Making the workshop work

Just to let you all know that the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice has just published a short article by Pat Francis and myself where we share tips of how to put on a good (writing) workshop. This collaboration has come out of the Writing in Creative Practice events we have been working on together, which have been well received by participants, so if you are interested in putting on workshops like those yourself, whether for staff development or for student, this might be helpful.

A tip which isn’t included because it occurred to me after we sent this off (as a bonus for the readers of Tactile Academia):

Sort out the documentation beforehand

Just like it is important to gather feedback from your participants, it is important to be able to document the workshop. The most common form of doing that is probably taking photographs. If you are doing the workshops as part of your normal teaching routine this might not be as important, although good documentation can certainly help you demonstrate your good practice in an appraisal or interview situation for example. If you are doing the workshops as staff development or for an external funder this documentation becomes really important, as institutions like to show off what they have done/funded.

Whether you are running sessions yourself or ‘just’ organising, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to take photographs. So, nominate somebody to do it for you, maybe your institution has an official photographer who can pop in or you can get a photography student for the duration for a few quid (include this in your budget) and the work experience. Take the time to think about what you want the photographs to show in advance and discuss this with your photographer (or have a list if you are doing it yourself so that you don’t forget in the heat of the moment) – do you want shots of people arriving, materials, of the speakers, or work in progress, of certain activities and/or finished artefacts? The more you think about it beforehand, the more useful the photographs will be for you afterwards.

The article can be found in Volumen 5 Number 2 of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, pp. 291-300

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2 comments
  1. suechallis said:

    Hello fab article ! I know you know about the importance of consent for images but I have recommended to my students they offer research participants the ‘no photos please’ stickers on wikipedia (!) which enables the photographer to exclude individuals / faces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law copy the image then print on labels. It’s probably somewhere else too. Sue

    • alkegw said:

      Ahh, very good point, I should have mentioned that (just shows that I do the blog entries off the cuff, rather than editing and rewriting them carefully). When I do workshops I have a clause on the sign-up form that mentions we will take pictures which might be published and I usually do mention it in the workshop itself. If somebody objects I will delete any images where they are identifiable. But those stickers sound like a really good tip! Thanks Sue!

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