[ firstly with my IATEFL hat on... ]
Just back from the IATEFL conference which, once again, was superbly organised and run by Glenda and her team at Head Office. To pull off a conference with 2,300 delegates is no mean feat, but they manage to do it every year and I do hope the conference feedback reflects that.
[ the Brighton Online team, sans me ]
The one thing that did let us down – as many noted – was the wifi, for which a fair bit of money had been shelled out. I have to admit I found it slightly inconveniencing at times, but even I managed to survive for a few days with sporadic access, and – on occasion – even enjoyed the fact that I couldn’t be connected twenty-four hours a day.
We’ve managed to provide decent wifi for the past two years or so, and are painfully aware that many people need it. On behalf of IATEFL, then, I’d like to apologise if it seriously inconvenienced you and we hope to resume normal service next year in Glasgow – hopefully with a more helpful and service-oriented team at the venue.
Julian and team from the British Council also excelled with Brighton Online, and the numbers when we left the venue also reflected the quality and range of interviews and sessions that have been uploaded so far. If you haven’t yet taken a look at the site, please go along and visit and watch the amazing set of interviews and sessions, and get involved in the forums. I’d like to thank everyone involved in that endeavour, but particularly the indefatigable interviewing teams, and the team from Tantrwm, who provide the AV facilities. It would be tricky to name everyone who plays a part in the online conference – but you’ll surely agree that they are ‘awesome’
[ and now personally... ]
I was amused on a couple of occasions to be blamed for the serious reduction in tweeting going on this year – would that I had such a hold on the online community with just one blog post on my ‘twittercide’! It just seemed to me that most people had got over the inflated ‘awesome’ of last year and some kind of balance had been restored both to the development side of things, and to the meetings and social occasions. People seemed to be spending more time actually talking, and less time air kissing and declaiming how awesome it was to finally meet @madaxemurderer in the flesh. It seemed more balanced, and more about relationships rather than trying to meet as many one centimetre avatars as possible.
As usual, I didn’t get to go to as many sessions as I would have liked – those I did see were mostly good to excellent, and I thought (and heard) that the quality generally was very, very high. I did enjoy the plenaries, particularly those given by Catherine Walter and Peter Grundy, and the final performance by Brian Patten at which I was nominated to help him deliver a poem (my contribution was to declaim the word ‘cat’ each time he touched me on the shoulder). During Brian’s reading I spent a bit of time ‘translating’ the scouse for a couple of foreign delegates sitting nearby. Makes you remember how varied the English language can be…
There was a definite buzz in the air, though – particularly from publishers, and Nicky and I enjoyed some interesting meetings to talk about possible projects in the future. I smell a sea change in the air (not just because we were in Brighton) and I think publishing is just about to get interesting again. Watch this space for more as these projects move out of ‘prototype thinking’ and into reality. I have to say I’m truly excited about the way people are adapting to some of the changes at the moment.
I also enjoyed the conference pub (The Globe), some of the publisher events (special mention to Macmillan’s Elvis impersonator), the Pecha Kucha run by Jeremy Harmer, the quiz night courtesy of Adrian Tennant (though disappointed our team came third…) and the karaoke wrangled by Petra Pointer. Talking of Petra, at the airport Nicky and I persuaded her to go off and buy a Kindle from Dixon’s Travel…. Hope she’s enjoying it…
Ah! And many thanks to Carla Arena for the mini bottle of high quality cachaça – it was great to meet you and introduce you to the sophisticated British pub culture – hope you remembered to take your glasses back to the bar for the rest of the trip
And so back in Barcelona to the inevitable email crisis, and deadlines looming – and the never-ending cold. Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to choose my session to attend, thanks to everyone who sat around and had a coffee with me and chewed over the future of everything, the kind people who chatted in the pubs and coffee shops, those who sat down next to me and introduced themselves and passed a few minutes in genial conversation. Let’s do it all again next year!
Glad the awesome is dampened – it’s much better having real conversations with real people, I find – and that goes for online, as well as face-to-face…