Exploring expertise in teaching in higher education: The artistry of teaching

Expertise Symposium, 14 to 21 October 2022

About the symposium

This second event follows in the footsteps of the success of the 2020 ‘Exploring Expertise’ symposium and subsequent Routledge/SEDA book ‘Developing Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education’.

The concept of expertise complements and challenges the rhetoric of excellence. Excellence is poorly defined, whereas expertise has a deep literature base behind it (eg Ericsson et al 2006 and 2018). Excellence, by definition and derivation - from the Latin 'excellere' (ex – ‘out, beyond’; celsus – ‘lofty’) - is not available to all; we can't all be outstanding. Expertise, (from the Latin 'experiri': to try, which is also the root of experience and experiment) is a process potentially accessible by all. If we can identify the ways of thinking and practising and characteristics of expertise in teachers in higher education, this may then help inform the enhancement of learning, teaching and educational development (Kreber et al, 2005; Saroyan and Trigwell, 2015).

King’s model broadly categorises expertise for teaching in higher education into three intersecting areas:

  • pedagogic content knowledge (Shulman, 1986)
  • artistry of teaching (Schön, 1982; Eisner, 2002 )
  • professional learning (King, 2019 and 2022)

This second symposium will bring together researchers, educators, educational developers and others interested in the topic to explore the various dimensions of teacher expertise in higher education, with a particular focus on the concept of ‘artistry’ of teaching. 

Key theme: The artistry of teaching

The ways of thinking and practising as a teacher cannot necessarily be reduced to a simple pedagogic formula." As Schön says:

"Let us search, instead, for an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners do bring to situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness and value conflict." (1982, p 49)

The ways of thinking and practising, the pattern recognition, problem-solving and adaptive expertise of teaching “requires sensibility, imagination, technique, and the ability to make judgements about the feel and significance of the particular.” “Teaching profits from – no, requires at its best – artistry.” (Eisner, 2002; p 382).

Artistry, in my model of teacher expertise, encapsulates those more intangible characteristics that makes expertise recognisable. It emphasises the relational nature of teaching, that it is fundamentally about human interactions. Artistry relates to aspects of performance such as being authentic to oneself, and engaging an audience and improvisation... It also links to the importance of relational pedagogy and the need to make meaningful connections with students" (Gravett and Winstone, 2020).

"A teacher with expertise will have care: they will care enough for their students’ learning to better understand them as individuals and to develop effective relationships, and also to spend time on continuing to improve their own teaching.” (King, 2022)

Call for contributions

Proposals are invited for presentations which are relevant to the symposium topic and theme. Presentations should involve reflection, exploration, scholarship and evaluation rather than just describing activities undertaken. Proposals should also be grounded in relevant literature and research wherever possible. Presenters will be invited to contribute to an edited book based on the theme of the symposium.

The deadline for proposals is midnight on Friday 1 July 2022. Proposals must be submitted using the online form, the maximum abstract length is 4,000 characters (not including references). Presentations will take the following formats:

  • Oral (synchronous presentations, BST time zone) of 10 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions.
  • Digital (asynchronous) presentations last a maximum of 10 minutes and take the form of a video file with sound, audio podcast or a poster. The presentation will be uploaded to a publicly available platform. Viewers will be able to submit questions to the digital presenter in the week of the symposium (14-21 October 2022) and digital presenters must commit to answering viewers’ questions in a timely manner.

Symposium topic and theme:

Developing expertise for teaching in higher education: The artistry of teaching

  • Performance and improvisation/teaching persona
  • Authenticity: self-expression, teacher identity, individuality, creativity
  • Professional identity in the academy, including different roles who contribute to Learning and Teaching
  • Motivation to develop expertise/continuously improve teaching
  • Relational pedagogy: compassion, care, learning with the students
  • Artistry of teaching in the disciplines: how the Artistry of Teaching is manifest in different disciplines and professions

Each proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the symposium against the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the symposium topic and theme
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title
  • Contribution to practice, scholarship and enhancement of learning and teaching and educational development in higher education

Due to the limited time and space available at the event, presenters may be invited to contribute in a different format to that proposed. Presenters may also be invited to contribute to one of four, one hour live sessions focused around particular themes that emerge from the submissions.

Submit your proposal

Symposium format

The symposium will take place entirely online:

Friday 14 October 2022

Full day of live presentations (BST time zone)

Monday 17 October - Thursday 20 October 2022

  • Interaction with asynchronous videos, podcasts and posters, including recordings from live presentations

  • Four x one hour live sessions (at different times to better accommodate different time zones) – including panel sessions, interactive workshops and spaces for sharing ideas on artistry

Friday 21 October 2022

Final one-hour wrap-up session


Registration for the symposium will be free and all presenters must formally register.


Symposium convenor

Planning team


  • Eisner, EW (2002) From episteme to phronesis to artistry in the study and improvement of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 375-385.
  • Ericsson, KA; Charness, N; Feltovich, PJ; and Hoffman, RR (eds) (2006) The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Ericsson, KA; Hoffman, RR; Kozbelt, A; and Williams, AM (eds) (2018) The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • King (2019) Continuing Professional Development: What do award-winning academics do? Educational Developments, 20(2), pp 1-4.
  • King (2022) Developing Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education. Routledge/SEDA.
  • Kreber, C; Castleden, H; Erfani, N; and Wright, T (2005) Self-regulated learning about university teaching: an exploratory study, Teaching in Higher Education, 10(1), pp 75-97.
  • Saroyan, A and Trigwell, K (2015) Higher education teachers’ professional learning: Process and outcome. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 46, pp 92-101.
  • Shulman, LS (1986) Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Research, 15(2), pp 4-31.
  • Schön, D (1982) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge, London.