IGAEA turns into GCEA: Summer conference 2014

IGAEA GCEA Conference logo

IGAEA GCEA Conference logo. Photo credit Bill Delgado.

As you have probably heard me say many times, I am a bit of a sucker for opportunities to learn. So, I was lucky enough to find myself in the tiny town of Mansfield, Ohio this summer for the International Graphic Arts Educators Association IGAEA conference. Clemson GC sent three faculty members to the conference- Dr. John Leininger, Dr. Charles Weiss, and me- talk about being in great company!

This was actually my first year attending an IGAEA event and during the conference, they officially announced that the organization will be operating under a new name going forward- Graphic Communications Education Association GCEA. The new logo, branding, and website mockup were presented by the leadership committee during the conference.

This conference is unique in that the attendees are all graphic communications educators. The membership includes people who teach high school, vocational school, 2-year programs, 4-year programs, and even alternative schools such as a program within a prison. The breadth of teaching knowledge found at the conference is really astounding. There are so many teachers there willing to share their experiences and assignments and the tricks that they have found benefit their students. Many of the attendees have taught for 25+ years!

Attending a session on using After Effects at the IGAEA GCEA conference

Attending a session on using After Effects at the IGAEA GCEA conference. Photo credit Bill Delgado.

There were dozens of useful presentations to attend covering diverse topics such as Near Field Communication, cross media, green screen techniques, Adobe software workflows, sustainable print, 3D printing, camera RAW, and more. All three Clemson attendees were also presenters this year. Our presentations included:

  • Teaching Basic Web Design with a Blank WordPress Theme by Erica Walker
  • Using Fluid Grid Layouts for Responsive Web Design by Charles Weiss
  • Communication, Interaction, and Immersion: Using Social Media in the Classroom by Erica Walker
  • 50% of Everything Goes in the Mail by John Leninger
  • What every Graphics Student Needs to Know about Marketing by John Leninger
  • Communication, Interaction, and Immersion: Using Social Media in the Classroom by Erica Walker

The conference also took attendees on tours of two print facilities- Bookmasters and JakPrints– as well as a few of the “sites you don’t want to miss” while in Ohio. We visited Malabar Farms, Little Italy, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the other attendees.

All the tours and presentations were amazing, but some of my favorite time at the conference came late in the evening when small groups of attendees would gather around and share their stories and thoughts about teaching students to be the next generation of Graphic Communications leaders. That was when you had the ah-ha moments and felt a deep connection to a new group of colleagues and friends.

At the conference it was announced that next years conference will be at Cal Poly in July of 2015. I really hope for the opportunity to attend GCAE conference again so I can capitalize on the opportunities to continue learning and networking with others in our field.