We’ve had a long wait for the BAICE Conference at Edinburgh after BAICE 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic. But BAICE 2022 is coming back with style and lots of innovative ideas to make the conference more diverse, inclusive and inspiring than ever.
BAICE has a tradition of surprising audiences through its annual Presidential Keynote Address (given alternately at the BAICE and UKFIET conferences). You may remember Professor Pauline Rose’s keynote in 2017 which included a dance workshop followed by a flash-mob led by the amazing Kenyan dancer Michael Wamaya, or Professor Anna Robinson-Pant’s keynote in 2019 in which actors, planted around the room, popped up to tell stories of educational inclusion.
This year we are handing the creative baton to our participants by including a call for proposals for “creative spaces”. These ask for ‘any format or structure’ that encourages people to come together to ‘communicate, reflect and learn’. But what does this mean? It might feel intimidating to submit something too far away from the more formal sessions one might expect at a conference, and the idea of creativity might assume that it requires some sort of artistic aptitude… you may be worrying: what if my idea isn’t what the conference committee had in mind?
Well, to reassure any potential creative session proposers, this really is as open to interpretation as the call for abstracts suggests. Dancing flash-mobs and acted stories are still an option! But it could also be something much more low key. The intention is to create spaces for people to come together to make learning experiential, for us to employ our hearts and our hands as well (or instead of) our heads. This could take any form. For example, it might incorporate sound, craft, storytelling, music, movement, games, visual activities, or just alternative ways of talking to each other that encourages us to collectively reflect on the conference theme of education partnerships from different angles and in new ways. Sessions could be examples of embodied practices, reflections on artistic forms, artivism, or spaces to ground ourselves. The scope is huge, and we are genuinely open to interesting and novel ideas that people, far more creative than us, might dream up.
Eleanor Brown (University of York) and Alison Buckler (The Open University)