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- Teachers Resources | Filmeducationjournal
Exploring pathways of film education throughout students’ experiences of Scottish secondary school In this article, Kerry Abercrombie, a teacher of Media and English at Larbert High School in Falkirk, Scotland, explores the unique specialist pathway called School of Media, where young people are able to engage with film education throughout their entire experience of high school. MORE Keywords : #media #film #education #scotland #secondary schools #sqa Teaching Film Everywhere: Mark Reid (BFI) and Saskia van Roomen (London Film School) In Conversation Mark Reid, Head of Film Education at the British Film Institute (BFI) interviews Saskia van Roomen about the range of her work, across formal and informal education, with children, students, film-makers, and parents and families, in practical, creative, terms as well as in the sheer unadulterated pleasure of watching films from all over the world. MORE Keywords : #film education #BFI #Into Film #London Film School Exploring the place of animation in Scottish moving image education In this article animator and film practitioner Jonathan Charles and academic Robert Munro discuss the benefits and challenges of using animation through a detailed look at a filmmaking project within a primary school in East Lothian. The article also provides, via Jonathan’s personal experience, an overview of animation practices and how its place in film education has evolved over the past decade. MORE Keywords : #animation #film education #scotland #primary schools Home Teachers Resources Sharing lived experiences through the film education project Cinema en curs This article explores the Catalonian project Cinema en curs, an annual, recurring and now international programme of film education that takes place with students aged 10–18 in schools and colleges. Set up in 2005-6 by Núria Aidelman and Laia Collel from the arts association A Bao a Qu, the project now runs across various regions of Spain and internationally. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking #realism #place-based education Learning from the Understanding Cinema project in Scotland This article provides a detailed, first-hand overview of the filmmaking project Understanding Cinema . Author and filmmaker Jamie Chambers worked as a tutor on the project between 2013 and 2019 and reflects on both its highlights and challenges. For teachers interested in making films, it provides a detailed account of how ‘a well-designed pedagogy’ can ‘allow simple, yet deep access to cinematic aesthetics’. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #Scotland; #primary school ; Securing a place for film within a Scottish secondary school Michael Daly and Jacqueline Thomso n are English teachers at John Paul Academy , an inner-city secondary school in Glasgow, Scotland. Working together as probationary teachers, they decided to start an after-school film club. From there, film has gradually become a central part of their teaching strategy, and has moved beyond their own English and Media classrooms to become embedded within John Paul Academy’s broader curriculum. MORE Keywords : #secondary school #Scotland #film club; #English Exploring local heritage through a documentary filmmaking project in Chile Felipe Correa describes the process of a documentary filmmaking project at a secondary school in Chile . Its aim was to encourage students to engage with the places, crafts and community where they live. Over the course of a year, students watched and analysed documentary films from different periods and cultures, whilst performing practical filmmaking inside and outside the school. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #Chile #documentary ; #cultural heritage Cinema workshops within marginalised communities in Chile Alicia Vega is a Chilean film scholar, educator and outreach worker who has run a series of cinema workshops within highly disadvantaged communities across Chile, which provided younger children with formative understandings of cinema, for over 30 years This is a rich and intimate account of how film can be used within community learning and outreach programmes. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking #Chile #outreach work; #active viewing Filmmaking about social issues with primary school children in Scotland Read about the experiences of Scottish teachers at Granton Primary School in Edinburgh. This case study of the making of the short film See You Tomorrow is a great first-hand account of some of the benefits and challenges to consider when creating films in a primary-school context . Discover a range of tips and ideas for you to take away and use back in the classroom with your pupils. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #racism; #primary school ; #emotional literacy Discussing films in the classroom with children of different ages in Slovenia How can we best approach discussing films in the classroom? Mirjana Borcic is one of the foremost figures within Slovenian film education. Explore a range of her ideas on how film can be used as a means of facilitating discussion in the classroom, and in particular on how to ensure that discussions are pupil-centred and encourage creative thinking. MORE Keywords : #discussing film #Slovenia #student voice; #active viewing A 16 week course of practical filmmaking with secondary school children in Portugal Explore the detailed overview of a filmmaking project from start to finish, which provides a useful model for secondary school teachers interested in making films with their students . This case study of film education in Portugal takes readers through the 16 weeks of a filmmaking course, acting almost as a project diary, describing the weekly tasks and outcomes. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #Portugal #secondary school; #collaborative; Towards an Anti-Racist Syllabus: Inclusive Pedagogy in Animation Studies and Beyond F antasy/Animation is a free-to-access and peer-reviewed educational resource, webs ite, blog, and podcast dedicated to the relationship between fantasy storytelling and the medium of animation. This article provides the outcome of a roundtable discussion that took place at the Canterbury Anifest event in February 2021, as well as additional links and ideas for classroom activities. MORE Keywords : #fantasy; #animation #diversity ; #inclusion; #BIPOC; #gender; #race
