Teaching International Relations for dynamic audiences

Dr Diana Bozhilova, Teaching Fellow Summer Programmes, brings her lively discussions on the theory and practice of International Relations to our London programmes through her annual contribution to the King’s Summer School Programmes. 

 

Political events “crowd” our lives with increasing dynamism. This leads to greater interest in the study of International Relations (IR) as a means to explaining ethical questions, consequentialist and deontological reasoning. As a result, normative IR is still very relevant but how do we teach it within short courses for highly mobile and technologically astute young audiences for whom time is of the essence?

Core concepts

My experience of teaching IR has been one of focusing on core concepts and methods. Short courses allow for selecting “relevant” blocks on which to scope attention in order to critically appraise a particularly impactful development in international relations. Take Brexit, Russia or China for example – separately, they challenge aspects of the liberal international order established during the “American” century and contribute to the sense that something rather big is afoot. For normative IR, this means a conceptual and methodological shift being under way.

Roadmaps

The learning outcomes for short courses in IR centre on developing critical thinking and analytical capacities that enable students to transform information flows into knowledge. I would never forget how on one of my travels to India and whilst occupied with thoughts about the impact of technology on the study of IR, a friend from Mumbai remarked: “Google cannot help find your slippers in the temple.” Technology is an information enabler but normative IR provides roadmaps that transform data flows into meaningful building blocks.

Application

Games and simulations increasingly infiltrate IR pedagogy. On the one hand, those opposed to such dynamic teaching models emphasise their inevitably reductionist approach to understanding normative IR through diminution of variables, thus confining discussions to basics at the expense of the vastness of paradigms and approaches that exist in the discipline. On the other hand, their great utility lies in adapting static theories to dynamic teaching models. This has a particular advantage for international audiences who would like to see how theories apply within different geographic and institutional settings. Simulations can involve structural constructs from diplomacy and negotiations, economic development and governance reforms, management of warfare and environmental crises. They are well suited to short courses, dedicated sessions, and blended learning models.

King’s Summer Programmes at EAIE 2018

King’s Summer Programmes will be participating at the 30th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland which will take place from 11th to 14th September 2018.

Dr Sarah Williamson, Director Summer Programmes, will be speaking at a leadership and strategy workshop titled Summer school euros: costs, resources and business models, where she will discuss different business models for summer schools, including their relative advantages and disadvantages and how to determine which model fits best with your institution’s strategic objectives. Dr Williamson is also a speaker at the session titled All eyes on us: how established summer programmes overcome challenges which looks at challenges facing successful summer schools.

Joint summer schools: Win-win or double trouble? is the title of our poster presentation by Dr Alexander Heinz, Education Programme Lead Summer Programmes, showcasing a live London–Amsterdam case study. He will also be participating in a networking and learning event known as the Summer Schools health clinic as a summer school doctor. We are very proud to announce that Dr Heinz has been voted as the incoming Vice Chair of the Summer Schools expert community, an EAIE forum for all things related to running and establishing summer programmes.

Ian Fielding, Deputy Director Summer Programmes, will be meeting with partners to discuss feedback and provide updates and developments on the undergraduate summer school and summer exchange programme. Ian would also be delighted to hear from other universities interested in our partnership agreements or our Summer School and Education Abroad planning and design services. Make sure you drop by our Summer at King’s exhibition stand (G22).

If you are not physically attending the EAIE conference and exhibition but still want to stay updated with our news you can follow us on Twitter @KingSummer. Further information about EAIE can be found here.

We are the city: King’s Summer Programmes in London

Dr Sarah Williamson is a university director, specialising in institutional business development with expertise in international education. She has 16 years creative programming experience in Higher Education, the last 10 of which have been spent leading and providing consultancy services on innovative institutional education projects that transform the educational portfolio of higher education institutions. 

At King’s College London, she is leading the university’s strategy to grow a summer portfolio of education projects on campus and overseas that support education abroad initiatives and research project knowledge transfer/public engagement intentions. Before this, she was the inaugural Head of Study Abroad (2009-14) and the architect of King’s study abroad strategy and programming.

Cities, like universities, are the sum of their parts and London, like King’s, is very much a product of its people. London’s citizens have long built bits on, growing the city outwards and upwards not on any grid system, but expanding it organically from its medieval footprint. London is not a city that was built then the people moved in; they built it from the inside out.

