February 2012 – I gave a workshop at the Media Education Association conference held at The British Film Institute and the aim was to claim film-making as an art in its own right and to inspire teachers to inspire children to think like film-makers (although in this instance, and gratifyingly so, the children were inspiring the teachers). We looked at the various sociocultural benefits this might bring as regards living in a digital environment – both embracing it and in some ways mitigating against it by looking closely at the physical world as well as the affordances of the visual medium.
I gave a detailed account of how the Cinémathèque project works (see Cent Ans de Jeunesse 2012) with its ‘pure’ approach to the cinematic. The delegates were tasked with a film exercise, prior to which there was a Q & A with 3 impressive Year 8 film makers from a state school local to the BFI – London Nautical School (LNS) – who are currently participating in the Cinémathèque project. They are mentored by Chris Waugh, the intuitive and pioneering English teacher from LNS. Here’s the exercise brief, which is to be viewed within the framework of this year’s Cent Ans de Jeunesse theme – the role of the real in fiction:
From a fixed camera position: film a person waiting for someone who eventually joins him/her. Choose a location that enables an interaction between fiction and elements of reality. (1 ½ – 2 mins duration). Time allocation: 15 mins.
I’m of the opinion that students could and should have a voice in arenas such as the MEA conference and that a good dose of practice as well as theory never goes amiss! The clips below might make more sense with a quick read of this script of the session. They can also be seen here on the BFI project blog with comments on each clip and more photos:
Mark Levermore, a practitioner who attended the workshop, had this to say in a follow-up email:
Just a quick note to say thanks again for a great workshop on Saturday – if that was really your first one then well done indeed – a lovely mix of theory and practical and inspirational thoughts …
Yours was refreshingly not about students and teachers doing media studies but rather about how film is used as a confidence booster, complimentary discipline and scope-widening tool for pupils all across the curriculum. The kids were a living shining example of how the arts can transform the level of engagement and learning potential of pupils – and if Aadi is the future of political thought about the arts then we are in safe hands!
Thanks for these thoughts Mark!