I imagine no single course or experience has been able to satisfy all your needs but it would be great to know what you have valued. Here are some of the experiences that I have either valued or would value in any CPD event:
- an opportunity to be taught about aspects of the history and theory of photography by experts in the field
- an opportunity to be shown useful, innovative and unusual techniques and processes
- an opportunity to discuss photography pedagogy, how to interpret the various exam board specifications whilst maintaining a focus on creativity, independence and authenticity
- an opportunity to make photographs (in a studio and/or on location) alongside fellow photography teachers and to explore the identity of artist/teacher
- an opportunity to meet and hear from one or more respected photographers
- an opportunity to explore the transitions between KS4 and 5 and between KS5 and degree level study
- an opportunity to talk to colleagues from a range of settings across the country, to plan projects and discuss ideas for future schemes of work
Is there anything you would want to add to this list? Who has provided your CPD to date? I've been to fantastic courses at The Photographers' Gallery, for example. We really enjoyed our recent day of creative mischief at Tate Exchange during which we to to meet and work alongside several colleagues and their students. Some of the best CPD I've experienced has been through conversations, both real and virtual, with colleagues. Our Threshold Concepts were developed in this way, collaboratively and online.
What if we could organise a conference (an unconference even) specifically for teachers of photography? How might it work? It's an idea that Chris and I have discussed several times. The likelihood of being able to create one event that would satisfy lots of people (cost, location, duration) would be a real challenge. Nevertheless, it's a tantalising prospect. A first step would be to try to understand what colleagues might want from such an event:
- How long might it last (a few hours, a day, a weekend, over several days...?)
- Where might it take place (in a city, on the coast, abroad, in a rural location, in a gallery, in a school, online...?)
- How much might participants be willing/able to pay (nothing, transport costs only, £50-100, more...?)
As a photography teaching community perhaps we could collaborate in designing our own CPD and organise an event or events which would help to meet our collective needs? Please leave your responses in the comments below.
Thomas Tallis School