Photo by Joan Bessem, UWCA'22
Conferences are run three times a year and are spread over two days. Student-designed and led from inception through to delivery, our conferences focus on utilising the diversity within the UWC Atlantic Community to extend and broaden student knowledge and experience, with a focus on peer learning. Our conferences cover a range of topics that are important to our student body and vary over the two year experience. All our conferences are supported by external speakers and facilitators who help to enrich and expand the content.
Conferences to be held in academic year 22/23
For this academic year our students are currently working hard to bring us:
This year our first conference was Believe, an interfaith conference, highlighting the commonalities, differences and complexities between faiths to encourage open dialogue and understanding.
Our second conference was Phoenix, a national group conference run by our East Asian students. At inception this conference was thought about in response to the hate crimes committed towards the Asian Community as a response to the Covid outbreak. As it developed it remained true to its original roots but also became a celebration highlighting culture, it culminated in a night market reminiscent of life at home for our East Asian students.
Our final conference this year was Origin, an Art conference which was delivered in an innovative way, focusing on deep dives instead of different workshops. The deep dives explored different art forms to create a piece of work that embodies an individual's identity.
Conferences held in past academic years
Below gives a flavour of just some of the conferences our students have organised in past academic years:
Standing for Truth, Reinvention, Identity, Belonging and Expression, TRIBE was the third and
final conference of the 2020/21 Academic Year which aimed to retell the misconstrued narratives of Africa and the Caribbean. The conference included:
- Opening and closing ceremonies, which featured culturally appropriate songs, poems, dances and visual media.
- ‘Initiations’ in which Afro-Caribbean students lectured other students on their personal tribal identity.
- ‘Warshas’ (meaning workshops in Swahili), information, discussion or hands-on based sessions in which students learnt about an aspect of the Afro-Caribbean.
- The simulation, a blindfolded walk through sensory experience telling the Afro-Caribbean story of pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial through smells, sounds and touch.
- TRIBE art gallery, which featured art done by Afro-caribbean students and artefacts from different countries in the region.
- A Friday Night Lecture from Amar Inamdar, a parent who gave a lecture on the future of renewable energy, and what it means to work towards a sustainable future in Africa.
- The Afro-Caribbean national evening, a theatrical performance exploring the region with Fela Kuti as the main character.
- A food market, where students and staff alike could taste authentic Afro-caribbean cuisine.
- TRIBE Sosh, an Afro-Caribbean themed disco night.
TRIBE was also the first conference to employ digital registration for attendance, done via the
EcoCity App. All in all, the TRIBE conference was an unforgettable experience for all.
Photo by Joan Bessem, UWCA'22
Photo by Shenlan (Jolene) Ji, UWCA'22
Photo by Shenlan (Jolene) Ji, UWCA'22
Photo by Robin Kaikull, UWCA'22
On the 29th and 30th of January 2021, the Hispanicon conference took place. Organised by the Hispanic community at UWC Atlantic, it was two days full of workshops, dancing, music, poetry and stories.
Every student took part in two cultural workshops and two political workshops. All of the workshops were run entirely by students, with topics as varied as Reggaeton and Latin American Feminism. There was a chance for UWC Atlantic staff to share their experiences of the region, a storytelling 'shrine' highlighting Hispanic people who had lost their lives fighting for what they believed in and a 'feria' full of tasty food! All these activities were bookended by opening and closing ceremonies full of energetic dancing and music.
Click on the video below to see some highlights of the HispaniCon Conference. Video created by Michael (Houming) Ling, Class of 2021.
You can also view photos of the Hispanicon Conference, by clicking on the album below:
To view photos of the Hispanicon Art Gallery, click on the album below:
On the 27th and 28th November 2020, UWC Atlantic hosted its first conference of the academic year - 'Two Arabian Nights'. Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa region, the conference took a storytelling theme, with workshops split between 'Once upon a time', 'and then' and 'and finally...'.
The workshops were all student run and were incredibly varied, from the history of Mesopotamia to how to wear a hijab. To compliment the workshops, the organisers arranged a variety of fun and interesting activities. There were panel discussions on issues in the Middle East, talks from outside speakers (online) and a bazaar with lots of tasty Middle Eastern food.
After the end of the two-day Feminism Conference, there is a lot to reflect on the outcome of the conference. It was definitely a very long and intense two days, where we alternated workshops, lectures, simulations, reflections and team-games. The great variety of events was created to involve everyone in different ways with the delicate topic of feminism. The hard work put into the organisation of the conference was rewarded, and it was especially heartwarming to see students engage and learn from their peers, and receive positive feedback from both the Human Library and Staff and Student Talks, organised especially to allow our community to share their own stories in a safe environment Feminism, as many other topics, was an important way to fuel conversations and spark healthy discussions that do not exclude, but involve all. We are aware that there is a lot to do for the future, more conversations and topics to cover, but we are happy to know we started something that will continue after us.
Named after the staple food that has raised the East Asian population for millennia, RICE conference sought to delve into the region of East Asia, providing insights into its prosperity and struggles. An energising Opening Ceremony gave the eager school population a teaser for the two days to come, with lively dances of traditional and modern East Asian cultures to the high-spirited dance performance of all the organisers.
In order to fully encapsulate the multi-faceted nature of East Asia, the organisers decided to deviate from the typical focal point of academic workshops, and instead designed a flavourful combination of cultural, food and standard workshops.
At the end of March, the College held its first STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) conference. The STEM topics were chosen by the students and the two-day conference was organised by a dedicated team of students and supported by returning alumni. Stephen Cox (AC65) opened the Conference in a crowded Sports Hall and we were treated to talks from alumni Matt Jeppeson (AC07) who delivered a video lecture on ‘Renewable Energy - Where are we heading?’ looking at the current technologies and possible next steps in future renewables; Anna Belcher (AC06) who spoke about climate change and how the study of ocean biology mediates the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and Jip Jordaan (AC12) who returned from her university in the Netherlands for a talk entitled ‘Food Revolution’ discussing health, sustainability and food technology. We were also delighted to welcome students from our Associated Schools programme (ASP) who delivered fantastic presentations focused upon DNA and Chromosomes, Aquaponics and The Battery that Never Dies.
The highly successful 'SubConference' was a sociopolitical conference putting a spotlight on the diverse and vast region of the Indian Subcontinent. It was a chance to look at the world's development from the point of view of some of the fastest growing populations in the world. The Subcontinent group at the College includes students from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Tibet, Bhutan, as well as Afghanistan. Our conference covered old conflicts such as the Indian-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir, from all three perspectives as well as modern sociopolitical issues of the 'UN-fair and lovely' movement against colourism.
We held performances and talks, had a fun food festival as well as a social experiment during lunch in which we gave different people different meals (randomly) in order to replicate the unfair class systems in our part of the world; a system in which you have no choice over what opportunities you are given. We had an external speaker talking about climate change and its effect on the third world, as well as a student talk about a history of deep colonialism. We engaged students culturally and in the typical subconti fashion, hosted them with warmth and hospitality whilst they were our guests.
It was all about Latino identity: What makes each country different? But also, what brings us together? The main focus of the conference was centered on post-conflict resolution and how many Latino communities have recovered after violent conflicts to answer the questions: does Latin America have all the solutions? Is Latin America the future? What should other countries copy from it? And, what shouldn’t they? All of this whilst breaking down stereotypes and exposing the struggles of the Latino people.