Visual Arts Symposium: Street art in EFL classroom by Magdalena Brzezinska

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10th Virtual Round Table

On April 27, the Visual Arts Circle went  live on the 10th Virtual Round Table. Among the people who participated were Kieran Donaghy, Rob Howard, Magdalena Brzezinska, Magdalena Wasilewska and Valeria Benevolo Franca.

One of the VAC Circle’s members who presented, Magdalena Brzezinska,  talked about the use of street art in the EFL classroom with teens. Her session was especially designed for the Visual Arts Circle symposium at the 10th Virtual Round Table (VRT) Web Conference and 9th vLanguages Conference.

Mura-love : Street art in EFL classroom

In her talk, Magdalena shared with the participants her love for street art, and she offered some specific tips on how such art can be successfully used in an EFL class to improve students’ knowledge and skills and to inspire learners to create.

The activities presented varied from simple pen-and-paper ones to high-tech online ones. Discussion incorporating certain MoMA’s art and inquiry techniques was introduced. Some other activities included :

  • a debate;
  • street-art-inspired creation of headline poetry, stencils, or students’ own graffiti;
  • designing a social campaign; and creating a virtual interactive walk.

There followed a sub-section devoted specifically to Banksy’s peace art and Banksy-inspired stickers and tattoos, where such techniques as impersonation, focus on the senses, and designing one’s own peace sign/symbol were examined.

You can download Magdalena’s slides Magdalena Brzezinska VAC Mura_love Virtual Round Table.

 

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.


 

The Image in English Language Teaching

The Image in English Language Teaching

We are delighted to announce the first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the ELT Council. ‘The Image in English Language Teaching’ Continue reading

The Image in English Language Teaching, The Image in English Language Teaching’, edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri

We are delighted to announce the first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the ELT Council. ‘The Image in English Language Teaching’ is a book edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri that features contributions by leading experts in the use of images in language education such as Ben Goldstein, Anna Whitcher, Antonia Clare, Paul Driver, Sylvia Karasthati, Paul Dummett, Magdalena Wasilewska, Andreia Zakime,Elena Domínguez Romero, Jelena Bobkina, Candy Fresacher, Tyson Seburn, Chrysa Papalazarou, Magdalena Brzezinska, Emma Louise Pratt, Samantha Lewis, Jean Theuma, and Valéria Benévolo França who are all also members of the Visual Arts Circle.

The book includes a preface by Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media Within the Institute of Education of University College London. The book is available by open access thanks to the support of the ELT Council. You can download the book by clicking on the following link The Image in English Language Teaching (2017).