Dedicated to teaching both theory and practice since 1999, Mel began teaching at Arts University Plymouth in 2004. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, AUP Teaching Fellow and RSA Fellow.
Mel’s skills and experience are consolidated in her role as Assistant Dean and Principal Lecturer, having long since decided that working alongside the next generation of designers and creatives was exactly where she wanted to be. Previously course leader for BA (Hons) Illustration, Mel built a team of dedicated staff to help shape the identity and curriculum of the course, and the Illustration provision at Arts University Plymouth grew from strength to strength
Current pedagogic research is focused on play and the role of curiosity in creative learning. Mel has presented papers at conferences across the UK and Europe: Illustr4tio International Conference (‘Illustration as Reparation’ 2019), GLAD Conference (‘Trading Places: Developing a Model for Interdisciplinary Practice’ 2017), HEA Annual Arts and Humanities Conference (‘The Great Editorial Race: the serious business of play’ 2016), ELIA Teachers Conference (‘The Serious Business of Play’ 2015). She is co-author of journal paper ‘Drawing Thinking: Illustration as Pedagogy' with AUP Senior lecturer Jason Hirons.
With a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and MA in Visual Culture from Bath Spa University, in her own practice Mel is obsessed with discarded books and abandoned photographs and seemingly random pieces of ephemera. Through drawing and collage Mel plays with juxtaposition to transform the use, meaning and interpretation of the images she finds and a recurring theme is the plight of lost, broken and damaged things.
Shaping Thinking - Mel Brown and Sam Rowe partnered with Diversity Business Incubator, a Knowledge Exchange Funded project (Research England and AUP). Shaping Thinking explores how an illustrator's approach to the relationship between text and image can support and benefit professions outside of the creative industries by supporting them to develop their visualisation skills.
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
Fellow Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (FRSA)
Arts University Plymouth Teaching Fellow
- Curiosity, Play and Collaboration in creative learning
- Illustration and Adaptation: interpretation influenced by personal narrative when adapting/illustrating texts
- Drawing Thinking/Shaping Thinking: exploring notions of 'draw everything'
The Little Poster Festival - poster presentation with Jason Hirons at the 11th Illustration Research Symposium - Education and Illustration: Models, Methods, Paradigms: Kingston University (2021)
‘Drawing Thinking: Illustration as Pedagogy' Hirons, J. and Brown, M. (2019), ‘Drawing thinking: Illustration as pedagogy’, Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice (2019)
‘Illustration as Reparation’ - Paper presented at the Illustr4tio International Conference ‘Illustration and Adaptation’ at the University of Burgundy, Dijon (2019)
GLAD Conference ‘Exploring Territories: The Changing Landscape of Art and Design in Higher Education’- ‘Trading Places: Developing a Model for Interdisciplinary Practice’ presentation: with Paul Fieldsend-Danks and Ellen Sims (2017)
HEA Annual Arts and Humanities Conference, Brighton - Inspire: Sharing great practice in Arts and Humanities teaching and learning - Presentation: ‘The Great Editorial Race: the serious business of play’ (2016)
ELIA Teachers Conference, Tilburg, The Netherlands - Presentation: ‘The Serious Business of Play’ (2015)
European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL), Berlin – Presentation: ‘Why Play The Great Editorial Race? Gamification and the role of ‘play’ in building professional practice skills’ (2014)
The Changing Roles of Staff and Students within a Connectivist Educational Blog Model Paper presented E Garcia & M Brown) and consequently published in the proceedings of the European Conference on E-Learning 2012, Groningen (2012)
The Effectiveness of Collective Group Blogs as a Tool for Reflection within Experiential Learning Projects: A Case Study of Simulated Work Based Learning within Higher Education Paper presented (by E Garcia) and consequently published in the proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference in International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia (2012)