Call for Papers: 7th Edition of the Image Conference, Athens 2018

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We are delighted to announce that the Call for Papers for the seventh edition of the Image Conference, the annual conference of the Visual Arts Circle, which will be held on 6th and 7th October at New York College, in Athens, Greece, is now open.

 

Thank you for wanting to submit a speaker proposal for The Image Conference 2018, Athens, Greece.

We would appreciate it if you would take a moment to read through these speaker guidelines to help you, us and the delegates get the most out of the conference.
The deadline for proposals is Friday 8th June. Notification of acceptance of proposals will take place on Friday 6th July. Once you have been accepted to speak, you will receive a provisional acceptance email.

 

Prospective speakers for the conference are kindly asked to submit abstracts for talks or workshops – 50 words maximum. All proposals must be related to the use of images in language teaching and learning. Topics can include:

  • images
  • video
  • film
  • gaming
  • art
  • mental imagery
  • virtual reality and
  • augmented reality.

As Greece is at the epicentre of the refugee crisis in Europe, we encourage proposals related to using images when teaching English to refugees and/or when teaching about refugees through English.

 

Proposals should be chosen in line with the following presentation categories:
• Workshop (45 minutes, including questions): A workshop is a session in which there is active audience participation via the experiencing and discussing of tasks provided by the presenter.
• Talk (45 minutes, including questions): A talk tells the delegates something about teaching English through images.
Please also submit your bio-data ( maximum 50 words).

Are you speaking on behalf of a publisher or institution?
If so, please make this very clear. Delegates are likely to be disappointed if a session they attended based on the description in the abstract turns out to be an advertisement for a publication, product, or course. The submissions of speaker proposals for commercial presentations are welcomed but, if you are basing your presentation either in part or in full on a newly or recently published material, you should clearly say this in your abstract.

Is the information in your abstract clear?
Be explicit about whether you are offering a talk, a commercial presentation or a hands-on workshop. We want to be sure that when delegates register for sessions, they can do so on the basis of accurate information.

You can download these guidelines for submission of proposals guidelines-for-speakers-athens-2018

 

Please submit your proposal by completing this form by Friday 8th June.

 

Global Issues SIG and Visual Arts Circle Pre-Conference Event – Brighton 9th April 2018

Social Justice and ELT through the Visual Arts – GISIG and Visual Arts Circle Joint PCE

Visual images can be arresting and powerful. We have all at some point in our lives been stunned by a photograph or painting that has resonated with us – the Afghani girl on the cover of National Geographic or Picasso’s Guernica. These images can provoke strong emotions, engage us critically and sometimes inspire radical action so how might we capitalise on this in our professional lives and exploit visuals effectively in our teaching and training?

 

Come to the GISIG PCE at Brighton, run jointly with the Visual Arts Circle this year, to discover new and innovative ways of exploring themes of social justice through the visual medium.

 

IATEFL Conference early bird registration ends THIS THURSDAY (11th January) at 4 pm.

Booking info

More info on our PCE:

 

Do you want to know more about how to incorporate still and moving images into classroom materials to get students reflecting on social issues? Or capitalise on your own artistic skills to provoke discussion and debate in your classrooms?

Using Film as a Medium for Global Issues in the English Language Classroom

Our diverse and talented group of speakers will be presenting their ideas on how we can do this. Margarita Kosior, writer, teacher and storyteller will outline how film as a medium can introduce difficult topics into the classroom domain and encourage students to discuss them with confidence and ease. Gergo Fekete, dynamic teacher and GISIG Social Media Coordinator, will show us how to raise awareness of social justice issues for women from his MA thesis related to excerpts from the film ‘Girl Rising’.

Tools for Exploring the Arts, Collaborative Hands On Projects and a Drawing Class!

Emma-Louise Pratt is a practising artist and educator who will work at various times throughout the day with PCE participants to produce a collaborative artwork which will be displayed in public for the duration of the conference. Dimitris Tzouris brings his technical expertise to our PCE and explains how we can use Google Arts and Culture as a tool to explore and understand the world through art and stories. And for those of us who think we don’t possess any artistic skills Jade Blue, a teacher and teacher-trainer with a special interest in using imagery in ELT, will guide us through a session on teacher-drawing and learner-drawing tasks that seek to examine how these practical activities can be applied in our classrooms to explore global issues themes such as human rights.

Finally, rounding off the day’s events Kieran Donaghy and Anna Whitcher, founders of the Visual Arts Circle, will explore how different resources created by VAC members can be used to promote social justice through the visual arts in the English language classroom.

 

PCE Schedule: Download (PDF)

 

REGISTER NOW

A first-timer’s reflections on the Image Conference in Lisbon

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By Nora Nagy

 

 

Connecting the Visual World with Language Education

Looking back at the Image Conference I can’t help thinking that something special and important started to happen in the world of English language teaching with the first conference six years ago. Being at this event felt like attending an empowering interdisciplinary conference with the overarching principle of connecting the visual world with language education.

