- Photo Essay, Hilton Head 2017
Conferences represent a paradox to me. How is it that through all of the work that goes into preparing and attending a conference, I come back more inspired and more motivated than when I left?
For one thing, there is all of the travel. The flight is always way too early or way too late. Getting to the airport is usually pretty easy, though, because everyone else is sleeping. The highways are unobstructed, hidden only by the lack of sunlight.
Then, there is the presentation to prepare--the paper, slides, and practice. And double--no triple checking--that everything is saved and ready to go because something will certainly go wrong . . . better check it a fourth time.
And everything else doesn't just stop because I am leaving town. There are committee obligations, papers that need grading, emails that need response. Going to a conference can be a lot of work. But, somehow, it is always worth it.
There is something invigorating about hearing what everyone has been working on. The optimism and hard work of my colleagues from across the country remind me of all the great things waiting to be accomplished and all of the great reasons that we put in the time and effort.
Conferences are the perfect time to reflect, and this year's CEA conference at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort was an inspiring affair. The weather was delightful, and the sessions were excellent. I returned from the conference worn out but encouraged by the experience.
The conference this year was additionally rewarding because the location had so much to offer. The island theme resulted in many engaging presentations, and the beach was an inviting place to extend the discussion. Sitting by the pool or in the sand, enjoying the southern weather, I had great discussions. The beauty of the beach might have seemed like a perk of the conference, but to me it was much more. I found the beach as an invitation to work. [End Page 344] I am interested in multimodal communication, particularly in problems of professional development that surround the implementation of multimodal curricula. So, I spend much of my time looking at what teachers across the country are doing to incorporate a broad set of literacies into their work, and I spend time developing my own. The beach was a great place to practice my own visual literacies.
Thinking like my students, I used my iPhone as a tool for capturing my experiences at the beach. With the right lighting and angles, I was able to capture some stunning images, and they remind me that no matter how busy I get, I always have time to stop and smell the sea shore. Or something like that. [End Page 345]
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Bremen Vance is a Ph.D. student in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program at Iowa State University. His research interests focus on multimodal writing practices and pedagogies.