This site is a static archive of Process Arts, an open online repository of arts learning resources that was active from 2009 - 2017

Open practice stories


Dear process.arts

I'm currently writing up my SCORE fellowship final report due for completion by the end of this month (June 2012).

I was awarded a SCORE fellowship in July 2011 and have spent one or two days a week (not to forget the many evenings and weekends) supporting open educational practice mainly at UAL through process.arts. The fellowship has provided essential space and time to explore and support open educational practice within the UAL and the arts sector. As a result process.arts has grown and developed into a busy and exciting new space to support, discuss and practice 'open educational practice' and is now guaranteed a stable and sustainable future as it transitions into an official service, run and managed by UAL from September 2012. Read more.

For the SCORE report I would like to gather a wide cross section of stories from those who have visited and/or used and from those I have supported or met with over the past year.

I would really appreciate any feedback you can provide in terms of your experience and perceptions of 'open educational practice' OEP and how 'process.arts' or sites like this have/could support you and others in OEP.

Please add your comment on this process.arts post ( ) anything from a sentence upwards, or add a link to your own 'Open practice stories' feedback post if you'd like to provide more in depth feedback or include rich media. You can also email feedback, please indicate if you are happy for me to openly post your feedback anonymously or not online.

You can post under your own name (by logging into Process Arts, easier option, no need to create a new account just add your UAL username and password and your comments will post automatically and you can edit and update) or you can remain anonymous (reply to the  post without logging in) there is added security questions and moderation and you will not be able to edit.

Login top right login with your UAL username and password, If your not a member of UAL then please create an process.arts account.

Many thanks

Chris Follows

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cfollows's picture

Open practice Stories Further Education perspectives by Paul Lindley - The collaboration with Process Arts as an OER meant that the scope of the was wider still, the objects, that were in effect 'research outcomes' could be seen by a potential very large audience, while crucially the format encouraged comments, feedback, while allowing connections to be made across the boundaries of subjects discipline, materials, context etc. Read more:

cfollows's picture

Thank you John, good clear feedback, great to get your perspectives, particularly enjoyed the ..."resulting in some truly awful software and a lot of public money being flushed down the drain" I hope this era is now resigned to the wasted history books. Cheers Chris

jcasey's picture

Hi Chris

Finalamente! as they say in Portugal here is my open practice story - Cheers John

its also over on the ALTO blog as well at:


Open Practice Stories No. 1 – Understanding Closed Education


Chris Follows, my UAL colleague who is managing the DIAL digital literacy project and the initiator of the Process.Arts site is also coming to the end of his SCORE fellowship and has asked folk to reflect on how Process.Arts and Open Educational Practice (OEP) has helped develop my ideas. So here goes:

Point 1: Process.Arts kind of helped me to ‘prove’ a dissident concept that had been rolling around in part of the e-learning scene for quite some time. Namely that the creation and installation of specialist digital repositories for learning resources was not a solution to increasing the sharing and reuse of those learning resources – and driving the attendant cultural changes that are required . This may come as a suprise to those readers outside the e-learning scene, but for quite a long time there a kind of techno-fetish dominating the field of designing, developing and sharing of learning resources (it still does in many ways) – resulting in some truly awful software and a lot of public money being flushed down the drain. Remember the UK e-U? We do need a place to store  and manage learning resources but without a social space like Process.Arts to discuss and work on those resources. Without such a space a repository becomes a graveyard that no one ever visits this was a point that the UNESCO chair in e-learning at Barcelona recently made in an EU workshop in Dublin recently. As Patrick Lambe has pointed out, to do this means switching from an info management paradigm to a knowledge paradigm and that in turn means librarians and techies having to go outside their comfort zones and relinquish control. You can find a fuller discussion of these factors in a recent paper some of the  the ALTO UK advisory board helped me to write called ONCE (Open Networks for Culture and Education) that was delivered at a workshop in Florence – see

Point 2: This is the big one and is about OpenEd in general. It gives us (potentially) access to the tools to understand, critique and improve existing educational systems. I say potentially as it also requires a conceptual shift to a more critical appraisal of the status quo which the existence of an open alternative provides. When you have seen how open education is actually being used it makes large parts of the existing education system seem, well, a bit wanting and even irrational and give us a language to express this. So, to borrow a phrase from tech land OpenEd is a powerful disruptor in the education market, interesting times indeed!

cfollows's picture

Michele, Steve and Mariana, many thanks for your feedback and stories, its great at long last to be able to reflect and and hear your first hand, real examples and perspective of open practice, its brilliant.

I'm working on this post 4 categories of open educational practice ( ), where would you place yourself in this?

4 categories of open educational practice, which one are you? See:
  free polls 


cfollows's picture

What do people use process.arts for and how does this fit into the UAL service portfolio of tools?

Data below collected using online survey.

  • I use it for archiving my own processes and I often point students to them verbally. I like to show real world examples of work.
  • Research/finding out what people are doing
  • Process Arts as a repository for research paper for the ‘fashion conference group’ which I help promote.
  • Process Arts is great - I'm getting the PG Cert participants to upload their project videos to it next month.
  • Process arts just to view what is on there
  • I use process arts for my own research and would love the opportunity to design content for this site.
  • I have searched Process arts and ALTO, and in the near future I will be uploading content to both.

Also see general process.arts feeback forum section here:

mdurante1's picture

Hi Chris,

I approached process.arts after the ALTO competition. I was fortunate to be awarded with a period of paid work in order to understand and start developing a large Drupal site. I had knowledge and some practice with web programming already, but it was completely unexpected to find myself dealing with OERs.

