Page 1

Table of Contents 4


30 Mirrors


Editorial Board


To what extent do undergraduates perceive themselves as learners or consumers?

36 Explore what ‘feedback’ means for students, and develop a better understanding of students needs in relation to feedback mechanisms/styles.

Stuart Sims and Savannah King

Amy Baird and Dr Louise Bunce

16 A commentary on Revelation 1:8-16 Emily Millis

Kimberley Ford

Patricia Munhumumwe

52 Is it possible to suggest there is narrative in music? Lucas Abbott

21 How and why has Okinawa complicated relations between Japan and the US since the end of the Asia-Pacific War? Christopher Jones

6 A critical and contextual analysis of Bill T. Jones’ Story/Time (2012) with regards to its autobiographical significance and authenticity.


Diana Stephen


Preface This year, for this first time in the history of Alfred Academic Quality and Development is pleased to produce an undergraduate journal that is co-edited by a staff member and a student with an editorial board that also reflects this partnership ethos from across the institution. Winchester is leading the sector in student engagement and partnership working between staff and students and we are proud to extend this through Alfred. On Winchester’s 175th anniversary, this edition of Alfred particularly welcomed submissions of student work that related to our institutional values: • Individuals matter • Spirituality • Diversity • Creativity • Social Justice • Intellectual freedom


This vision of a value-driven edition came from the initial meeting of the editorial board, proof that awareness and appreciation of our collective values is as present throughout the student and staff communities as the practices of partnership. Every submission was read by two members of the editorial panel, one representing a student view, and another representing a staff perspective. The editorial panel itself was selected through firstly and open call for interested staff and students, and then a rigorous review process. This edition showcases exciting work from some of the newest members of our academic community whose areas of interest and quality of expression are proof that their level of study places limitations on the standard of work produced. The differing stylistic formats within this edition are reflective of the diversity of disciplines taught at the undergraduate level at the University of Winchester. The reader of Alfred is invited to reflect on global history, consider the narrative power of music, or engage in a fictional world, all within one edition.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed or supported this edition of Alfred, particular thanks to students that submitted and especially those selected for publication. We are very grateful to the editorial panel for them giving up their time to help shape the direction of Alfred and review a number of submissions both within and beyond their own areas of expertise. For supporting the journal and for shaping the overall direction of education development within the institution, our sincere thanks to the department of Academic Quality and Development, in particular Dr Angus Paddison and Dr Tansy Jessop. Lastly, the work of Mark Rwabyomere has been instrumental in designing and delivering the completed version of Alfred and for this we give our warmest thanks. Savannah King & Stuart Sims Editors of Alfred


Editorial Board Hannah Ayres is a single honors History student in her third and final year. Whilst immersing herself in all the opportunities Winchester University has to give, such as becoming a Student Listener, Smart Buddy and Notetaker, she came upon the exciting opportunity to become a part of the editorial panel for the Alfred academic journal and jumped at the chance. Glenn Fosbraey is Programme Leader of BA Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. He has published various journal articles on the subjects of drama and song lyrics, with the most recent being a study of pedagogical approaches to popular music, and is currently working on a chapter in the upcoming book of collected conference papers on Leonard Cohen (ed. Prof. Peter Billingham). Joshua Francis is a third year combined honors student in creative writing and law. He has been a Student Academic Representative for both of his courses and has a general passion for writing which includes involvement with Winchester Writer’s Festivals and as a freelance writer and keen blogger. He is enthusiastic about


student engagement and is very pleased unite these interests as a member of the editorial board. Dr William Sheward is a Senior Lecturer in and Programme Leader, since 2007, of Politics and Global Studies. He has also taught in American Studies at the University of Winchester since 1993. His principal research and teaching interests lie in American politics and society, especially in the southern states, conservative political philosophy, and electoral politics. He has written and published articles in IHS Jane’s Sentinel, Islamic Affairs Analyst and Foreign Report and is currently working on a book chapter on gun control issues in the US and, in the past year, has given papers for the American Politics Group on Democratic Party ideology and on the gun control politics at the British Library. Max Stafford is an Associate Lecturer in Politics and Global Studies at The University of Winchester. His research focuses upon political leadership, cities within International Relations, gender and British politics. Before entering academic life, he

was a press and media officer for a mainstream political party and worked for a former Secretary of State for Defence. He has an on-going interest in Learning and Teaching and is delighted to be a member of Alfred’s editorial board.


To what extent do undergraduates identify learners or consumers? Amy Baird and Dr Louise Bunce Abstract

Many commentators suggest that higher education is becoming increasingly consumerist, with more students expecting to ‘have a degree’ rather than read a subject (Molesworth, Nixon & Scullion, 2009). The extent to which students identify as a customer has wide reaching implications for their level of engagement and their learning experience. The current study surveyed 298 undergraduates using an online questionnaire developed by the authors to investigate the extent to which they perceived themselves as consumers or learners. The results revealed that students held higher learner identities than consumer identities and there was a negative correlation between these two identities. Various factors predicted the extent to which students held a learner identity but these factors did not predict consumer identities. Understanding the relationship between consumer and learner identities has implications for managing the student learning experience and engaging with students in an increasingly commercial environment.


Several authors have argued that the increasing commercialisation of higher education is promoting a consumerist mode of existence


in which students simply seek to ‘have a degree’ rather than read a subject (Molesworth, Nixon & Scullion, 2009; Williams, 2010; Woodall, Hiller & Resnick, 2012). In this climate, students are said to perceive themselves increasingly as customers rather than students/scholars. This shift changes the emphasis regarding who is perceived as responsible for graduation: the student (customer) or lecturer (provider) (Howell, 2006; Molesworth et al, 2009; Naidoo & Jamieson, 2005). Evidence that supports the view that students are becoming more consumerist can be seen by the increase in dissatisfaction with their university experience and the demand for more ‘value for money’ (Lomas, 2007; Newson, 2004; Saunders, 2015). However, there is limited empirical evidence in the UK concerning the extent to which students express a consumer or learner orientation to their higher education. The aim of the current study was to assess this issue systematically. Some previous research has attempted to examine the prevalence of consumer attitudes among university students. In an American study by Delucchi and Korgen (2002), they administered a questionnaire to 195 undergraduate sociology majors, asking them to rate their attitudes towards learning, staff and grades. They found that 42% of students believed that paying tuition fees “entitled” them to their degree and 73% said that they would take a class that resulted in very little learning if they were guaranteed

an ‘A’ grade. This suggests some consumerist attitudes among these students, however, the narrow sample means that it is not clear whether these findings apply to students in general, or just U.S sociology students. A study with a much larger sample was conducted by Saunders (2015) who examined the extent of a student-as-consumer orientation in 2674 entering first year students in a university in northeast USA. Students responded to 18 consumer statements on a 5 point scale (1 = agree strongly to 5 = disagree strongly), such as: ‘If I’m paying for my college education, I’m entitled to a degree’ and ‘I will only major in something that will help me earn a lot of money’. The mean score was 3.32, which indicated, somewhat surprisingly, that the majority of students did not have a customer orientation towards their education as they tended to disagree with the statements. One of the explanations Saunders (2015) gave for these findings was that the belief people have of students as consumers may originate from the financial exchange between the student and their university, not from the opinions of beliefs of the student themselves. However, it remains an open question whether students who are already at university hold a higher consumer identity than found in Saunders (2015), and to what extent consumer identity sits in opposition to, or alongside, a learner identity. Finney and Finney (2010) conducted a broader study that addresses one of these issues by asking students who were either

in sophomore (1st) year, junior (2nd) year or second (3rd/final) year about their consumer attitudes. In total, 1025 students from a university in southern USA responded to a 53 item survey by rating their agreement with statements such as: “As a student, I believe that my role is that of a customer of the university” and “I believe in studying hard to get good grades”. The results revealed that students who perceived themselves as customers of their university were more likely to feel entitled to their degree and to complain because they saw it as being beneficial. They also found that students who held a consumer attitude were more likely to engage in behaviours that were not conducive to being a successful student. However, from this study it is not clear to what extent students perceived themselves solely as consumers, nor the extent to which students engage in successful learner behaviours that may over-ride negative effects of a customer orientation. Another limitation is that the studies to date have been conducted in North America, thus it is also not clear whether these findings would apply to students at university in the UK. Therefore, the aims of the current study were to examine the prevalence of a student-as-consumer and student-as-learner identities in a UK sample. To address this aim, the authors developed a new questionnaire that asked students to indicate their level of agreement to a variety of statements that assessed their consumer and learner identities. The hypothesis was that there would be a negative correlation between the two identities whereby students with a high consumer identity would have a low learner identity and vice versa.



Participants: There were 298 undergraduate student participants. The average age was 21 years, 83% were female, 71% were from the University of Winchester, 60% were BSc students, 40% were in their 1st year, 34% in their 2nd year and 26% were in their 3rd year, and average tuition fees paid per year were £8,000. Participants were obtained through opportunity sampling via the internet, social media sites, or word of mouth. Psychology students at the University of Winchester obtained course credit for participating. Questionnaire: Consumer questions were adapted from Saunders (2015) to be more appropriate for a UK sample. Example questions were: ‘I think of myself as like a paying customer of the university’, ‘I regularly think about the financial cost of my degree’, and ‘I am entitled to leave university with a good grade because I am paying for it’. Learner questions were generated to measure learner behaviour, motivations and thoughts, for example: ‘I would choose to study even if I didn’t achieve a degree from it’, ‘University is more than just a means to getting a good job’, and ‘I want to expand my intellectual ability’. There were 16 consumer questions, and 20 learner questions. Students responded to each statement on the basis of how much they agreed or disagreed on a 7 point scale, where 1 = strongly agree and 7 = strongly disagree. Online software (Questback) was used to administer the survey.


Procedure: Participants clicked on a link online which took them to the questionnaire page. A landing page gave them information about the study and a box to tick to indicate their consent to take part. If they consented, they were taken to the rest of the questionnaire. First they completed demographic information, then the questionnaire. The order of the statements were randomised. It took on average 9 minutes to complete.


Preliminary analysis: There was good internal consistency within each scale according to Cronbach’s alpha: consumer = .79; learner = .78, therefore all items were retained. Identity Scores: The average consumer and learner identity scores were calculated for each participant (see Table 1). A score of 1 represents strong agreement and a score of 7 represents strong disagreement, with a score of 4 representing neither agreement of disagreement. The mean consumer score was 4.16, representing slight disagreement with the statements whereas the mean learner score was 2.49, representing strong agreement with statements. Table 1: Mean scores, standard deviation, and minimum and maximum scores for consumer and learner statements. Figure 1: Correlation between levels of agreement with consumer and learner statements (1 = strongly agree, 7 = strongly disagree). Factors that predict identity scores

To examine the relationship between consumer and learner identities a correlation analysis was conducted (see Figure 1). In line with the hypothesis, this revealed that there was a significant negative relationship, r = -.276, p < .001, meaning that students with a high consumer identity had a lower learner identity, and vice versa.

Two regression analyses were conducted to explore which variables predicted learner identity and consumer identity.


Learner Identity: A forced entry regression was used to see whether the following variables predicted learner identity; age, gender, first class grade aspiration (1st class vs. other), year of study, holding position of responsibility (e.g. student rep), cost of tuition, and grade point average (1st class vs. other). The R2 for this model was .27, meaning that it predicted 27.4% of the variance in learner identity, F(8, 282) = 13.31, p < .001. Significant predictors were first class grade aspirations, gender (males had a lower learner identity), year of study (those in final year had higher learner identities than those in first year), holding a position of responsibility, and age (older students had higher learner identities the younger students). Cost of tuition and grade-point average did not have a significant predictive value. Consumer Identity: A two-step hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to assess the contributions of learner identity (step 1), and the other predictors (step 2). In step 1, learner identity significantly predicted 8.2% of the variance in consumer identity (R2= .082), F(1, 289) = 25.96, p < .001. However, in step 2, none of the other predictors significantly contributed to explaining any additional variance. Therefore this analysis suggests that several factors predicted learner identity but the only factor that predicted consumer identity was learner identity.


Discussion The aim of the present study was to explore the extent to which UK undergraduate students perceived themselves as being at university to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;have a degreeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (i.e. as consumers) or to read a subject (i.e. as learners). Students generally disagreed with consumer statements and agreed with learner statements. However, as predicted, there was a negative correlation between consumer and learner identity scores whereby students who agreed more strongly with consumer identity statements agreed less strongly with learner identity statements. These findings support those obtained in the previous study conducted by Finney and Finney (2010). They found that students in the USA who held a consumer attitude were less likely to engage in successful behaviours required for learning. The findings from the current study also suggest that, in the UK, students who identify strongly as a consumer hold lower learner identities than those who do not identity strongly as a consumer. The current findings also support and extend those obtained by Saunders (2015). He found that entering first year students in the USA tended to reject or at least be neutral about holding a consumer identity â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the mean score in his study was 3.32, with 3 representing neither agree not disagree and 4 representing disagree to consumer statements. In the current study, the same findings were obtained: the mean score was 4.16, where 4 was neutral and 5 was disagree. The current study extends his findings to a UK sample, and to a sample of undergraduates across all years, not just entering first years. Thus, contrary to widespread

opinion (e.g., Molesworth, Nixon & Scullion, 2009; Williams, 2010; Woodall, Hiller & Resnick, 2012), students do not seems primarily to identify themselves as their university’s customers.

think and act like consumers and may hold a higher consumer identity that students studying other subjects such as education (see also Grisoni & Wilkinson, 2005).