That’s the kind of city London is. It has a mindset that resists definition and a momentum that evolves in ways that are too exciting to be corralled. Just how London has been shaped and honed has become even more apparent in the last 20 years. Glorious, majestic spaces, like Somerset House, have been reclaimed as public spaces, becoming areas for public thinking and doing. Those reclaimed public spaces now influence public discourse and from there the city self-defines its future development. A city is a thinking space and the university within the city is an ideas lab, where those thoughts are grouped together to become ideas and shaped into actions.

Everyone who comes to London comes knowing it has a life blood that its citizens both create and draw from. This is what makes it such a strong magnet for creative thinkers and therefore creative learners. To be connected with and submerged into the flow of the city was always an elemental component in the makeup of our academic summer programmes at King’s. London is our classroom not just because it is our location; it’s because it is our inspiration and definition. It’s an ever-greater co-contributor to the summer classes in our sector-leading programmes.

For those seeking a starting point more profound than a traditional tourist route, having a chance to explore the city through applied study is strongly attractive. No student focused seriously on their academic career doesn’t think very carefully about how they, as global citizens, as global thinkers, will need to understand and use the city in their future as they become workers in their fields. But how to do this if you live elsewhere? What can you do to count yourself amongst the number of Londoners making waves in the world if your postcode is usually well beyond the M25? One neat answer is to join a summer programme at King’s. Short courses, run on King’s campuses over the summer season give a compact but powerful injection of intellectual rigour and dynamic personal development embedded so firmly in London’s ecosystems that your credentials as a Londoner become as established as they do as a King’s alum.

All of our 1,800 summer alumni this year will have explored their subjects with the help of London. Academic excursions, guest speakers from across London’s industries enrich the London campus-delivered academic content of courses. From the Victoria & Albert Museum, historic Fleet Street or crowded Brixton. A diverse range of places and encounters await the summer student and life-long Londoner alike. London can be a gateway to the wider world through its London headquarters of global powerhouses like the UN Refugee Agency, teachers on our Human Rights undergraduate summer school. Our popular and long-standing summer module “Museum of London: Curating the City” with daily sessions at the museum led by its curators, is a passport behind the scenes of one of the capital’s most innovative museums. What do the collections—ranging from art to architecture, fashion to film, music to media, giant fatberg!—tell us about London over the last century? What sorts of histories do these collections tell? What stories do they leave untold? Who are the people choosing these collections and making particular stories public? What is the impact of their decisions on London’s present-day reputation as a centre of creativity and cultural exchange?

For an intellectually challenging, often assessed summer school, this is never about glorified tourism. With its highly international King’s summer student population from more than 50 countries, London connections need to be academically meaningful and relevant. Rather, it is the case that lecturers explore their subject through the prism of London in undergraduate-level courses such as London & Film, where London as a cinematic city, the divergent spaces of London, and the capital’s relationship to film genres are explored in turn. Students reflect on the relationship between London, the advent of moving images and the birth of the cinema industry; the cultural role of cinema within the capital through the strength of its institutions, among them Film London, the National Film Theatre and the British Film Institute. London is both, a ‘realist’ and ‘fantasy’ wonderland. The evolution of London (as relayed on film) as a thriving urban space marked by increased gentrification, cosmopolitanism and architectural redevelopment is considered as well as the restaging of London’s cityscape as the set for blockbuster cinema.

Inviting new audiences to King’s, Dr Alana Harris, Lecturer in Modern British History and convenor of a group looking specifically at the integration of London in the learning experience, is this year for the second time leading a King’s Summer Weekend course with The National Archives. This weekend course is for everyone who wants to expand their research into their family tree. It combines instruction on practical researching techniques with academic insight into how key historic events shape stories across generations. Those that are interested can read more about this in a recent King’s SummerTimes blog post written by Mark Pearsall, one of the course contributors from among The National Archives staff. He describes how this summer collaboration led to a podcast on the Public Record’s Office history in what is now King’s splendid Maughan Library. The city defines its history through its people’s stories. The university defines the city through its understanding of those stories and equips its citizens to continue to draw out their ideas of how the city will evolve in the future.

