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Bill's work outside the café

updated 29th September 2010


the café's work is linked to on-going research-and-development outside the café

some of this r&d can usefully be linked to your own work
to talk about the possibilities contact Bill

ongoing in gray - new in black - updates in green



storyboarding: This words-and-pictures filmic technique enables students and clients to set down thoughts and feelings that belong to learning from experience, and how that learning is used in life. The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) has picked up on the ideas and canvassed them to a wider range of interests in the University of Derby. A project steering group now comprises iCeGS people, with people from university departments of psychology, careers, social work and education. A pilot film has been made to support the trialing of storyboarding. Bill is advised that, in order to protect intellectual property, the method should be copyrighted as 'Bill Law's Three-scene Storyboarding'. He continues to seek opportunities to trial the material in schools, colleges and careers services. This is on-going work: its products are available in the storyboarding stockroom

interactive narratives: Andrew Manson is the brain behind the narrative website ‘talking jobs’.  Bill is consulting with him about ways in which narrative sites can be made interactive, and responsive to changing economic and policy conditions.  Andrew is developing methods which engage users as creators of their own stories. 

mentoring: Bill is a consultant to the ‘learning-for-living’ (L4L) project.  Funded for three years, by the EU Leonardo programme, it is based with the KPC group in the Netherlands.  The project uses Bill’s three-scene storyboarding to support mentoring by well-established teachers and advisers.  These helpers are encouraged to draw on their other-than-professional background - sharing experience of how careers move on.  In some parts of Europe changing economic conditions are prolonging educationists’ careers.  This work is one of the ways in which such experienced people can support young people, by examining the value of reflecting on experience.  Students are offered more lines of communication with their helpers. And they learn abilities which are critical in an increasingly demanding and changing world.  The project task is to determine how such methods are usefully transferred between cultures.  The launch event - attended by representatives from Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and the UK - is scheduled for October 2010.  The UK project is based at iCeGS, working in close cooperation with Connexions Derbyshire.

research careers: iCeGS has also been funded by Vitae to set up a pilot project on the use of storyboarding with researchers.  Bill is running a workshop for IAG and counselling people working with researchers.  The career-development of researchers can be fraught.  Early idealistic commitment may be compromised by competitive realities.  Research projects do not lend themselves to orderly career progression.  And the current policy and economic framework is not making things any easier.  Bill introduces participants to the narrative-based idea of a turning point, as it applies to situations like these. Project on-line information is available now.  The project will be monitored and written up as a publication, to be available through iCeGS.  Bill will put links to the publication on the café homepage.

labour-market information: Bill has been commissioned by Connexions Northamptonshire to help get labour-market information into a user-friendly form. He has based this on how people directly experience work. The material shows how they use experience in talking with others about what they will do, thinking in terms of both 'competing in a race' and 'exploring on a journey' - metaphors for career management. The project has been extended into 2010, so that a county-wide creative team can assemble the ideas into a practical framework - which formal and informal helpers can work on with young people. The result will appear as a series of on-line resources - for use in face-to-face work, curriculum and community-linked work.  Bill will link it to the café home page.

environmental sustainability: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a social enterprise, committed to enabling learning for an environmentally sustainable future.  The underlying thinking comes from Bill’s long-standing friend and colleague Ken Webster.  Ken is talking with Bill about how careers work must help people to manage the working world’s carbon footprint.  Bill shares Ken’s ideas about using system thinking in this work - it means that what comes out of a learning process must be used in renewing that process.

career-learning needs: Bill has agreed to a request, from the University of Reading Careers Advisory Service, to use the café’s CPI-based interactive learning process - ‘diagnosing learning needs’ - as a basis for its own tool - ‘careers unlocker’.  A useful feature of basing this locally is that the service is able to use the outcomes of the activity to signpost immediately-available resources and contacts.


narrative on the net: Bill is working on an enquiry into the usefulness of on-line career narratives. There are four kinds of sites: (1) using narrative to convey information; (2) adding diagnostic and coaching techniques; (3) gathering richer stories - with potential for showing turning points; and (4) acknowledging the need for probing and questioning. There are issues: (a) are anecdotes reliable?; (b) do we need more than 'good news' stories, so users learn to make good use of bad news; and (c) are any of the sites interactive enough? Careers-work on the Net - Colonise or Inhabit? is Bill's research-based account of how careers work's has been using the internet, and how the issues it now poses can best be managed.

storyboarding as research:  Students set down in storyboards their thoughts and feelings on moving through career-management turning points.  This is learning both for them, and - where it is disclosed - for their helpers.  It is a socially contextualised and multi-layered technique, which can find out what a questionnaire or a structured interview will not uncover. Bill is looking for opportunities to adapt storyboarding for its usefulness as a kind-of-ethnographic research tool.


frameworks for HE: The blue-sky work of the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) was extended into 2010. The overall aim is to put research outcomes into creative practice (PROP). Bill developed a framework for thinking-through this work. He has designed an approached which can start with student-and-client experience, or with research-and-development thinking, or with an example of operational practice. In addition to this, HECSU-PROP group have asked Bill to base the framework on his three-dimensional coverage-influence-processes model. Bill has set out a short version of the model for conference work. The completed model will appear in the café during 2010-11 - as a series of interactive on-line processes.

supporting innovation: Jenny Bimrose at the University of Warwick, Rachel Mulvey at The University of East London, and Deirdre Hughes currently ICG president are working on ideas to support useful innovation in careers-work. Jenny's initiative has attracted attention from iCeGS and CRAC, together with several Connexions companies and HE careers services. The team is considering ideas for: (a) establishing visibility for innovative careers work; (b) being ready to respond to issues that crop up in the media; (c) signposting on-going developments in the careers-work field; and (d) helping careers-work innovators with trialing and feedback facilities. Pump-priming funding for a web portal has been awarded by MATURE - an EU-sponsored agency for ‘web 2.0’ initiatives. Bill is a consultant to the MATURE project. The project now runs a careers innovation portal opening into a two-platform facility. (1) Already active is 'cloudworks' - a series of blogs and responses on ideas and news useful to the innovative development of careers work.  Any visitor can register and immediately initiate and contribute to this feature.  (2) Access to ‘write-to-reply’ is by arrangement. It is for detailed accounts of innovative programmes which are seeking feedback.  It enables your careful engagement with these ideas-for-action, in a section-by-section commentary - which you build up, with others, over time.  A user’s guide to the whole facility is available. The complete multi-platform facility is scheduled for launch at the 2010 ICG conference.

news and updates: Bill is among the contributors to the careers-innovation cloudworks blog.  He plans to increase blogging activity.  A link on the homepage is a way of making the café more interactive.  Bill is also considering setting up other blogging links.  Meanwhile, he is using twitter to alert people to these and other developments in the field. 

journal article: Bill is working on an article, to be submitted late in 2010 to a refereed journal.  It sets storyboarding in the context of its theoretical roots - in career development thinking, in cultural theory and in neurological psychology.  It leads to conclusions, not just for practical method, but also for professional partnerships and policy frameworks. A draft of the article will shortly appear on the careers innovation site' s facility’s 'write-to-reply' section.

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