An additional important contribution that the current study made to the literature was to show what factors predicted the extent to which students held a consumer identity. The current study revealed that the only predictor of consumer identity was learner identity, whereby a lower learner identity predicted a higher consumer identity. However, this model only accounted for a small proportion of the variation in consumer identity scores, indicating that further research is required to understand what other factors affect the extent to which students identify as a consumer.

The relationship found in the current study between learner identity and consumer identity is crucial to understanding not only student’s perceptions of higher education, but also student engagement. The results from this study have opened up a gap in the literature to further investigate what mediates the relationship between learner and consumer identity. Better understanding would allow higher education providers to engage students academically, and learn how to reduce consumer attitudes and behaviours that could hinder engagement (Bryson & Hand, 2007).

One important factor that should be examined in further research is staff attitudes and treatment of students. For example, in one interview study of 6 member of academic staff, Lomas (2007) found that, although staff were concerned with the term ‘customer’, many perceived that students were increasingly displaying consumer behaviours and being treated as customers by the university. Another factor that requires further research is the effect of the type of subject that the student is studying on their consumer/learner identities. It might expected, for example, that students studying business hold higher consumer identities. Emery, Kramer and Tian (2001) explain that an effective way of teaching students studying business is to show them how to become products that industries want and need. Therefore, this implies that business students may be actively encouraged to

Finally, the results of this study have important practical implications for universities and higher education providers. The results suggest that universities should help students by reinforcing their learner identity and not inadvertently foster a rise in the student-as-consumer. Despite an increasingly commercial higher education environment, generally most students currently are not embracing a consumer identity. Universities should therefore resist the move towards treating students as paying customers and focus on providing a stimulating education that promotes the traditional student-as-learner.


References Bryson, C., & Hand, L. (2007). The role of engagement in inspiring teaching and learning. Innovations in education and teaching international, 44(4), 349-362. Delucchi, M., & Korgen, K. (2002). “We’re the customer – we pay the tuition”: Student consumerism among undergraduate sociology majors. Teaching Sociology, 30(1), 100-107. Emery, C., Kramer, T., & Tian, R. (2001). Customers vs. products: adopting an effective approach to business students. Quality Assurance in Education, 9(2), 110-115. Finney, T., & Finney, R. (2010). Are students their universities’ customers? An exploratory study. Education + Training, 52(4), 276-291. Grisoni, L., & Wilkinson, J. (2005). Undergraduate business and management students as consumers of identity. Paper No. 3.20 presented at SRHE Annual Conference 2005, Edinburgh, 13-15 December. Howell, C. L. (2006). Student perceptions of learner-centred education. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of The Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association, 12 October.


Lomas, L. (2007). Are students consumers? Perceptions of academic staff. Quality in Higher Education, 13(1), 31-44. Molesworth, M., Nixon, E., & Scullion, R. (2009). Having, being and higher education: The marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer. Teaching in Higher Education, 14(3), 277-287. Naidoo, R., & Jamieson, I. (2005). Empowering participants or corroding learning? Towards a research agenda on the impact of student consumerism in higher education. Journal of Education Policy, 20(3), 267-281. Newson, J. A. (2004). Disrupting the ‘student as consumer’ model: The new emancipatory project. International Relations, 18(2), 227-239. Saunders, D. B. (2015). They do not buy it: exploring the extent to which entering first-year students view themselves as customers. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 2, 5-28 Williams, J. (2010). Constructing consumption: what media representations reveal about today’s students. In Molesworth, M., Scullion, R., & Nixon, E. (Eds.), The marketisation of higher education (pp. 170-182). Oxon: Routledge.

Woodall, T., Hiller, A., & Resnick, S. (2014). Making sense of higher education: students as consumers and the value of the university experience. Studies in Higher Education, 39(1), 48-67.


A commentary on Revelation 1:8-16 Emily Millis Introduction

The book was originally thought to have been written in AD 8196 but could have been written earlier between AD 54-79 due to recent scholarship suggesting that the persecution of Christians mentioned in Revelation was not reflected in the earlier period (Woodman., S., 2008, pg. 15).

The authorship of the book is widely disputed and is still to this day unknown. It was originally thought that the author of Revelation could be John the Apostle who is known from the Synoptic Gospels – the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Other sources (Millenarianism) suggest that John should be identified with John the Elder who is attributed with authoring the otherwise anonymous letters of 2 and 3 John, also found in the New Testament. However, Saint Dionysius suggested that the author was not John the Apostle but a “holy and inspired man” (Eusebius, 2007, pg. 309) and that John could be a Pseudonym used by the author to give the book credibility as was common with other Jewish Apocalypses. On the other hand, Beale regards possible “pseudonymity” as unlikely and suggests that “if an unknown author were attempting to identify himself with a wellknown Christian figure like the apostle John, he would probably call himself ‘John the apostle’” (1999, pg. 34)

The book is written in the style of a letter to the seven churches of Asia Minor. (Woodman., S., 2008, pg. 44).

This commentary is intended to be a small insight into a few verses of a book that has always particularly fascinated me. The Book of Revelation is an apocalyptic text, being that it tells of the end times, and is the last book of the New Testament.


D.S. Russell writes that the literary form of apocalyptic texts like Revelation is “that of poetry of a vivid and highly imaginative kind”. (1978, pg. 1). As with other apocalyptic texts, Revelation is written from a first person narrative in which the author describes the contents of the vision. Revelation also has an episodic structure. This is a common feature among similar texts and is likely purposely used by the authors. C. Rowland notes that the use of episodic structure means that what is being written is revelatory material (2002, pg. 52)

Commentary Verse 8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” This is one of two places in Revelation where God is introduced as the speaker. (Moffatt., J., 1956, Internet) It has been suggested that this verse helps to prove the triune of God as it is spoken in threes “who is, who was, who is to come”. (Ellicott., C., 1905, internet) This is a Hebraism, a characteristic from the Hebrew language, used commonly among Jewish Commentators of the time to denote the whole of something from beginning to end i.e. Adam transgressed the whole law from aleph to tav. [The first and last letters of the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet] (Ellicott., C., 1905, Internet) Verse 9: “I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” This is an unusual sentence in Greek. It is hendiatris; that is a figure of speech used for emphasis by which three words express one idea. The idea being expressed here is that of the “persecution” according to E.W. Bullinger. He describes the persecution as not what we would perceive persecution to be but of that specifically connected to the Kingdom and that the

“patient endurance is in the waiting for the Kingdom to come”. (1909, pg. 77). When John speaks about being on the island the verb used in the Greek is egenomon meaning to come to be and when used in relation to an event can be came to pass. When it comes to the English translation the closest we can get is ‘found myself’. This describes the fact of how John got there, the explanation comes from tradition as it seems to be traditional to travel to receive a divine message i.e. Paul travelling to Arabia in Galatians 1:15-17 to receive his revelation. Verse 10: “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” It is often assumed that when John talks about the Lord’s Day he means Sunday. However, we are never told what day the Lord’s Day is. In the New Testament this day is always referred to as “the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1) but in Revelation a different phrase is used. Bullinger wrote that we naturally assume that the Lord’s Day refers to Sunday because we grew used to hearing the first day of the week referred to as the Lord’s Day. (1909, pg. 78) The trumpet like voice can be associated with war in the Hebrew Scriptures and with the Day of The Lord like in Zephaniah 1:1416. It is implied later in Revelation that the voice John hears is Christ and that his voice must be loud and authoritative in order to be heeded (Boxall., I., 2006, pg40). This can also be linked back to a similar voice heard by Ezekiel and by Daniel who attributes the voice to Son of Man. (Preston., R.H et al,


1968, pg. 56) Verse 11: “saying, ‘write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea’” The present tense is used in this verse showing that John is being told to write everything he will see and everything he has begun to see. It is unclear whether the seven churches mentioned are intended to be factual places or symbolic. It is also unclear what exactly the churches would symbolise in this case. It is perhaps wise to suggest that this book was in fact just sent for people to read and study. (Bullinger., 1909, pg. 79). However, it does seem that there can be no doubt of the validity of this scroll as it is what we are reading today. The route of distribution also seems logical as John would sail out of Patmos to Ephesus then head north to Smyrna etc. this seems likely. (Boxall., I., 2006, pg.40) Verse 12: “Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands” It should be noted that the voice that speaks to John is not heard but seen. This is, according to Boxall, a disturbing reminder of the strange nature of the vision that John has. (2006, pg.41) Bullinger suggests that the lampstands in this case can be related to the seven-fold lampstand of the Tabernacle. There was one lampstand at the time but here John describes seven. At the time


of the Tabernacle Israel was united as one but at the time of John’s vision Israel was scattered during its Dispersion. (1909, pg. 80) Verse 13: “and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest.” This verse has several similarities with the book of Daniel, an apocalyptic text found in the Hebrew Scriptures written well before Revelation. The figure seen by John is described as “like the Son of Man” which is the exact phrasing in Daniel 7:13 used to describe what is thought to be an angel of God. John avoids the use of the definite article in “Son of God” perhaps stressing the “angelomorphic nature” of what he is seeing. (Boxall., I., 2006, pg. 42) Joseph Benson wrote about the similarity in passages saying “consider him [Son of Man] as described in the attire of the high-priest, and compare the passage with Exodus 28:29., and the description of the Son of Man by St. John in the Revelation 1:13.” (1854, internet) Verse 14: “His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire,” In Daniel 7:9 the Son of Man is described as having hair shining like wool and eyes like a fiery flame. The white hair could well be used to represent wisdom as well as linking the description of this being with the description of God in Daniel, perhaps suggesting that this is not just an angel. Martin Kiddle suggests

that this being is Christ as the eyes suggest an all-seeing Christ watching vigilantly over His churches. (1940, pg.15) Verse 15: “his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters.” According to Kiddle, feet like burnished bronze are symbolic of being able to crush evil and to punish those that are unfaithful (1940, pg.15) however G.B. Caird suggests that the bronze feet are reminiscent of the cherubim in Ezekiel 1:7 (1966, pg.25) Verse 16: “In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.” This feature of the text cannot be traced back to the Hebrew Scriptures. The seven stars being held are later likened to angels in verse 20. Early Christians had claimed that Christ was far above rule and authority and controls even the stars, which in Jewish tradition were symbolic of angels, (Barr, 1998, pg. 47) and therefore shows that this Son of Man was Christ and not an angel. Boxall suggests that the sword protruding from Christ’s mouth is to prepare us for the battle that is about to unfold in Revelation and that this will be no ordinary battle. (Boxall, 2006, pg. 43) However, Kiddle supposes that the sword represents the Gospels in all their sternness and as weapon to execute judgement on all nations. Kiddle also suggests that the shining sun shows the

“dazzling splendour of a heavenly Being”. (1940, pg. 15) References Barr., D.L., 1998, Tales of the End: A Narrative Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Santa Rosa: CA, Polebridge Press Beale., G.K. 1999, Revelation, Grand Rapids: MI, William B Eerdmans Publishing Co Benson., J., 1854, Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, last accessed:24/02/15, available at: commentaries/rbc/view.cgi?bk=26&ch=10 Boxall., I., 2006, The Revelation of Saint John, London: UK, A&C Black Limited Bullinger., E. W., 1909, Commentary on Revelation, Grand Rapids: MI, Christian Classics Ethereal Library Caird., G.B., 1966, The Revelation of Saint John The Divine, London: UK, A&C Black Limited Kiddle., M., 1940, The Revelation of Saint John, London: UK, Hodder and Stoughton Preston., R.H., & Hanson., A.T., 1968, Revelation: The Book of Glory, Norwich: UK, Fletcher & Son Ltd


Rowland,. C., 2002, The Open Heaven, Eugene: OR, Wipf & Stock Publishers Russell,. D.S., 1978, Apocalyptic: Ancient and Modern, London: UK, SCM Press Woodman., S., 2008, The Book of Revelation, London: UK, SCM Press Ellicott., C., 1909, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Volume 8, last accessed: 24/02/15, available at: http://www.biblesupport. com/e-sword-downloads/file/9937-ellicott-charles-jcommentary-on-the-whole-bible/ Eusebius., 1989, The History of the Church, London: UK, Penguin Classics


How and why has Okinawa complicated relations between Japan and the US since the end of the Asia-Pacific War? Christopher Jones Introduction