From the point of view of a student, familiarising myself with the site both for the technical aspects and its concept, I now realize has taught me a variety of new skills, only the most obvious being related to web programming. The more unexpected ones, as said above, have been the discovery of Open Educational Resources and of the wider debate around digital integration into higher education. By creating and sharing contents on process.arts I've had the possibility to experience first-hand a very useful tool for learning, to test its potentialities and to envisage the possible limits of such digital tools in educational contexts. These last discoveries brought me to decide to write my dissertation precisely on these issues.

The real potentialities OERs offer to students I believe have yet to be fully understood. In my case, web programming skills have been very useful so far to start building websites professionally outside college. Regarding the learning, I think the community these virtual spaces naturally create can push students to be more engaged with their learning paths.

In summary, my experience with ALTO, JISC and process.arts has been highly beneficial in many ways, academically and professionally. Surely I think OERs need to be explored further, nevertheless process.arts has been a fertile ground for future explorations.



swood's picture

Hi Chris

My interest in Blogging and VLE's and OER's can be traced back to the early 90's before the internet was even on my radar. I was managing a small team of crafts people and engineers manufacturing intricate items to very high standards. It became a regular problem that machine set-ups, processes and tooling would be forgotten and had to be reinvented when needed again. I began photographing these set-ups but is soon became obvious that this was not the way forward. By the time the roll of film was empty and back from the developers the processes and set ups were history and the photos a vague reminder. They got jumbled out of sequence easily, had no notes or measurements attached to them, missed essential info out of shot or were out of focus. In short, the idea was dropped as a waste of time and money.

Nevertheless, the problem had not gone away and to make matters worse, the workshop was getting busier. Good diary management was essential and I began including 'key' information that I thought might just speed a job up; what polishing soap was used, how fast the machine was running etc. Within a couple of months we were referring to the diary to use the events around the time as a memory jogger and the notes to get processes started on the right track. Others would then add extra notes in the diary which worked fine until after about a year the diary was a mess. We spent some time unpicking the old diary and compiling a journal with simple diagrams, we still did not use a camera as it couldn't contribute fast enough. Every new process, no matter how long or short, had two pages spare when finished so that it could be added to legibly. These journals so valuable they were called 'bibles' and the information within a source of pride for anyone who contributed.

From that time until this day, on I have always recorded challenging or successful events, methods or processes, even as a freelance art educator working in schools.

When I began working as Senior Theatre Metalwork Technician at WCA I was excited by the potential of Blackboard and created an account within weeks of starting; WCA Theatre Technicians. I wanted it to be inclusive of others so handed on the password and 'how to' info but it never took off. It became clear that students had never heard of Blackboard or if they had did not know why they needed it or what to use it for. After about a year or so the college enforced Blackboard as the way to communicate rather than personal emails, for me it still never presented any opportunities to communicate. It appeared to be a place to store info no one really accessed.

Around about the same time I heard of Process Arts, I was keen to contribute and posted a document about a student making a turntable and then a post about silver soldering. However, when I spoke to others it was clear the project was in its infancy as little was known about it and I was unclear how it would be useful to me so backed away in order to let it develop and consider how I could use it in future. I continued to journal via 'inboxjournal' (really useful for my PRA highly recommend it) and produce hand-outs and other printed docs to support learning.

Then I started my UAL blog, I felt that students were producing work in the workshop that would be great for others to see and a photo journal with captions took little time to produce. More and more often I would refer students to relevant blog posts as a precursor to starting a similar project. Recently a student came to the workshop wanting to make a ball and socket joints for an armature for a stop motion animation, I had seen other 'how-to' videos and blogs online and none of them were that impressive. I felt that I could make a definitive 'ball and socket' blog post on the subject. Over two weeks we compiled the photos and captions as the students work progressed. Shortly after posting Chris picked up on it and posted it on Process Arts. I returned to Process and took a look around, there was a distinct difference between this and my blog and I felt an opportunity not to journal but to present technical information to support learning. I posted 'Will it Bend' as this was relevant to some work being made in the workshop. It incorporated content and links from web resources and forums and I was keen to understand more about creative commons and used the collaborative nature of this drive my understanding forward.

If you are in any doubt about the value of VLE's check out the Khan Academy and Sal Kahn talking at TED Talks. I'm sure process arts will continue to develop, at the moment I feel it's in its 'cluttered diary stage' the search function addresses some of this but there is more that can be done to enable it to become the central collective resource of creative processes.

I have a new role and one that takes me away from workshops and making to one much more managerial. I am sure I will continue to journal for my own PPD and continue to explore the potential of Process Arts, blogs, forums etc and how these can be of benefit to students.



cfollows's picture

Please use the ( open practice stories ) tag for any feedback posts. thank you.

cfollows's picture

Thank you Mariana, yes its great news, was seriously getting to the point of being to much to handle in any other way then this, sleepless nights/ 24/7 support, growing usage etc.

Be good to finally start telling people about process.arts and letting students know about it. I've resisted doing any or too much 'promoting use' of it etc as it was a bit too much of a responsibility having already 400+ logged in users and 4-5k visitors a month without any institutional support system in place and running on a purely voluntary support system, if anything went wrong it would be my responsibility to fix (with no budget or time).

Looking forward to seeing how the space can develop, grow and integrate as a 'official service' be good to see how you introduce it to students and how it gets used in the future.

Thanks for your feedback, have you seen the new DMS group you requested? -

All the best


mfantich's picture

Dear Chris,

It is great news that process arts integrated into UAL official services, well done! I had a great experience to use process arts domain to share learning and teaching resources and see what others do. I was very surprised to see how many people are viewing the posts. The site is very easy to use and easy to find. From the conversations with students, I found out that not many students know about the UAL virtual learning resources such as Process Arts, Myblog arts, Workflow, etc. From following academic year, I plan to advertise the available online resources better and to induct students to the UAL online learning community resources and participation.

Best wishes,


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
This Work, Open practice stories , by cfollows is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.