Election for general member position on the SCUDD executive

Two candidates are nominated for the general member position on the SCUDD Exec – Claire Hampton and Amy Skinner. Please read their statements on the next page. You will then be able to go through and vote for one of them.

One vote is permitted per SCUDD member department. We anticipate that the vote will be made by the SCUDD rep in the given department, and following an internal consultation process, as appropriate, in each SCUDD member department or unit.

Below are the statements from the two candidates. Follow this link to offer your SCUDD department’s vote: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/scudd2015


Statement from Claire Hampton:

Statement of intent:

I am currently a full-time lecturer in Drama at the University of Wolverhampton and I am completing my PhD on a part-time basis at Brunel University London. In my nuanced position as a lecturer, researcher and postgraduate student I face the challenges of balancing a composite approach to holistic career development. I am particularly keen to represent and respond to the needs of the many postgraduate research students negotiating these multiple aspects of early career academic training.

I have found the ‘SCUDD family’ to be an informative and collegiate network that has been hugely beneficial to my professional development. As a visiting lecturer, the SCUDD community offered an inclusive and welcoming environment within which to meet other academics and engage with the key issues facing drama in higher education. Attending conferences has introduced me to the REF and offered an opportunity to participate in the ongoing discussion regarding the defense of the discipline. A knowledge and understanding of these was intrinsic to my progression into full time academia.

SCUDD provides a comprehensive network for communication between drama departments and other stakeholders in performing arts. It offers a specific and strategic forum within which institutional members can engage in discussion and debate. I believe that it is an important organization and I am keen to become part of its facilitation.

As a general member of the exec, I would be an active and articulate participant in committee meetings ensuring the continued representation and support of the wider postgraduate and early career constituency. I would provide strategic support to other members of the committee, undertaking delegated tasks and responsibilities as required.

My current research triangulates trauma theory, contemporary feminism and ethnographic cultural analysis to examine the dramaturgy and performativity of ‘Selfies’. My teaching specialisms include critical theory, physical theatre and contemporary performance practices.


Statement from Amy Skinner

Amy Skinner

I am seeking re-election to the SCUDD Executive having served as a committee member since 2012. My time on the Executive has made the importance of SCUDD very clear to me, and I am standing for re-election in order to pursue the work I have begun over the last three years. I believe that my experience on the Executive, the initiatives I have launched, and my willingness to engage with debates within our discipline, make me a suitable candidate for re-election.

Whilst on the Executive, I have been involved in action on a number of pressing issues facing our discipline today, including A-level reform, national perspectives on Drama in HE, and open access publishing. I have taken particular responsibility for issues related to Early Career status, and I have built up SCUDD’s provision for Early Career Academics by facilitating dedicated conference panels, initiating networking opportunities, and designing and co-ordinating the SCUDD Early Career website and blog (http://earlycareer.scudd.org.uk/, due for launch in March 2015). I have been responsible for the administration of the David Bradby Award since its launch, and have been involved in the organisation of SCUDD conferences. In addition, I currently sit as a member of the Diversity in the Discipline Working Group.

In the current climate of change in Higher Education, I believe that continuity is extremely important. My experience on the SCUDD Executive puts me in a good position to continue work that has already been started. I believe that SCUDD’s initiatives for Early Career Academics have had a strong start, and I would like the opportunity to build on this. If re-elected, I would seek to expand this provision to include more support for mentors of Early Career Academics, and greater interaction with the SCUDD Postgraduate Committee, acknowledging that the routes into academic careers are multiple and complex, requiring different types of support at different moments. I would also support further collaboration between SCUDD, TaPRA and the Society for Theatre Research, already begun in relation to Early Career issues, and vitally important in representing our common concerns. As a member of the Diversity Working Group, I would continue to pursue the need for dialogue, support and representation within our discipline around mental health issues.

In addition to these areas of interest, I am open to involvement in whatever issues the membership considers to be significant in our discipline: I am keen to listen and respond to the current climate, ensuring that SCUDD really serves the needs of its member departments. I hope that the work I have undertaken for SCUDD to date demonstrates both my commitment to the organisation and to the discipline as a whole. After three years on the Executive Committee, I believe now, more than ever, in the importance of SCUDD, and in how the organisation facilitates discussion, debate and representation for our discipline. I currently consider membership of the Executive Committee to be one of the most important things I do, and would very much value the opportunity to continue in this role for a further three years.


A-Level reform, minutes from AGM

SCUDD AGM, Aberystwyth University
Friday 11th April 2014

A-Level Reform:

  • The Chair handed over to Mark Taylor-Batty to lead this item on the agenda as Mark kindly attended the consultation meeting on behalf of the SCUDD Executive on 31 March 2014. Other SCUDD members who were also present.
  • Drama A-Levels reforms take effect from 2016. The consultation meeting took place in this context.
  • The issue of ‘non-exams’: the use of such negative vocabulary in the documentation to describe all forms of assessment that are not formal, sit-down written exams is problematic. Mark Taylor-Batty noted that since very few HEIs offering degrees in our disciplines use such exams, their implementation at A-Levels is doubtful.
  • He requested the membership to send him responses by Monday 14th April evening so he could collate them, and send an official submission by Tuesday morning.
  • Ian Brown suggested we carefully consider the underlying set of skills and understanding that are assessed in practical modes, and stated that we should be careful not to suggest / overstate that everything in Drama can be assessed through practice.
  • Pedro de Senna said that we must also remember that we are being presented with a binary between exam and performance and that there are many other assessment options which we must argue for, under the non-exam category.
  • Mark Taylor-Batty confirmed that if we look at our discipline as embodied knowledge, then we cannot assess it through an exam route.
  • Steve Fisher stated that performance is culmination of process and asked if the underlying idea here is that A-Levels should be made more ‘scary’ by an emphasis on the written in order to push practice into B-Tec, thus creating a bigger gap between A-Levels and B-Tecs.
  • Mark Taylor-Batty confirmed that in his opinion drama is still being seen as a play, a literary artefact to be studied, and there is little recognition of drama as an embodied practice.
  • John Bennett raised concerns that exams would not allow the assessment of collaborative group-work, which is important to our discipline.
  • Pedro de Senna noted that we need to make a distinction between writing an exam and writing in other forms and that we need to be careful not to argue our case so far that we come across as being opposed to writing altogether.
  • Ian Brown noted that because education ministers responsible for reform come through private schooling they cannot think beyond exams.
  • Tom Maguire stated that we are not just teaching students to be creative practitioners but also critical thinkers. We want students to think and not just to know.
  • The Chair wrapped up this discussion by requesting members to formalise their thoughts and send Mark Taylor-Batty responses by Monday.