The issue of Okinawa may be considered by many as an attempt to focus on the past. However, when framed in the context of more contemporary events, such as the Ukrainian Crisis, events and occupation in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS/ISIL, the events portrayed here become more pertinent. Parallels can perhaps be drawn between US actions in Okinawa and usage as a naval base and with Russian occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol in particular. The ability to use these examples to compare and contrast events is invaluable, and it shows that in order to look forward, one must sometimes look back. How and why has Okinawa complicated relations between Japan and the US since the end of the Asia-Pacific War? Okinawa has had a highly contentious history in less than the past one-hundred years. It was the site of a bloody battle between Japanese and US forces in 1945, leaving casualties above the 150,000 of Hiroshima. Immediately following this, the US seized Okinawa from Japan and occupied it, leaving its future uncertain. Due to Okinawaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategic location and proximity to China, Taiwan and the USSR, the US built air and naval bases on the island, forcing the native Okinawans off of their arable land. Okinawans were initially dependent on the US

for food and support, and the Okinawans had little say in any matters regarding their lives. Okinawa was separated from Japan until 1972, when Nixon approved the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. Even after this, US bases remained, and Okinawa is still dependent upon these bases economically. Japan has attempted to coerce residents into accepting the bases so Japan can meet its treaty obligations. The issue of where to locate the bases the United States wished to install in Okinawa has been, and remains, an issue of contention to this day. Okinawaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s situation following WWII was unusual. Unlike mainland Japan, Okinawa had been invaded prior to Japanese surrender, meaning America controlled the territory. The USA did almost as it pleased, and there was little Japan could do to challenge this. The US simply moved in and seized the land it required, including farmland, homes, and even entire villages. Further to this, the US completely disregarded the importance of land to Okinawans; to them, land was passed down generation to generation and the actions of the Americans completely destroyed that. The Okinawans had already been devastated by the invasion of their land by the Americans and the destructive defence by the Japanese; for the Americans to take what little land was available on Okinawa was incredibly


self-serving and short sighted. The destruction of Okinawa and the seizure of property caused resentment and hostility for the American occupiers, but the complications did not end there. Due to the devastation the Okinawans experienced, many were reliant on the support that the Americans provided for subsistence. Because of this, Okinawans were not in a position to voice their objections; it was unclear if they were able to due to the terms of surrender. This is a complex situation for both the Okinawans and the Americans. It puts the Okinawans in the positions of a subjugated enemy, as well as aid recipients. For America, it put them in the role of both conqueror and aid-giver, a complicated scenario for all parties. Further, the building of bases on the seized land took away fertile farm plots, and covered up to 20% of Okinawa, a staggering amount for Japan’s poorest prefecture. The subordination of Japanese interests to America, coupled with the 1951 security treaty authorising American administration of Okinawa caused humiliation for the Japanese and Okinawans Also, the preponderance of US bases occupying Okinawa have prompted descriptions of it as akin to an aircraft carrier. Other portrayals take this a step further, describing Okinawa as an appendage to the nuclear strategy in Asia. These descriptions portray Okinawa as merely a tool in America’s arsenal, and being completely dominated by military build-up. The complication of relationships here was the US dominance of the Okinawan prefecture, and their disregard for the Okinawans and their land. An area of concern for both mainland Japan and Okinawa is what the bases themselves will be used for. It is stated that one


of the reasons for bases in Okinawa was because Japan lacked any kind of offensive capability, portraying the American bases as defending the Japanese, but their later usage in the Vietnam conflict contradicted this. Further, opposition to the bases was related to the Japanese constitution. Okinawa, like many areas of Japan saw an increasing military build-up, but this conflicted with the peace constitution, meaning opposition was founded on an inherent Japanese pacifism. Equally, when Prime Minister Sato was negotiating for the return of Okinawa, many Okinawans were sceptical as to whether Sato would maintain his promise of ‘main-land status’ for the Okinawan bases and the removal of nuclear weapons. This reveals a further complication for Japan: the Okinawans didn’t trust the mainland. As previously mentioned, bases in Okinawa were used in the Vietnam War. These were essential for America; they provided a launching platform for moving troops and supplies. This caused conflicts for both the Japanese and Americans; the prevailing anti-war sentiment was being ignored, (which would later lead to protests) and America was facing rising animosity in its most important naval base in the region. As mentioned, the Okinawa issue went hand in hand with Vietnam, and citizens formed what was known as the ‘Citizens Federation for Peace in Vietnam’ or ‘Beheiren’ in 1965, which called for the end of the war in Vietnam and Japanese support for US action there, the return of Okinawa to the Japanese mainland and for the repealing of the controversial security treaty. Again, this personifies how the Okinawa issue caused friction in Japan; it was a problem in itself, but also combined with other issues,

exacerbating it further. Further to this, between the years of 196770, over 180,000 Japanese protested and demanded the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. This was problematic for both Japan and the USA. Japan was closely aligned to the US now, and was reluctant to disagree with America regarding Vietnam and risk jeopardising the possible return of Okinawa. It is believed this selling out of both Japanese values was performed by Sato so as to guarantee the return of Okinawa, personifying how difficult the Japanese situation was. Core Japanese beliefs, such as pacifism and non-nuclear policies were potentially being jeopardised. Satoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pragmatism on this front did eventually lead to reward, albeit with strings attached. In 1969, President Nixon agreed that Okinawa should return to Japan, but in return the unpopular security treaty was renewed. This led to a wave of protests across 416 cities involving up to 750,000 people decrying this renewal. This again shows the complications for the Japanese. The Okinawan citizens had achieved the removal of US administration and reunification. However, this was at the expense of renewing the unpopular security treaty, which prompted protests for Japan to deal with and the American presence was not removed. After the end of American stewardship, the islands were returned to Japan in 1972. However, the defacto occupation persists even to this day. The stationing of US troops and bases remains a complex issue. Okinawan resentment towards American troops persists. This is due to a multitude of factors. Perhaps most iconic of all is the 1995 rape of a twelve year old Okinawan school girl by three US soldiers. The result of this rape was

wide scale protest, which was described as a nightmare for the Japanese government, especially considering the bi-lateral treaty obligations of base provision. There is note of a raised crime rate present on Okinawa. From reversion to 2005, four thousand seven hundred and sixteen cases of criminal activity by US personnel have taken place; these include sexual crimes and murders. It is also stated that since 1990, one hundred and ten women have been sexually assaulted; however, it must be noted that this material was published in 2005, so these figures will have changed. Nonetheless, it still provides evidence as to why the Okinawans resent the US military presence and how the situation for the Okinawans and Japan is difficult. The issue of relations is further complicated by socioeconomic reasons. Okinawa is as previously mentioned, the poorest prefecture of Japan. Due to the long-term presence of the bases, the island has become economically dependent on the US presence, as businesses are now reliant on the income they provide. Many local businesses could not survive without the presence of US bases: some locals receive employment at bases, and many Okinawans now receive rent for the land that the US uses; rent that would not otherwise be paid. A sudden US withdrawal would cripple the local economy, and the local populace is divided regarding the bases, so if the Okinawan majority receive their wish for the removal of the US bases, it would have long-term economic and political ramifications for Okinawa.


There are other economic complications for Okinawa. The majority of Okinawans want the bases removed, but Okinawa is reliant on subsidies from Japan, and it only receives these subsidies due to the presence of the bases. The amount subsidised from 1972-2000 is around five trillion yen; a substantial sum. This only makes matters worse for the Okinawans; they either choose between subsidy with bases, or no subsidy and no bases. Neither of these scenarios is ideal. This political and economic matter is further complicated by partisan attitudes and desires. It is said that the Okinawans would like nothing more than all three legs to be equal (in reference to negotiations between the USA, Okinawa and Mainland Japan), but this is simply impossible; Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan, and Japan has negotiated a bi-lateral treaty with the USA regarding bases, meaning it is an issue between the nations of Japan and the USA, not the USA, Okinawa and Japan. Potential relocation of the bases caused friction and complication for both Japan and the USA. Under the terms of the security treaty, any replacement bases must meet the needs of the USA, and maintain US capabilities. Okinawa attempted to impose a fifteen year limit on usage of land, something Washington simply would not agree to, as it would not maintain their capabilities. Under the terms of the treaty, Japan is obligated to meet the USA’s needs, and since the Okinawans are proving resistant to this, it complicates matters and creates something of an impasse. This point of contention is further highlighted by Governor Ota of Okinawa and his refusal to sign new leases for the bases. This interference by Ota would mean that the government would


be unable to meet the obligations of the Security Treaty. Japan overcame this via what could be seen as a ‘carrot and stick’ method. The central government issued a legal challenge to Ota, in an attempt to force him to comply. When this failed and Ota still refused to sign the lease, the government eventually negotiated and offer ¥5 billion in further funding for Okinawa. This highlights the complex situation that faces Japan, America and Okinawa. In effect, Japan is conducting negotiations within negotiations; attempting to honour its commitments to the US and to placate the Okinawans and deal with the ‘land issue’. The Occupation of Okinawa by the USA has presented substantial complications for Japan, especially the Okinawans. From the outset it is clear that American interests superseded those of the landholders, as American demands for land were more valued than individual rights. This caused a problems for Japan; it had to balance the wishes of its people with its obligations to the USA and the security treaty, but rights were largely ignored when Americans seized the land of Okinawa regardless. Americans ignored pacifist tendencies inherent to Japan and its constitution by building massive base complexes across Okinawa, and using them in US conflicts. The complication here was Japanese and Okinawan protest against US militarism. Even after reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972 the bases remained. Actions by US soldiers including rape do nothing to make matters easier. Further, the bases have become so deep rooted in Okinawa that removal would cause substantial economic damage. The fact remains that Japan is obligated to provide the US with bases, and has had to resort to legal action and economic incentives to

coerce the Okinawans into retaining the bases. Glossary of Terms Okinawa: The southern-most prefecture of Japan Ryuku Islands: A name often used to refer to a group of islands, including Okinawa Sato: Prime Minister of Japan from 1964-72 Ota: Governor of Okinawa from 1990-1998 Security Treaty: Treaty signed between the US and Japan in 1951, which allowed the US to station their forces in Japan. Can also refer to the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan of 1960. References Bailey, P.J., Postwar Japan: 1945 to the Present (Oxford, 1996) Eldridge, R.D., ‘The 1996 Okinawa Referendum on U.S. Base Reductions: One Question, Several Answers’ Asian Survey’ 37:10 (1997), 879-904 Feifer, G., ‘The Rape of Okinawa’, World Policy Journal, 17:3 (2000), 33-40

George, T.S and Gerteis, C., Japan since 1945: From Postwar to post-bubble (London, 2012) Gordon, A., Post War Japan as History (Oxford, 1993) Henshall, K.G., A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower (Basingstoke, 1999) Karan, P.P., Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society (Lexington, 2005) Kim, H.N., ‘The Sato Government and the Politics of Okinawa Reversion’, Asian Survey, 13:11 (1973), 1021-1035 Ma, L.E.A., ‘The Explosive Nature of Okinawa’s “Land Issue” or “Base Issue”, 1945-1977: A Dilemma of United States Military Policy’, The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 1:4 (1992), 435-463 Masaki, G., ‘Futenma Air Station: The Okinawa Problem in Japan – US Relations, Japan Echo, 27:3 (2000), 19-24 McClain, J.L., Japan: A Modern History (New York, 2002) Takashi, K., ‘Spotlight on Okinawa’, Japan Echo, 27:3 (2000), 6-8


A critical and contextual analysis of Bill T. Jones’ Story/Time (2012) with regards to its autobiographical significance and authenticity. Diana Stephen Ageing is inevitable, as is the deterioration of one’s physical condition over time. Thus, there comes a point in every dancer’s life when their body, once perfect, becomes imperfect. Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham insists “a dancer, more than any other human being, dies two deaths: the first, the physical when the powerfully trained body will no longer respond as you wish it would.”. By 2007, Bill T. Jones fell victim of his ‘first death’ as he announced his retirement as a dancer. Yet five years subsequent, he returned to the stage with the desire to deliver a full-length autobiographical piece called Story/Time. An autobiography is largely accepted as a personal recollection of an individual’s life; “autobiography is a result of a reflection upon personal experience”; “the stories we tell about our lives … [are] our ‘autobiographies’”. Given that not any two beings can live the exact same experiences, feelings or sensations, each autobiography differs from another. The common denominator, however, is that all have been lived. Consequently, apparent is a sense of reality and truthfulness that make the autobiography somewhat authentic. As Fisher expresses, “authenticity in the context of theatre equates to a yearning for greater honesty, truthfulness and, importantly, a greater correspondence to reality”. The authentic impression is significant in that


“audiences for autobiographical performance are drawn into a relationship with the performer due to the authentic nature of the material” and this in turn “opens up personal memories for audience members”. Authenticity is thus fundamental in any autobiographical performance. Jones’ Story/Time is not shy of authenticity. Having come out of retirement exclusively to be on stage, audiences may have anticipated the flaunting of Jones’ incredibly skilled body of a dancer, the same way they remember him doing so in previous works. Rather, what appears is Jones seated behind a desk, glasses perched on the end of his nose, narrating seventy minutes worth of life stories. His dancers move for and around him as he stays glued to the chair. In an interview Jones confesses “I had this desire to … do something that I felt my knees and my ankles and my back would allow me to do”. He clearly had no intention on neither creating an inauthentic representation of himself, nor hiding his age. Despite the fact he’s had an overwhelmingly successful career as a dancer, he shows that he is no less susceptible to the effects of time and ageing. This decision of his, as brave as it is to being honest, declares that he is no greater of a being than anyone else. He is just a normal, authentic human.

