This year, Madrid was the hosting city of the annual event of the association. Between the 27th and the 31st of May, Escuela de Escritores welcomed more than 40 European participants with a remarkable presence of our colleagues from the UK, headed by NAWE’s director Paul Munden
During the evening of the 27th of May, the first EACWP members and participants attending the symposium were convoked to a first meeting dinner around 2 de mayo square, one of the most emblematic and revolutionary spots of Madrid, located also in one of the ever so creative neighborlabs of the city: Malasaña.
The event officially started on the 28th early morning at the Conde Duque’s cultural centre, a former military arsenal now a days devoted to a highly noted public library of Madrid, owning one of the richest bibliographipc archives of the city.
As part of the symposium opening, president Javier Sagarna welcomed the new group of members and underlined the participation of our colleagues from the UK, some of them representing NAWE (National Association for Writers in Education), the most significant Creative Writing organization in the United Kingdom.
During this past year, as Javier Sagarna explained, there has been an increasing consolidation of new members, which currently gathers more than 20 institutions representing around 16 different countries. «This is a very nice situation because it positions us as the main association in Creative Writing of continental Europe. »
Also, he outlined some of the main topics to be discussed as the main roadmap of the event:
- Discussion of the on going projects and how to improve them and make them grow, namely: Teachers’, staff and school exchanges; Glossary, Class exercises and Bibliographical projects; Annual topic project.
- Reports and annual reviews of the performance of the association involving members’ experiences, projects and results.
- The evaluation of the II International Pedagogical Conference of Jyväskyla University and Oriveden Opisto (Finland, October, 2014).
- The organisation of the III International Pedagogical Conference, which Scuola Holden will host next year in Turin (September, 2016).
- Bilateral and multilateral Eramus+ projects amongst EACWP partners.
«As Creative Writing schools —Javier highlighted— we have been working mostly isolated over the years and now we have the chance to establish an enriching contact amongst our teachers and students. This is a great opportunity and I encourage you to make the most out of this occasion to propose and develop new cooperation. »
New proposals from the board
Within the frame of the annual board meeting, some of the discussed concerns were manifested by our president on behalf of the EACWP executive members in order to submit them to voting amongst the rest of associated members. These were some of the most remarkable consensus:
- Establishment of a new Non European collaborative membership for individual or institutional candidates coming from other continents.
- Official permission for members to freely use the EACWP logo, which was formally manifested in the following announcement. «The EACWP board officially declares that the Association strongly supports the job of its members and allows institutional members to use the logo and the name of EACWP in their websites, communications and promotion of their programs. Individual members must specify this condition if they want to use it for the same purposes. »
- The creation of a Teachers’ Training course, which has been a recurrent proposal and discussion in the past two years.
- The development of a project assurance that could research and look for methods of certification, especially, on regard of some of our non-official programs yet not academically acknowledged by the official educational system.
Presentation of candidates and new associated partners
As every year, a significant part of the symposium program is committed to the official presentation of the new members either institutional or individual ones. In this opportunity, some of them had joined the EACWP time before, however, it was their first year attending the event. Also, some new candidacies were directly presented and unanimously discussed amongst our colleagues.
New institutional members
- Kingston University (UK). Representative: Gale Burns.
- Cardiff University (UK). Representative: Shelagh Weeks.
- Ondokuz Mayis University Creative Writing Centre (Turkey) / Representative: Ílknur Tatar
- ArtEZ Institute of the Arts (The Netherlands) / Representative: Frank Tazelaar.
- Universitat Pompeu Fabra / Representative: Jorge Carrión.
- University of East Anglia (UK) / Representative: Andrea Holland.
- The Open University (UK) / Representative: Derek Neale.
- The South Gate Society (Denmark). Representative: Signe Christensen.
- University of East London. Representative: Helena Blakemore.
New individual members
- Enrique Páez (Spain).
- Beatriz Montero (Spain).
- César Requesens (Spain).
- Magda Ruta (Poland).
On the last day of the symposium, the participants were divided in two groups of parallel sessions involving mini-workshops, mini-lectures and institutional interventions concerning teaching experiences, which were scheduled in a Pedagogical Day Programme and carried out by some of the EACWP members. All of them exposed and explored a diversity of topics dealing with different approaches to Creative Writing and brought up new perspectives and methodologies to be further developed and revisited in our next pedagogical conference as well as individually reviewed and published on this website:
- Gale Burns (Kingston University): «New approaches to learning and teaching Creative Writing. »
- Terhi Forssén (Jyväskyla University): «Creative Writing as an escape route from the academic life. »
- Shelagh Weeks (Cardiff University). «Teaching/ studying in a UK university. »
- Trisse Gelj (University of Southern Denmark): «Teaching Creative Writing in Denmark. »
- Enrique Páez (Spain): «Teaching Creative Writing to speakers of other languages overseas.»
- Orhan Kipcak (Vienna Poetry School/sfd): «Collaborative audioplay as a didactic project. »
- Risto Niemi-Pynttäri (Jyväskylä University): «Digital stories of the invisible youth. »
- Lucian Georgescu (Romania): «Cinepub: online cinema platform. »
- Andrea Holland (UK): «Multidisciplinary Creative Writing module at UEA. »
- Risto Niemi-Pynttäri (Jyväskylä University): «Scriptum: Creative Writing journal. »
- Karin Knudsen (University of Southern Denmark): «Teaching History of Writing and media.»
Restitution and conclusions of the symposium
After Javier Sagarna’s closing speech, some of our members took the floor and shared their own insights and impressions over the symposium:
—Aude Lafait (Belgium): «I am glad to be here because I can see all I’m taking home with me. »
—Reijo Virtanen (Finland): «The best part of these encounters is the discussions that our colleagues held in the corridors between one lesson and another. This means that dialogue is active and alive amongst us. »
—Trisse Gelj: «I’ve found this experience very inspiring and I think we actually get to inspire each other. »
—Alain André: «I think these meetings must encourage and enable the possibility of deepening into actual Creative Writing discussions of our interest. I hope the pedagogical conference to be an occasion to open up an deepen into all these fascinating pedagogical exchanges. »
After three full working days, on the 31st of May, the XIth symposium’s clousure was joyfully rounded off with a last free session of cañas and tapas amongst the last remaining EACWP members at the Retiro park’s Book Fair of Madrid.