As a teacher-researcher, I think a lot about the possibility of change and innovation through education, always searching for practical approaches and tasks which can contribute to a better learning experience for my students. The Image Conference, both allegorically and in action, managed to create bridges among various disciplines. Let me share the five most important things that I was reminded of and learnt about in a short but intensive two days in Lisbon on 13-14 October:

  1. People can make magic happen. Everyone at the Conference – Kieran Donaghy, Sylvia Karastathi, Anna Witcher, the members of the Visual Arts Circle, Alberto Gaspar and the organizers from APPI, the high school students who helped at the event, the participants and the speakers – worked towards the same goal of making these two days a rich and memorable experience. No matter what background we came from or what our main role at the event was, we all had the same sense of purpose and we shared our love of the visual arts and education through them.
  2. The written word (and world) is just one of the many meaning-making systems that teachers operate with. In the classroom, different semiotic systems are present at the same time, and we can draw on them when designing our lessons. Using images, sound, video, songs, our own body language – all multimodal resources – are ways of creating a better learning experience. The Image Conference opens the world of English language teaching by linking different areas such as museum studies, semiotics, social studies, applied imagination, information technology, discourse analysis, literary studies, film studies, music and psychology, just to mention the most apparent ones.
  3. If the great goal of education is implementing positive change in the lives of our students, the Image Conference managed to show examples of achieving this by offering excellent teaching techniques and at the same time addressing the themes of empathy, equality and social justice. These three issues were discussed in most talks and workshop, and empathy was probably the greatest philosophical and psychological framework which guided our thinking and action. We often find it difficult to discuss the controversial topics our students see on various media channels on a daily basis. Through powerful images we can introduce issues like homelessness, migration, poverty or learning difficulties and disabilities. Empowering our students with the right level of language to converse about these questions in their mother tongue as well as in a second or third language can probably contribute to the discussion of these topics across cultures and nations. This is how even a small task addressing a difficult topic can help our students develop their intercultural communication competence and share their ideas in an argumentative setting.
  4. One image can be a powerful resource for a wide range of levels and ages. At the conference, we saw several examples of what it means to grade the task and not the text. Imagine looking at a famous painting. How many levels of meaning can you create based on a single image? You can describe it, talk about the colours, the people, the objects, the setting. Then you can create a narrative based on what you and your students can see. With more experienced viewers you can discuss the historical context, talk about geography, political issues, and abstract concepts. By asking the right questions and designing the right task for each group, a single image can turn into a powerful starting point for your various classes.
  5. We cannot grow without connecting with each other. From the very beginning, with Kieran Donaghy’s opening plenary through the workshops and talks to Carmen Herrero’s closing plenary, I could not remember a talk which did not refer to the work of other presenters. The two days together formed a colourful mixture with different presentations built into the same beautiful bowl of ideas. The variety of themes and presenters reminded me how individual differences can become powerful resources in collaborative projects. I would like to remind all my colleagues that we need to team up with each other more regularly. When we are looking for inspiration, it might just be enough to talk with the Arts, Math or Geography teachers in the staff room and start a project together.

Implementing Meaningful Reflection

If we would like to make the most out of our collaboration, we need to ask for and give critical reflection to each other. This is the trickiest part of most conferences and most work experiences. How can I reflect on another teacher’s, researcher’s, author’s work when I have just met them in person? The key to this question seems to lie in the intentions of the people involved, and the conference provided the perfect examples for this. Not only did the feeling of empowerment and empathy permeate the presentations, it also guided our coffee breaks and evening chats. When a speaker asked for feedback, I get the impression that the compliments lead to serious discussions which can take a good talk to its next step: the implementation and development of the ideas of the speaker and inspiring each other to do more and share more with others.

This year, I went to this event with the excitement and the enthusiasm of a first-timer, and I can tell you that I am already more intrigued about the next event than I was before Lisbon because I know exactly what to look forward to in Athens in 2018. I would like to encourage all teachers to follow the work of the speakers of this conference and the work of the Visual Arts Circle to get constant inspiration for their daily teaching adventures.

Nora Nagy

PhD student in English Applied Linguistics and TESOL, University of Pécs

Instructor at the Department of English Applied Linguistics, ELTE Budapest

Helbling Readers Blog Co-Author

 

 

The Weather Movie: How Two Songs Inspired Teens in Poland to Create a Stop-Motion Video By Magdalena Brzezińska

When I moved house and changed jobs in August 2016, I had no idea the school year of 2016/2017 would become one of the most rewarding ones . Nor did I know I would meet four amazing teens who would inspire me to create the first stop- motion video in my EFL teaching career ever.

