Registration for the Image Conference,Athens, is now open

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Poster Image Conference with Website

Registration for the Image Conference in Athens on 6th and 7th October is now open.

The Image Conference is the annual conference of the Visual Arts Circle, and this year it is being hosted and co-organised by New York College, Athens with the collaboration of the Global Issues SIG of IATEFL. Leading experts and practitioners in the use of images in language learning will share their experiences, insights and know-how and provide participants with an excellent opportunity to enhance their competence in the innovative, critical and creative use of images in language education.

We look forward to seeing you in historic and vibrant Athens.

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Emma L. Pratt at the IATEFL Conference Brighton 2018

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One of our VAC members, Emma L. Pratt, was invited to participate in a innovative way at IATEFL 2018.

Header Image: Detail from “The Ecosytem”, in response to the first plenary about the relationship between research and the classroom.

Being Invited to be the Artist in Residence at IATEFL in Brighton 2018

When I was invited to be the artist in residence at IATEFL in Brighton this year, I jumped at the chance. I had already been talking about artists’ residencies in learning at our Image Conference  http://theimageconference.org/emma-louise-pratt-talks-about-her-session-at-the-image-conference/ and especially language learning contexts, and I was keen to develop my own practice and build on my knowledge from having coordinated artists in schools in New Zealand.

The Pre-Conference Day for the GISIG

I had also been invited to participate in the Visual Arts Circle’s facilitation of the Global Issues SIG PCE day. This was an opportunity to explore workshop as performance; an artwork in itself. I had used video and storytelling to lead delegates into a space where they were invited to express their own personal thoughts and stories visually on the theme of social justice.

The Visual Arts in IATEFL 2018

Over the four days of the conference I made work that responded to the guest plenary speakers of IATEFL. I was daunted by the prospect of having to produce “something” under pressure on a topic that was not of my choosing. Added to that, having to do it in public. In short, a difficult brief that is almost counter-creative. Not everyone can do it, but I have a secret weapon. Children and a day job.

My arts practice has long fitted itself around the requirements of co-raising children, co-running a home and co-running a small company. When you are this busy, you become very efficient in the art of filtering noise, stealing moments and giving space to let ideas bubble and process. When I can’t physically make with my hands, I see it in my mind’s eye: images, shapes, colours, all coming and going.

I’ve heard it called “El rio bajo rio” the underground river. All practised creatives know that this river of creativity is flowing even when it’s apparently built over with the day to day needs asked of you. There it flows in the dark velvety deep.

The Teaching Artist

The concept of a teaching artist is perhaps a new idea in language teaching circles. However, in arts circles, it’s a term well used, especially in the United States. You may have heard the concept described sometimes as the participative artist, collaborative artist, the citizen artist and activist artist.

These are all ways to describe artists who move and shapeshift, finding their practice to be something that covers both the making of art works and interaction with a community.

These acts of art making take place away from the sometimes exclusive or problematic world of galleries and museums. They take place in the forms of residencies, performances and workshops in classrooms, public spaces and in my case this April 2018, at the IATEFL conference in Brighton.

Slow Digestion

My temporary art studio, with its work in progress provided chance for reflection. I only had one plenary to digest slowly for the day. Meanwhile, others dashed about in front of me, often asking me hurriedly if room 11 was anywhere near.

Conferences cause a sense of rush. We often need to “doggy bag” our thoughts and reactions, in order to sit down at the next meal. One workshop or presentation after another blurs into a degustation menu that is presented too fast, the plates taken away too suddenly.

I on the other hand, had the space to slow it all down. People could, and did, come and pull up a chair and chat with me as I worked or wandered about the visual work I was creating and peered over my shoulder.

Giving Silence a Place

During the GISIG preconference day, in the first playful stage of our workshop, I noticed that the room had fallen silent.  Everyone had been asked to pick up brushes and in and water and simply play with the material on watercolour paper. It was a stage designed to loosen everyone up and introduce them to the materials before we got on to more serious matters.

I had expected chatter, but what I found was silence. A silent room. One delegate described it as if the act of watching the ink absorb in the paper made our bodies and minds slow down too. Perhaps we could consider more space for that.”

Emma would like to thank the GISIG, VAC and IATEFL for the invitation as well as her small team at Frameworks Education Group who walked the dog, fed and entertained the children and held generally held the fort, enabling her to be there. 😉

Emma Louise Pratt IATEFL Artist in Residence Brighton, 2018.


 

Visual Arts Circle Members’ Talks at IATEFL in Brighton

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We are delighted that a large number of Visual Arts Circle members will be giving talks at the IATEFL Conference in Brighton from 10th to 13th April. If you’re at the conference, we hope you can make it to some of the talks. You can read about all the talks below. You can also download this booklet VAC Members’ Talks Booklet sponsored by ELC Brighton.

 

 

We look forward to seeing you in Brighton.

Video creation in the language classroom

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Anna Whitcher’s tips for the language classroom: Being a strong believer in teamwork and collaboration, Anna finds that groupwork is empowering when working with video creation in the language classroom. The other benefit is that having the students at the centre of image and video creation means that their expertise is drawn on. Learners that may not be so strong with language production have their moment to shine in other areas.

Visual Literacy in the Language Curriculum

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To inaugurate the website of the Visual Arts Circle we have invited Dr. Sylvia Karastathi of New York College, Athens, Greece who has a PhD and post-doctoral studies from the University of Cambridge, to write about the increasing important role of visual literacy in English language teaching.

Few language teachers can claim that they never use still or moving images in their lessons; yet, this standard practice is rarely touched upon in teacher training curricula on the assumption the way to introduce images into lessons is self-evident. This short article starts by introducing some key ELT resources on using images in the classroom; it then goes on to argue that we need to approach images not simply as an aid but as a key component of “multimodal communicative competence”.

The Status of the Image

In his 1966 ground-breaking study The Visual Element in Language Teaching Pit Corder made the useful distinction between “talking about images” and “talking with images”, differentiating between physical description and personal response. Since then, practical books such as Andrew Wright’s Pictures for Language Learning (1990), Jamie Keddie’s Images (2009), Ben Goldstein’s Working with Images (2009) and Peter Grundy’s et. al. English Through Art (2011) have suggested a wide variety of engaging activities that exploit the power of still images in the classroom and demonstrate their potentials to facilitate language learning. More recently, principled uses of the moving image in the classroom have become the focus of discussion in ELT with publications such as Ben Goldstein and Paul Diver’s Language Learning with Digital Video (2014) and Kieran Donaghy’s Film in Action (2015).

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