Thursday, 25 July 2013


World Congress participants make own PR

As I did for the Seventh World Congress, the one in Hong Kong in 2011, I submitted more than one 'Abstract' to the forthcoming World Congress, the one to be held in Munich in October 2013. After all, I reasoned to myself, they are paying me to go all that way and putting me up there, just to give a Keynote Address, I really ought to give value for money.

More selfishly, I thought, I ought to keep my hand in and, anyway, I quite enjoy doing it.

The invited Keynote Address (my ticket there) needed an Abstract to go in the published programme, so along with it I submitted Abstracts for three oral presentations and, jointly with Gill Maguire, for a poster presentation, following the conventions laid down by the organisers under the rubric of 'Rhythm and balance'.

Come the day, one of my oral presentations was not accepted.

No sweat, this Congress has a very full programme, and now I shall have a little more time to hear other peoples' stuff.

Congress abstracts already on line

On 10 June, Ralph Strzałkowski published the Abstract of his Keynote Address to the Congress, on his blog, Lawyer on Wheels:

On 1 July, Susie Mallett published the Abstract of her poster presentation on one of her blogs, following this on 17 July with the Abstract for her oral presentation (both accepted):

On 17 July Conductive World published Rony Schenker's Round Table that she has convened (also accepted):

Yesterday, on 23 July, Susie Mallett published the Abstract of a second oral presentation (also accepted):

Other presenters may also have published their own abstracts on line. Information on where to find these would be most welcome, to share more widely, whether they be on blogs, social-networking sites or CE-centres' own websites.

The Congress has an extensive website and its own Facebook page but it has not yet itself  taken the opportunity to publicise some of its actual content in this way. Particularly before the 'early bird' price-offer expired, this could have been good PR and probably an effective aid to recruiting more participants. It could still prove effective.

Below I publish the Abstract of my presentation that didn't make it, as an Appendix to this posting. Over the course of the summer I shall also be posting on line my Abstracts that did. And of course, links to any others that appear on line.

Munich, the book

The World CE Congresses publish their collected Abstracts but not a full Proceedings. Unless presenters make their own arrangements to self-publish or to submit their presentation for publication elsewhere, so-much interesting-looking work is effectively lost to the wider world – unless of course they respond to subsequent personal enquiries with full written transcripts.
Past experience has shown that little of the considerable programmes is actually published, and that requests for transcripts meets little response. This is a particular shame as some of the most interesting Abstracts in the past have featured the sort of accounts of practical conductive work, in centres and schools, at home, and in other settings, that the world so cries out for.

Following the Seventh World Congress, in Hong Kong, I collected my various contributions together and published them in the form of a small book. Last Year in Hong Kong:

I shall repeat this exercise after the German Congress – including the full wording of the rejected presentation on CE-literature (Abstract below). This publication will be available early in the New Year. I hope that the Munich conference will find other presentations, leaving their written trace in some way. It is so much easier to do so nowadays.
The time available for each oral presentations at Munich will be limited and it will not be possible to say all that one might wish on the given topics, especially if sensible time is made available for discussion with the audience. The published versions will be more extensive, and referenced.


Mallett, S. (2012) The World Congress for Conductive Education 2013, Conductor, 1 July

Mallett, S. (2012) The World Congress for Conductive Education 2013 – Abstract Two, Conductor, 15 July

Mallett, S. (2012) 'Let me tell you another story…’, Conductor, 22 July

Strzałkowski, R. (2013) The Abstract, Lawyer on Wheels, 10 June

Sutton, A. (2011) Last Year in Hong Kong, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press

Sutton, A. (2012) WC 8: Round Table in Munich: first Round Table announcement, Conductive World, 17 July


The 'CE-literature': some problematics
Andrew Sutton

Background: A first overview of the available 'CE-literature' (Cottam and Sutton, 1985) found it small, largely in English, often mistaken, and not very helpful. Nearly thirty years later, immensely more is available, but this may still mislead as much as inform about Conductive Education. This 'literature' by now includes academic and professional writings, PR and marketing, paper and electronic materials. Now as then one has to reserve this cautionary position:
'Perhaps the art of education is ultimately conveyed only by a work of the imagination'
(ibid., p. 27)
In 2013 there are many materials out there, for all to see. In these years of CE's internationalisation, the author's personal intervention has promoted a few books some serial publications, and created a publishing house, with emphasis on encouraging others to publish. Others have made their own interventions.
Continuing problems: Now in the Internet age, everybody can publish but most people need considerable help and encouragement to become 'writers'. In writing about CE, quality control and describing practice remain persisting problems. Developing 'the literature' is not a priority for CE's institutions. There is little time for mentoring, and little market for CE publications.
'Three estates': CE once largely comprised three groups:  
  • conductors  
  • users and would-be users  
  • a 'third estate', a small number of involved professionals and academics from other fields, who once contributed disproportionately towards the literature. 
In the twenty-first century the third group is very small. 
A 'technical literature': This needs to be plausible to those outside CE and useful to those within. Its creation is more than the quantitative problem of generating a growing number of unrelated works, plus the qualitative problem of how good these are, but evolution of a systemic whole, an organic body of knowledge linked together by sensible and critical reference to what had gone before and what happens elsewhere, kept alert by critical review, and clear and lean from disposing of what is no longer worth knowing. It should be dynamic and holistic. CE's literature remains neither.
Without prospect of a strategic plan for Conductive Education, how might one progress from here?
Cottam, P., Sutton, A. (eds) Conductive Education, Croom Helm

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