Medieval Islamic art and modern computer theory meet at UK maths conference

Samira Mian - Teacher

Internationally renowned experts in a medieval Islamic art form and in cutting-edge computer science will be among the wealth of speakers, at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics’ Annual Conference.

Around 180 delegates – including subject teachers and lecturers, national educational policy makers, mathematics consultancy organisations, businesses and others – are due to attend the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) Conference; to be held from April 6 to 9 (Monday to Thursday), at the four star De Vere Staverton Estate hotel in Daventry, Northamptonshire.

With the theme of ‘2020 Visualising‘, the 80 sessions and key speakers will see delegates explore new ideas and the latest developments in mathematics education, and make social and professional connections in a stimulating environment.

Main speakers at this year’s event will include:

·       Samira Mian on ‘Islamic Geometric Patterns’ – The artist and former school mathematics teacher is breathing new life into this centuries’ old technique of using straight edge, compasses and rigorous geometry to create beautifully simple and intricate patterns. Examples of this artform can be found in the architectures of Egypt, Turkey, India, Iran and many other countries. Samira has shared her artistic passion at workshops in the UK and abroad, and runs online courses which have attracted over 2,000 students in 90 countries.

·       Simon Peyton-Jones on ‘Computing and Maths: 1+1 = 3?’ – A leading computer science researcher at Microsoft Research (Cambridge) and respected academic. Simon is Chair of Computing at School, the UK grassroots organisation working to ensure every child has a world-class computing education and which was behind the 2014 reform of the English schools’ Computing curriculum. He is also Chair of the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE).

In his talk Simon will reflect on the symbiotic relationship between mathematics and computing. In a sense, computer science is simply maths made incarnate, tangible, and executable; each can inform and illuminate the other.  Could we take that thought and re-imagine maths and computing education in schools?  Do we need two separate subjects? All will be open for discussion.

·       Mike Ollerton on ‘Visions & Visualising’ – Mike taught mathematics in secondary schools for 22 years, ten of them as a Head of Department, where he guided the development of teaching and learning in mixed-attainment groups from Years 7 to 11. For the past six years he has been learning how to teach at his local primary school in a voluntary capacity.
Mike will focus on visions for the future via visions from the past. He will invite delegates to engage with some iconic images, aimed at developing students’ confidence, under the broad banner of ‘Mathematics for All’.

For full information on Conference speakers and sessions, and to book a place, go online to ATM website link 

Heather Davis, Chair of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics’ General Council, said: “I remember my own first ATM Conference, which was amazing, as this year’s will be. Our annual event is a great opportunity for those involved in mathematics teaching to hear from celebrated speakers and on the latest developments in their subject area.

“I look forward to a great turnout at the Conference and a lively exchange of ideas, as usual.”

There are a limited number of £100 bursaries available to offset the cost of attending Conference. These are open to all but priority will be given to student and newly qualified teachers, and first time Conference attendees, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Information, again, on the above 2020 Conference website page link.

For more information on the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) see its website at

Tags: association of teachers, british muslim magazine, de vere staverton, islamic art, islamic geometric patterns, medieval art, saira mian

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