Last weekend the Image Conference took place. This is the annual event of the Visual Arts Circle. VAC is an innovative and collaborative project which seeks to explore the possibilities of film, video and images in language teaching and learning. The conference is held in a different city every year. This year it was its seventh edition and it took place in Athens, hosted and co-organized by New York College. There was also a strand of the conference being run by GISIG (Global Issues Special Interest Group).
The event was very stimulating and focused which is something I really like. I find an add-on the fact that this year, apart from the overarching theme of images and video, there was also a focus on the migrant and refugee crisis. This offered a new perspective to the conference. It was mainly dealt with in the sessions of the GISIG strand. I have however the overall impression that many of the teaching approaches presented in other sessions, too, showed a heightened awareness of global issues and this is really interesting and important.
I feel very honoured to have been asked by Kieran Donaghy and Sylvia Karastathi to give one of the plenary sessions during the Conference. My session focused on the use of paintings and how they can be linked to social topics. I reflected on work we have done with the students and discussed activities that nurture the development of thinking dispositions, meaningful language, visual literacy and social awareness through examples and insights from my classroom practice. Here is the link to the slides I used in my plenary session.
The 2019 Image Conference will take place in Brussels and it will be hosted by the Belgian English Language Teaching Association (BELTA).