Alongside the large King’s summer programmes, some of the biggest in Europe, a group of cultural intelligence courses offer invite student groups from King’s university partners to explore London’s people, institution and power in innovative ways. The rationale behind these courses is powerfully simple: they use the unique dynamism of the metropolis to empower students to reflect on their own agency and take steps to be empowered in their own lives back home. Long term Londoners come into the classroom and change perceptions. New Londoners soak up inspiration and ideas and carry a bit of London’s esprit de corps with them wherever they go next. We are the city and the city is us. #everybodywelcome #summeratkings

The start of a new term

Dr Sarah Williamson is a university director, specialising in institutional business development with expertise in international education. She has 16 years creative programming experience in Higher Education, the last 10 of which have been spent leading and providing consultancy services on innovative institutional education projects that transform the educational portfolio of higher education institutions. 

At King’s College London, she is leading the university’s strategy to grow a summer portfolio of education projects on campus and overseas that support education abroad initiatives and research project knowledge transfer/public engagement intentions. Before this, she was the inaugural Head of Study Abroad (2009-14) and the architect of King’s study abroad strategy and programming.

Late June. Birdsong early in the morning. Sunrise by 5 am. Lazy evenings that go on and on to the point where you realise you should have gone to bed an hour before. (But it’s light till so late!) People start dropping into conversation that they are heading off on their holidays soon. The tabloid press is obsessed with swimwear. And universities across the world are readying their halls to welcome their summer students.

Undergraduate Summer School students exploring London with their tutor

At King’s, now in its 9th year, the summer school has grown into a full portfolio of programmes. More than 1,800 people are poised to enrol and embark on what at any other time of the year would be described the start of term. They are coming from all over. The summer has always been a moment in the year for new experiences and adventures. And for cerebral beings, that can mean relocating for a few days to several weeks and flexing their intellectual muscles in the community of learning that is King’s College London.

I’d like to say that there is something for everyone, but if the Internet has taught us anything it’s that there’s some pretty select areas of interest in human society! So, I’ll simply say that there’s an impressive range of classes on offer; a range that works hard to give the world a taste of the research and learning that is the fabric of King’s everyday. A range designed to peak the interest of you out there in the ether and beckon you in to join in the discussion.

“Lifelong friendships with people from across the globe” – Louise

From Healthcare and Technology to Ancient Greek, Psychology to Politics, King’s College London is in the happy position of being a specialist-generalist research institution, so we are luckier than most when it comes to putting together options for summer students. This year’s Pre-University Summer School participants certainly think so! 600+ of them, all high school students aged 16-18, will be heading to class to explore engineering, politics, science, history and literature, and so on. That’s 600 developing minds filled with ideas and opinions and ready to shake things up. Where better to do so than at one of the best universities in the world?!

Summer Education Abroad students in Berlin

Education abroad courses are also in the portfolio. King’s has long championed studying abroad as a stalwart of an internationalised curriculum and this year we kicked off the summer study season with a course that uses Berlin as its classroom. 50 students studying for King’s degrees flew out to explore civic engagement Berlin-style, taking a journey through the social, economic and political change in Germany. A key component of this course and many of our other summer courses has been exploring ideas around personal agency and asking how people exercise their personal agency to bring about changes in their communities. Not only is this line of inquiry a direct arrow into the heart of our university motto, “In the service of society” but also heralds King’s institutional strategy around “Service” that’s due to be published in the new academic year.

Pre-University Summer School students with their course ambassador

Education is a cornerstone of personal empowerment and there’s nothing like a truly international classroom to bring the richest of learning experiences to campus. One of the fascinating areas of any discipline is understanding transnational perspectives and their application within research hypotheses. And the summer classroom, with its intensive learning format (the summer is only so long!) leads the way on active learning. Increased contact time and an emphasis on experiential learning via practitioner speakers and academic-led site visits means that learning is intense and truly flavoursome. What the short course format of a summer education course loses in extended personal reflection time, it gains in peer-to-peer debate and a fearless critical thinking-infused classroom.

