Phil Longwell writes about his experience as a speaker at The Image Conference Brussels.
1. What did you enjoy about The Image Conference?
I enjoyed the fact that this conference is focused on the role of imagery in its various forms and its practical application for the classroom. Having attended the very first one in Barcelona, but not been able to afford (money/time) to go to any others until Brussels, it was great to both hear passionate educators present on topics that resonated and meant something to them. It was not academic or dry research, presented cold. It was alive and warm-hearted. I felt that every session was personalised and there was a lot of subjective, interest-driven reasons why each presenter was sharing their experiences and insight. I loved the refugee / immigration / Global Issues thread running through it, which added to the humanity and ‘humanitarian’ feel. I only wish I could have gone to every session. So difficult to choose.
2. How was The Image Conference different from other conferences you’ve been to?
I like the relative smallness of the conference, not too overwhelming. Manageable. You have an opportunity to choose from a small list rather than face a massive, daunting task of choosing a session over several that also interest you. I have already stated above that there is a warmth and humanity to the conference. Presenters are demonstrating their experiences, passions, interests and emotions. It is not dry and academic, remote, but vibrant, artistic, colourful and dynamic!
3. Sum up your talk briefly.
My talk was a one-off 45 minute potted history of my experiences of recording, documenting and creating short films in my 12 year language teacher since 2006. There was some time for questions at the end. It was exclusive to this Image Conference. It was deliberately personal, centred around my experiences and even self-indulgent. It was not a practical workshop or designed to give attendees a ‘take-away’, but an energetic, visual examples of my hobby mixed with how I have integrated that on occasions into my teaching career. I have written about the conference here and have finally got round to editing and uploading a full recording of my presentation, which I would be grateful if you could share on social media – for those that were in Brussels but couldn’t attend, and for those that couldn’t be there at all. As I say, I will not give this exact presentation again, it was exclusive to the Image Conference. I will, nonetheless, follow up this talk by giving a workshop on this topic, partly drawn from Kieran’s work, at IATEFL in Manchester 2020. My proposal appears to be have been accepted but this has not been confirmed officially yet by IATEFL. Not until next month, anyway. If it gets selected for the Learning Technologies SIG showcase, I would not be allowed to explicitly plug the ‘Film in Action’ book, but would still draw on it and put it in my list of references at the end. 🙂
4. What were the main discussion points to arise in The Image Conference?
The main discussion points, as Peter Sansom mentioned in his blog post, were that we fit “the medium of film more centrally into our schools teaching. Also extensive resources for the language classroom relating to refugees and other pressing world issues.” For me, I personally feel I am moving away from simply using technology (camera, video editing software) to addressing deeper, global issues, and in speaking to Varinder (GISIG coordinator) at the conference, felt my heart is going in a more personal, sustainable, inclusion, integration, migration and global issues direction. My course at ICS English would hopefully explore deeper issues, but this would depend largely on what learners we get and what they bring to the class.
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