More from NAEA18: Post-conference thoughts
What a NAEA week it was! Seattle is a beautiful place (and the coffee is Australia-good!) and it was such a treat to catch up with old friends, see students presenting, and meet so many people whose work I admire. It was also wonderful to meet several other authors who contributed to the same book I did, and to hear the editors talk about the process of putting such a resource together. We had many questions from the audience, some more focused on practical aspects of classroom management, some related to larger questions of art education with young children.
The Research Pre-conference was an excellent start to the week. I particularly appreciated the discussions about inclusion in this conference, and how we can better welcome those who might not feel NAEA is the place for them.
What does ownership mean here? Just as I want my young student to know that museums are places in which they are welcome and where belong, how can we, as an organization, provide the same for all members to own, create, and define their place?
Andrea Kantrowitz, Sean Justice, and I were happy to have so many people taking us up on our invitation to play. We provided dot grids printed on card stock and paper, small scissors (that it turns out you can carry on airplanes!), adhesive materials, and a couple of prompts and challenges for making and discussing. In return, we got engaged making and conversation, feedback on our ideas, and lots more to think about.
I was thrilled to share Postcards from the (future) museum, a game that I adapted to fit the needs of museum educators.Here is a snippet of what it looked like.
I also got to share some of the stories I have lived with my infant, toddler, and preschool students over the last few years, and get feedback on such experiences and how they resonate with other educators in different contexts. I had shared some of those experiences here, and it also interesting to me to see how my view of many of those stories has changed over the years…
One of the people present was a friend who works in a fantastic school in Pittsburg. This is a recently purpose built school, with incredible common spaces and classrooms, light, equipment, and all the rest. However, my #storynotgadget argument seemed to resonate as I used it as an example to argue that all those wonderful things are great bonuses, but not what makes a good school - the school was equally good when it was located in a run-down building not that long ago, because teachers were happy, supported, encouraged to own their curricula and their teaching, and established strong and healthy relationships with their students, their community and their teaching team members.
A special shout-out to Sam Peck, David Modler, and Laurie Gatlin who devised fantastic speedates over sketchbooks; to Vanessa Lopez, Adriane Pereira, and Joni Boyd Acuff who showed us what it means to connect with others respectfully and empathetically in a simple and powerful activity that we can easily bring to our home institutions and our students; and to the editors of art education journals who offered several sessions that invited, welcomed, and scaffolded members of all affiliations and positions to have an active voice in the current conversations of the field.