The crafting of autobiography, of which ‘auto’ originates from the Greek meaning of ‘self’, entails reflecting on one self’s identity. ‘Identity’ can be referred to as “people’s concepts of who they are, of what sort of people they are, and how they relate to others”. Traits such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class and citizenship characterise an identity. One significant aspect of Jones’ identity is his open homosexuality. In Story/Time Jones reminisces on memories with past lover Arnie Zane, including a time when a passer-by noticed the couple walking down the road together and shouted ‘faggots’. “’Gayness’ has its dangers and stigmas in any community and within any ethnic group, but male gayness in the black community is a particularly volatile issue”. Jones’ choice to publicly expose his sexuality uncovers not only this information about his identity, but also a sense of courage and boldness that can likewise be attached to his persona. By revealing an identity “you are able to open yourself fully to an audience; you are completely vulnerable” and “this is something that really breaks down the walls between you and the audience”. However, the understanding of an authentic ‘self’ and ‘identity’ may be more complex than initially thought. The way in which the autobiographer perceives themself may not be completely exact; “every autobiography—even when it limits itself to pure narrative—is a self-interpretation”. More often than not, people consider themselves to be what they hope or wish, and using these “idealized views” they construct a forged version of one’s ‘self’. Hence, it can only be concluded that “an identity is an explicit theory of oneself as a person”.

Jones’ choreographic works are known to draw on real-life issues; “Jones has never been a choreographer whose art and life could be separated”. “Even when he doesn’t open his mouth, his shows still speak loudly of the politics and passions of their subject matter, whether they be sex, race, art or death. His work is always highly personal.”. A prime example is illustrated as Jones describes the time when, following his father’s death, his mother “threw herself on the floor and proceeded to roll from one end of the hallway to the other, the way a child would, on a grassy hillside, in the spring time”. At the same time, the dancers depict this vivid image of Jones’ and roll from stage right to stage left, slow-motion-like, amid a haze of smoke and dark, eerie lighting. Both audience and performer explicitly encounter this scene and gain insight “not only into the situation that has been lived through but also existentially into what it means to be in the world”. In this respect, they gain a greater, more personal relationship with reality, as well as an “authentic seizing of one’s own existence”. On stage is a digital clock suspended above Jones, counting up the seconds and minutes passing by. As the performance unfolds, it becomes apparent that each mini narrative Jones is telling is precisely one minute long. It seems like time really is of the essence. This brings to question whether just one minutes’ worth successfully transpires the full story. On one hand, it might be thought that cutting a story down will remove certain pieces of information, of which are essential to the telling of the story and thus will misinform the audience. On the other hand, it can be said to heighten the understanding of the story, by eliminating


the unnecessary information and focusing only on the essential. To me, the latter is more valid. Not only is the sixty-second-long narrative sharp and to the point, causing the audience to pay close attention to every important word that is said, but is it just the right length to keep the watcher fully engaged, also. Following on from this, the stories told in Story/Time are built upon Jones’ memories throughout his life. “Memory is a key aspect in the creation of autobiographical performance”. However, the reliability and, consequently, the accuracy of a memory is questionable. In a story where a woman asks Jones whether she should forgive her abusive parents, Jones bluntly admits “I don’t remember my answer”. Scientifically speaking, “studies indicate that we forget or falsely remember much more than we realize”. “The human memory acts as a filter and, as a consequence, what is remembered may not be the truth but an embroidered version of the real”. As a result, memories are partly fabricated by the imagination; “Fragments of memory, [are] lost somewhere between remembering and imagining”. Therefore can any autobiography be completely authentic? Many, along with myself, would argue no since the imagination eradicates reality, and hence authenticity. However, it is evident that Jones is aware of the possible inaccuracy within the details of such memories and makes this clear in some of his stories. For instance, he openly questions himself “Anna… or was it Estella?” when narrating a story in which it is a young boy’s birthday and he changes out of a short and into a long pair of pants, because he was told he was a man now. Given that Jones


acknowledges his uncertainty of specific details within several memories, the audience is provided with an honest and authentic narration. A further aspect of authenticity to question in an autobiographical work is that of the performer or, in the case of Story/Time, performers. Instead of using his own body, Jones made the decision to use other bodies in order to materialize and make visible the stories he wished to be communicated. However, when placing one’s own movement on a different body there lies a danger of distorting the original movement. It is vital that the authenticity is not lost in translation since “the audience are extremely susceptible to the performer’s energy and authenticity”. Shacklock expands on this by asserting that “if the performers are real and their struggle, pain, pleasure and laughter is genuine, then the experience for the audience is genuine, real and raw.” This brings me to suggest that a performative form of autobiography may be more immediately effective in communicating narrative than a written form, perhaps. “In performance the present of the narrative situation is heightened in a way it might not be on page as the performers stand in front of the audience and directly announce themselves as storytellers”. The live sensation, of which is enhanced by live action and live dancers, makes the narrative feel ever more in the moment and real. After 70 minutes of narration augmented by action, Story/ Time comes to an end. However, is that really the end of the autobiography? If autobiographies are lived experiences and the living is still happening, then is it not true to say that it is

still ongoing? Autobiography is forever evolving and “even as the autobiographer fixes limits in the past, a new experiment in living, a new experience in consciousness ... and a new projection or metaphor of a new self is under way”. It is as if “such a text can never catch up with itself because it takes longer to write about life than it takes to live it. In this sense, autobiography can never end”. Not only is the autobiography of Jones still developing but new ones are being formed; “once a personal narrative is shared, it can generate new autobiographies”. Thus, each and every living experience of one individual can resonate through other individuals and their experiences, and from this an entire web of connectedness can be created. “The autobiographical body can then describe the ‘body of work’ that emerges as a performance unfolds and in the aftermath of the performance, allowing the prospect of reverberations and new directions not imagined within the performance itself”. These lived stories and anecdotes “are one of the ways that we fill our world with meaning and enlist one another’s assistance in building lives and communities“. Even if Jones is no longer in the form he once was and has, in Graham’s words, died his ‘first death,’ to him that is not of concern. “Living and dying is not the big issue. The big issue is what you’re going to do with your time while you’re here. I [am] determined to perform” .

References Alexander, B. K., 2000. Skin Flint (or, The Garbage Man’s Kid): A Generative Autobiographical Performance Based on Tami Spry’s Tattoo Stories. Text and Performance Quarterly, 20(1), pp. 97-114. Bennett, A. & Royle, N., 1999. Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. 2nd ed. New York: Prentice Hall. Biesenbach, K., Iles, C. & Stiles, K., 2008. Marina Abramovic. UK: Phaidon Press Ltd. Bruner, J., 2004. Life As Narrative. Social Research, 71(3), pp. 691-710. Clandinin, D. J. &. H. J., 2006. Mapping A Landscape of Narrative Enquiry. In: D. J. Clandinin, ed. Handbook of Narrative Inquiry: Mapping a Methodology. London: Sage Publications, pp. 35-75. Fisher, A. S., 2011. Trauma, Authenticity and the Limits of Verbatim. Performance Research: On Trauma, 16(1), pp. 112122. Govan, E., Nicholson, H. & Normington, K., 2007. Autobiographical Performance. In: Making A Performance. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 59-72. Graham, M., 1993. Blood Memory. Reprint ed. Kent: Sceptre.


Hamilton, K., 2003. Truth In Autobiography. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 9 January 2015].

Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Mahony, J., 2004. The Guardian. [Online] Available at: http:// [Accessed 9 January 2015].

Heidegger, M., 1962. Being and Time. London: Harper and Row.

Paris, C., 2005. Will The Real Bill T. Jones Please Stand Up?. The Drama Review, 49(2), pp. 64-74.

Hogg, M. & Abrams , D., 1988. Social Identifications: A Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations and Group Processes. London: Routledge. Jones, B. T., 1989. MacNeill Lehrer Report [Interview] (31 July 1989). Jones, B. T., 2012. Bill T. Jones in Conversation with Philip Bither [Interview] (13 January 2012). Law, B. M., 2011. Seared In Our Memories. Monitor On Psychology, 42(8), pp. 60-65. Meehan, E., 2013. The Autobiographical Body. In: S. Reeve, ed. Body And Performance. Devon: Triarchy Press, pp. 37-51. Moshman, D., 2005. Adolescent Psychological Development: Rationality, Morality, and Identity. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Physchology Press. Olney, J., 1972. Metaphors of Self: The Meaning of Autobiography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Shacklock, K., 2011. Going Beyond into the Jars of Consciousness â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Proposal for New Practice. In: D. Meyer-Dinkgrafe, ed. In Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Art. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 139-154. Starobinski, J., 1980. The Style of Autobiography. In: J. Olney, ed. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 74. Stets, J. E. & Burke, P. J., 2005. A Sociological Approach to Self and Identity. In: M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney, eds. Handbook of Self and Identity. New York: Guilford Press, pp. 128-152. Story/Time. 2014. [Film] Directed by Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong. United States: Nel Shelby Productions.


Kimberley Ford

The young woman passes beneath the faded sign swaying in the wind, trailing after the rest of the audience as they enter the illusionist’s tent. Though the circus rolled in only a few hours ago, the scent of caramel has already lured in crowds from the nearby villages to gape at the glittering lights strung between the tents and the performers dancing on high wires. But the young woman has ignored the superficial enchantments designed to captivate even the adults, heading instead straight towards the sign which glows like a beacon - for her eyes only. To most the sign would read, The Astounding Wesley Bright Master of Illusions But to her, it says ‘magic’ - real magic. Magic like home. Memories flash through the air ahead of her: golden hair coiled on the floor like rope; snow gathering on a window ledge as she stares out across a frozen lake; birds telling her in their soft voices that soon she would be free… The young woman shakes her head and the memories melt

away. There is no longer snow, just the heavy curtains the people in front have already passed through. Swathes of velvet part like night beneath her trembling fingers. She’s waited a long time for the circus to come around again. * A dove soars around the tent, wings whispering above the audience’s heads before it bursts into flame and becomes a length of snowy silk. It billows down into the lap of a young woman in the front row. She reaches out to touch it, amazed to discover that it’s real - that it really is what it seems to be. The Astounding Wesley Bright bows and, when he straightens again, removes his hat and tosses it into the audience. A little girl catches it and cradles it in both hands. Later, when the magic fades, it will turn to a handful of glitter that floats away into the night. Her tears will soak through her father’s shirt as he carries her home, despite his assurances that the circus will still be there tomorrow. Wesley smiles as he presents the little girl’s mother with a rose that did not appear to have been hidden up his sleeve, before he disappears in a crack of thunder that makes everyone jump. Sparks rain down in the place where he has just been standing.


The young woman passes beneath the faded sign swaying in the wind, trailing after the rest of the audience as they enter the illusionist’s tent. Though the circus rolled in only a few hours ago, the scent of caramel has already lured in crowds from the nearby villages to gape at the glittering lights strung between the tents and the performers dancing on high wires. But the young woman has ignored the superficial enchantments designed to captivate even the adults, heading instead straight towards the sign which glows like a beacon - for her eyes only. To most the sign would read, The Astounding Wesley Bright Master of Illusions But to her, it says ‘magic’ - real magic. Magic like home. Memories flash through the air ahead of her: golden hair coiled on the floor like rope; snow gathering on a window ledge as she stares out across a frozen lake; birds telling her in their soft voices that soon she would be free… The young woman shakes her head and the memories melt away. There is no longer snow, just the heavy curtains the people in front have already passed through. Swathes of velvet part like night beneath her trembling fingers. She’s waited a long time for the circus to come around again. *