- Towards an Anti Racist Syllabus | Filmeducationjournal
Top of Page Summary Participants Introduction Discussion Classroom Ideas Resources References Home Teachers Resources Towards an Anti-Racist Syllabus: Inclusive Pedagogy in Animation Studies and Beyond Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire © 2023 Disney and its related entities. All Rights Reserved. This article provides the outcome of a roundtable discussion that took place at the Canterbury Anifest event in February 2021, where Fantasy/Animation co-founders Christopher Holliday (King’s College London) and Alexander Sergeant (University of Portsmouth) hosted a conversation with colleagues Kodi Maier (University of Hull) and Mihaela Mihailova (San Francisco State University). Fantasy/Animation is a free-to-access and peer-reviewed educational resource, website, blog, and podcast dedicated to the relationship between fantasy storytelling and the medium of animation. During the discussion, each participant was invited to share their observations regarding diversity and inclusion in the space of the classroom , and how the centring of BIPOC and queer identities, narratives, and creative voices has traditionally unfolded within the disciplinary boundaries of animation studies. The roundtable focused specifically on the publication of Fantasy/Animation ’s Black History and LGBTQ+ History themed blogs (curated by Maier), alongside its Anti-Racist Animation Syllabus collected by Mihailova, which began a conversation and resource exchange aimed at defining best practices for creating an anti-racist classroom. The conversation also confronted questions of syllabus design and “decolonising” canons of knowledge; the challenges of tokenism faced by educators when centring marginalised communities and voices; and animation studies’ opportunities for retention, mentorship, and outreach in enacting meaningful change. Suggestions for classroom activities and further resources can be found after the transcript, at the bottom of the page. The Participants Dr. Christopher Holliday is Lecturer in Liberal Arts and Visual Cultures Education at King’s College London UK, specializing in Hollywood cinema, animation history and contemporary digital media. He has published several book chapters and articles on digital technology and computer animation, and is the author of The Computer-Animated Film: Industry, Style and Genre (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), and co-editor of the collections Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres (Routledge, 2018) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: New Perspectives on Production, Reception, Legacy (Bloomsbury, 2021). Mx. Kodi Maier is a non-binary (they/them pronouns) doctoral researcher at the University of Hull, UK. While their thesis focuses on the material culture of the Disney Princess franchise and the role the franchise plays in shaping gender myths in the US, their research largely focuses on queer identity and ontologies within animation. Their most recent work can be found at The Conversation and the Fantasy/Animation websites, as well as in Coraline: A Closer Look at Studio LAIKA’s Stop-Motion Witchcraft (Bloomsbury, 2021) and The Deep: A Companion (Peter Lang, 2023). Dr. Mihaela Mihailova is Assistant Professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, US. She is the editor of Coraline: A Closer Look at Studio LAIKA’s Stop-Motion Witchcraft (Bloomsbury, 2021). She has published in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies , Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies , Feminist Media Studies , animation: an interdisciplinary journal , Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema , Flow , and Kino Kultura . Dr. Mihailova is the co-editor of Animation Studie s (https://journal.animationstudies.org/) and currently serves as Secretary of the Society for Animation Studies. Dr. Alexander Sergeant is Senior Lecturer in Film & Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He specializes in the history and theory of fantasy storytelling, with a particular expertise in the Hollywood fantasy genre. He is the co-editor of Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres (Routledge, 2018), and the author of Encountering the Impossible: The Fantastic in Hollywood Fantasy Cinema (SUNY Press, 2021), which seeks to understand the appeal of fantasy storytelling by exploring its psychological and philosophical routes. Introduction As both a critical and pedagogical intervention, the roundtable examined the relationship between academic research and praxis in ways that build on contemporary discourses of curricular reform and processes of intellectual “decolonisation” that prioritise “reshaping the academic canon as well as pedagogical practices” as a route to “creating new institutional norms” (Begum and Saini, 2019: 198). Such practices traditionally seek to address “the entrenched exclusion of minority groups and perspectives within academia” that harm minority communities and prevent “universities, academics and students from realising the potential that only the acceptance and inclusion of diversity can facilitate” (Moosavi, 2020: 332). Framed by “decolonising” strategies that function as “open pathways to dialogue” to unsettle, decentre, redeem, reappraise, and seize upon Eurocentric epistemologies (Gopal, 2021: 892), the roundtable