So, come July 2nd, take a moment to consider what you could be learning in summers to come. At King’s we never stop exploring. And if that idea resonates with you, you know where you should be. #summeratkings #everybodywelcome

Unveiling the historical connection between King’s and The National Archives

Mark Pearsall of The National Archives works in Collections, Expertise and Engagement. He worked previously in Birmingham Local Studies library and city archives. He has worked in several departments at The National Archives since then, mainly in reader services and records departments. During that time he has produced various guides and finding aids to the records and a number of publications including “Family History Companion”, and co-authored “Family History On The Move” and “Immigrants and Aliens”. His research interests include nationality and citizenship, parish history and administration and local government and county administration. As part of his job he give talks to family and local history groups, and other organisations and societies about the records in The National Archives and how to access them.

Participants in the 2017 Family History summer weekend at the Maughan Library

King’s College London and The National Archives came together last year to hold a family history summer weekend in August. The first day was held at The National Archives in Kew and the second day at King’s. Maughan Library in Chancery Lane is the building that housed the former Public Record Office (PRO), predecessor of The National Archives until 1996. Whilst collaborating on the King’s Summer Weekend with Dr Alana Harris from King’s History Department, we developed the idea for a podcast on our institutional history in the old places that King’s now occupies. The podcast will be available from autumn to all King’s students, used in history teaching, but also available as outreach material to anyone in the King’s community. Last summer, we went to look at the Weston Room, which used to house the PRO museum, but which was built on the site of the medieval Rolls Chapel.

The Maughan Library, King’s College London

King Henry III founded the house and church of the converts (Domus Conversorum) in 1232 in the street called ‘Neustrate’. Chancery Lane was originally called the ‘New Street’ and was made by the Knights Templar to run from their Old Temple in Holborn to the New Temple by the river Thames. The buildings were erected in 1232-33 and two chaplains appointed and the first Jewish converts admitted. In 1371 William Burstall was appointed keeper of the house of converts and he repaired the house, chapel and other buildings at his own expense. Burstall also became keeper of the rolls of Chancery, and in 1377 the house of converts was granted by Edward III and confirmed by Richard II to the keeper of the rolls of Chancery. From then on the keeper of the rolls was also the keeper of the house of converts. The house became the residence of the keepers or Masters of the Rolls until 1837.

The Weston Room, the Maughan Library, King’s College London

The house of converts was pulled down and a new house for the use of the Master of the Rolls was built under the direction of architect John Campbell between 1717 and 1724. The Rolls Chapel was also repaired and improved at the same time. The Rolls House as the official residence of the Master of the Rolls became the main office of the new Public Record Office in 1838 and the Rolls Chapel had long been used for the storage of Chancery rolls. Most of the records were moved out on completion of the first block of the new record office in 1856. When the Public Record Office was extended in 1895 it was decided to demolish the Rolls Chapel. In its place a new museum was built of the same dimensions, and incorporating some of the monuments from the chapel. Three of the large monuments were re-erected, two of them in their former positions. Three memorial tablets were re-affixed to the walls and some of the old glass added to the windows on the south side. The burial vaults below the floor of the old chapel were enclosed in concrete. The new museum opened to be public in 1902 and is now the Weston Room of the Maughan Library.

Participants in the 2017 Family History summer weekend reviewing documents at The National Archives

King’s Summer Programmes and The National Archives will be holding their second family history summer weekend on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th August 2018. The course as last year is designed to stimulate and challenge the participants and take them beyond the computer and the basic resources of birth, marriage and death certificates, census returns, and parish registers. Much can now be done online to build up a basic family tree of names and dates taking you back at least to the beginning of the nineteenth, or the late eighteenth century. Going further back can depend on the survival of original records and knowing what resources are available to the researcher to augment the basic names, relationships and dates. The summer weekend will provide research techniques and academic insight.

On day one at King’s, Audrey Collins of The National Archives and Dr Alana Harris of King’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities will cover the fascination of family research to find the stories behind the names and dates, exploring key themes such as class, professions and occupations, migration and place, putting the family in its social context. At lunchtime we will take participants on a visit to the Maughan Library. After lunch, Dr Denise Syndercombe-Court will discuss the value and the shortcomings of DNA analysis in what proved last year to be a very stimulating and thought provoking session and should be so again.

