Jones, Helen M.F. and Notley, Martin (1998) Sticking together: teaching, learning and the art of research. In: Research, Teaching, Learning: Making Connections in the Education of Adults. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults 1998. SCUTREA. ISBN 1899070044

In this paper we emphasise the importance for community educators of building bridges between emerging needs, research, teaching and learning. A case study of recent work is used to illustrate the way in which research in vocational education and training offers the potential for practical outcomes which are not necessarily defined by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). We believe that fragmentation must be resisted: the glue securing teaching, learning and research must be preserved.

The project which functions as our case study concerned the education and training needs of youth and community arts practitioners. Situated in the north of England, the research was directed by a partnership comprising Yorkshire and Humberside Arts, West Yorkshire Youth Association, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, youth and community arts practitioners and the University of Huddersfield. This innovative collaboration led to pragmatic outcomes in course development, teaching and learning: a new postgraduate course is planned in direct response to the research, a conference was held to share the findings with practitioners whose input, using a focus group approach, was vital in the writing of the final report. We also envisage the work having a practical impact on future approaches to teaching and learning.

We analyse the glue which holds together the collaborative partnership and answer the question: what is the nature of cross-sectoral partnership and how do all the partners get what they want? We believe this brings us back to the good old fashioned idea that the purpose of educational research is to inspire change, and is not only to add to the sum of human knowledge. Sadly, all too often nowadays there is a tendency for research to serve the demands of the RAE.

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