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.
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. 😉
Social Justice and ELT through the Visual Arts
Last March, Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy presented at the GISIG and Visual Arts Circle Joint PCE. In this session , they looked at a number of resources such as projects, resource websites, lesson plans and publications which promote social justice in English language teaching, created by members of the Visual Arts Circle, a community of practice of language teaching professionals with a shared interest in the value of using the visual arts in language education.
These are the resources presented in the session:
Judy Boyle – The NO Project
The No Project
The NO Project is an award-winning, global, educational anti-slavery campaign that specifically targets youth awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking through film, music, art, dance, theatre, journalism, creative writing, education and social media. The project was set up and run by Judy Boyle.
Naomi Epstein – Visualising Ideas
Naomi Epstein is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children in a secondary school in Israel. She created her website Visualising Ideas to share her materials and ideas on how to use the visual arts with deaf and hard of hearing children in the language classroom.
Chrysa Papalazarou – Art Least
Art Least is a site created by Chrysa Papalazarou, an English teacher from Greece who works in a state primary school. Her site explores ways of using art in English language teaching and learning, promoting social justice, and a more thoughtful and creative flow in the English classroom
Linda Ruas – Easier English Wiki
Linda Ruas – Easier English Wiki
Linda Ruas is a trainer of ESOL teachers and an ESOL teacher at a London college. She is also Joint Coordinator of IATEFL Global Issues SIG.
The Easier English Wiki provides the same texts and photos that New Internationalist magazine offers, but with easier vocabulary and grammar. This content covers the issues many English language students are living with or experiencing, or issues that are vital to understand in today’s world. Learners can learn English, reading the simplified article and then the original, develop critical thinking and visual literacy skills, and break down barriers at the same time.
Kieran Donaghy – Film English
Kieran Donaghy is a teacher, trainer and writer based in Barcelona. His website Film English has a large number of lesson plans designed around short films which promote social justice and universal values such as compassion, kinness and equality in the language classroom.
The Image in English Language Teaching (ELT Council)
Edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri
The book can be downloaded for free:
The Image in English Language Teaching is the first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the Maltese ELT Council. It’s a collection of 18 chapters inspired by talks at the first five editions of the Image Conference. Two chapters are on how art can be used to promote peace and social justice in the language classroom:
Peace art: words and images interwoven
by Magdalena Brzezinska
Images on canvas: art, thinking and creativity in ELT
by Chrysa Papalazarou
For anyone interested, here is their powerpoint presentation and description.Social Justice and the Visual Arts in English Language Teaching Handout
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:
- 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.