The main annual event of the Visual Arts Circle is the Image Conference, the only conference in the world exclusively on the use of image in ELT. It is held in a different city every year.So far the conference has been held in Barcelona, Spain in conjunction with UAB Idiomes, Brasilia, Brazil in conjunction with BRAZ-TESOL, Cordoba, Spain in collaboration with IH Córdoba, Munich, Germany in collaboration with the Munich English Teachers’ Association, and in Valetta, Malta in collaboration with the ELT Council. The two key aims of the conference are to put media and images at the centre of the language learning agenda, and to offer guidance on using media and images critically and creatively in language teaching in the age of the Internet.
The Image Conference can be summed up in three words: Innovative, Practical and Effective
The Image Conference is the first conference dedicated solely to the innovative and creative use of images in English language teaching.
A recurring theme throughout the conferences has been the highlighting of the educational benefits of not just using media and images inside and outside the classroom, but also of creating media and images. Many speakers such as Ceri Jones, Lindsay Clandfield, Ben Goldstein, Jamie Keddie, Graham Stanley, Kyle Mawer, Paul Driver, Jane Arnold, Fiona Maucline, Carla Arena, Hugh Dellar, Antonia Clare, Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy have looked at innovative ways of integrating images into the school system and suggested ways teachers could develop to become successful 21st century educators.
The innovative goals of The Image Conference are to put media and images at the centre of the language learning agenda, and to offer guidance on using media and images critically and creatively in language teaching in the age of the Internet.
The Image Conference is a highly practical and adaptable project. The practicality and adaptability of the project is reflected in the fact that The Image Conference has been held very successfully and with excellent feedback from both speakers and delegates in five very different contexts: Barcelona, Brasilia, Córdoba, Munich and Valetta.
The know-how and expertise of the organisers of The Image Conference is put at the service of the educational institutions and teaching associations who want to hold a conference in their city. The organisers are already in negotiations with teaching associations worldwide about holding the conference in their cities in the near future.
A dominant theme through all of the Image Conferences so far has been the many educational benefits of using images in language teaching. Many speakers highlighted how effective the use of different types of images is in promoting creativity, critical thinking and collaborative learning.