A dove soars around the tent, wings whispering above the audience’s heads before it bursts into flame and becomes a length of snowy silk. It billows down into the lap of a young woman in the front row. She reaches out to touch it, amazed to discover that it’s real - that it really is what it seems to be. The Astounding Wesley Bright bows and, when he straightens again, removes his hat and tosses it into the audience. A little girl catches it and cradles it in both hands. Later, when the magic fades, it will turn to a handful of glitter that floats away into the night. Her tears will soak through her father’s shirt as he carries her home, despite his assurances that the circus will still be there tomorrow. Wesley smiles as he presents the little girl’s mother with a rose that did not appear to have been hidden up his sleeve, before he disappears in a crack of thunder that makes everyone jump. Sparks rain down in the place where he has just been standing. Applause fills the tent as the young woman in the front row stares in horror, her blonde hair tumbling past her shoulders as it slips free of the grips that held it in place. “No,” she whispers. “No, no, no…” The last sparks burn out as they fall, leaving a trail of wispy smoke and scorch marks on the floor. * Wesley Bright carefully cuts out the newspaper article with his face on it and tacks it to the mirror on his dressing table. He leans back in his chair and surveys it with growing discontent as he slicks back his dark hair. He might be the greatest illusionist to emerge in the last hundred years, but in the first

sentence the writer laments Wesley’s lack of ‘originality’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. But, since that performance, he has only one new trick up his sleeve and he’s not sure if it’s ready yet. Or if it even works… * The young woman stays in her seat long after the rest of the audience have filed out. She stares at the scorched floor, as if staring at it will bring back the illusionist. But she knows it won’t. * Wesley reappears in a hall of mirrors, somewhat surprised to discover his disappearing act did, in fact, work. Mirrors tarnished around the edges stand between more carved with tangled vines, packed in so tight that he can’t see the faded print of the tent he knows should be there. They reflect him faithfully; the strong lines of his face and the dove-white of his gloves showing starkly against the black silk of his jacket. He’d hoped that he could just conjure a kind of doorway that would transport him to another part of the circus, but the hall of mirrors he’d pictured in his mind did not look like this one. There are no people queuing to applaud his originality or ask for autographs. This hall is deserted. Identical pathways stretch between the rows of glass, trailing off into shadows so thick that even his magic can’t illuminate anything beyond what he already sees. “Hello?” he calls, his voice pinging off the mirrors until there are not just more Wesleys filling the room, but more voices,

each calling out with increasing softness until they fade away, sucked into the gloom. There is no response, but then there’s a noise, so faint that Wesley thinks he imagines it; a strange noise, like something coming unstuck. The shadows seem darker too, like they’re getting nearer. Reflected Wesleys stare as something detaches itself from them, inky hands tipped with claws splaying out as they rise towards his face. Wesley turns to run but the claws flash and blistering pain erupts across his cheek. He spins away from the creature’s grasp and stumbles blindly through the maze of mirrors, cupping a hand to his face, a red slash extending beyond the reach of his fingers. The creature doesn’t follow, its job accomplished. Instead, it merges with the shadows again, drawing them around itself like a blanket as the mirrors depict endless, desperate Wesleys fighting to escape something which is no longer there. They pound on mirrors; they yell, soundlessly, with frustration. Infinite Wesleys, turning first one way then another, become more and more lost, until the real Wesley trips. He staggers as the ground becomes unsteady. Glancing down, he realises the walls aren’t the only things made of mirrors: the floor is too. He can feel the glass flexing where he stands but, impossibly, it doesn’t break. Instead it becomes rubbery, creeping up over his toes, then the tops of his shoes, swallowing the laces. It’s eating him whole. He’s sinking. And there’s nothing to hold on to. His own reflection, multiplied a hundred-fold, stares back as the mirror pulls Wesley into itself, the glass rising up around his waist, his shoulders and his nose, until he’s vanished and


there are no more Wesleys to watch him. * The young woman leaves the circus only because she’s chased out by anxious cleaners. She stands outside the gates, her scarf pulled up over her mouth. She remains there all night despite the autumnal chill, pacing through the long grass of the field, leaving a flattened trail beside the fence. * A branch smacks Wesley across the face as the mirror drops him. He falls to land in snow, hitting it so hard he ploughs through it several inches. Breathless, he slowly gets to his feet as a cold wind chafes the slash on his cheek. Wesley shivers, his breath rising in wispy clouds. “Where the hell am I now?” he demands aloud, but there are only the trees and the snowflakes drifting from a leaden sky to answer him. He sighs and pulls his jacket tighter – only to find that it is no longer his jacket. The black silk is gone, replaced by a red cloak that falls almost to the ground. “Wha – where is my coat? That thing cost me a fortune!” he yells. Again, no one answers, but a few startled crows launch themselves into the air and wheel away. Wesley tries to take off the cloak, but the pin securing it does not budge. Giving up, he stomps away through the snow, roughly shoving branches aside, careless of the scratches they trace on the backs of his hands through the fabric of his gloves. At least the hall of mirrors wasn’t cold, he thinks, grateful at least for the cloak’s scarlet hood.


The pines stretch like pillars on either side of him; snow dusting their branches like the icing sugar sprinkled on the cakes frequently sold at the circus. Thick drifts crunch beneath his feet as he weaves through the narrow spaces between the trunks, ducking to avoid icicles hanging like spears. Too weary to notice the sudden increase in light as the trees become sparse, Wesley places one foot in the snow, then the other, until the snow is not snow anymore, but a lake topped by a thick layer of ice. It stretches from where he stands to where a cabin rests among more trees, far off in the distance. The ice creaks with the restlessness of the water below, but it’s strong enough to support him. Even so, he treads lightly, his eyes on the cabin. Someone must live there, someone with a warmer set of clothes… As he approaches, a chopping sound slices through the air – too controlled to be natural. Wesley races towards it, trying not to skid as he reaches the edge of the ice. And, there, he is greeted by a scene that looks like it dropped out of a fairy story: a man, raising his axe to chop a log balanced on a tree stump. “Excuse me…” Wesley says, but trails off as the man turns, revealing that he is not in fact a man, but a woman. Her face breaks into a welcoming smile, but then she notices the red brand on his cheek and her expression becomes guarded. “I don’t usually serve your kind here,” she says, her tone as abrupt as the shift in her expression. “But I’ll make an exception.” She jams the axe into the tree stump and leads him into the cabin where she procures a spoon and a bowl of cold soup. She doesn’t offer him the fleece-lined cloak hanging on the

back of a chair in exchange for his own, which is wet to the knees. “That’s all you’re getting,” is all she says, banging the bowl down on the table in the centre of the room and gesturing for him to sit. Once he does, she strides out again to resume chopping. Between the thunks of the axe, Wesley hears raised voices. Then the chopping stops altogether. Silence creeps in, until all he hears is the pounding of his heart. Wesley puts down his spoon and pushes back his chair, just as a wolf the size of a horse appears in the doorway. “He’s one of them,” the wolf snarls. “You know what the Queen ordered us to do.” It turns to fix a yellow-eyed glare on the woodcutter. “You should not have let him in.” Wesley stumbles backwards, his hand blindly groping for something – a weapon, a door-handle – it doesn’t matter what. Then his fingertips graze cold metal. He yanks on the handle and falls through the door as the wolf leaps into the room, the woodcutter at its heels. Wesley slams the door and then he’s ankle-deep in fresh snow, the forest closing up around him as he sprints beneath overlapping branches, snow-melt dripping like rain. “THIEF!” the wolf barks after him. Fallen trees block the path ahead and Wesley swerves to avoid them, catching sight of his pursuers as they struggle to avoid obstacles the trees throw in their way. He skids to a halt in a small clearing, the grey sky shedding flakes of ice that glide to the ground around him like flocks of tiny moths; the narrow trails made by the forest-dwellers providing the only passage past the trees.

Except for the mirror. It leans against the bark of a tree, a full-height pane edged with silver. Wesley lunges for it, just as the wolf clamps down on his jacket, the apple-red velvet ripping as they tumble through the surface of the mirror. They land in a heap on the other side and, without taking time to assess his new surroundings, Wesley slithers from under the wolf and takes off, a red streak reflected in a wall of mirrors. * When the gates open the following afternoon, the young woman is first in line to purchase a ticket. The night had been a long one. She hadn’t slept; she’d just sat down in the field and watched the circus lights flick off one by one. She still hadn’t moved when the sun came up and rose steadily above the tents. She hadn’t been able to leave. She had to know if the illusionist reappeared. As she waits for the girl in the booth to count the change for her ticket, the young woman’s hand keeps drifting to touch the livid scar on her collarbone. * The hall of mirrors is as dark as before, the threat of the shadow creature lurking around every corner, but Wesley ignores his fear. He has more pressing matters literally snapping at his heels. He has to find the right mirror. They’re like doors, he thinks. Doors between worlds. The question is: how do I get back? The wolf’s accusation taunts him, replaying in his head over and over.


“Thief?” he murmurs to himself as he touches as many mirrors as he can, trying to see which ones will let him through. Claws click on the mirrored floors somewhere in the distance, and glimpses of dark fur flash from the mirrors, as if a pack of wolves are stalking the shadows. There’s no sign of the woodcutter. Wesley’s not sure if she came through or not, all he remembers is a tangle of paws, tails and legs. Then he spots something odd: One mirror isn’t reflecting what it should. Instead, it ripples as if someone has skimmed a stone across its surface. That’s the one. It has to be. He presses his fingers against the cold glass. At first nothing happens, but then, slower than before, the mirror starts to devour him. A furious howl follows him as he falls through, the sensation like moving through jelly. But, this time, the wolf does not. * The young woman cautiously lifts the velvet curtain and steps into the illusionist’s tent. It’s empty; the rickety chairs standing vacant in their usual circle. She sighs as she folds herself onto one in the front row, tucking her legs underneath her. She’s been sat there a while when monstrous howls fill the tent. They seem to come from anywhere and nowhere, all at once. She cups her hands over her ears, but even that doesn’t block out the sound. Then, as the howls dwindle to nothing, something falls from above her to land in a crumpled red heap. Even as he groans, remaining half-curled up on the floor, the young woman recognises the illusionist. “Wesley?” she says.


He turns his head to look at her. “What are you doing in my tent?” he demands. The young woman gets to her feet. “You’ve seen the hall of mirrors, haven’t you?” she says softly. Wesley blinks. “You know about that?” The young woman nods and pulls back the collar of her shirt to reveal a mark similar to the one on his cheek. Wesley stares. “Did you find a world through the mirrors? One with snow and a bad-tempered woodcutter?” she asks. “Yes, actually,” Wesley rubs his cheek, wincing as his fingers pass over the brand. “It wasn’t as fun as you think. They accused me of being a thief.” “Of course they did. You’ve been stealing magic you never should’ve messed with. I suspected it the moment I read about you – and knew it when you changed that dove. That was no illusion. Your sign is made from magic too, isn’t it? And,” she continues without allowing him to speak, “worse, than all of that, you entered into Fairy Tale. No one from outside is supposed to do that – enter or leave. The Queen forbade it. But I had no choice. I was so bored in that tower. I had to do something. Why would I wait for some self-absorbed snob to come and get me? You, on the other hand, were just being greedy.” Wesley glances at her sharply, taking in the long strands of golden hair spilling forward over her shoulders. “Who are you?” “Call me Rachael,” she says, extending a hand to him. “Rapunzel isn’t normal in this world apparently. You get odd

looks.” “I can imagine,” Wesley says as she pulls him to his feet. “Can you open the hole between here and there again?” she asks him, suddenly serious. “I don’t think I want to.” “Good,” she says, relieved. “I don’t want to go back.” * Wesley looks up at the article taped to the mirror on his dressing table as he removes the red cloak and lays it over a chair. He frowns at it before ripping it free and tearing it into very small pieces. From now on he’ll leave the real magic to someone else.


Explore what ‘feedback’ means for students, and develop a better understanding of students needs in relation to feedback mechanisms/styles. Patricia Munhumumwe Introduction

Feedback is very closely linked with student achievement, retention and progression (Murphy and Cornell 2010; Carless 2006). As student numbers have increased, there have been economies of scale in teaching methods but not in assessment. This has placed extreme pressure on assessment practices in all subject areas, with the result that provision of both timely and valuable feedback to students is far more difficult to achieve. It is not just the quality and quantity of feedback provided to students that is important. It is also the value of feedback to students and more importantly, what they do with it, as research suggests that feedback is often not read at all or not understood (Rowe and Wood 2008; Carless, 2006). Feedback helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Orsmond and Merry (2011) suggests that academic feedback is more strongly and consistently related to achievement than any other teaching behaviour. Feedback can improve a student’s confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning. Furthermore effective feedback during the first year in university can aid the transition to higher education and may support student retention (Murphy and Cornell, 2010).


Feedback to students on assessment is an area that has gained significant attention in recent years, not least through the results of the National Student Survey (NSS). Each year the survey has indicated that this is the area of least satisfaction for students. Although institutions have put increasing effort into addressing concern, results have not improved notably (Orsmond and Merry, 2011). This report provides a literature review on the topic on current debates and issues in assessment feedback, and provides some initial findings from research conducted with students from the BSc (Hons) Health, Community and Social Care Studies programme. The report concludes by suggesting that there needs to be a clearer role of tutorials in module planning, consistency between markers and feedback that is clearly aligned with the grade awarded. This could be assisted through structured tutorial rotas, as part of module planning, as well as peer led workshops to be built into the programme year. Students need specific, honest and legible feedback with signposting to is regarded as ‘good work’ (Rowe and Wood, 2008). Programmes could consider using students’ reflection as part of a summative assessment (Gomez and Osbourne 2007), drawing particular attention to students’ development as professionals and the acquisition of

lifelong learning skills (Orsmomd and Merry, 2011).


This project consisted of three elements: 1 Literature Review 2. Survey – a questionnaire completed by students in Years 1, 2 and 3 of the programme 3. In depth interviews with HCSCS students 1. Literature Review Secondary research is further analysis of existing data sets (Hakim, 2000). This allows the project to combine existing information, bring new interpretations to existing literature or use existing literature to support new arguments. In developing the review the following search strategy was adopted. My literature searching and review was ‘purposive’ (Robson, 2002) in that I had a specific purpose for seeking and using the information gathered together. Searches were made through the several research databases: Education Research Complete, Academic Search Complete, and International Bibliography of Social Sciences. In addition the indexes of relevant journals, including the British Educational Review Journal, Assessment and Evaluation in Education and the Journal of Higher Education, were examined. The key search term was ‘Feedback’, with the phrases such as ‘Feedback + Dialogue’ and ‘Feedback + Peer’ also viewed. From this, articles were scanned to eliminate material on the grounds of being non-specific in relation to the assessment

process, such as investigations on student feedback (on tutors or the institution) or how to manage evaluative feedback from students. This process produced key articles that I reviewed by reading abstracts and scanning the documents. Note was made of key ideas and articles exposing innovative practices, which were then explored in depth. In all three main themes were identified: •The on-going nature of debates in the literature on how to address factors, including student engagement, that impinge upon the potential of feedback to support student learning; •An emphasis on the need for feedback to be dialogic in character; •An interest in dialogic pedagogies, in particular collaborative learning, as a context for peer and staff student dialogues about assessment and feedback. 2. Survey A questionnaire (appendix 1) was distributed through all year groups on the programme, and returns were received from: • Year 1: 15 students • Year 2: 4 Students • Year 3: 10 Students The results were collated into an excel spread sheet and responses coded and counted.


