“It’s a good idea, in theory”. Crafting applied strategies for educational development as cultural work

Karin Brown, Robert Kordts-Freudinger, Pia Scherrer, Roman Suter

13:30 – 17:00 (half-day afternoon workshop)

In the recent decades, literature surrounding educational development has increasingly referred to educational development work as “cultural work”, some of which are explicitly based on more general models.

The clarion call for this shift in perspective has been issued, yet many of these publications fall short of offering specific strategies for converting their conceptual models into concrete actions that educational developers can put in to practice in their local contexts. And even if and where strategies are proposed, the transportability into different national and ethnic contexts is unclear. Do the theories devised in America work as well in the South Pacific?

This workshop will attempt to close this gap, by identifying specific strategies for the future practice of educational developers that is grounded in recent theory but applicable in practice. By centering the cultural work perspective, we intend to show how educational developers around the world can share common theoretical concepts while contextualizing them to their own institutional and cultural realities.

In this workshop, participants will consider a range of theoretical models with the purpose of devising specific strategies to make use of the conceptual ideas by the authors. Participants will consider the value of the various theoretical models and create personalised plans for implementing the ideas in the models for creating cultural change as part of their work as educational developers. The facilitators will follow up with participants at two later dates in order to capture their impressions after implementation.

By collectively considering the work produced in the workshop, the models discussed will be tested and ideally validated through the development of specific practice strategies. By reflecting on the results both during and following the workshop, the participants will contribute significantly to the current body of educational development knowledge by collating concrete advice for educational developers who plan to adopt a cultural approach to their work, but don’t yet know how.