The reflective practitioner exhibition for Cass students – 5th April

‘Creative’ and ‘vocational’ are two adjectives that often come to mind when discussing what a contemporary business and management degree should look like. Both of these were in evidence at the exhibition, which tool place last week, set up by the students taking the reflective practitioner elective as part of their first year as undergraduates, and it was particularly striking to see how closely these two attributes were connected.

The exhibition space outside ELG01, Drysdale basement
The exhibition space outside ELG01, Drysdale basement

The centrepiece of each students’ individual contribution is a decorated pizza box which is used to document their own identity and influences.  This is no mere exercise in self-disclosure because it is focused directly on identifying strengths and weaknesses that students will be able to bring to employers in the future.  Each student also keeps a detailed individual journal within which they reflect on what they have learned.

As part of the elective the students visit the London Metropolitan Archives, where they have the opportunity to explore business and management stories and thus to develop their personal research skills.  I spoke to students who had looked at the background to the electricity supply in the early 20th century, when the potential of widely available mains electricity to transform businesses was still not well understood. The parallels with business problems that are not well understood today are very noticeable.

Staff and Students in ELG01, Drysdale basement lecture theatre.
Staff and Students in ELG01, Drysdale basement lecture theatre.

Putting on the exhibition itself was a major logistical task for the students involved, and the result was a credit to those involved – both lecturers and students – and something that the students will undoubtedly build on in their future careers.  Each visitor was shown round by one of the student participants, able to explain both their own involvement in the elective and also that of others.



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4 thoughts on “The reflective practitioner exhibition for Cass students – 5th April

  1. Thanks for the review Martin – sounds like a great event. I unfortunately always seem to have another commitment that I can’t get out of at the same time as these are scheduled. Maybe next year!

    I’ve got a question about the students that looked at early 20th century electrification of businesses (disclosure: one of my grandfathers was partly responsible for bringing electrification to British farming, mid-Century). Did any of them draw the natural parallel between electricity then and broadband internet today? There are many that do – this TED Talk by Jeff Bezos is one good example:

  2. Thanks Dominic for the link to the TED talk, which I hadn’t seen before, and the mention of your grandfather. The parallels with current innovations, not just broadband, certainly came up in reflections, and it was interesting to talk to the students about the extent to which businesses were dealing with successive waves of innovations throughout the 20th century.

    In the context of London, of course, when the early tube lines were built around the turn of the 20th century, the only way to ensure a sufficiently resilient power supply was to build a dedicated power station at the same time – tells you a bit about the history. The comparison with the move from businesses providing their own computing resources to relying on those in the cloud is very powerful.

  3. Hello Dominic, it’s fascinating to learn of the connection with the work of your grandfather. I response to your question. I am now reading the Reflective Journals of the 38 students who took this module. For all, the experience of working with primary historical business sources proved incredibly stimulating. The group who worked with early 20th Century electrification made a presentation of their findings that made distinct connections with current innovations. There is a most interesting and well-curated exhibition on the history and development of electricity, currently (excuse the pun) at the Wellcome Collection : Electricity, The Spark of Life, that may be of interest to you.

    1. Thanks Angela – an interesting tip re: the Wellcome Collection exhibition 🙂

      As I said to Martin, I was see the Reflective Practitioner exhibition promoted around this time of year, but always same to have something else on at the same time that I can’t get out of. Sounds fascinating – maybe next year!

      Good to hear of this generation drawing connections with earlier social transformations. We tend to take radical and constant change so much for granted these days that it’s easily forgotten that it’s been doing on with different technologies and social impacts for decades.

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