Informed consent involved the participants choosing whether or not to participate in a study, and ensuring students had an understanding of the purpose and methods to be used in the study, and the demands placed upon them (BERA 2004). The participant also understood that he or she had the right to withdraw from the study at any time (Mathew and Sutton, 2004). ‘Confidentiality’ related to the protection of the data collected. The researchers were clear about how the confidentiality of that data was to be respected (Silverman, 2000). The storage of data complied with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the transcripts of interviews were kept anonymous. From the survey results a series of questions were developed for semi-structured interviews in order to delve into the findings in some more depth. 3. Interviews Students were interviewed from Year 2 and 3 of the programme. The interviews were semi structured in nature, and explored key themes that arose from the literature review and initial findings from the survey. The resulting recordings were explored for themes and student views on assignment processes and feedback. Ethics were approved by the University of Winchester. Participants were asked to complete consent forms before participating and were made aware of the ethical issues associated with their participation (i.e., confidentiality of responses, anonymity, the right to withdraw at any time, and debriefing). After obtaining informed consent, participants were asked to respond to a number of semi structured questions relating to


assessment feedback (appendix 2). The participants were made aware that the interviews would be recorded. They lasted between 45 and 60 minutes.

Findings and discussion 1. Literature review Tutor/Students’ perspectives and expectations Based on the work of Carless (2006), Rowe (2008) and Cornell (2010) amongst others argued that students may take a flexible approach to assessment feedback, exhibiting both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in responding to it, their responses being informed by a variety of factors including workload and the context in which feedback is given. This complexity of approach is again highlighted in more recent research. From a student perspective, relationships and emotions are clearly important; some would argue that engagement with feedback increases where there is as much attention given to feedback relationships as to the processes and tools used to deliver it (Sambell, 2011). The role of the tutor and the tutor/student relationship appears to be important in feedback and particularly the students’ view of the tutor. Orsmond and Merry (2011) summarise that the effectiveness of feedback extends beyond delivery mode and timeliness, to include the credibility of the lecturer giving the feedback. The comments outlined above illustrate perhaps complexity of the tutor /student relationship. As identified by Higgins et al. (2001) feedback is not a straightforward procedure, based as it is

on a communication process within a particular relationship, one that appears to be inherently difficult: ‘…the feedback process is particularly problematic because of the particular nature of the power relationship. The tutor occupies the dual role of both assisting and passing judgement on the student. This is therefore bound up with issues of power and, as Layder (1997) suggests, inextricably with emotion. For example, the tutor’s expert position confers their “judgement’’ with an elevated status, which enhances the power of these judgements to invoke feelings such as pride and shame.’ (In Higgins et al., 2001:273). Encountering tutors across the programme on a number of different modules, often with competing discourses, complicates this further, increasing the confusion that students experience in a new environment and new staff every year. Additionally different approaches to marking as well as expectations of what constituted a piece of written work are also problematic, easily compounding student’s confusion and creating unnecessary tension (Murphy and Cornell, 2010). So, while it may be unrealistic to expect all learning and assessment to have exactly the same requirements of students, the argument for improved induction procedures and ongoing study skills support to help support students to deal with assessment and feedback gains credibility (Wingate, 2007). Although there is evidence that some feedback on assessment is of poor quality and quantity, on the whole lecturers put time and effort into marking and organising feedback. Tutors recognise the value of one-to-one feedback, invite students along, and then

spend additional time trying to find solutions to the problem of non-attendance. Unfortunately often it is the students who need feedback the most who do not attend these sessions (Murphy and Cornell, 2010). This is evidence of the issues raised by Elander (2003), Hinett (2002) and Higgins et al. (2001, 2002), which suggest that it may have more to do with issues of self-esteem, power differentials, and discourses. Nevertheless, tutors struggling with already heavy workloads, including the large amount of time and effort it takes to mark students’ work, do not have time to necessarily consider these issues. They feel frustrated when students do not take time to come for feedback, or show evidence of using it to improve their work.

Staff Perspectives

Current research suggests that staff, like students, can have difficulty in engaging with the feedback process. As Samuelowicz and Bain observed in 2002, staff views on the nature of learning can have an impact on their approach to assessment practice and feedback. Even where staff sees the value of formative feedback, they may feel pressured into providing summative tasks by the predominance of summative assessment practices in Higher Education. (Orrell, 2006). Additionally, many staff find the entire feedback process stressful, as Hartney (2007) explores; ‘…providing feedback to students is a delicate matter, which can have far-reaching consequences for lecturers as well as for students…’(ibid p.83). Strategies to cope with the feedback process are proposed, particularly in relation to the tensions


between responding to individual student needs while meeting the needs of the whole student class. It is suggested that for some lecturers, it may be difficult to remove their own views on feedback (such as positively receiving feedback as a student) and as a result some lecturers find it difficult to relate to students who do not collect their work or respond to feedback, resulting in negative and possibly inaccurate judgements of students’ motivations, poor student–lecturer communication and increased lecturer stress. Perhaps greater reflection is required on the part of the practitioner. Crisp (2007) agrees that providing feedback alone is insufficient and suggests educators should critically reflect on their own practices in providing feedback to students; but it is unclear what these reflections should be. For example one area of reflection may be the amount of feedback to be provided: when is feedback too much or too little? Torrance argues that too much feedback may make learners ‘dependent’ (Torrance, 2007). Equally, Ackerman and Goss (2010) suggest that students may be being given too much and that a greater quantity of feedback can be perceived as negative, in contrast to other research evidence which suggests that students feel that they do not get enough (Handley, Price and Millar, 2008). Some tutors are caught in a web of providing feedback driven by the idea of ‘…writing for more than one reader…’ (Bailey and Garner, 2010) such as monitoring processes or for auditing purposes, rather than feedback being learner-centred. As Price et al suggest a lot of effort is invested in assessment feedback. Unless that effort is well directed, it is unlikely to be worthwhile.


Feedback and Communication

Related to the notion of feedback being unhelpful and misdirected, this project identified a trend in research that explored feedback as a process of communication, and concentrated on the form and content of written feedback as a method of communication for example the discussion of Rowe and Wood (2008) and Carless (2006). Orsmond and Merry (2011) looks at ‘feedback histories’, where recurring feedback is analysed, and used to develop learning plans as a way of feeding forward into forthcoming work. While this aspect of feedback may be of great interest to practitioners, a manual process of doing this would likely be very time-intensive; there may be opportunities here for development of online technologies to highlight historical feedback. Overall the impression remains that written feedback can be a problematic form of communication, and one with which both staff and students have several problems. In contrast, the literature suggests that there is an increasing focus on dialogical feedback. On the theoretical approach to learning and development Vygotsky (1987) was aware that instruction and development did not coincide; instruction is only useful when it moves ahead of development and, when it does, it impels or awakens a whole series of functions that are in a stage of maturation lying in the zone of Proximal development. Thus in proposing assessment for learning, Gipps (1944) is asking tutors to be aware of instruction and development within the context of the proximal development and self-assessment. Sadler (1989) considered that

a prime purpose of formative feedback was to enable students to become more proficient self-assessors; the relevance of active self-engagement with feedback is continually being advocated (Orsmond and Merry, 2011). In an article entitled ‘Beyond feedback’, Sadler (2010) argues that simply ‘telling students about criteria, standards and what is expected in terms of assessment performance is as problematic as telling them about the quality of their work in the hope they will improve it. Feed forward must represent more than a set of published guidelines, or a teacher’s extensive verbal communication about assessment task specifications and /or criteria. But, as Sadler (2010) explains, the process of making judgements about the relative worth of work is a complex one. He goes on to say students need a sounding working knowledge of three concepts in particular task compliance, quality and criteria (Sambell, 2011).


Arguably large-class sizes and cost-restricted teaching and learning have contributed too many of the difficulties with assessment feedback identified above and the consequent dissatisfaction expressed by staff and students alike. Building upon pedagogical theorists who place dialogue at the centre of pedagogy (Bakhtin in Sambell, 2011) define dialogue in its widest sense: interactions in a participative process that develop meanings and understandings - whether generated through the historical practice of written feedback and using this as a stepping stone to opening dialogue, or if a more clearly stated process is

used to formalise feedback as a face-to-face discussion. Building upon pedagogical theorists who place dialogue at the Centre of Pedagogy (Bakhtin in Matusov, 2004, and Laurillard, 2002) dialogue is defined in its widest sense: interactions in a participative process that develop meanings and understandings - whether generated through the historical practice of written feedback and using this as a stepping stone to opening dialogue, or if a more clearly stated process is used to formalise feedback as a face-to-face discussion. Two broad approaches have been taken to dialogic feedback within the literature: enhancing written feedback and building opportunities for oral feedback back into Higher Education teaching. Bloxham and Campbell (2010) looked for opportunities to support tutor-student dialogue, within written feedback and without adding to workload. The interactive cover sheet (ICS) was introduced, where students were asked to identify the aspects of the assessment that they would like feedback on. This was intended to prompt dialogue, but also led to identifying the limitations of students’ understanding of what they were being asked to do, with first year students in particular appearing to ‘… struggle to frame questions about the more complex or abstract elements of their work…’ (p. 299). As such this approach afforded staff the opportunity to rectify student misunderstandings. Nicol (2010) also focuses on written feedback, suggesting that to support student learning dialogue should be re-instated within the feedback process. To achieve this written feedback should be dialogical in character, rich in detail, adaptive to student needs


and promoting reflection. As the title of his article suggests, feedback should in sum be seen as part of a dialogue rather than a monologue (2010). Rae and Cochrane (2008) share Nicol’s focus on the nature of written feedback, and draw on student’s viewpoints to develop a “heuristic model of effective written feedback”. Instead of seeking to make written feedback more dialogic in character they suggest that face to face feedback should be used to amplify it, where students need more support. Students involved in their research confirmed that this would be an approach that they valued: opportunity to speak to their tutor or have class discussion after feedback was a luxury that very few students appeared to be afforded. However, this is what the majority wanted in order to make sense of the feedback In contrast a concern with building oral feedback into feedback practice is reflected in the work of Jenkins (2010), Prowse et al (2007) and Mills and Mathews (2009). Jenkins (2010) discusses how to improve student engagement with the feedback process, acknowledging that more than a linear communication is required for this to be effective. The approach suggests six key initiatives, based on submission of an assessment outline, with the assessment and feedback process measured in hours, not volume of words. The key purpose is to ‘free up’ time that can then be used for tutorials, to increase student-teacher dialogue and embed formative assessment and feedback within this dialogue. Clearly this is a key issue in a resource-constrained HE environment.


Prowse et al (2007) also identified the issue of making space for student-teacher dialogue within a four stage process, against a background of the notion that formative assessment was ‘not being taken seriously’. Here the model is one of ‘recursive assessment’ where stage three of the model is described as ‘…the student and teacher negotiate shared meanings in the work and deepen understanding to align teacher and learner’. The format for this was a compulsory viva on the student’s understanding of the feedback and after this tutorial the student was offered the opportunity to submit an amended piece of work, which would need to show that feedback was actually used (e.g. annotations showing the changes made) (Millar,2005). A four stage process was also considered by Mills and Matthews (2009). As a starting point the authors agree with the benefits of many of the feedback practices already mentioned, but acknowledged that practical issues would need to be addressed in order to deliver an effective process. It was suggested that much could be achieved by developing a supervisory relationship within an undergraduate programme, where students are required to answer specific review questions as part of a tutorial session. The use of a tutorial model may be at the heart of answering many of the questions on the ‘best model’, as the use of supervisory relationships and tutorial feedback on a face-to-face basis has historically been the structure of most post-graduate studies. Taras (2007) raises this very point in discussing differences between undergraduate and post-graduate studies; the ‘iterative feedback cycle’ (in line with best practices

in formative assessment feedback) is generally not being used in supporting undergraduates. As Taras (2007) suggests, while these undergraduate students are often in greater need of the benefits of a dialogue process such as this, few institutions appear to support this type of development. The space created for dialogue in the previous models could include a focus on assessment literacy. Carless (2006) identifies the importance of ‘assessment dialogues’, which have a purpose of reducing the gap in perception between students and tutors. He identifies the issues of power and the authority of the tutor and the problem of academic discourse used in feedback; this results in judgements being made, rather than debate. It is suggested that assessment dialogues are used to discuss the assessment process in general, unrelated to a specific subject and that these dialogues can help students to ‘clarify the rules of the game’. It was noted that students were very willing to discuss assessment as ‘… [it] is so central to their university experience, it was something that they had a lot to say about. Finally Cramp (2011) like Mills and Mathews above, place the personal tutor student relationship at the heart of feedback. He discusses interventions within a personal tutor/feedback framework, using dialogue at strategic points in the learner’s journey, focusing on students’ reflecting on feedback and then initiating face-to-face dialogue. This personal tutoring model allows discussion around emotions and academic issues, with an opportunity to deal with confidence and self-esteem issues, which have already been identified as components of chasing

effective feedback practices. Nicol (2010) and Orsmond and Merry (2011) suggests that the dissatisfaction expressed by students and staff about written feedback, may be symptoms of an “impoverished and fractured” feedback dialogue within a Higher Education sector under strain. To address this situation he suggests that written feedback should be made more dialogic, but also that students should be encouraged on as many feedback dialogues as can be accessed, including others’ dialogues. This can be summarised as proposing that ‘… feedback should be conceptualised as a dialogical and contingent two-way process that involves coordinated teacher– student and peer-to-peer interaction as well as active learner engagement.