confronted questions of syllabus design and “decolonising” canons of knowledge; the challenges of tokenism faced by educators when centring marginalised communities and voices; and animation studies’ own opportunities as an interdisciplinary space for retention, mentorship, and outreach in enacting meaningful change. Supported by a “critical consciousness” that decolonisation “cannot take place just in the classroom” (Gopal, 2021: 884), this conversation aimed to connect critical reflections on education and pedagogy to broader “state of the field” discussions to identify areas for improvement, but also to begin thinking through best practices that can be implemented across individual, institutional, and disciplinary actions. The Discussion CH: Thank you very much for being part of this Fantasy/Animation roundtable event. Beyond your shared expertise across a range of animated topics and subject areas, the reason we wanted to have this conversation was down to your collective involvement with the website and contributions to our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Mihaela, you curated for us the Anti-Racist Animation Syllabus in June 2020, which was published to begin a conversation and resource exchange aimed at defining best practices for an anti-racist classroom. There was a lot of social media activity around that (from the international animation scholarly community, academic publishers, Hollywood animators, and writers for the global animation news website Cartoon Brew ), and it is something I have certainly been directing my own animation students towards as we think about how to enact change at both individual and institutional levels. Such transformations are not just set in motion through a greater sensitivity to microaggressions in classroom settings, but in recognising tensions around identity and experience that play out both through the politics of representation in the things we watch and are manifest in – and through – our own positionality as researchers and thinkers. The construction of the syllabus was quickly followed by Kodi’s guest curation of several blog posts from scholars, artists, and creative practitioners to celebrate both Black History (October 2020) and LGBTQ+ History (February 2021) months. What we wanted to do in this very brief session was talk about the origins and design of the syllabus on the one hand (which you can still find on the Fantasy/Animation website), and the opportunities and challenges of themed curation in light of “decolonisation” as an overdue educational imperative. Hopefully this will feed into a broader discussion about the possibilities of animation – perhaps as the medium responds and as we respond as scholars – around positionality in relation to animated media, which has begun to powerfully embrace and centre a number of creative voices. To kick things off, perhaps we could talk about the origin story of the syllabus, which really comes out of your combined efforts? KM: It was the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. over the summer of 2020 that really inspired me to try to start this conversation, because in my own personal activism, I have always been committed to anti-racism, to undoing my own racism, and doing what I can to uplift people who are marginalised, even if it is not my own marginalisation, such as disabled people or people of different religions. Racism is a huge problem in the US, and so I felt that with the George Floyd protests I needed to do something more, I needed to step up in my own community and say, “What are we doing to address these issues within animation studies?” I wanted to see those conversations start. That’s what brought me to sending out the email initially to the Society for Animation Studies mailing list (in May 2020) to ask, how are we addressing this? Are we making sure that our pedagogy in the classroom is anti-racist? How are we uplifting Black, indigenous, and other people of colour? How are we uplifting those students? How are we supporting those postgraduate students and PhD students? Where are the gaps in our structures that may be keeping these people out, and maybe letting these people down? It’s a huge conversation to have, and it certainly can’t be done overnight, but those pushes are important to me. CH: This was an initial call to arms then, and an initial sharing of resources? What was the objective? You had the big aims and the big questions – that this was really to open out a set of conversations amongst the community of animation scholars, essentially? KM: Yes, because I feel like animation studies is really my academic home and I feel like if I want, for me personally, to be comfortable in this home, then I have to be active in helping to build it. So initially, yes, it was, “OK, what’s everyone doing in their classroom to be anti-racist?” and also “I need resources so I can step up and put more clearly, and publicly, my money where my mouth is.” Rather than just saying “I am anti-racist” and then reading a book and then not doing anything, I actually wanted to take some personal steps myself to make things better. I started getting all of these resources, and I was worried about some backlash just because I’ve had experiences early in my career that made me think, “Well, I don’t know how receptive the Society for Animation Studies, or the animation community, is to change.” But I was really happy to see how many people did step up and did share resources, and I think that’s what brought us to Mihaela’s syllabus because people were emailing back to my initial call to arms in the mailing list in dribs and drabs, and then Mihaela came out with an entire list that I was just like, “OK, wow, this is great.” MM: For further context, the Society for Animation Studies listserv is normally a very active email community, and as a scholarly organization we use it to exchange resources, to ask questions, to network. I think Kodi’s