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22nd August, 2019

Central’s Senior Lecturer in Voice, Daron Oram, is Named a 2019 National Teaching Fellow


Congratulations to Central’s Senior Lecturer in Voice, Daron Oram, who has been named one of 54 new National Teaching Fellows for 2019.

The National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) Scheme celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.  The announcement was made by Advance HE, a charitable organisation that oversees the scheme and supports strategic change and continuous improvement through the development of individuals and organisations of higher education.

Dr Ben Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of South Wales and Chair of the 2019 Teaching Excellence Awards Advisory Panel said:

“These awards really are the pinnacle of reward and recognition in teaching and learning.  The 2019 winners are rightly proud of their achievements and I am sure they will continue to share their knowledge as individuals and teams so that their institutions, colleagues and the wider higher education sector can benefit from their expertise.”

Dr Joshua Abrams, Central’s Director of Teaching and Learning, said:

“We are thrilled by this recognition of the importance of Daron’s scholarly work. Since our founding, Central has believed fundamentally in the importance of supporting and promoting scholarship and knowledge exchange that advance training practices and develop the field and the industry. Daron’s work brings true pedagogic advancement and interventions to the fields of voice studies and actor training, asking crucial questions about equity and inclusive practice.”

Daron Oram said:

“I’m so grateful to receive this award. I’m thankful to Central who have supported me to research and develop my practice over the last five years. I’m thankful for the encouragement I receive from my colleagues and I’m particularly grateful to my students on the BA Acting Collaborative and Devised Theatre course, they are constantly inspiring and have taught me an incredible amount.

Equitable training practices are at the heart of Daron’s work, and he has dedicated his time to reviewing and revising curricula and pedagogy within voice and actor training from this perspective.  He has developed a range of innovative approaches that challenge traditional practices within actor training and enhance the experiences of student actors who come from diverse backgrounds, as well as those who face additional challenges in engaging with voice and actor training.

Through his work, Daron has developed a model of systematic review that places the student voice at the centre of training.  This has led to a successful revision of teaching and learning strategies, as well as to the development of good practice principles that fill a gap in knowledge and offer achievable enhancements to all actor trainers.

Some of this work was outlined in his recent article “De-Colonising Listening: Toward an Equitable Approach to Speech Training for the Actor” which was published in June in the journal Voice and Speech Review.  The article confirms and deepens an understanding of the negative impact of teaching culturally embedded speech standards to actors who are “othered” by a dominant “somatic norm” within the performing arts.

In the piece, Daron examines evidence from a three-year study and identifies conscious and unconscious bias within traditional training methods. He proposes a decolonising approach to listening within foundational speech training and his revised curriculum offers an approach to affective speaking and listening that assumes an equality of understanding from the outset.  This requires actors, actor trainers, and, ultimately, audiences to de-colonise their listening ears.

Daron is currently developing a new approach in training accents and dialects that seeks to work at the intersection of voice work and identity. His work has led to an inclusive curriculum that develops high-level skills in a diverse setting.

His next article, a follow-on piece entitled “Decolonising Listening: Towards an Equitable Approach to Accents and Dialect Training for the Actor” will be published next year.  Aside from publications, Daron continues to disseminate innovations in practice nationally and internationally by convening symposia and delivering training events and presentations.

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Looking forward @JS_Diaspora opening a discussion with stimulus from award winning film #MyNameIs @mynameisdocu on 'Decolonising the self before we can decolonise HE & culture' @RADA_London via @InfoTCCE tomorrow as part of a broader event from 1pm to 3pm. Deets to follow in🧵

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