Blogging Task 3: Race

Visit the Shades of Noir (SoN)

Image result for shades of noir

I have been aware of Shades of Noir but to be truthful have not engaged with this resource prior to the course in any depth. I have subsequently found this a very interesting, informative, enlightening and refreshing resource.

One of my initial introductions was with some of the Key terms that where given out during the initial face to face sessions and I found these to be in some ways quite confrontational. When you google Shade of Noir the tag line is “Shades of Noir provokes, challenges and encourages Dialogue so I now understand that this was the intention. Phrases such as White privilege, White supremacy, and the definition assigned to colorism “ unlike racism which only white people can be the perpetrators…” for example, was somewhat disturbing to me but rather than dismiss these terms and continue to live in ignorance I endeavoured to investigate further. Upon reading, many of the elements of the Shades of Noir site and publications I manged to gain a much better level of understanding of the issues raised around this area. There is a very interesting link PSA: YesAllwhitePeople and the piece on Dealing with Ignorance in the social issues section really opened my eyes to issues and feelings faced by people of colour for example.

I am personally very interested in history and how historical events have had a lasting effect on how we live today and our cultural interactions so the articles such as Into the known: A journey into white history makingwas very interesting to me as was the information relating to the series of lectures by Onyeka Nubia A History of Scientific Racism he states If we are to overcome the ideological myth of white superiority and black inferiority that’s deeply embedded in our society and consciousness, then we must start with and understand its history.”

The SoN site is very interesting, diverse, and informative and it is clear to see that it has been put together by a very talented team. The site is easy to navigate with an easy flow between spaces and information, very visual and dynamic throughout.

I feel that my investigations into the information available has given me great insight and I feel that this has already made me think differently in a much more positive and inclusive way within my teaching and interactions with students of all backgrounds.

I have already recommended a good friend of mine who is a leather artisan and Graduate of LCF Rob Goodwin who has given an interview which should be available soon.


Read Hahn Tapper (2013) ‘A pedagogy of social justice education: social identity, theory and intersectionality’, Pp. 411- 417 (and see diagram on p.426)                                                                                                                                                     Discuss two things you learnt from the text.
 And one question/provocation you have about the text.

One of the first things that I learnt from this article is the importance of reading through case studies of other academics work to support your own understanding and learning as well as to enhance your own level of critical self-reflection. The references to Freire throughout the text really helped to cement my understanding of the pedagogic theory and put in context to further situations other than that described or outlined in Pedagogy of the oppressed by Freire. There is also a good example of how “intersectionality” should be embraced by the participants of the intergroup Encounters and this section also further cements my understanding of the theory of Intersectionality (Crenshaw 1989)


An interesting aspect of the study was of Contact Hypothesis or intergroup contact theory (Allport 1954) and upon investigation I found an interesting further example of this on  such as “Classroom research has found that cooperative learning techniques increase the self-esteem, morale, and empathy of students across racial and ethnic divisions, and also improve the academic performance of minority students without compromising the performance of majority group students “(Aronson & Bridgeman, 1979) and “Prejudice (unless deeply rooted in the character structure of the individual) may be reduced by equal status contact between majority and minority groups in the pursuit of common goals. The effect is greatly enhanced if this contact is sanctioned by institutional supports (i.e., by law, custom or local atmosphere), and provided it is of a sort that leads to the perception of common interests and common humanity between members of the two groups.” (Allport 1954)



Watch the student film ‘Room of Silence’ from Rhode Island School of Design

Very interesting and enlightening film that highlights the very honest and mature views from students about their experiences of inclusivity and belonging on their course. I was particularly interested in the comments by one student about the use of the wrong name and a comment from another student that the tutor was being particularly racist but its Ok that won’t affect your grade. His response was “How I exist in my own space will directly affect how I perform and this will affect my grade” This brings to mind a quote used in the Hahn Tapper’s paper in this section of the unit by Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  A small stone thrown into a pond can cause an ever-increasing ripple and as tutors, educators and facilitators we need to be more aware of how our actions or choice of words, sometimes in ignorance, can impact on our students in a positive or negative way.


Blogging Task 2: Faith

Visit the Religion, Belief and Faith identities UAL website 

The site contains very useful information and links on books for further reading, research projects and events that involve Religion and faith within art and design. The education section for example has some very useful links to better develop my own understanding of the role and the presence that religion has within the educational sector.

The case studies are very useful in giving honest examples of how other members of staff in a number of situations have approached the subject of faith and religion and this gives us a very useful perspective to consider how we might approach the subject within our own specialism.

As a tutor that delivers technical content I do not find myself dealing with many issues around religion and faith. However I have directed student to the chaplaincy when dealing with pastoral issues. I am pleased that having been involved in this course that I am more aware of the work being done to raise awareness and understanding of a wide range of religious and spiritual beliefs for students and staff.

