Teaching success for PhD student Hollie Mackenzie

The School is proud to announce that PhD student Hollie Mackenzie has been awarded the Social Sciences Seminar Leader Teaching Prize 2018.

Hollie MacKenzie, a PhD student in Political and Social Thought and Assistant Lecturer within the School of Politics and International Relations was awarded the Social Sciences Seminar Leader Teaching Prize 2018. The prize was given to her for her unique creative and playful pedagogical style, which was demonstrated through the creation of a range of innovative learning activities on the Introduction to Political Thought module, and for her feminist approach to teaching. Furthermore, Hollie was commended for creating a Feminist Reading Group co-organised with PhD student Stavroula Soukara, and for going above and beyond in offering support to her students.

Hollie was presented with the Social Sciences Seminar Leader Teaching prize on Wednesday 3rd October at the Learning and Teaching Forum by Faculty Dean Professor John Wightman. Hollie was inspired to apply for the Seminar Leader Teaching Prize based on the praise she received for the creative pedagogy she designed and practiced during her post as Assistant Lecturer on the Introduction to Political Thought module and was extremely grateful for all the support she received from her peers “I was thankful to have a generous and supportive module convenor in Dr. Ben Turner, who allowed me the space to structure my own seminar plans and to develop my own teaching style. I was also grateful to have supportive and empowering friends in my fellow seminar leader, Conor Heaney, and my Feminist Reading Group co-organiser, Stavroula Soukara. I would also like to say thanks to my Tate and MOOC convenors, Dr. Stefan Rossbach and Dr. Iain MacKenzie, who encouraged me to explore and implement new forms of teaching and learning as the lead artist in the Tate Exchange associate team MA in Politics, Art and Resistance (2017)and online facilitator in the MOOC Politics, Art and Resistance (2018). During these creative ventures, I learnt how socially engaged art can be used to interrogate political issues and create new knowledge and brought these aspects into my own teaching. And lastly, I would like to say a massive thank you to all the students I taught last year who brought their different perspectives and thirst for learning to the classroom each and every seminar, and who were open to my creative approach to teaching – they made the module a joy to teach!”

Hollie was delighted upon winning the prize and receiving recognition for her creative and feminist approach to teaching, “the feedback I received from the panel that commended my engagement with students by providing ‘memorable’ and ‘fun & informative’ seminars and for bringing my own research into teaching, confirmed that employing artistic methods and feminist perspectives within a political theory classroom is a successful and valuable approach to teaching and learning political thought. By constructing the learning process as a creative experience, my playful pedagogical style supported the participation of each student, including students with different learning needs, enabled the groups to approach difficult political issues in an open-minded manner, and encouraged an atmosphere that was accessible, engaging and fun.”

When asked about the innovative teaching methods Hollie used in the module she said, “By creating a range of innovative learning activities, I was able to stick to the module outline but create a different learning environment that enabled my students to ground the political concepts through experience.” By merging simple art activities with political theory, Hollie created the first series of games to be used on the Introduction to Political Thought module. To see examples of how Hollie merged simple art activities with political theory to create educational games, take a look at her teaching blog she kept during her post as Assistant Lecturer on the module Introduction to Political Thought. The blog provided access for Hollie’s students as well as making her activities available to others.

We are very proud of Hollie’s success and congratulate her on this fantastic achievement.