Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement and Professor in Creative Practice Pedagogy
University of the Arts London
University of the Arts London
Professor Susan Orr is Dean and a Professor in Creative Practice Pedagogy at the University of the Arts London. Prior to UAL, Susan was an Assistant Dean and Acting Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University. Susan is a Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University (Centre for Excellence in Media Practice).
Susan studied at University College London and completed a Doctor of Education at the Institute of Education University College London. Her thesis Making Marks: the Artful Practice of Assessment in Fine Art explored fine art lecturers’ studio based assessment practices. She has written extensively on the subject of art and design in higher education as well as delivering a range of keynotes and papers at conferences in the UK and abroad. Susan is editor for the journal Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, and on the editorial board of three further journals: Teaching in Higher Education, Writing in Creative Practice and Media Education Research Journal. Susan regularly peer reviews work for a wide range of educational and creative journals.
Susan is a member of the European League of Institute of Arts Academy Conference Steering Group and she is on the steering group for GLAD (Group for Learning in Art and Design).
Susan is a HEFCE Teaching Excellence Framework panel member and worked with the TEF panel to deliver TEF 2.
In 2010, Susan was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship. This was awarded in recognition of her teaching, leadership, research and contribution to art and design HE pedagogy.
She has recently co-authored (with Professor Alison Shreeve) a book entitled Art and Design Pedagogy in Higher Education: Knowledge, Values and Ambiguity in the Creative Curriculum (Art and Design Pedagogy in Higher Education,Routledge).
At UAL she leads the Teaching and Learning Exchange which is comprised of Arts Education, Careers and Employability and Digital Learning. She is responsible for the delivery of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy. This strategy was nominated for a Times Higher Leadership and Management Award in 2017.
Art and Design teaching and learning, creative practice pedagogy, Higher Education, assessment, collaborative assessment.
My doctoral research grew out of my interest in communities of practice in fine art education. I noted that attention was often given to the artefacts of assessment (the learning outcomes and marking criteria) at the expense of understanding or addressing the ways these reified elements were used in practice. As a result, my work offers a close analysis of the assessment practices as lived by its key actors (lecturers and students).
Working from a social constructivist perspective and employing Bourdieu’s work as a theoretical lens I explore narratives of subjectivity and objectivity. My research identifies that lecturers’ assessment discourses interlock and enmesh narratives of identity, process, product and connoisseurship. I offer an account of assessment rigour in Fine Art assessment.
More recently my interests have widened in scope and I have researched the assessment of creative collaborative group work, the role of reflection in creative practice education and the problematics of the National Student Survey in Art and Design. I have collaborated with Professor Mantz Yorke, Professor Sue Bloxham and others. Underpinning my work is a commitment to researching the pedagogy of ambiguity that lies of the heart of art and design education in HE.
Orr, Susan (2016) Editorial. Art Design and Communication in Higher Education, 15 (2). ISSN 1474273X
Orr, Susan (2015) Editorial. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 14 (1). pp. 3-5. ISSN 1474-273X
Orr, Susan and McDougall, Julian (2014) Enquiry into Learning and Teaching in Arts and Creative Practice. In: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Disciplinary Approaches to Educational Enquiry. Sage, London. ISBN 9781446254639
Orr, Susan and Yorke, Mantz and Blair, Bernadette (2014) ‘The answer is brought about from within you’: a student-centred perspective on pedagogy in art and design. International Journal of Art and Design Education Special Issue: Curriculum and Pedagogy, 33 (1). pp. 32-45.
Orr, Susan and Bloxham, Sue (2013) Making judgements about students making work: Lecturers’ assessment practices in art and design. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 12 (2-3). pp. 234-253. ISSN 1474-0222
Yorke, Mantz and Orr, Susan and Blair, Bernadette (2013) Hit by a perfect storm? Art & Design in the National Student Survey. Studies in Higher Education.
Orr, Susan and Ball, Simon and Bew, Carolyn and Bloxham, Sue and Brown, Sally and Kleiman, Paul and May, Helen and McDowell, Liz and Morris, Erica and Payne, Elaine and Price, Margaret and Rust, Chris and Smith, Brenda and Waterfield, Judith, Higher Education Academy (2012) A Marked Improvement: transforming assessment in higher education.
Orr, Susan (2011) Being an artist you kind of, I mean, you get used to excellence’: Identity, Values and Fine Art Assessment Practices. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 30 (1). pp. 37-44. ISSN 1476-8062
Blair, Bernadette and Orr, Susan and Yorke, Mantz (2011) How art and design students understand and interpret the National Student Survey. Project Report. Higher Education Academy, HEA Website.