who goes/will go to uni?
Uni’s recreate models of practice. Maybe are not the best drivers of innovation.
There is a gap between knowldge and expectations of uni and producing organisations. need to deal with this.
How do the worlds of uni and theatre combine.
It is disingenous to expand courses when the market is shrinking.
The value of research. This is now vital to uni funding. Teaching unis and Research unis. Big money goes to the latter. How does our practice engage and help with research.
But where does this research go? Who is it written for? How much does it cost to access it?
The growing importance of Universities measuring IMPACT of their research, and this includes their relationship with the outside world.
Research projcts are available in all sorts of areas – not just arts based. There is the possibility of engaging with different depratments. But again how do we find out about this.
Practitioners are not aware (many) of these research streams such as AHRC
The growing competition between Universitires means they are more cutthroat over their research and engageing with those that can help them with this.
There is no clear channel between practice and thre research that is created. HOW ABOUT A COOPERATIVE ACADEMIC PUBLISHING HOUSE FOR THEATRE PRACTICE – WOULD BE IN COMPETITION WITH EXISITING JOURNALS THOUGH. But it does need an editorial process.
In USA they have vocational MA’s and PHD’s. This model does not exist here. It was tried but was pushed aside.
How about a new model – a comnination of uni/drama school. Derby could be a real learning/teaching theatre. BUT huge cost of infrastructure.
What is the relationship between ACE and the Unis. What do they get from each other. How and where do they talk? Are practitioners allowed into this?
THERE IS SO MUCH MONEY IN RESEARCH.
Where is the genuine theatre research taking place – not performance art or installation.
The current educational motif can exert a stranglehold over students and the growth of the sector What is being valued? What is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.
LETS BRING UNIS AND THE SECTOR TOGETHER TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON.
LETS HAVE AN APPROACH WITH INITIATIVE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM TO MAKE CONTACT WITH RESEARCH DEPARTMENTS – OPEN DIRECT DISCUSSION WITH IMPACT.
Uni’s play a major role on proviving space, training the next generation of the sector, and influensing a local aesthetic. Lets be honest about the importance of their impact.

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