Training and Planning (TAP) day 14 Mar 2016 Higher Education

The Bradford College Spring Colloquium – ‘Exploring the Bradford Context’

Venue: Michele Sutton Lecture Theatre. David Hockney Building Bradford College

This was a relatively new venture in three main respects.

  •  For the College to increase its research portfolio regarding the local and regional context with a view to redressing the balance of the Bradford image as reported in the press. 
  •  To energise the College’s engagement with Bradford: its communities, its varied agencies, its professional groups etc. 
  •  To create an added focus on the employability agenda. 

It was badged as a colloquium to emphasise the nature of the event as one that is primarily discursive, with many opportunities for all delegates to contribute to the various debates. It was aimed at embracing externality, whilst stimulating research activity internally. There has been ongoing research into local issues by many staff over several decades, but this event brought about a greater focus on the many socio-economic factors that impact upon the individual and the communities of Bradford. This focus had both a micro and macro perspective in that the Colloquium contained input from a large government funded regional research project (Born in Bradford) and a national agency aligned to the London School of Economics (Centre for Cities). There were 142 delegates including various guests. These included Richard Wightman and Dr Cath Orange (College Corporation), Patrick Leonard and Dr Debbie Meakin (Association of Colleges) and Professor Mark Davies and Patricia Lowrie (QAA). The aims of the day were as follows:


  1. To link with agencies and fellow professionals involved in the Bradford Context
  2. To update the Bradford College Academic Community on issues which are salient to the Bradford Context
  3. To generate research opportunities and to build on current research projects. 
  4. To establish another platform to continue to develop curricula and the learning experience of our students. 
  5. To share and celebrate the scholarship and research portfolio of Bradford College as teacher-scholars and as contributors to the social, economic and cultural life of people and communities: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
  6. To provide an enjoyable event for staff in sharing expertise, experience and ideas

At the outset it is safe to say that, to varying degrees, all of these aims were realised. The discussion below describes how this was achieved.

The Colloquium was opened by the GCEO Andy Welsh who welcomed all delegates, and wished everyone well for a productive day. Dr Graham Stevens (Dean) gave a brief overview of the day, and then introduced the new Provost Richard Thomas, who presented the College’s current SAR operation, and how it will be developed. Richard explained how students will be more involved in joint research projects, the new opportunities for interdisciplinary research that the HE structure presented and also how the College will be moving forward on knowledge transfer projects and greater external collaboration. This was a fitting introduction to the business of the day that was led by our external speakers.

The full conference report is available to read as a PDF and is available on the right hand menu.