Darren Carr - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Vice Principal

MA (distinction), PGCertTLHE, PGCE, BA(Hons), FHEA
PhD by publication (pending)

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 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 in areas such as Research Methods, Arts project management and Teaching & Learning (towards FHEA applications)

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 has created and performed work in regional arts platforms including Dance Northwest’s Leap festival, and with his company X-Closion (1990-04).

He 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 by CETL (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning) sabbatical to form a small Integrated company of able-bodied dancers and dancers with disabilities, to research into 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.

Darren currently sits on the CDD Research & Ethics committee and is Executive Board Member, Dance HE (2013-present)


His 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 if 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:

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)

Key Publications, Papers and Conferences

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 HigherEducation. 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