Practitioner Focus: Ben Meredith tells us about Running a Workshop

This year I made a decision to challenge myself and to say 'yes' to opportunities in teaching that may seem daunting. I had always assumed that delivering a session to teachers specifically would be difficult (just look around the room the next time you have internal CPD; see any grumpy faces, jaded broken educators?) I had anticipated a group that would demand I utilised all of my classroom management skills.


How wrong I was. On arrival I was greeted by a group of teachers from all over the UK who teach in a range of institutions. They were friendly, keen, and eager to share advice over a coffee and a very resourceful and receptive bunch. There was a sense that everyone in attendance appreciated having time to make - just because you teach art doesn't mean you have time to make any of your own. Delivering my session was so rewarding - a series of timed drawings that led to a collaborative piece based on 'portraits of feet'. It was a dream art class; every student could draw and not a mobile phone in sight.


I joined in all the other workshops over the weekend, so I got to play both teacher and student. The workshops were inspiring and have already played a part in my teaching sessions. That's amazing when you consider it was last week. I did not expect teachers to take up my lesson with verve and it's the greatest compliment that they have taught it in they're classrooms. The Facebook group once again proving a great place to network and share photos and insights.
I am hoping to take a group of students back to Bristol before Christmas as The Arnolfini is a great venue. I also hope to attend more Sketchbook Circle workshops and to deliver another workshop if they'll have me. 


In my opinion your employer should pay for you to attend this CPD - it's so much better than the death by PowerPoint they wheel out every year. The content of the workshops will make my life easier not harder. 
During the weekend I encountered zero grumpy jaded faces, just lovely creative faces belonging to people who love art and yearn for the days when they went to Art College.