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New CBHE Network Festival – coming together to celebrate HE in college settings

25 May 2023 | Dr Jo Tyssen Dr Jo Tyssen shares details of the College-Based HE Network’s inaugural Festival of Scholarly Activity and Research.

Launched through the Advance HE Collaborative Development Fund in March 2022, the still relatively new College-Based HE Network continues to provide insights and a solution-focused approach to developing HE cultures in college settings. 

We are delighted to announce our first-ever Festival of Scholarly Activity and Research on 10 July 2023. 

Now with 97 individual members, from 56 College-Based Higher Education (CBHE) providers across the UK and Channel Islands, the CBHE Network brings together practitioners to share practice and collaborate on the challenges and complexities of College based HE.

Sharing scholarly activity and research 

The network is founded on collaboration and a commitment to working together to create an HE culture, devise solutions and deliver on tangible outputs of benefit for CBHE providers and their students. As part of this there is a common passion to share good practice and develop scholarly activity and research cultures across the CBHE sector. Barely a year into its existence, this is coming together in the form of an annual Festival of Scholarly Activity and Research with the view of developing opportunities for research dissemination and to support the sharing of action research and in developing a research ethos among CBHE practitioners.  

Following launch of the network, it is clear there is much effort towards creating HE cultures in FE settings and the development of research and scholarly activity. This inaugural one-day event will be held on Monday 10 July at The Sheffield College and the theme will simply be: “Celebrating College-based Higher Education”. 

Festival programme

This Festival aims to celebrate the excellent work being undertaken by CBHE practitioners and provide an opportunity to share practice, collaborate and develop as a collective group. It will kick off with keynote speaker Dr Nena Skrbic who has substantial experience developing research cultures in CBHE settings and supporting CBHE practitioners in their scholarly activity and research journeys.  

After an enthusiastic response to a call for papers, proposals were accepted from over 30 presenters, and 13 different CBHE providers, covering several themes including: 

  • widening participation and supporting students from underrepresented groups and/or students with protected characteristics 

  • teaching, learning and assessment methods, strategies and tools  

  • mental health and wellbeing  

  • research engagement  

  • artificial intelligence  

  • precarious employment and students during the cost-of-living crisis 

  • HEI-SME alliances 

Potential learning from the Festival is maximised even further with a chance to engage in a wide range of different dissemination formats including: 

  • poster 

  • lightning talks 

  • Petcha Kutcha  

  • soapbox sessions 

  • short/TED talks 

  • workshop/interactive sessions 

  • seminar/ecture presentations 

The event will include the launch of a new CBHE Scholarly Activity and Research Toolkit, collaboratively produced by the Network Members and will be rounded off with support and guidance relating to Advance HE’s Fellowship programme as well as the new Professional Standards Framework (PSF)


Jo Tyssen is the Head of HE Quality and Student Support at University Centre Leeds and has 16 years’ experience within the CBHE sector. Her role involves managing Registry, widening participation and outreach, and student support projects and initiatives, across the student lifecycle, that support student personal development. Jo has been Chair of the CBHE Network since March 2022 and will hand over to a new Chair for the 2023-24 academic year.


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