I  have been a life-long fan of movies. I love the YouTube series Everything Wrong With… and Honest Trailers, and I have taken the Filmmaking and Animation in the Classroom course on the FutureLearn platform. I have also been a keen and enthusiastic follower of Kieran Donaghy’s Film English blog for several years and I was lucky enough to have acquired Kieran’s book Film in Action during the Image Conference in Malta in October 2016. Thus, when I got a job as an EFL instructor at the Youth Cultural Center no. 1 in Poznan, Poland, and I was given complete freedom in curriculum development, I instantly decided one of my courses would be called “Movie English”. I was sure I could create an interesting alternative to “ordinary” English classes.

Two of my students, Zosia and Magda, enrolled for both Movie English and a regular course I was also teaching, so it was easy to build on their knowledge and skills and use these skills across the two courses.

Initially, our English Club, a group of 5 teens, joined an eTwinning weather-related project with two great colleagues I had known and collaborated with previously: Mrs. Maria Panou, an EFL teacher from Greece, and Mrs. Olena Kononenko, an EFL teacher from Ukraine. Several other European schools were involved, too. For those not familiar with eTwinning, it is a community for schools in Europe which offers a platform for teachers to collaborate, share, and develop attractive international projects.

The weather project participants agreed on and pre-planned the tasks, and then I introduced my students to the whole initiative. Sadly, after a week, we received an email from our National Agency telling us that Youth Cultural Centers were not entitled to take part in eTwinning projects, and our institution was banned from the one we had enthusiastically started. Nonetheless, I decided to adopt certain elements of the weather project into our Movie English course.

One aspect of the weather project was “music and songs inspired by the atmospheric conditions”. I chose two: Riders on the Storm and Here Comes the Sun. It was quite surprising to find out my students had never heard them before, though after a while some of them confessed Here Comes the Sun sounded vaguely familiar.

Initially, we examined the feelings and emotions that the two songs evoked, and we discussed whether the lyrics matched the tunes. Afterwards, the students were asked to write a short story whose initial scene would be illustrated with the gloomy song and the closing scene with the optimistic tune.

They came up with the following script, also quoted on their blog:

A family (father, mother, a 16-year-old daughter) are going somewhere by car. There’s a storm. It is raining and it’s very windy. Suddenly, the father loses control of the car and it rolls over. The parents die. The daughter survives. A boy who is the same age as the daughter, and who’s been walking his dog, sees the accident and helps the girl. He calls the emergency, and it transports the girl to hospital. After some time, the teenager visits her in the hospital. She is really grateful. He also brings her some sweets and a small pillow that he found near the accident scene. As it turns out, it’s her favorite pillow. There are some more visits in the hospital, the two fall in love, and when she is finally able to get up, they go to the hospital park. As they are walking, we can hear “Here Comes the Sun”.  

Whether I viewed it as very original was not the point. What I wanted my students to do was to have fun, acquire knowledge, and improve their English.

We already had a story, but the students still needed to learn how to practically transform it into a short video. During a couple of following classes, they researched and discussed the filmmaking industry, the Academy Awards, movie-making techniques, shot sizes, camera angles and other technicalities.

Then came the time for creating the storyboard (using the Filmmaking course template), where all the theory was put into practice.

The students decided the first scene was to be a wide shot and high angle for setting up the scene; the next one – a low angle for the car in the storm; the following one – a mid- shot for the phone call; then, a top shot for the emergency vehicles, followed by a medium long shot in the hospital and a long-to-extreme long shot for the final scene in the park. This plan was obviously modified in the process, but we had a firm basis to build on.

We gathered a selection of Playmobil figurines, toy cars, and other props, and we started experimenting with the camera, tripod, and light. It took the group four months in total (excluding the Easter holiday and some other breaks) to arrange the scenes, shoot the photos, edit the movie, and give it the final touch before putting it online. The story-creating, script-writing, and shooting was done by everyone: Zosia Matusiak, Magda Mołoń, Dawid Stryszyk, and Wiktor Kossowski (when he was present, Piotr Jankiewicz actively contributed, too). Dawid turned out to be the most patient, industrious, and creative editor, and Zosia studied music hard to play the guitar in the final scene.

The final product, our Weather Movie, can be viewed here, and the details of the project are displayed on their blog, Youth Cultural Center English Club Blog.

I would hereby like to thank the awesome team of teens who helped me try out something new in my EFL teaching career and, once again, proved to me that movies are one of the best and most inspiring EFL teaching media, whether viewed or created.

Magdalena Brzezinska is a graduate from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, with a degree in English Philology; EFL teacher and teacher trainer; sworn legal translator; certified art therapist. She used to be a Community TA and Mentor, e.g. for MoMA’s Art and Inquiry course. In her free time, she organizes international projects featuring participants’ artwork and literature.

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