This is a very useful resource to direct students to that may be exploring issues of religion and faith within their work. Or if their work raises questions, possibly offence, to another students beliefs and to ensure that they have a better understanding of what faith and religion means to others.

As I have mentioned before ,religion does not often form part of my teaching delivery as I teach the technical content of shoemaking, however the most common occurrence or issue that I do face is with the materials used. As the primary material used for making shoes is leather there is an issue with the use of some species of animal such as pig skin. I would always ensure that students are aware of the materials that we are using and if the issue were to be raised we have alternatives available.

‘Religion in Britain: Challenges for Higher 
Education.’ Stimulus paper (Modood & Calhoun, 2015)

Within the section Vaguely Christian UK Calhoun raises the interesting point that there is a huge diversity and range of religions as well as a wide ranging mixture of denominations, sects and independent churches in the Christian faith alone, also the differing Shi’a and Suffi religions of Islam, the organisations of Nichiren Shoshu and Tzu Chi in Buddhism, Hinduism, the Sikh religion, and Judaism. It is therefore not surprisingly a challenging area for Universities to consider the views and beliefs of all religions. Especially when faced with the possibilities that other areas of inclusive practice may not sit well or be accepted by people of certain faith or belief. What was particularly interesting was Calhoun’s section on the conflict between respecting and understanding of religious views in terms of Gender and sexuality. The current movement and discussions within society of Gender identity & sexuality are liberating and exciting for some but very uncomfortable for others. My own experience of this was when dealing with a very confused and distraught student. He had been disowned and outcast from his family based on their perceived view of his sexuality based on the choice of course that he had enrolled upon, From the conversation with the students these views would have appeared to have been predominantly based on religious beliefs. I personally found this upsetting to see a student go through this and the effect that it had on their mental health and wellbeing.

I also found it surprising to read that Scotland ” a once particularly devout, Scotland is now particularly non practicing” He goes on to say further on “the church of Scotland has a Campus Presence – despite nationally low participation” It would be interesting to have added a footnote as to why this might be in comparison to the rest of the UK.

Calhoun states that we as educators (in particular the more middle aged of us) “we update our knowledge in our areas of specialism more than we update our tacit understanding of others aspects of social life such as Religious life of our students”

Whilst I might agree with this statement I would also like to go back to my earlier observation that the diversity of religious belief and also non belief is a challenge to us all. We need to be open minded and respectful of others, respectful of their culture and beliefs.

Listen to the Kwame Anthony Appiah Reith lecture on Creed

The Lecture given by Kwame Anthony Appiah was very interesting, entertaining, and enlightening. He uses a personal story about his family by way of introduction, to give us an example of the way that traditions and a way of life by a community over “millennia” have shaped their religion.

His understanding of religion and what it stands for in its many forms is made much more enlightening by his historical knowledge of these religions. This knowledge and therefore understanding of the origins of scripture and how these might be interpreted over the years, I feel, give Kwame a more tolerant and open minded outlook.

I would like to go back to Calhoun’s comment mentioned in the above text that “we update our knowledge in our areas of specialism more than we update our tacit knowledge of other aspects of social life, such as the religious life of our students”

Knowledge of other people’s religions, beliefs and the historical basis of these religions, I believe, would make us more tolerant and understanding of those religions.

I have found many interesting and informative comparisons to the elements of this lecture by watching the “Civilisations” series on BBC1 and BBC I player which looks at the way that Art has played an important part in shaping humanity.


Blogging Task 1: Gender

Visit the Gender Diversity at UAL website

How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?

The resources on this site are very useful in terms of providing information and advice on the different forms of Gender Diversity and in particular the advice on addressing people correctly according to their specific identity. The “Assume Nothing” image and the video clip that suggests we just ask is an important common sense solution. I will use the resource for not only my own reference but also for students that I work with, be that through pastoral tutorials or during workshop sessions and lectures. I will be using the links on the site to increase my knowledge of this area further.

How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice?

The design and concept development of student work throughout the course encourages students to explore a wide range of diverse subject areas either directly through the design of the brief or through the choices made by the student. Shoe design has an inherently diverse and influential history in representing gender identity from High heel thigh length boots for men in “Kinky Boots” to a new gender neutral footwear brand called MATRIARCH currently being launched on Kickstarter.

Can you cite examples? You will share your thoughts within your groups and comment and share further resources you use in your own context.

During the delivery of Technical sessions  such as pattern cutting. The students look at a selection of traditional men’s styles for core skill delivery and produce 3 sets of patterns a Derby, Oxford and Monk style.

