Sunday, 18 December 2016

WCCE9 ... az óra alatt



Meeting old friends - 'Moszkva Ter, az óra alatt'

Blogging

It was almost impossible to post anything from the Wifi connections in public spaces while I was in Hungary. The only place posting on my blog that worked first time, and therefore in the time that I had available, was at Amsterdam airport.

This was very frustrating as I had planned to do a running commentary here on my blog throughout the congress.

Now that I am home I will have to recall my memories and be reminded by my photographs (and by those online at www.peto.hu in the Kép Galeria) to reconstruct an overview of the proceedings.

In general it was a good congress, well organized and interesting.

It was tiring because of the early-morning starts (something that I would have enjoyed a break from) and the many people to meet (something that I am not used to), but it was easier to manage during the day than WCCE8, Germany 2013 was, because the Congress venues were compact. There were lots of extra-curricular laughing sessions too. 

Attending presentations

As always making a decision as to which parallel sessions to attend was impossible for me. I had tried to decide ahead, even before I got to Hungary, but once I started talking and listening to people, looking at posters and relating some presentations to others, that initial plan went out of the window.

No one really knew beforehand whether it would be possible to listen to one presentation in one parallel session, then slip out afterwards to listen to the next in another. In the end this was doable, slipping out after one presentation was easy if you sat near the door but slipping into another room was harder as it was not possible to time it for when the speakers were changing.

It may be a point to consider for the future, to have someone on the doors to open them quickly during the changeover and shut them when presenters are speaking. There were one or two occasions when I admired very much the presenters who managed to continue while people came and went. Some people entered just to talk to colleagues and then left, others simply arrived and left in the middle of a talk. These sessions take a lot of preparation which we should all do our best to respect, but it was not easy.

Posters

On Tuesday I was very disappointed that I felt unable to man my poster for the lunch-break ‘walking the poster street’. It was a decision that I made so as not to disturb the session, and so other presenters could have an audience. The plenary lectures on the second day had begun very late as the organisers had waited for the hall to fill up first thing in the morning. This caused a huge delay for the parallel session that was later held in this main room. The delay was also exacerbated by several minor technical hitches (that were a bane of the whole Congress and added on the minutes). I had felt unwilling to leave this session where I was listening to a series of presentations on art, theatre and sport because gradually the room had emptied for lunch and with no fault of their own the later presenters could have been left with no listeners. My posters both spoke for themselves and had my website contact details on them for any viewers to contact me later, so I listened till the end. 

I was happy to have bought the posters to Hungary and have them hanging amongst many other interesting accounts of the work of colleagues all over the world.

I think the importance of poster-making is in their production, just like painting and writing my blog. Yes, the viewers enjoy them, some are inspired by them, but the main point for me is gathering together my thoughts on my work, whether recent work like the music poster, or long term like the Conductive Living poster and at the same time involving my clients.

The arrangements for displaying  the posters had been changed at the last minute. The organisers had planned to hang them in the Pető College, probably the reason for the smaller size that we were asked to submit. Due to a higher number of people attending than at first imagined the venue had changed which meant that the display of the posters was changed at the last minute too. At the new venue the provisions for displaying posters was adequate but not inspiring. The posters were too small for the large display boards that they were fixed on, but on the positive side they are small enough to be able to display them easily at home after the Congress.

I made my Conductive Living poster (No. 21) with my client of over twenty years and his Mum who took many photographs for me. I will send him a copy as his Christmas present and as a thank you for years of learning about athetosis, for inspiration added to my passion for my work.

My clients 

My colleague, Éva Bugya  made her poster (No. 42), about pastimes, with our school children in our art sessions and as their homework. We have decided that any future poster-making for congresses will only be done together with the children or adult clients. This shared activity results in a very lively posters and also brings the clients in contact with what it is we are doing during the days that their sessions are cancelled. They realise that there is more to our work than the weekly sessions that they attend and they realise how important they themselves are to the world of Conductive Education and to the dissemination of conductive information. I first became fully aware of the importance of this with the first book that I published that featured Little Princess and Jolly Professor.

Six years ago when I presented this book in Hong Kong these two children were 7 or 8 years old but even at that young age they were so proud to be a part of an international meeting on Conductive Education. These two are still part of our after-school group and they are part of Évi’s poster and my own. Laddo, who also featured in that first book in Hong Kong, 2010, had the starring role on my poster this year (2016) with Little Princess and another long-term client being mentioned in the credits.

Poster creation is team work   

Having learnt from this year’s positive experiences, in the future my colleague and I aim to pass more of the responsibility for the creation of congress posters to our clients thus bringing the learning of life skills such as writing, artistic design, computer use, language use and many other areas into practice. I hope that for the 2020 conference I will be encouraging clients to submit posters of their own and to even think about presenting in one of the parallel sessions as Franziska Walz did in 2013 with conductor Eszter Torma.

It is a funny thing that in the run up to a congress I say that I am going to the next one without any presentations but as soon as the stress from one congress has passed I am full of ideas for the next. I cannot imagine going to one and not taking part. 

On stage

Taking part in my first-ever podium session on the day of the Opening Ceremony in the Vigádo was amazing. I actually enjoyed it! I had been very worried about it for months, but I prepared well and had amazing support from all on the stage beside me and from the audience in front of me. If asked I think that I would do it again, depending on the subject of course.

More on the podium discussion later.

PS

I had asked many Hungarian colleagues about what had happened to the clock when Széll Kálman tér was renovated. No one could answer me. But deep down I believed in the Hungarians' creative skills, their love of nostalgia and artist talents. Somehow I knew that I would find the clock was there, somewhere. 

I was at first a little bit disappointed that the old clock was not still there but thrilled to see the new one and to realise that I had been right to believe that someone somewhere knew of the clock's importance in the life of the people of Budapest, tourists and expats included. In the photo that heads this posting you can also see what I discovered. Friends meeting again after 25 years, under the clock just as we did then!

No comments: