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Professional artefacts: embodying ideas in work-based learning

Paula Nottingham (School of Media and Performing Arts, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Adesola Akinleye (School of Media and Performing Arts, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 11 February 2014




The purpose of this paper is to present and examine the addition of a “professional artefact” to the course requirements for the BA Honours Professional Practice (BAPP) (Arts) programme at Middlesex University.


This paper takes a case study approach using reflection, indicative theories and consideration of student work to evaluate the introduction of the “professional artefact” into the BAPP (Arts) curriculum. Following pragmatist and phenomenological descriptions of the lived experience as embodied (Dewey et al., 1989; Merleau-Ponty, 2002) and using learning models based on experience in the workplace (Boud and Garrick, 1999), the paper's methodology takes the work-based principle of “experience as knowledge” to examine the impact of the professional artefact on students learning.


The professional artefact has proven to be a useful way for the learners on the course to reflect on the purpose of their own study and the ways in which work-based learning can be incorporated into their practice through embodied “ideas”.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that the inclusion of a professional artefact to the curriculum provides a flexible means for bridging academic and workplace learning. The inclusion of the professional artefact could be recommended as a strategy for other work-based learning programmes.


The added value for professional practice is that the professional artefact provides a flexible and creative means of communication for emerging and establishing workplace professionals.



Nottingham, P. and Akinleye, A. (2014), "Professional artefacts: embodying ideas in work-based learning", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 98-108.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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