Sallas und Didaktics

Next week I’ll by flying out to Freiburg im Breisgau for the 5th International Convention For Didactics Of Paperfolding For Educators. This annual event is co-ordinated by Joan Sallas and a small team. The idea is to spend the weekend focusing not particularly on folding models, but to look at how they are taught, diagrammed and communicated.

For me, this makes a welcome change, taking origami perhaps more seriously as an educational tool, rather than a means of entertainment. There are over 150 people who have volunteered to give a lecture of some kind, which must represent a wealth of skills and ability.

The conference is different in other ways, recognising that not everyone has money to spare for origami weekends away. To this end, they make use of a local school hall where people can bring a sleeping bag and stay overnight at minimal cost. I suspect the majority of paperfolders fall outside the “poor” category and some probably have little idea how the cost of a typical origami convention can be impossible to meet.

Sallas himself is one of those rare folders who loves history. Whilst most folders have no real desire to learn where origami came from, he is forever researching the subject, unveiling fascinating information to us closet academics. His most recent studies are about napkin folding and he may already be the worlds leading authority on the subject.

With Palacios and Lister getting slightly older, he may well be the next  generation historian I’ve been waiting for. He’s also the author of some books and has a real twinkle in his eye, he reminds me in many ways of the late, great  Thoki Yenn.

So, for a variety of reasons, I’m really looking forward to next weekend and will report back after the event. I hope to meet some of you there.