Most arts university professionals will agree that the age of the lecturer as an all-seeing, all-knowing guru has withered away. In its place is the promise of a more equal dynamic between teaching staff and the student body. Whether or not that’s proven the case across the board is for arts students to decide – but it’s the ethos that underpins senior lecturer Dean Davies’ recent project, Star Potential, which he co-created with second- and third-year students on UWE’s BA fashion communication course.
As a practising photographer, Davies has routinely invited students onto his personal and commercial projects to gain work experience as photography, production, and styling assistants, ever since he joined the lecturing staff in 2017. However, this project is the first time he’s worked with students in this way, as “equal collaborators”. He saw an opportunity to establish “new approaches to learning and development that are less passive and more aligned with what students will be doing once they graduate”, he tells us.