The National Archives in Kew

Day two will be held at The National Archives, Kew where I will talk about undertaking research in the archives and there will be a behind the scenes tour. Audrey and Alana will run a session on female ancestors and how to trace their lives and put them into a social context. The afternoon will be given over to research in the archives and surgeries to discuss specific topics and research methods. We aim to inspire people to undertake further and more fruitful research into their family histories.

The registration deadline is 20 July 2018. For further information please visit the webpage.

NAFSA Annual Conference

King’s College Summer Programmes will be presenting at this year’s NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference on Thursday 31 May from 1:30 – 3:00pm. Dr Sarah Williamson, Director of Summer Programmes, and Dr Alexander Heinz, Lead – Summer Education Programme, will in an interactive poster presentation discuss ways in which new summer programming can transcend established notions of summer schools and enable universities to engage with non-traditional audiences. Click here to read more.

The NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is the largest international education event in the world. Bringing in nearly 10,000 professionals from over 110 countries, NAFSA Expo Hall highlights the diverse and innovative programmes, products, and services advancing the future of international education and exchange.

If you are at NAFSA, pop by to speak one-on-one with our team.

Dr Sarah Williamson- Director of Summer Programmes, King’s College London

Dr Alexander Heinz- Lead Summer Education Programme, King’s College London

3D Printing in Summer Health Education

Kawal Rhode, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and head of Education for Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, talks to us about 3D printing, as a new aspect on the Undergraduate Healthcare & Technology, as well as Human Anatomy & Physiology Summer School courses.

I carry out research and teaching at King’s and have been working in the exciting area of additive manufacturing or 3D printing, as it is commonly known. 3D printing is used at King’s for research, education and also for clinical work at our partner hospitals. The technology has progressed rapidly over the last years and it enables 3D computer models to be translated into real physical models. For example, we see below how a computer model of a decorative ring has been used to produce the actual ring:

We have recently created a 3D Printing Education Laboratory at our campus at Guy’s Hospital for use by our healthcare students:

A series of hands-on sessions about 3D printing will be included in both of my 2018 Summer School modules. We will learn how to create both anatomical models from medical images and engineering models from computer-aided design (CAD) software:

Here are examples of heart models that were created by our current undergraduate students from CT images:

I am really looking forward to teaching our Summer School students about this exciting technology and seeing the 3D models that will be created by them.

A journey to Berlin, a Trip for a Lifetime

Aida Baghernejad,  Lead tutor – Berlin: City of Reinvention, explains that getting to know Berlin helps us understand how community and civic engagement can make a difference.

This year I’ll have the pleasure to lead a study tour to Berlin for the second time. Last year the students came from all different disciplines, but they each shared an eagerness to learn and to experience this city and its unique history.

Berlin is known by some as the capital of big-scale rave, but also as a city that allows creativity and individualism to thrive. A German proverb says “you are crazy, sweetheart, you must move to Berlin,“ and indeed, Berlin can be a haven for those who think differently.

On our course, we follow in the footsteps of Prussian kings, learn about the chilling history of the Olympic stadium in situ, talk about Berlin’s wild and creative years during the Roaring Twenties and hear about what Berliners endured in the post-war years. We met lawyers who gave historical walking tours with a twist, young creatives who took over an old warehouse and established a co-working place where you pay for your desk with your creative labour by contributing to a self-organised conference and a writer whose blog has become to definitive guide to Berlin. In short, this course introduces you to dynamic people who have taken their life and their destiny into their own hands. It’s all about personal agency and responsbility; about not only dreaming of a utopia, but actually just creating it yourself – that’s the Berlin way!

By the end of the week last year, as one of the participants observed, this group of students from different backgrounds had become a group of friends. By travelling together through the different time periods in Berlin’s history, learning about the legacies and the bright and open future of the city, we come to understand cultural difference as a precious resource to learn from each other and broaden our perspective. Berlin can teach us what it means to not only live somewhere, but also strive to make that place better. It is a living example of how community and civic engagement make a difference and provide a glimmer of hope even in the direst of times; of which Berlin has had many…

I am looking forward to welcoming the next cohort to Berlin and re-experiencing the city through their eyes. Berlin is constantly reinventing itself – and you might just do the same!

University Futures: Starting the journey early

Zoe Galvin – Academic Services Manager and Pre-University lead for King’s Summer Programmes – describes an exciting new skills based programme to inspire students towards their future at university and beyond.

