Wednesday, 18 June 2008


Founder’s Medal for Ann Paul

Friday 20 June is a big day at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham, England, the Annual Awards Ceremony of the Foundation or Conductive Education.

This ceremony was established in the year 2000 when the Institute’s first cohort of student-conductors completed their studies. The course is run in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton, from which students will graduate later in the summer with the degree of BA (Conductive Education). But the Foundation for Conductive Education has considered it important to grant a separate qualification that recognises the new conductors’ practical rather than ‘academic’ skills, based upon the student’s actual practice work with childen and adults over the course of their time at NICE. This is called Qualified Conductor Status (QCS) and is awarded by the Foundation each year at this separate Awards Ceremony.


Student numbers are fairly small (there will be a dozen new conductors awarded QCS this year), a friendly and fairly informal ‘family’ affair. That said, the event incorporates the traditional pomp and flummery of the English university graduation ceremony – or school speech day. There’s a procession of conductor-tutors from NICE, followed by relevant academic staff at the University. Academic dress is worn (including the conductors’ robes that I designed when all this started eight years ago!) The new Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Chauhdry Abdul Rashid JP, will preside, in full fig. There is a prize for the year's best student-practitioner, and long-service awards for staff.

The audience comprises parents and family of the new conductors, and staff and guests of the Foundation. Guests this year include:
  • Tor Inge Martinsen, outgoing Chairman (Styreleder) of the Norsk Forum for Konduktiv Pedagogikk, in Norway
  • Dave Turnbull, Principle of Cashmere High School in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Cllr Sue Anderson,  Cabinet Member for Social Services, City of Birmingham.
The speech day element is represented by a special address, delivered this year by Professor Franz Schaffhauser, Rektor of the Pető Institute in Budapest.

Founder’s Medal

The Founder’s Medal was established to mark my retirement as Director. I confer it annually on people without whom things would have been very different.

This year I have recognised the contribution of Ann Paul, without whom the world of Conductive Education would have been very, very different indeed. What indeed if Annie had not made the television film Standing up for Joe? With the wisdom of hindsight it seems very unlikely that there would have ever been an internationalisation of Conductive Education in any recognisable form, if at all, and the very survival of Conductive Education even at home in Hungary, must be counted as being at least questionable. For all this she will receive a simple enamel badge bearing the Latin tag ab esse ad posse, and a plain certificate.

I shall report the Award Ceremony further, in a few days’ time.


The Latin tag ab esse ad posse, ‘From what is to what can be’, comes from a mediaeval rule of logic going back to Aristotle. More fully it is stated as ab esse ad posse valet, that is:
 [The inference] from what is to what can be, is a sound one 
Latin can be such a concise language!

This is a telling motto for Conductive Education, in its confident purpose to transform present and knowable human lives, to create something new and unknowable. It also conveys the founding social goal of the Foundation for Conductive Education, to transform how things are done and understood.

Easily said, but achieving these purposes, individual and social, can be terribly hard. The Foundation has been very lucky indeed to have met the right people at the right time to help it along the long, difficult road towards the conductive revolution.

The Founder’s Medal, with its inscription ab esse ad posse, recognises some of these contributions, some of those people without whom…

No comments:

Post a Comment