Arts-based methods and pedagogic frailty

New paper:

Kinchin, I.M., Balloo, K., Barnett, L., Gravett, K., Heron, M., Hosein, A., Lygo-Baker, S., Medland, E., Winstone, N. and Yakovchuk, N. (2023). Poems and pedagogic frailty: uncovering the affective within teacher development through collective biography.

Arts & Humanities in Higher Education,  [open access]


The ecological university: An imagined future

We can imagine the future that we’d like to have. Indeed, if we do not have an imagined future, then how can we develop plans and strategies for the future? We must have some idea of where we’d like to be heading. The idea of the ecological university is one such imagined future. Once we have imagined our future, we then need to work how how to get there. How do we work towards an ecological university and escape the bonds of the consumer-driven, neoliberal university? One tool that might help is is the Three Horizons heuristic – offered here and populated with the concept of the ecological university.

Further reading:

Kinchin, I.M. (2022) The Ecological Root Metaphor for Higher Education: Searching for Evidence of Conceptual Emergence within University Education Strategies. Education Sciences, 12, 528.     [open access]

Dominant Discourses in Higher Education

Authors celebrate the arrival of their new book:

Kinchin, I.M. & Gravett, K. (2022) Dominant Discourses in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives, Cartographies and Practice. London, Bloomsbury. 

Available from:

review available at:

Plateaus of professional development

Within the ecological university it is suggested that teacher development occurs across three plateaus – represented by three adaptive cycles in the figure. These are a dependent cycle (red), a transitional cycle (yellow) and an independent cycle (green). For further details see: Kinchin, I.M. (2022) An ecological lens on the professional development of university teachers. Teaching in Higher Education,   [open access].

The ecologically sick university

If we conceptualise the ecological university [see previous post] as a ’healthy’ system, I would suggest that we may also be able to consider the unhealthy or ’sick’ university in a similar manner – where some of the elements fail to work, or where integration of the elements has failed for some reason. Hence, the figure in this post offers a summary of ”the ecologically sick university”, in which the adaptive cycles fail to connect across the panarchy, and where epistemological monocultures result in an impoverished narrative ecology.

The Ecological University

The key concepts within the idea of the ecological university are summarized in the figure here. Details of this model are given in the reference below.

Further reading:

Kinchin, I.M. (2021) Exploring dynamic processes within the ecological uinversity: A focus on the adaptive cycle. Oxford Review of Education, [open access]

New Book: Dominant Discourses in Higher Education

Pre-order discounts available online at: Dominant Discourses in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives, Cartographies and Practice: Ian M. Kinchin: Bloomsbury Academic

Part I: Considering the Landscape
1. Thinking beyond Neoliberal Discourses
2. Thinking and Doing with Theory
Part II: Putting Theory to Work
3. Positioning the Student 
4. The University Environment
5. Ecologies of Teaching and Ecosystems of Learning
6. Expertise in Context
Part III: Emerging Polyvalent Lines of Flight
7. Contested Concepts in Higher Education
8. Concept Mapping
9. After Method
10. Towards a Relational Pedagogy 

The salutogenic university and the ‘becoming-caring-teacher’.

The triple point: where pedagogic health, a sense of coherence, and care coexist without borders or barriers.

Further details available at:

Kinchin, I.M., Derham, C., Foreman, C., McNamara, A. & Querstret, D. (2021) Exploring the salutogenic university: Searching for the triple point for the becoming-caring-teacher through collaborative cartography. Pedagogika, 141(1), 94-112.

Available online at: ISSN2029-0551_2021_V_141_1.PG_94-112.pdf (

A hidden gem in the literature

I read a good deal of education research literature every week. Some of it good, some of it not so good. Some of it is unexpected, perhaps coming from a journal I hadn’t seen before or by authors who offer a novel perspective on an issue. Every now and then I come across a paper that makes me smile and exclaim out loud, “yes, exactly!”. I found such a paper recently and would recommend others to take a look:

Sidorkin, A.M. & Kulakov, A.M. (2015)

The problem of the invisible in Education.

Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences 11(8), 2632 – 2637.

available online at: The problem of the invisible in education – тема научной статьи по наукам об образовании читайте бесплатно текст научно-исследовательской работы в электронной библиотеке КиберЛенинка (

The authors start by outlining the key barriers to the development of education:

  1. Non-dissemination of best practices.
  2. Minimal effect sizes – there are generally no ‘breakthrough’ methods.
  3. The dynamic conservatism of educational institutions – adopting innovations that require no change.
  4. Contextual complexity.

The authors then make an excellent analogy from Medical History and outline events from the first observation of microorganisms to the appreciation of the role of germs in disease transmission – a transition that took 200 years. The key message being that you need to ‘see’ with theory for it to make a difference. The authors then turn to our blind spots in educational research.

The authors conclude with a recap of their manifesto for a relational pedagogy.

Thus is a well-written paper that teases the reader to think about their own teaching and research. If any of the ideas mentioned above resonate with your perspective on educational research, I would recommend reading this short paper.