call to arms was incredibly well-placed there, and I’m very glad and grateful to you, Kodi, for jump-starting that conversation. It was very timely, obviously, and it has led to some very interesting resource exchanges and further conversations. But what I was noticing is that people who were sharing resources were having a kind of haphazard conversation, it was very piecemeal. It felt like everyone was trying to help, but they were committing maybe one or two sources, or one or two ideas, and I felt that it needed to be more consolidated and slightly more formalized, and just appear in the shape of an actual list, which is at least a little bit curated. So that was my thinking when I sat down and did some extra research, and I tried to have it be something that people can build upon. That was always my thinking behind that initial list, because obviously I have my own specialisms and I have my own geographic regions that I am more comfortable with and more familiar with, as a result of where I’m from and where I studied. But there are many other areas of the world where we have colleagues who have better access to both people and resources, and I was hoping they could then contribute and expand on what I did and say “OK, here are more people you should know about, here are more publications, here are institutions.” That was essentially what happened before Chris said, “why don’t you make this into an actual blog post and contextualize it a bit more, expand it, and then let’s publish it outside of the listserv, so people who are not members of the Society of Animation Studies can also have access to it.” It’s a great idea, and in fact it has really paid off because I have been contacted by people outside of our immediate network just to say that “we are using this in our department now,” or “we want to use it, let’s keep in touch and talk more,” and that’s been very gratifying. CH: We’ve talked informally about the way that we, as academics, design syllabi and are able to reflect on our own scholarly positions, and so I was thinking about what both Kodi’s curated months and the syllabi seek to do, and what this means for the spaces in which we write, research, and aim to affect change. But it is also interesting with the syllabus that you have this whole process of collecting it – you have all the pieces, the new things that come through the mailing lists, and so forth. But obviously, this whole discussion is really around marginality, decentring and decolonising, of trying to adopt these sorts of alienated subject positions. As you say, we have our own research specialisms and what we’re trying to do is rebel a little bit against those, thinking about our positionality across these different disciplines, subjects, and fields, which then links back to a broader discussion of the politics of inclusion and exclusion. But then actually as part of the curating process, you presumably then have to decentre yourself to start looking outside, as you say, outside your specialisms and outside the things that you’re familiar with, and presumably that then comes with its own challenges because by its very nature a lot of this stuff is hidden, or it’s difficult to find, and so you obviously drew from the stuff that was in response to Kodi’s original post? But then, what was next? Were you literally reaching out, looking at your own syllabi? I’m really interested in how, on a practical level, you went about collating that material. MM: I don’t think that there is a magical formula for putting that together. But what I did is a combination of things. Firstly, I looked at my own animation book library, and I went through every book that I didn’t remember the table of contents for, to see if in any of the anthologies that we regularly assign there are any sources, or any chapters, that might be relevant to this discussion, and in the process I noticed how few there actually are. The other thing I did is look at websites and resources that I’m familiar with, that a lot of academics use, such as the National Film Board [of Canada], because some of them are already ahead of us in terms of curating this kind of content very well, and in ways that are easy to find and engage with. The National Film Board especially is doing amazing work with indigenous animation, and that’s something that you can very easily incorporate into a week on the National Film Board when you’re teaching, because they have indigenous animation or indigenous cinema as separate categories on their website, and they have the movies there. I also just did research. I looked up every single term that I could think of across my normal range of sources that I go to. I looked at the Society for Animation Studies blog and the journal, to see what we have done as a community, because there’s some very interesting themed months and also special issues. I wanted to do due diligence and really incorporate the work of our own community but go beyond the straightforward. I also went to the streaming services as some of them have, let’s say for Black History Month, curated content right on their front page which is very useful. But even if they don’t, you can look over their content and figure out what is going to be easier to stream, and then you have to figure out which parts of the world have access to that. For instance, Netflix is currently a lot more accessible than HBO Max or Disney+, so that also involves keeping track of so geographic challenges and people having different streaming subscription ‘landscapes’ in their own countries. So it was a combination of things, and, to tell you the truth, looking at former syllabi that I have put together and other people have put together was actually not helpful, and that’s part of the reason why I wrote this. A lot of our syllabi are so steeped in an idea of an animation canon that I think we have inherited, and are just unproblematically and unquestioningly passing on. The