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.
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 – 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.
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)
Is there a paradigm shift happening in the world of TEFL and language teaching? in this podcast, Emma Pratt talks to Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy, the dynamic partnership behind the Visual Arts Circle, a community of practice formed for language teachers interested in multimodal literacy, visual literacy and the visual arts. The Visual Arts Circle’s sixth annual Image Conference kicks off in October 2017 in Lisbon.
Is there a paradigm shift happening in the world of TEFL and language teaching? In this podcast, Emma Pratt talks to Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy about Multimodal Literacy. Kieran and Anna are the dynamic partnership behind the Visual Arts Circle, a community of practice formed for language teachers to explore the visual arts and visual world in their practice as teachers.
What is Multimodal Literacy?
Multimodal literacy refers to our ability to interpret and effectively use more than just oral and written language. We’re talking about the visual world. By this we mean signs. representations, symbols and visual references, that, when mixed with the aural world, time, media and context, create whole other languages.
Why should we care?
We work with language and communication. That’s why. We ask the question, what does multimodal literacy mean to us in the language classroom presently and what they could mean? The circle’s key interest and objective is in exploring, researching, reflecting and finally providing approaches, techniques and materials that help other language teachers engage with the visual world meaningfully and with confidence in their classroom.