So, finally it was time to present a paper! Spurred on by my supervisor and having actually had a paper accepted to a conference I was set to travel to Scotland and present my paper titled ‘Acting In-between: the Professional Identity of an Art Educator’ as part of the ProPEL International Conference from the 9-11 May at the University of Stirling (http://www.propel.stir.ac.uk/conference2012/).
Having been a lecturer and presented to a variety of groups previously I hadn’t thought that this would be an onerous task; however, I think that I might have been slightly ambitious since a discussion with others mentioned starting with the graduate student conferences because they were ‘nice’ venues to present papers that would help build our confidence. Well, I headed straight for the main venue and the potential for heavy questions and direct criticism.
Arriving in Stirling was great, since it was the middle of exams at school and Scotland was a nice reprieve from all my stressed out students. In addition, there was a great line up of speakers, staff and doctoral students in attendance that made the event really great.
I was paired with another art-based paper by Maureen Michael (University of Stirling). Her work is not only philosophically insightful but also visually stunning. The drawings that support her approach to evaluating the studio environments of artists are perfectly aligned with her methodology. Following her with my collages made for a session that was aesthetically stimulating. Our ideas were challenged by the resident philosopher at Stirling but all in all we faired well. The experience of answering questions has definitely helped to clarify key directions for my research and reminded me of the initial objectives of my research.
I am already looking forward to another conference opportunity … despite the butterflies.
Information and abstracts for the conference can be found on the propel website (as above).