These sessions are introduced with a presentation representing examples of these styles. I ensure that the students are aware that the same constructions can be developed across sizes and show examples from a wide range of genders. Footwear designed specifically for men and women  based on these constructions so that the students can learn to adapt their own personal designs  using the technical skills taught. It will be interesting to use this as a starting point to debate what these styles mean to them and how they identify with the elements that reflect on gender. Why are androgynous shoes still quite masculine in appearance for example? I was shocked to read the Clarks had marketed children’s shoes in store as being called ‘Dolly Babe’ for girls and ‘Leader’ for Boys which were then later withdrawn.  It would be interesting to see how this could spark a debate on Gender and patriarchy in footwear design.

Sancaktar, A. (2006). An analysis of shoe within the context of social history of fashion (Doctoral dissertation, İzmir Institute of Technology).

McDowell, C. (1989). Shoes, Fashion and Fantasy. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

What the Sociology of Shoes Says About Gender Inequality.

Blogging Task 1: Gender.

The life and times of Marsha P. Johnson

Human rights activist and transgender/drag queen.

From the video I had the impression that she was an enlightened individual, a free spirit, creative, honest, kind, artistic an inspirational person of her time. It is  sad that as stated in the film by an interviewee  Michael Lynch ” Kids today, who are gay know nothing about her. Its a shame as she is one of the reasons they are sitting in all their liberated glory”

This video reflects the life and persona of Marsha P. Johnson in the New York Transgender/gay scene of the 1970’s she is thought of by her peers as a legend, as a saint. She was an activist fighting for gay rights at the time and a larger than life character, a walking, living personification of art, as noticed by Andy Warhol.  Unfortunately she lost her life under mysterious circumstances, she lived a dangerous but generous and fulfilling life.

I will take this video as a starting point to research more about the issues relating to gay rights and activism in this area and why Marsha P. Johnson is not so well known by the kids of today.

Marsha P. Johnson 1944 – 1992

Blogging Task 1: Gender

Read hooks, bell (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ 

To discuss two things learnt from the text and one question/provocation you have about the text.

“So deeply embedded in our collective unconscious are the rules of patriarchy” Hooks, Bell (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ I can relate to this statement and recognise that a lot us prescribe to gender roles and gender stereotypes in a variety of day to day situations unconsciously and that it demands a more transformative critical awareness to promote change.  I recognise that I have used gender based adjectives to describe a process based around my technical delivery for example during Pattern Cutting Classes using the word Masculine to describe thicker heavier straps or proportions to a particular design. Feminine to describe a lighter more delicate design.

Whilst I understand that this may not be offensive to a particular individual it does mean that I am reinforcing gender stereotypes.

It is interesting to read that Hooks states in the conclusion of the text  “There are Folks who are able to critique patriarchy but unable to act in an anti patriarchal manner” This again demonstrates the embedded nature of patriarchy in our society and consciousness.

I have found it very beneficial to improve my understanding of the meaning of patriarchy to read through the text, to have examples of patriarchal experiences from the author as well as anecdotal examples to illustrate the  harm that a patriarchal system has on society on such a broad scale and that this provides a context to the meaning of patriarchy.

The concluding statement from Hooks “If men are to reclaim the essential goodness of male being, if they are to regain the space of openheartedness and emotional expressiveness that is the foundation of well being, we must envision alternatives to patriarchal masculinity. We must all change” this is a thought provoking conclusion and a world such as this is hard to imagine. I wonder what alternatives to patriarchal masculinity the author has or can envision and I would like to do some more reading in this area. There are a great many examples of patriarchal oppression and behavior in the media at the moment the Me too movement for example after the recent film industry sexual harassment and assault allegations has provoked a wide response from society to this damaging and unfortunately prevalent patriarchal elitist society that we currently find our selves in.

We all need to find a better way to work together to make change. The author sees it this way and understands that together working in harmony we might all find enlightenment.


Personal Introduction

I am a full time Lecturer in Footwear on the BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear course at LCF based on the Golden Lane Campus and deliver the technical content to all years and some technical content on the MA Footwear course.

I trained as a designer on the Cordwainers course back in 1986. Then went on to work in industry as well as my own business making and designing footwear.  I have  30 years of experience and have worked in the UK as well as India, China, Thailand and Spain I endeavor to  bring this knowledge and professional practice into my teaching.

I have enrolled on this course to expand on my pedagogical knowledge and theories in order to use this to improve and enhance my teaching.

New beginnings

I have just experienced my first session on the Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education unit. Through this experience and meeting fellow students/colleagues on the course I have learnt something very interesting about the history of my specialism of Shoe making that could have a very  positive addition to my teaching and learning in relation to this unit.

Credit for this information exchange goes to Jheni Arboine.

Modern Shoe making was developed by a number of inventors and engineers A significant person of interest was Jan Metzeliger of African American descent who invented a machine that would last and attach the sole of a shoe and increase production and therefore decrease cost. I look forward to researching this information and individual in more detail and introducing this into my teaching.

Slide 1


Jan Ernst Metzeliger 1852 – 1889