Vice Principal

MA Dance Studies (Distinction)
Postgraduate Diploma Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Additional qualifications

Advanced Choreological studies
Diploma Labanotation

Role and responsibilities:

As a member of the Leadership Team, Darren contributes towards the strategic direction, corporate policy-making and development and delivery of NSCD objectives. His primary role is to oversee the management of the School’s curriculum, student support and academic resource provision to achieve outstanding conservatoire-level student attainment. He is responsible for the effective leadership and development of an evolving, forward-facing curriculum, to meet the needs of aspiring dance artists aiming for careers in the field of contemporary dance. Darren also contributes to the curriculum by leading the PGdip ALTHE programme and he teaches on the MA DaCE module Arts project management. Darren is supporting staff to achieve formal teaching qualifications and professional recognition through fellowships with the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE).

Who am I?

“I consider myself to be from a working-class background, the first in my family to go to university. I was brought up in the foster and care system, through a guardianship order with grandparents who supported my interest in the arts. I was lucky enough to have access to dance through my visionary comprehensive school in Leicester, which valued the arts and brought dance into the curriculum in the 1980s. I was awarded a scholarship and nurtured by Judy Webb and her team at Leicester arts advisory service who encouraged my application for training. Over the years I have valued greatly the support from colleagues around my dyslexia.”

Career History

Darren completed his undergraduate training in Dance at Middlesex Polytechnic, before embarking on a performance career in America. Upon his return to the UK, he created and performed work in regional arts platforms including Dance Northwest’s Leap festival, and with his company X-Closion (1990-04).

Darren has taught extensively in Primary, Secondary and Further Education before joining the full-time staff at Liverpool John Moores University in 2004. He was Programme Leader for Dance at LJMU from 2008-2016. His research-informed teaching is focused on employability for dance graduates, developing curriculum materials in response to the industry and professional practice areas. In 2007-2009 he was awarded a sabbatical by CETL (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning) to form a small integrated company of disabled and non-disabled dancers to research inclusive practices and integration through the creative process. In February 2016 he left LJMU to take up the position of Director of Studies at Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

In 2020 Darren became Vice Principal & Director of Studies at NSCD.

Professional activity

Darren currently sits on the CDD Research & Ethics committee and chairs the Learning and Teaching committee at CDD. He is an Executive Board Member for Dance HE (2013-present).

External Panel Member (Subject specialist) for Periodic Programme Review Institute of the Arts Barcelona (2022)

Research interests

Darren’s ongoing PhD research through publication project JUMP IN(tegrated) Dance, reflects upon the nature of peer learning within an integrated environment for dance undergraduates and community-based participants. His research and practice in this area was recognised in 2009 by an LJMU Curriculum Innovations Award. In 2012 & 2013 he published his first research papers in relation to his model of practice known as ‘an in-reaching community of practice’.

In 2014 he was part of a successful research council bid with the European Human Rights Commission to create and support ‘making reasonable adjustments’ legislation for schools and community activities. This helped to further investigate integrated practices through a learning communities and dance pedagogy.

In 2016 he was awarded an LJMU collaborative research grant with Dr Pauline Brooks and in 2017 was awarded a small research project grant by CDD to investigate whether the creation of an integrated peer learning community, in real time and through the virtual landscapes, can become a valuable learning tool within a Conservatoire setting.

Further successful grant applications:

Office for Students (Performing arts Fund and Transitional funding. (2023-2027)

Leverhulme Arts Scholarship for NSCD students (2021) 3 year grant

Leverhulme Arts Scholarship for NSCD students (2018) 3 year grant

CDD small research grant, creation of an integrated peer learning community in real time and through the virtual landscapes. Grant Value £2,000. Duration of research project 1 year (2017)

LJMU Small research grant, Virtual Learning communities of practice: Darren Carr & Pauline Brooks. Grant Value £2500. Duration of Research project 1 year (2016)

CETL, JUMP IN(tegrated) Dance, Grant value £14,400, Duration of research project: 4 years (2008-2011)

Examinations and Qualifications review Panel (A level Dance), consultancy: Darren Carr, AQA (2015)

Brindley Theatre Runcorn, consultancy: Darren Carr LJMU, Laura Hudson Arts Development Officer (2012)

Performance and research artefacts

Dance HE (Panel member) Dance Dialogues: Discipline, Practice and Futures, Conference, (September 2018), Trinity Laban.

Dance HE (conference organiser) Dance Dialogues: Discipline, Practice and Futures, Sustainability Conference. DANCEHE (October 2016), NSCD

Carr DL. & Brooks P.A. 2016. Moving Online/Going Global: Creative Collaboration from a Distance. Sustainability Conference. DANCEHE (October 2016), NSCD

Carr D. 2014 Poster presentation: To disseminate a piece of action research, working across peer groups and institutions defining an “in reaching community”. To ascertain what extraordinary things learners could do in this ‘model’ environment and how achievements are accomplished as a result of student as partnerships in learning and assessment. HEA Conference. Warwick University (July 2014)

Carr DL. 2013. JUMP IN(tegrated) Dance project 2013: “In-reaching communities” where student partnerships facilitate new practices in curriculum design and learner engagement in Higher Education. LJMU teaching & Learning conference. (June 2013)

Carr DL. 2013. An in-reaching community of practice: Constructing a learning co-operative, using a project based teaching and learning model in a Higher Education. Vickerman P, Brooks P. CETL Innovations in Practice, 8

Carr DL. 2012. JUMP IN(tegrated) Dance: a learning community and model of practice in Higher Education. Vickerman P. CETL Innovations in Practice, 7 :77-97

Carr DL. 2012. JUMP IN(tegrated) Dance: An in-reaching community of practice in Higher Education. Pedagogies of Hope and Opportunity, HEA Arts and Humanities Conference