This year’s CODE Conference “Celebrate Drama and Dance: Inspiring the Artist in the Teacher” at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake was truly an event to remember, both for veteran CODE members and those new to the organization. Full of stories, memories, inspiration and innovation, the conference looked both to CODE’s unique past and to its exciting future. Here are a few highlights from the conference:
Inspiration: Delegates found inspiration in the conference’s array of workshops and keynote speeches, all pointing to the rich diversity of drama and dance education. Professor Jonothan Neelands told us “tales with a difference” while working with a grade six class from a nearly Niagara school, and keynote speeches from Peggy Baker, Andrew Moodie and Blake Martin gave delegates much to ponder and draw inspiration from. A matinee performance at the Shaw Festival and workshops from artists and educators kept our minds and bodies buzzing throughout the weekend.
History: 40 years of advocacy for drama and dance education were celebrated with tales of the amazing history of CODE. Founding members such as Helen Dunlop, Juliana Saxton and many others met for a past presidents’ dinner, sharing anecdotes of conferences gone by and CODE’s many important accomplishments. CODE’s first president, Michael Wilson, was inducted as CODE’s newest honourary member, and David Booth entertained and inspired delegates with tales and video clips documenting 40 years of drama work in Ontario.
Innovation: The 40th conference was an ideal launching pad for new ideas stemming from the revised arts curriculum. Workshops focusing on the creative process, assessment and evaluation, critical literacy and other timely topics resulted in deep conversations and exciting work from conference delegates. Opportunities to talk, network, laugh and celebrate together resulted in a memorable event that we will look back on fondly for many years to come. Thanks to the conference committee, CODE board, Brock University student volunteers, workshop leaders and speakers, performers and delegates who made it happen!
This CODE Conference, like those before it, truly provided arts educators the opportunity to be inspired and stay connected.