AUTHOR VISITS

Rationale: NIST Strategic Plan

Author visits enable NIST to meet many key elements of the strategic plan. Access to authors, illustrators and other professionals involved in publishing provide authentic opportunities to inspire growth, empower individual excellence, and enrich lives (NIST mission and vision). Author visits provide a direct and tangible connection for students to the world beyond the pages of the books they have access to. These interactions have a deep and lasting impact on the NIST community.

Collaboration with authors also contributes in very practical ways to collaborative professionalism both within NIST and in the broader education networks in Bangkok via BLISS (Bangkok Librarians International Schools network).

Meaningful connections with authors also reinforce the strategic plan Pillar 1 where NIST in providing a globally minded curriculum, NIST will ensure that “learning experiences are embedded in the real world”. Pillar 2 further aims to provide increased  “relevance of learning experiences”. Connection to professional authors and illustrators also provides real opportunities for students to imagine pathways of knowledge, skill, understanding and future personal pursuits.

The collaborations within the NIST community and beyond that are required to bring about authors visits make a significant contribution to enhancing the reputation of NIST (Pillar 5 of the strategic plan) as a leader and innovator in education. Author visits also provide a highly relevant means for NIST to “develop external partnerships to support NIST’s strategic aims”.

Author visits therefore provide deep, practical and authentic ways to support the curriculum at NIST and clear evidence that NIST is meeting strategic goals.

Updated :: 21 May 2019

Planning Considerations

Collaboration

Author visits need to meet the specific learning needs of NIST students. For this to happen, author visits are planned in close collaboration with teachers and curriculum leaders to ensure that curriculum connections are deep and relevant.

Length of visit

3 – 5 days are an ideal length because this provides greater opportunities to build impact over time. Shorter visits can occasionally be appropriate to meet a more limited number of students and achieve more narrow learning needs.

Opportunity versus Planning

While more extensive author visits need to be planned many months ahead of time, on occasions and sometimes at short notice, an opportunity may arise to connect with an author visiting Bangkok (previous examples, Neal Shusterman and Nicky Singer). This is often cost effective and allows NIST to be response to student needs.

Impact

The most authentic and sustainable impacts of an author visit are by their very nature difficult to measure or quantify. It is not possible to project into the future which students will find inspiration however we do gather feedback from students in a number of ways. Particularly in elementary, students demonstrate their appreciation and connection to an author through flocking (and begging) to meet the authors when they are available during break and lunch times. The response from the community during and after Nicola Davies’ visit was overwhelming which was a testament to her skill, knowledge, energy and ability to relate to children and adults. This was also demonstrated when we sold out of over 400 of her books that were available for sale during her visit. This was only matched by the mountain of books students had requested her to sign. Another measure of the impact of her visit was and continues to be how central her books are in the teaching of reading and writing at NIST. Oliver Phommavanh’s visit was shorter – 3 days – however his visit had the effect of introducing his collection of titles to a more broad audience at NIST (where he was largely unknown) resulting in high circulation amongst students and the frequent use of his books by teachers in class.

As described previously in “Rationale”, the impact of author visits can be predicted in the future by the many ways that these visits connect to the NIST Strategic Plan.

The Future

As can be observed in the table below, the frequency of previous author visits to NIST has been low. For example, secondary had at least 2 years with no visits leading up to last year. Students in many year levels across the school years have had no contact with visiting authors in recent years. This is to say that previous expenditure is not reflective of the need for a school the size of NIST. The opportunity to have funding allocation for author visits would allow for more thorough planning and collaboration with teachers and students. More reliable funding also makes hosting authors a more sustainable practice.

** Author visit versus an event : A Collaboration with Tarabooks

An example of a powerful and innovative project that NIST could lead the way with in Bangkok would be to coordinate a visit from authors, artists and publishers from Tarabooks. We visited their workshop in Chennai, India, last year while at an international librarians conference and were deeply impressed by their creative, collaborative and innovative publishing house which has won awards at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Tarabooks are most famous for their handmade books (most of which we host in our libraries) created through unique collaborations between authors, indigenous illustrators, designers, craftsman and the publisher. (For a good example of a Tara publication, see “Sita’s Ramayana” by Samhita Arni, the 2019 NIST Graduation speaker and former NIST student).

Projected possibilities for a collaboration with Tarabooks would involve wide ranging connections with the NIST community such as, business students, a model of professional collaboration, indigenous art, design, technology, marketing, authorship, indigenous stories, oral histories, minority traditions and languages, materials, and intercultural understanding.

Updated :: 23 May 2019

Previous visits

AUTHOR VISITS 2016/17 – 2019/20
Per day Accommodation Travel Invoice Total Total THB
Korky Paul 2016/17 Elementary Yr 3 – 6 2 days 425 GBP/day 115 GBP 700 BGP not incl travel 815 GBP 33,000 THB
Nicola Davies 2017/18 Elementary Yr 2 – 6 5 days 135,000 THB
Neal Shusterman 2017/18 Secondary Yr 9 -11 1 hour session @ ISB visit 13000 THB 13000 THB 13000 THB 13,000 THB
Oliver Phommavanh 2018/19 Elementary/secondary Yr 5 – 8 3 days 150 AUD per student session 3 nights + 3,320 THB extra night 210 AUD ?? 40,000 THB
Nicky Singer 2018/19 Secondary Yr 9 1 Day 600 GBP 1 night @Movenpick 200 GBP 800 GBP 800 GBP 32,500 THB
Samhita Arni 2018/19 Secondary Yr 11-12 Week of Graduation ?

Hotel Costs

Movenpick : THB 2,900 (Superior room) (range up to THB 5,000)

U Hotel : THB 2,000 (Superior room), (range up to THB 3,200)

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