Joint Conference & AGM
Saturday 18th April 2010, Greenwich University, London.
On the face of it, a joint conference between ACSW and NATED seemed uncomplicated, but achieving it could have been problematic because ACSW, not yet out of school, had tied all their AGMs with a shoestring; making use of donated venues, volunteer interpreters, unpaid workshop presenters etc.
NATED however were more seasoned and accustomed to charging delegate fees on a more business-like footing. In addition to this, acquiring a venue with enough space for two organisations in London involved spending some money.
Greenwich University was eventually requisitioned, support professionals were commercially booked and both committees set sail hoping for a fair wind. There was some dissent from ACSW members about the hiked cost of the meeting, and an initial worry that sufficient delegates would attend, but on the day there was a good number.
Andy Owen and the NATED Chair Michelle Jones opened the conference in the historic King William Court of The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The Educational Psychologist Simon Ward delivered an inspiring keynote speech and followed this up with an equally inspiring workshop. Maria Bailey updated the conference on the Signature CSW qualification, and parried questions from the floor.
It was unfortunate that some delegates were vociferous about aspects that had been through consultation way back in the initial months, but Maria was diplomatic and factual. The discussion ranged into related areas and Andy was constrained to let it take over the advertised ‘Hotspot’ question and answer session. Eventually it would have encroached upon lunch so had to be curtailed.
Delegates strolled to lunch between views of the Royal Observatory on the brow of the hill, and barges cutting the curve of the Thames. After the meal, other workshops included voice-over for CSWs led by Jill Newlands, a controversial presentation about voicing over profanities from Andy Owen, and a dip into an alternative code of ethics by Jason Bell. Sergeant Glen Barham MBE presented a police officer’s view on mentoring Deaf teenagers and Janet Williams led a workshop on e-assessment.
The conference was a success in the face of the recent banking crisis, the decreasing availability of inexpensive venues and the education cuts beginning to effect conference attendance. The success was due largely to Hilary Hodgson of ACSW who acted as conference coordinator and made everything run as smooth as silk.
It was a milestone and the ACSW committee felt that their association had somehow come of age. All that remained was for the dust to settle, the disbursements to assign and the planning to commence for the joint conference in 2011.