Trinity Laban offers an extensive programme of professional development events for research students and staff.

Find details of the core programme for the 2016-17 academic year below.

Sessions may be added throughout the year in response to research students' and researchers' requests.

Research Professional Development Series 2016-17

Time: occasional Wednesdays, 15.00-16.00

Venue: Research Hub, Laban Building


Preparing for Your MPhil to PhD Upgrade

11 Jan 2017 

Facilitator: Jonathan Clark

Open to RDP students


Conferences: How to Choose, How to Submit

18 Jan 2017

Facilitators: Sophie Fuller, Emma Redding

Open to RDP and MFA students and TL staff


Thesis Formatting and Viva-Voce Examination Preparation

08 Feb 2017

Facilitator: John Irving

Open to RDP students


Project-Based Work in the Performing Arts

01 Mar 2017

Facilitator: Charles Linehan

Open to RDP and MFA students and TL staff


Academic Jobs and Academic Job Interviews

08 Mar 2017

Facilitator: Sam Hayden

Open to RDP and MFA students


Navigating Peer Review

15 Mar 2017 

Facilitator: Louise Jackson

Open to RDP and MFA students and any member of TL staff interested in submitting an output for peer review


Jerwood and Laban Libraries: Evaluating information sources for researchers

21 Mar 2017

Facilitators: Sasi del Bono (Laban Library) and Edith Speller (Jerwood Library)

Open to RDP students


Academic and non-academic writing

22 March 2017

Facilitator: Jonathan Clark

Open to RDP and MFA students and TL staff


Please contact the Research Administrator [email protected] for further details.

Trinity Laban staff and students can also find further details on Research PD events, including the Research Hub Reading Group and more, on Moodle.


Learning and Teaching Research Events

The Learning Enhancement Unit occasionally hosts Learning and Teaching Research events in conjunction with the Research Hub which are aimed specifically at Trinity Laban research students. Below some outlines of past sessions.


Learning and Teaching Discussion Group

The purpose of the discussion group is to provide a space for Research Degree Programme students to think about contemporary issues in Higher Education. These are informal sessions that will help you put your developing research into an educational context, also giving you a chance to consider your own approaches to learning. The discussions will be facilitated by the Head of Learning Enhancement, who will begin each session by outlining the topic, and key terms and their definitions, as they are currently understood within the sector.

Session One: What is an 'engaged' student and who is responsible for learning in Higher Education?
Open to Trinity Laban research students.

Session Two: Why and how do we evaluate our teaching?
Open to Trinity Laban research students.


Learning and Teaching Seminars

A series of seminars themed around the intersection between Arts, Politics and Education was designed to give insights into philosophies of arts-based pedagogy, to share information on innovative projects and ideas, and to ignite future discussions and inspiration for your own teaching and research plans:

John Irving (Trinity Laban)

Teaching myself to Grow Up in the Classroom

Exploring his teaching experience at the University of Bristol, this presentation will see Prof. Irving, a specialist in Historical Music Performance and Public Engagement, discuss his journey as a musician and educationalist. Two particular strands of teaching will be focused upon within this presentation: the impact of delivering adult education (Extra Mural Programme in Music) and teaching on ERASMUS exchanges in European universities. Prof. Irving recalls that: ‘At the start of each of these strands, I expected that I would be 'teaching' (in the sense of delivering information to 'learners'). How little I knew!’

John Irving joined the staff of Trinity Laban in April 2013. Previously Professor of Music at the Universities of London and Bristol, he was Director of The Institute of Musical Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London (2009-11). He is an Associate Fellow of the IMR, and has responsibility for its Performance Research strands, specifically through DeNOTE (, a research centre that he founded at the IMR in 2009.


Mike Neary (University of Lincoln)

Making it with the University of the Future: pleasure and pedagogy in higher education

In this paper Mike Neary presents a set of principles on which to design the university of the future, where the future is understood as post-capitalist (communist) society. These principles are set against the current vogue for iconic university buildings that sell a particular capitalised version of academic life. Mike's principles for the University of the Future are derived from a number of sources: firstly, a recovery of unbuilt architectural schemes for higher education: the Fun Palace (Price and Littlewood 1962) and the Potteries Thinkbelt (Price 1963), secondly, by remembering the utopian thinking that underpinned the construction of campus universities in England; thirdly, a conceptualisation of teaching and learning spaces through Critical Pedagogy and Marxist social theory, and, finally, with reference to a teaching space 'a psycho classroom' (Lambert 2011) that Mike developed with colleagues and students at the University of Warwick in 2006.

Mike Neary is Professor of Sociology in the School of Political and Social Sciences in 2014 and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2007. Before becoming an academic he worked in youth development and community education in South London 1979 - 1993. The Students’ Union at Lincoln granted him life membership of Lincoln University Students’ Union in 2014 for his work with students. Prof. Neary is a founding member of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, a co-operative providing free public higher education.


Gareth Dylan Smith (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance)

Neoliberalism and Symbolic Violence in Higher Music Education

This presentation questions the extent to which diversity or social justice is sought by, or even possible within, the higher music education sector, with a particular focus on higher popular music education (HPME) in the UK.  It also explores the symbolic violence inherent in the system of "higher" education, whose very name perpetuates social stratification and embeds historically situated socio-cultural structures that value (and, therefore, devalue) the cultural capital of social agents.

If a music to is to be genuinely popular, those of us working in positions of privilege in higher music education must be ready to step aside, and take political action to allow people access to music, permitting conditions for musicking by and for all. Popular music, if democratized, must be freed from the neoliberal, globalizing capitalist imperatives to which few who enjoy or make popular music actively subscribe.


Aleksander Szram (Trinity Laban)

The Master-Apprentice Model re-examined through a Freirean perspective

A Freirean pedagogical approach that prioritises problem-posing over problem-solving can be used to transform methods of preparing conservatoire students for the professional music world, where the ability to construct original and authentic responses is often highly valued. 

Using examples of curricular re-framing by Seher, and cultural anthropology practice by Barnes that narrate a move towards problem-posing pedagogy, it can be seen that the prevailing obsession with the master-apprentice model inadvertently steers the learning culture towards the ‘banking method’ identified in Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, leading to relatively homogenous and predictable approaches and encouraging the student to channel his/her musical creativity according to hegemonic norms. By contrast, Freirean problem-posing can stimulate more spontaneous, often thought-provoking activity from the students, as shown by recent experiences in the Engaging Audiences 4 class at TLCMD. 

Rather than relying on the lecturer to instil or cover techniques that are perceived to be important or relevant, this approach guides the students into forming a peer-responsive community where each member educates the others by sharing their musical reflections/responses prompted by their pre-college musical life and experiences.  The lecturer acts as convenor; posing compositional tasks and encouraging the students to originate their own responses. Given the diverse international make-up of the music conservatoire populace, these authentic responses emerge from a wide variety of outlooks, creating a multifarious pedagogical diet for the class participants. This paper examines qualitative feedback gathered from the first cohort to have undergone such a curriculum, discussing its various benefits and challenges, given many of the students’ previous dependency on paternalistic educational structures. In the spirit of Freire, it is felt that this pedagogical approach will encourage more students to believe that they can ‘participate in the transformation of their world’ through the music that they create.


Please contact the Research Administrator [email protected] for further information.