Lessons Learned From The International Teaching Artist Conference

conference women

The power of girls:  

More inspiration today, from Amandina Lihamba (Mamma Amma) about working with girls in disadvantaged community in Tanzania and 14 other countries in Africa

The issues girls face sound really familiar: unwanted pregnancy, lack of self-confidence, missing leadership skills.  

Tesume Clubs (drama-based community-developed girl-based programs) provoked great conversations about what it means to make art with, by and/or for community, because as Jade Lillie of Australia’s Footscray Community Arts Centre noted in her follow up comments, these are all very different things.  

Man, I’d love to get Mamma Amma to California!

Practical Problem-Solving: 

Today we get a big benefit from being hosted at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  The 7 major themes or challenges of the conference are each uploaded onto COWs — Computers on Wheels.  

One theme on each COW with multiple workstations set up across three large rooms.  We have the luxury and the opportunity to explore one idea through to its discussion notes, aiming to propose a bite-sized project to move “the work” (as Eric Booth calles it) forward. 

I am drawn to one of the thorniest issues that keeps coming up: training and accreditation for teaching artists.  

If we don’t take ownership of what our training should be, what skills we should  be held accountable for, what demonstrations of practice are most relevant to our classroom,  community and partnership work–if we don’t own all that, others will define it for us.  SO it feels urgent to me, and to four other women drawn to the challenge. 

The five of use become a working group and develop a proposal to test a process of portfolio and peer review for practical and professional purposes…these women rock!  Jungwon Ye (Republic of Korea), Mi Ryoung Song (Republic of Korea), Kyna Elliott (London & Atlanta) Ann Russell (Australia).  

A Cornucopia of fabulous ideas:  

Our proposal joins 16 others developed at a COW station, each with 2 minutes to pitch our ideas about creating online community, building apps that can allow us to find and learn from one another wherever we work in the world, strengthening our digital skills, building a global art project together, and creating an international exchange program for teaching artists to learn from and share practice in a host country.

What a fabulous cornucopia to move the work forward between now and ITAC3 in 2016 (will it be in New York? Who knows?)

We vote for projects we would personally be willing to work on.  

Top choices focus on building online community and international exchange, exciting and do-able projects.

My working group decides we will try to pilot our portfolio idea anyway.  Keeping our momentum is the next big challenge!

The Big Finish:

Before we even leave the room, Big hART, Seanse Art Center, QUT, Cornish College and Lincoln Center Education, along with some local Brisbane fudners, have pledged a total of $22,500 to kick-start a variety of online connecting projects and global teaching artist exchange programs!  Wow…

Thanks for Reading

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