Communication: confusion and clarity

The quality of feedback is tied in with how feedback is communicated, which is often marred by confusion on the part of the students. These issues are very much connected to individual tutors’ approaches to feedback (Wingate 2007). Concerns arose in two main areas: •Verbal feedback •Written feedback in the form of specific comments and / or use of feedback sheet with tick boxes. Evidence of the variability of feedback has already been noted (Higgins et al., 2002). The issue of staff and student workloads and how this impinges on the communication process is also an


important factor and one that is evidenced by research. 2. Survey The survey provided us with a view of student’s perceptions and experiences of the assessment and feedback process on HCSCS. There is a clear need to explore how the programme structures and manages assessment and feedback from responses to Question 3, where 7 students (24%) said that on the whole they understood the requirements of assignments before starting, and 22 (76%) saying they sometimes understand the requirements before starting. This leads to question 4, where 24 (83%) of the students reported that class activities help to plan and start assignments.In terms of feedback from assignments 55% said they preferred written feedback and 45% said they preferred face to face feedback (either as individuals or groups). 90% of students said the feedback sheet was an effective mechanism for receiving feedback. The development of study skills was quizzed through the survey, and students on the whole (72%) feel that week 1 in the first year is the right time to receive study skills training, with 7 students saying that this should them be a feature of lectures through the year. The process of delivering study skills development broke down into themes such as: built into lectures; hand-outs and resources; PowerPoint’s available on the LN. 3. Interviews The interviews allowed themes from the survey to be opened


up and explored in more depth. The experiences and the perceptions of academic staff and second and third year students were examined.

Findings Learning outcomes Participants were asked how learning outcomes (LO’s) helped or hindered their understanding of the assignment. A view emerged that LO’s act as list of ‘points to hit’, or ‘questions to be answered’, in order to ‘maximise the grade’. Students were aware that this can lead to a mechanistic approach, and discussion focused on how students then find it useful to work out what the ‘theme’ is that links the learning outcomes together. This helps create the flow in discussion, but isn’t always apparent when just viewing a list of LO’s. Students reported that it is very useful for lectures to start with which LO’s are being addressed in the session. However other issues with LO’s included knowing how to unpack them (what does the language mean, do they mean the same to the students as the module leader, and how much weight should be given to each LO), so this aspect needed attention from the tutor too. Consistency There was some confusion evident in the HCSCS programme over different feedback procedures and expectations. Encountering tutors across the programme on a number of different modules,

often with competing styles, complicates this further, increasing the confusion that students experience in a new environment and new staff every year.

being able to ask may be struggling whilst other students selfregulated in order to facilitate development for future practice( Carless,2006).

A tension emerges between student styles, lecturer styles and learning outcomes. Students notice when tutors put emphasis on different attributes of assignments (attention to structure, referencing, style), and different styles of marking creates some uncertainty for students.

Students reported that written feedback can be read once and ‘filed’. Face to face dialogue was seen to be popular because its amore two way process. Feedback and subsequent questions can be explored and clarified. Students also said that they are able to respond and read non-verbal cues, to gain further insight into what tutors feel is more and less important in the students’ work.

Dialogue The notion of ‘dialogue’ seems important in understanding these tensions in managing learning outcomes and consistency. Just as tutors may have different styles, so do students, and so tutors are reacting to individual students in different ways, and at different times. The development of a ‘relationship’ that supports holistic student development seems important (Elander, 2003). The roles that a module leader plays were explored. These may include: •Teacher (pedagogue) •Expert (credible and trustworthy) •Mentor (developing skills and understandings) •Motivator (positive, encouraging) •Support (empathic, referral to other support) •Shepherd (ensuring students hit the LO’s, assignment brief, on time etc) This relationship also needs to be ‘proactive’. So rather than waiting for a problem or crisis to emerge some students (who are shy/nervous about asking for support) because of the power hierarchy and notions of expert/professional roles and not

There is a definite theme in the interviews about clarity of expectations, in both developing, completing and feedback on assignments. While it is unrealistic to expect all modules to have exactly the same requirements of students, the argument for improved induction procedures and ongoing study skills support that are subject-specific seems credible (Wingate, 2007). It is noted that often the students who need feedback the most do not attend to available feedback and support (Murphy and Cornell, 2010). Tutorials (and ‘Week 6’ feedback) offer one to one personalised feedback, so staff express frustration at the number of students who do not use these opportunities. It may be assumed that there is lack of concern on the student’s behalf, but as one tutor and programme administrator discovered when questioning why students had not come early to collect their work:


“… They’re frightened that they’re not going to have done it very well and they don’t want to hear that. They’d rather hide their head in the sand”. Activities that support assignment preparation There seems to be feelings that tutor initiated activities are important to the students, which help students to expand their ideas and ‘think outside the box. Some examples of the things that work were described as: • Activity sheets and exercises in class linked to the assignment (e.g. reflection, brainstorming, group work) • Week 6 feedback and discussion • Discussing essay as part of lecture structure and linking ideas to the assignment • Formative assessments (e.g. short presentations) allow students to test their ideas and get feedback, and appear popular. Feedback Different approaches to marking as well as expectations of what constituted a piece of written work were also problematic, often compounding student’s confusion and creating unnecessary tension during the programme (Murphy and Cornell, 2010). Good feedback enables students to develop in both confidence and skills, and to be more self-directed by the time they get to Year 3 of the programme. As written feedback appears to be more limited in its usefulness for developing skills and confidence, the interviews explored the level of detail needed in written feedback. Students didn’t seem to think that it was too important whether feedback was in the form of a longer narrative, or a series of


bullet points that highlighted key positives and key areas for improvement. Students commented that they invest a lot in producing an assignment (personally and academically). Therefore the face to face time provided through tutorial is the investment by the module leader in return. One lecturer stated there is an expectation to mark three essays in an hour, and spoke of workloads with concentrated amounts of marking, as well as administrative duties, and the difficulties of balancing the varying demands on their time. Students appear to notice these unspoken cues, which communicate the stress of this workload not only on staff but also on the students. Development of ‘good habits’ Feedback should enable students, from very early on, develop ‘good habits’ (e.g. referencing, starting assignments early, writing with good flow, and reading, reflecting, and searching literature). It was felt this is best facilitated through formative assessment and tailored workshops, and not left till summative assessment, as this is demotivating and ‘too late’. The development of ‘good habits’ is also different for different students. Mature students with commitments outside of University perhaps find it more difficult to fit in all the requirements for assignment preparation. A specific workshop on study as a mature student was suggested.

Peer support The role of peer support emerged as well. Working in small groups appears to be favoured as students are then able to say ideas ‘out loud’.Peer workshops (e.g. 3rd years talking to 2nd years about study skills) was a popular part of the planning for the current academic years, and helped students to feel more confident about their own progression and success. A peer culture would be nice on HCSCS, across the year groups, to give a feeling of community and broader support


The purpose of the research was to explore what ‘feedback’ means for students, and develop a better understanding of students needs in relation to feedback mechanisms/styles. It has examined student perception of the utility of timely feedback, and staff intentions for feedback, in relation to a number of factors in the early and latter stages of a student’s academic experience. Other themes identified: •Communication •Dialogue •Student-tutor expectations •Clarity of expectations A ‘one size fits all’ approach to feedback seems unlikely to be successful. This means that there needs to be an element of ‘personalisation’ to feedback. This seems most fruitful in face to face situations. There is also the development of skills over the three years of

the programme, with different levels of support and intervention needed. So at Year 1 the process of supporting, guiding and feeding back probably needs to be more tutor led, but by year three students should be more confident in supporting their own needs. Overall the programme culture needs to nurture an environment based on consistency, relationships and support that helps to develop both confidence and skills in students. This study indicates that tutors could enhance assessment processes by taking a Vygotsky (1987) approach to writing feedback, an approach encouraged by the assessment for learning framework. Tutors seem to be reading through each individual piece of coursework and thinking about how it could be improved, responding to the performance (Orsmond and Merry, 2011). More use could be made of encouraging self- and peer –assessment practice. More broadly, the alignment between feedback provided by tutors and how this feedback is utilised by students could be enhanced by greater cohort and individual discussion between tutors and students and also between tutors. The overall lack of feedback dialogue, as discussed in the literature, may mean that students never become fully aware of the potential contribution of feedback to their learning, and tutors never fully appreciate how their feedback is being used. Recommendations (to take forward) •Clearer role of tutorials in module planning, consistency between markers and clearly aligned with the grade awarded


(module leaders)


•Structured tutorial rotas as part of module planning (module leaders)

•Write feedback with variation in it and draw particular attention to students’ development as professionals and the acquisition of lifelong learning skills (Orsmomd and Merry, 2011).

•Peer led workshops to be built into programme year (module leaders/personal tutors) •‘Specific’ , honest (style) and legible feedback( to contain clear points about what’s good and what’s bad •Examples such as a model of an essay would also be useful in understanding what is regarded as ‘good work’ •Feedback chain’ having a review that connects a sort of string of work together from the previous semester/year feedback. Suggestion for a system where students could compare across modules and identify areas for improvement. This type of overview could identify consistent errors, and provide a sense of achievement and recognition of progress. Students want to do well, they want to be recognised but they need the correct support to achieve this (Murphy and Cornell, 2010). •Consider using students’ reflection as part of a summative assessment as demonstrated by Gomez and Osbourne (2007). •Make their feedback more progressive in terms of student learning by including guidance concerning further work and reading which some lectures are already doing (Rowe and Wood,


•Self-regulated assessment and tone of feedback comments which facilitate development as relying on detailed feedback can have implications for practice. •Feedback should always be written in a non-authoritative tone.


This project was funded by a grant as part of Student Fellow Project funded on student engagement with assessment feedback. The Student Fellow Scheme (SFS) is a joint initiative between the Winchester Student Union and the University of Winchester’s Learning and Teaching Development Unit to bring about improvements in student learning through engaging student partners and co-researchers on degree programmes.

Notes on contributors

Patricia Munhumumwe is a student within the faculty of EHSC at The University of Winchester. Her interests are in teaching, assessment & feedback, learning, student engagement with a particular interest in health care particularly mental health, child and adult protection, Refugees and Asylum seekers and improving the first year experience of teaching and learning. Patricia is keen to encourage other students to critically analyse

and reflect on their practice. The concepts of well- being and emotional intelligence are also of interest to her.

ESRC (2005) Research Ethics Framework. Swindon: ESRC.

Great thanks to all contributors especially students and HCSCS supervisors Dave (methodology) and Nick (literature review) who have made this work possible. It is a tribute to their commitment, humanity and awareness that this work has been produced.

Grinyer A. (2002) The Anonymity of Research Participants: Assumptions, Ethics and Practicalities. Social Research Update: Issue 36. University of Surrey. Accessible .


Hakim, C. (1982) Secondary Analysis in social research: A guide to data sources & methods with examples. London: Allen & Unwin (Google books – and in Uni Library)

Bellon, J.J., Bellon, E.C. & Blank, M.A. (1991) Teaching from a Research Knowledge Base: a Development and Renewal Process. Facsimile edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA. Bell, J. (2005) Doing your research project: a guide for firsttime researchers in education. Maidenhead: Open University Press (Google Books) Blaxter L., Hughes C., & Tight M. (2001) 2nd edition. How to research. Chapter 6: 153-191. Buckingham: Open University Press. Carless, D. (2006) Differing Perceptions in the Feedback Process. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 219233. De Vaus, D. (2002) Surveys in Social Research. London: Routledge.

