Children's Literature and Literacies Mini-Conference

This week we hosted a mini-conference at the University of Glasgow. Several academics from around the world were in the UK at the same time, and Dr Evelyn Arizpe, the head of the Children's Literature program here, pulled them together for an event. Here are the speakers. From the left, Andrea Casals from Chile; Ivonne Lonna from Mexico; Evelyn; me; Marta Larragueta from Spain; Iria Sobrino-Freire from Galicia, Spain; and Macarena Garcia-Gonzalez from Chile. Marta and Iria are visiting scholars at Glasgow, so I've had the pleasure to get to know them better.
You can see the subjects each talked about on the poster, although the titles only hint at the depth of the subject matter. I so enjoyed learning about children's publishing in Central and South America, where it is a fairly new industry, and how varied the books are in Spain. Here is Marta sharing a few.
I especially enjoyed Marta's talk as it was so relevant to my own focuses. Marta has interviewed 100 children in search of their illustrative preferences and wow, are her findings illuminating! She asked about pencil/ink illustrations vs highly saturated images, outlined art vs simply brushstrokes. We adults assume we know what children prefer. Marta's finding infer that we often make incorrect assumptions.
I was fascinated by her findings and look forward to learning more as her studies progress.
We also heard about ecopedagogy, migration and 'other', Romani representation, and design in modern children's literature. It was an ideal group as this is what we all are into - we make a rapt audience.
Evelyn arranged the speakers so that as the day progressed their topics turned further and further towards the visual side of children's literature, towards Ivonne's talk on design and my illustration workshop...I started giving this talk about how illustrators direct your eye a while back and it keeps growing. It's a small summary of several of the modules I teach at Hollins University in the summers, which I adapt depending on the experience level of my audience. Of course, this audience was pretty experienced! Still, I love sharing concepts about imagery that are new to people! With this group, I think I mostly gave them the vocabulary to better describe what they already knew.
It was a great conference and a great day! We headed across the street for drinks afterwards - it's so fun to hang out with people as passionate about children's books as I am. It makes for a tight group of friends. I look forward to our next gathering! (Starting at the bottom and moving clockwise, this is Yaxi, Macarena, Iria, Me, Susanne, Josh, Evelyn, Ivonne, Andrea, and Brianna (from Cambridge U).)
Note: Photos courtesy of Evelyn, Yaxi Wang, Maureen Farrell, and Me.
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