In July 2018 King’s Summer Programmes will launch its University Futures programme; a one week conference designed for 14 and 15 year olds. In partnership with King’s’ Entrepreneurship Institute the programme is designed to build students’ skills in innovation and leadership through a combination of lectures, group work activities and personal reflection. This new venture will extend King’s existing summer programmes portfolio for high school students, which already includes the well-established Pre-University Summer School and Pre-University Taster programmes aimed at 16-18 year old’s.

Students, both international and domestic, are seriously thinking about university before the age of 161. With career choices often being informed by undergraduate level study and degrees, in turn, being informed by A Levels (or their international equivalents) it is no surprise that students start to consider their options long before they reach their final few years at school. The University Futures programme is a step towards supporting these younger students. During the week students will learn about the wide variety of degrees on offer from different faculties, and campus tours and daily interaction with current King’s students will offer a unique insight into undergraduate study and life at university. We hope that the programme will inspire students at the start of their journey and help them to understand what they need to do to achieve their goals for university and beyond.

The University Futures programme will focus on skills based learning rather than the subject specific study typical of our Pre University programme. This complements the growing emphasis within HEIs and the workplace on the importance of equipping students with transferable skills. In their future careers, the ability to collaborate and innovate across disciplines and sectors will be more important than ever and the rise of automation may “amplify the comparative advantage of those workers with problem-solving, leadership, EQ (Emotional Intelligence), empathy and creativity skills.”2 These skills will be at the heart of this programme’s curriculum.

Students will be tasked with an entrepreneurial challenge at the start of the week and will work collaboratively with their peers from initial idea generation through to the final pitch of their team’s business idea. Along the way they will be challenged to think creatively, communicate effectively and present with confidence. The challenge will be rooted in the concept of social entrepreneurship, in line with the Entrepreneurship Institute’s mission to equip King’s’ students, staff and alumni with entrepreneurial skills that can help serve society. We hope that this unique learning experience will inspire these university students of the future to build the skills and experiences they need to solve the global challenges of today and tomorrow. We cannot wait to see what ideas they come up with!

Play and Creative Leadership

Untitled design

Michal Ben-David, Tutor –  London: Creativity, Innovation and Leadership for Beijing Normal University students –, explains the value of play in some of her workshops.

In general, people understand play as something that only kids do. The common view is that kids play, and adults do serious stuff, such as work and study. If adults play at work they may be accused of not behaving “professionally” enough, as they are supposed to produce results, and not spend their precious time on kids’ stuff, such as play. Nonetheless, I strongly believe in the power of play to unlock creative potential, and therefore I introduced the Lego Serious Play method, to my students from Beijing Normal University, during the King’s College London Summer Programme of 2017.

Lego Serious Play is a unique and innovative methodology, that utilises the same bricks that kids play with, in educational and organisational contexts, in order to unlock creative potential. While LEGO is mostly related to the world of kids, and while kids mostly build models of the tangible world, the Lego Serious Play is a method used by adults, to build models of the intangible world, hence of abstract ideas and concepts. In our workshop in August 2017, we addressed the topic of Creative Leadership. The students worked in teams and built models from the bricks, to represent their view of what creative leadership is. Each of their models was telling a different unique story, and at the end of the workshop, all the models and stories were connected together to create a shared narrative of leadership. I bring here this inspiring narrative, as it was told by the students:

“Our shared identity of creative leadership is based on values such as: bravery, kindness, communication and collaboration. We believe that a creative leader should encourage people’s exploration, freedom, and partnership. We value leadership that sees knowledge as important and helps people to be motivated, by fostering a family atmosphere, a great working environment and an amiable but strict authority. We believe that a good leader should have a clear vision and an ‘out of the box’ creative thinking. While freedom and democracy are important to us, law and order should be enforced by the leader. A good leader takes care and looks after the people’s needs in all aspects of life. While the leader has power, it is a controlled and checked power, which maintains an honest leadership.”

Although I have been a Lego Serious Play instructor for few years now, this particular workshop was special for me because of the sheer authenticity expressed through the stories of the students. While they were ‘playing’ the whole day, they were also unlocking their creative potential and discovering new things about themselves, as future creative leaders.