Post Adelaide Conference

Published: Sunday 20 July 2014

Months of detailed planning came to fruition in May 2014 when the annual conference was held in Adelaide. Our exciting new venue was the Adelaide Oval and it was supported by a range of innovative initiatives including the People's Choice award and voting by coin, Mad March in May and the Fringe, a "birthday" celebration for the founding of CEFPI Australasia in Adelaide in 2000 and 38 delegates, and a packed program which inverted the usual conference structure to be "Inside Out: Upside Down".

Responses to the post-conference survey confirmed a high level of satisfaction with the events and structure with most respondents voting good- excellent, and only a few people expressing disappointment – "too busy, too much noise "and one "no conference satchel". Other new ideas included only two keynotes addressing the delegates but the introduction of four curators to guide discussion on the themes (Pam Ronan, Tina Adamo, Susan Kreig, Julia Atkin), We also embedded the tradeshow into the conference structure so there were more opportunities to meet the sponsors informally – and for delegates to make good use of the chairs, tables, benches and pens provided. The friendly atmosphere was enhanced by a variety of casual dining, experiences including the meet and greet buffet dinner on Sunday night, the range of food stalls on the final night and the never-ending supply of food and drinks available when buses returned each day.

While some delegates would have liked more input presented to them by keynote speakers, others appreciated the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops and to be part of the learning activities in schools. Keynote speakers, Lynne Symons and Martin Westwell, were well-received for their practical knowledge and ability to clearly articulate the issues of school management and the academic research which underpins education and student learning. Their presentations are available on the website.

The Awards Program for 2014 had the highest number of entries so far, and this reflects well on the interest in participating, their willingness to be judged and the high quality of work being done at all levels. Many thanks to the judging panel and especially to Russell Collier and Lara Mackintosh.

The Mayfield Project continues to grow and evolve and provide an excellent opportunity for those participating to be involved in active research. We were especially pleased to see that their work has extended beyond CEFPI and schools and into the broader community. We were also delighted to have the Mayfield family present and to hear Dr Lisa Heitz-Mayfield, Patron of the Mayfield Project, say how John would have been pleased to know the program has continued and is growing. Many thanks to Peter Moeck, Dani Martin, Felicity Lewis and Ben Cleveland for coordination and for the excellent publication, "Joined Up".

The conference was pleased to support the HOPE project, an associated CEFPI initiative, and the generous support of delegates through donations and the "Catholic collection" raised about $2,000.

Thanks also to Mark Trotter, Chair of CEFPI Australasia for his encouragement and support, to Conference Chair Andrew Gehling for his tireless effort in securing the venue, creating innovative ideas, making arrangements and achieving the unusual – a conference committee which increased in numbers as the event developed! Thanks also to Simon Lobianco and friends for the Fringe and Mad March, to BCC Management (Ros, Katrina and Belinda) for event organisation and coordination, and to our sponsors who provided excellent support, flexibility and good humour while working to accommodate our ideas in a very different environment.

Ann Gorey

Life Member, Adelaide Conference Committee, SA Chapter Communications Representative