Hakim, C. (2000) Research design: successful designs for social and economic research. London: Routeledge (Google Books) Hattie, J., and Timperley, H. (2007) The power of feedback, Review of educational research, Vol. 77, No. 1 Higgins, R., Hartley, P. & Skelton, A. (2001) Getting the message across: the problem of communicating assessment feedback, Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 6, No. 2 Handley, K., Price, M. and Millar, J. (2010) Beyond ‘doing time’: investigating the concept of student engagement with feedback, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 34, No. 4 Hartney, E. (2007) Strategies for the management of lecturer stress in feedback tutorials, Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 8, No. 1


Henderson, G. & Bryan, W. (2011) Psychosocial Aspects of Disability. Illinois: Charles C Thomas (Google Books) Yorke, M. (2002) Academic Failure: a Retrospective View from Non-Completeing Students. In: Failing Students in Higher Education (eds Peelo, M & Wareham, T). SRHE and Open University Press, Maindenhead. Moser,C. & Kalton,G. (1971) Survey Methods in Social Investigation. London: Heinneman Murphy, C. & Cornell, J. (2010) Student perceptions of feedback: seeking a coherent flow. Practitioner Research in Higher Education 4(1): page 41-51 National Research Ethics Service; National Patient Safety Agency (2008). Accessible. Orsmond, P., & Merry, S. (2011) Feedback Alignment: effective and ineffective links between tutors’ and students’ understanding of coursework feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(2), 125-136. Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research. Oxford: Blackwell. Rowe, A.D. & Wood, L.N. (2008). Student perceptions and preferences for feedback. Asian Social Science, 4(3), 78-88. Race, P. (2001) Using feedback to help students learn (PDF -


138KB). © The Higher Education Academy. Robson,C. (2002) Real world research. Oxford: Blackwell (Google Books) Stewart, D. & Kamins, M. (1993) Secondary research: information sources and methods. London. Sage (Google Books) Sambell, Kay (2011) Rethinking feedback in higher education: an assessment for learning perspective. Discussion Paper. ESCalate: HEA Subject Centre for Education, Bristol. Sadler, R. (1989) Formative assessment and the design of instructional, Systems Instructional Science Vol. 18 Sadler, R. (2010) Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 35, No. 5 Samuelowicz, K., and Bain, J., (2002) Identifying academics’ orientations to assessment practice. Higher Education, 43. Taras, M. (2006) Do unto others or not: equity in feedback for undergraduates, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 31, No. 3 Taras, M. (2008) Summative and formative assessment: perceptions and realities, Active Learning in Higher Education,

9, 2. Wingate, U. (2010) The impact of formative feedback on the development of academic writing, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 35, No. 5 Elander, J. (2003) Student assessment from a psychological perspective. Psychology Learning and Teaching 3(2): 114–121. Dinsdale, J. (2002) Student voice: Working to ensure successful transition to higher education. In Hayton, A. and Paczuscka, A. (eds.) Access, Participation and Higher Education: Policy and Practice. London: Kogan Page Ltd. Higgins, R., Hartley, P. and Skelton, A. (2002) The conscientious consumer: reconsidering the role ofassessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education 27(1): 53–64. Hinett, K. (2002) Failing to Assess or Assessing Failure? In M. Peelo and T. Wareham, T. (eds.) FailingStudents in Higher Education. London: SRHE. Krueger, R.A. and Casey, M.A. (2000) Focus Groups: A practical guide for applied research (3rd edn). London: Sage. Wingate, U. (2007) A Framework for Transition: Supporting ‘Learning to Learn’ in Higher Education. Higher Education Quarterly 61(3): 391–405.


Is it possible to suggest there is narrative in music? Lucas Abbott

Music and writing are art forms that are often associated with each other, but just how plausible is it to suggest that music can convey a narrative as writing can? Over the course of this essay, the narrative potential of music will be explored by comparing music and writing theory, whilst bearing in mind the limitations of such a comparison. As well as this, the meaning of music will be discussed, with some instances of literary and musical combinations also explored. This will indicate whether it is possible to suggest that there is a narrative to be found in music. There are a number of ways in which the theoretical construction of music and writing is similar. First considering plot, if one is to believe that ‘conflict is the heartbeat of all writing’1 then a comparison can be drawn to music immediately. Conflict is the artifice which directs writing towards a resolution, and when comparing that to the suggestion that ‘the art of music lies in organising … tensions and resolutions into patterns that are significant,’2 the similarity is made clear. Some go as far as to suggest that ‘the most fundamental stratum of musical experience is that of directed motion towards an ending-point.’3 In writing, this ending-point can take many forms. The most traditional would be the ending that reaches ‘total resolution,’4 which can be likened to the perfect cadence at the end of a piece


of music in which ‘a melody seeks the tonic [or root] note as its final note of rest.’5 Each ending functions as ‘a high-level resolution, and this is one reason why it makes a satisfactory conclusion.’6 If a piece of writing or a piece of music does not have a satisfactory conclusion (and that is not to say that a wellinterrupted conclusion cannot be satisfactory), the experience of the reader or listener will be less fulfilling. As well as the presence of plot (or, at least, something recognisable as plot) there are other narrative devices that can be found in both writing and music. Of these, character is particularly transferrable, and one of the ways that character can be created in music is through the use of a leitmotif. ‘A leitmotif is a short piece of music that, for particular contextual reasons, has acquired the function of a sign and has come to mean something else other than itself within a particular context.’7 An example of this is the tune of ‘Maria’ from West Side Story. This particular tune recurs in the musical in order to represent both the character of Maria and her burgeoning relationship with Tony, therefore taking on the function of being something more than simply a musical tune and allowing the development of character to take place. Much like writing, music can also use tools of exposition. ‘It can

establish setting, specifying a particular time and place,’8 and the setting can be established by relating the sounds of the music to existing knowledge or expectations of the sounds associated with a particular place. An example of this is Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. This suite was inspired by a collection of sonnets, and in ‘Spring,’ Vivaldi uses the ‘violins [to] imitate the bird calls,’9 which clearly indicates the setting (and in this case, the season) of the piece. What this also does is create a temperament for the music, showing that music ‘can fashion a mood and create an atmosphere.’10 Part of the way music does this is through its voice. ‘For most of us … music is the voice of man, and a remarkably subtle and expressive voice.’11 Alan Ayckbourn says the same about theatre when he states that ‘at its most successful, theatre views things from a human standpoint,’12 and the same can be argued for prose writing in fiction. Each written narrative has its own distinctive, human voice, much in the same way that music does. The issue then becomes not whether narrative can be found in music, but whether it is possible to determine the meaning of the language that is music, and therefore accurately apply the elements of narrative to it. ‘The capacity of music to convey meaning is a recurring and controversial subject in the literature of music theory,’14 and there appears to be no definitive conclusion on the matter. Deryck Cooke suggests that ‘it may be that we have just not yet found a way of understanding this language, and that much of our interpretation of it is simply misinterpretation,’15 and, while that is not all that helpful in finding meaning, it does suggest that looking at music as a language is perhaps not the

way to discover its meaning. He goes on to say that ‘any attempt to abstract the “content” of a piece of music is doomed to failure, for one is only describing the emotional experience into which one’s transforming faculty has converted the music.’16 What this seems to suggest is that music has no definitive meaning that can be understood by content alone. Instead, it is the listener’s emotional response that governs their understanding of music. ‘The freedom of interpretation remains significant, for … the narrative exists only on a potential level.’17 What remains to be discovered is whether it is possible to create a unified understanding of music which can attribute a single narrative to its emotional reference points. Using this as the basis for our next field of exploration, it is necessary to put to one side the idea of music as a language-as-yet-untranslatable, and instead focus on what it might represent. Edward Cone argues that ‘instrumental utterance, lacking intrinsic verbal content, goes so far as to constitute what might be called a medium of pure symbolic gesture,’18 and what he proposes here is that music is suggestive of meaning rather than meaningful in its own right. Jean-Jacques Nattiez takes this a step further by arguing that ‘if one feels that music tells a story which is left untold to us, it is perhaps because … music is capable of various forms of imitation, and that, among them, it is possible for it to imitate the outward appearance of a literary narrative.’19 With this in mind, we can revisit the elements of narrative to help us understand how they apply to music. By imitating the appearance of these narrative elements, music can give the impression of containing narrative. But is that to say that music is only capable


of mimicking narrative, and cannot actually present narrative itself? At this point it might be tempting to believe that, but there is another factor to consider. ‘Music … is not a representational art form, but under special circumstances it can be used to convey meaning. Melodies, types of music, genres, styles, etc. can in certain instances function as signs and refer to something other than themselves.’20 Thinking back to the leitmotif of ‘Maria,’ this referral to something else is clearly possible. However, in this case the referral can only be understood because of its context. If Tony did not sing the song ‘Maria’ before the leitmotif is repeated, then the tune of the leitmotif might hold no significant meaning. So the “something other than itself” that the tune refers back to is the language and emotion that Tony expresses in the song. This would suggest that music is capable of creating a narrative that a listener can follow, but only if the listener is aware of existing points of reference which suggest its narrative path. This idea of music referring to something other than itself can be studied further in exploring the narrative potential of music. It would be foolish to suggest, with the information at hand, that music can produce a narrative as easily identifiable and understandable as a written story, but that is not to say that music cannot re-produce narrative. One need only look at the examples of musical works based on literature to understand its narrative potential. Here, we can again refer to Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’. Each of his pieces in The Four Seasons is based on a sonnet, and ‘the score closely


follows the sonnets … with which the score is prefaced.’21 This is clear with Vivaldi’s representation of the third stanza of the sonnet ‘La Primavera’ in which ‘the goat-herd dozes.’22 In Vivaldi’s score, ‘the solo violin, in dreamy melody, represents the sleeping goat-herd.’23 Another famous adaptation of literature is Jeff Wayne’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, in which he attempts to tell the story of H.G. Wells’ novel through the medium of music. ‘If so many composers have chosen to write musical works explicitly derived from literary ones, it is no doubt because they had confidence in the semantic possibilities of music.’24 Perhaps then it is possible to find narrative in music, but as a reproduction of existing narrative as opposed to one which is entirely invented. It appears that the simplest way music can present narrative is by re-presenting existing narratives through adaptation into music. ‘The content of a narrative, the story which is told, can be “unglued” from its linguistic support in order to be taken on by another medium.’25 The narrative can then be represented through music and thus transformed into another medium, whilst maintaining its narrative structure, showing the potential music has to represent narrative. A number of approaches have been used in order to find the narrative potential of music here. On a theoretical level, it is possible to compare it to the narrative elements of writing, although this comparison can be taken no further than theory. This is because of the fact that in order to apply these elements,

one needs to understand the language in which one is applying them, and music is a language that we cannot translate. From this, the potential meaning of music has also been explored in order to attempt to discover whether narrative can be found in music, but ultimately this has not given us the answer. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that the only reliable way that the narrative potential of music can be realised is through combining it with writing. Without having a definitive semiotic code of music, musical narrative can only exist in parallel with linguistic explanation. Alone, it has no universally identifiable meaning as writing does. However, when accompanied by, or composed with reference to, a linguistically intelligible narrative, music can be a highly expressive medium in which a narrative can be represented. It is in this way that the narrative potential of music is fully realised, and until such a time comes that someone is able to translate music as a language, this appears to be the only way in which one can find a distinct and coherent narrative in music.

Endnotes 1 Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing (New York: Touchstone, 2004) p. 188 2 Terence McLaughlin, Music and Communication (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1970) p. 19 3 Nicholas Cook, A Guide To Musical Analysis (London: J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1987) p. 67 4 Amanda Boulter, Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical

Approaches (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) p. 135 5 George Thaddeus Jones, Music Theory (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1974) p. 91 6 Nicholas Cook, p. 74 7 Peter Larson, Film Music (London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2005) p. 70 8 Kathryn Kalinak, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2010) p. 1 9 H.C. Robbins Landon, Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque (London: Thames and Hudson, 1993) p. 60 10 Kathryn Kalinak, p. 1 11 Terence McLaughlin, pp. 16-17 12 Alan Ayckbourn, The Crafty Art of Playmaking (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2002) p. 9 13 Jean-Jacques Nattiez, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Can One Speak of Narrativity in Music?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; (trans. Katherine Ellis) in Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 155/ ii (1990), 240-257 (p. 244) 14 Peter Larsen, p. 66


15 Deryck Cooke, The Language of Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1959) p. xi

Boulter, Amanda, Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

16 Deryck Cooke, p. 203

Cone, Edward T., The Composer’s Voice (London: University of California Press Ltd., 1974)

17 Jean-Jacques Nattiez, p. 246 18 Edward T. Cone, The Composer’s Voice (London: University of California Press Ltd., 1974) p. 164 19 Jean-Jacques Nattiez, p. 251 20 Peter Larsen, p. 66 21 H.C. Robbins Landon, p. 58

Cooke, Deryck, The Language of Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1959) Egri, Lajos. The Art of Dramatic Writing (New York: Touchstone, 2004)

22 H.C. Robbins Landon, p. 59

Kalinak, Kathryn, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2010) p. 1

23 H.C. Robbins Landon, p. 60

Larson, Peter, Film Music (London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2005)

24 Jean-Jacques Nattiez, p. 243

McLaughlin, Terence, Music and Communication (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1970)

25 Jean-Jacques Nattiez, p. 244

References Ayckbourn, Alan, The Crafty Art of Playmaking (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2002)


Cook, Nicholas, A Guide To Musical Analysis (London: J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1987)

Nattiez, Jean-Jacques, ‘Can One Speak of Narrativity in Music?’ (trans. Katherine Ellis) in Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 155/ ii (1990), 240-257 Robbins Landon, H.C., Vivaldi: Voice of the Baroque (London:

Thames and Hudson, 1993) Thaddeus Jones, George, Music Theory (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1974)



ISSN 2040-414X 2015 The University of Winchester Hampshire SO22 4NR 01962 841515

Alfred 2015  

Alfred 2015

Alfred 2015  

Alfred 2015