syllabi that I’ve had access to, or been exposed to, or syllabi that I have put together in the past, have not been up to snuff in that sense. They have had token weeks, which is what I mentioned in my post, and that’s not how I want to do things going forward. AS: Your response, Mihaela, made me think of this issue of accessibility, and I think this is the next challenge that we’re probably facing as a website. To sort of reveal to listeners the labour division between Chris and I behind the scenes, Chris is very much in charge of getting the posts existing out there, and then my fingers are slightly more on the pulse of what then happens to the posts, and who sees it, and the analytics and all the meaningful data one can assemble in the digital world about that kind of thing. And when the post happened, I was on one hand surprised and delighted, and on the other hand, slightly disappointed. What I was delighted by was the level of enthusiasm when it was received, and the sheer number of people that accessed it is obviously pleasing. The whole point is to have it read, and we had quite a few comments through various of our social media channels saying it was good and from those liking it. But utopically and naively, I was hoping at the back of my mind that we would have some sort of back and forth, and the list would grow and we would be in a world where we’re all adding to this equation, and therefore increasing the diversity of voices involved in the project. Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, we are all four white people here discussing anti-racism, and whilst one must do one’s effort, I think accessibility and access to voices is key. I think our next challenge is how we can make our voices exist in spaces that can allow for that kind of accessibility, because we as Fantasy/Animation are still struggling with how we communicate to our readership and listenership, and therefore what kind of listenership and readership we are encouraging and creating and curating. Our readers and contributors to the website are predominantly white. Our responses tend to be predominantly from white individuals. Our fanbase seems to be largely white, at least the ones that are visible. So I think we might be inhabiting – and inheriting – both intellectual and digital spaces that encourage a certain demographic of people to participate, and discourage others. I do not think we, as an organisation, have quite cracked how to fix that yet. There are certainly challenges of making educational projects and resources like this accessible in all domains to all kinds of people, and particularly the kinds of people who are marginalised and victims of prejudice. KM: From my own experience, after I sent out that email and Chris said “OK, so clearly there is momentum here, how do we carry that forward?” (which involved publishing Mihaela’s syllabus), that is where the idea for a curated series of blog posts on anti-racism and specifically written by BIPOC to tie in with Black History Month came from. One of the things that I had in mind when I was working on the call for papers was the hashtag #BlackInTheIvory. It really was a lot of Black scholars just highlighting the systemic and institutional racism in academia, and the difficulties that they face – Black PhDs struggling with white professors and white supervisors who think that their project is too aggressive because it deals with the experience of Black people, or isn’t worthy of consideration because maybe it doesn’t focus on the white canon. So what I was hoping for with the curation was to find and uplift any Black or indigenous scholars that might be either in animation, or in animation studies. Every time I think about those curations, I always think of the line from Field of Dreams (Phil Alden Robinson, 1989): “If you build it, they will come.” I was trying to do my own part to build it. But I think when the resources aren’t there because of a larger systemic issue, then you’re not going to be able to build much. If we don’t have BIPOC animation undergraduate students, if we don’t have animation studies by POC postgraduates, if we don’t have BIPOC professors, then the field is going to stay quite white, and so I was hoping that through the curation I would be able to find people and pull them in to the Fantasy/Animation community and thereby make those spaces, build those spaces. But it was very difficult to find people who would contribute, and that might be because I’m white or they saw the CFP and thought, “OK, well, this white person isn’t going to understand,” or “this is someone who we are not going to be able to communicate with.” I understand this sort of scepticism and worry it might be present in animation studies. I was hoping that I could pull more people in, and support them, and then that would bring in more regular BIPOC contributors to Fantasy/Animation . But after running that curation I do think the issue is far more systemic and much more widespread, and I think it’s our responsibility to seek out marginalised students and bring them in rather than waiting for them to come to us. CH: I was going to ask you similarly about online spaces and streaming platforms. I work with a colleague who is interested in the algorithms and architecture that underlie the way in which marginalised, or specialist, areas are organised digitally. Her interest is specifically queer cinema, and the way that such media that might fall under that heading are quite literally badged or collected on certain kinds of platforms, and looking at the way that Netflix, or Amazon have framed and shaped content in particular ways. Alex and I have talked about this with regards to the Fantasy/Animation book, and what shelf the book sits on in the British Film Institute (BFI) library in London. It is in the animation section of the library rather than the fantasy area of the library. So there’s a relationship here between algorithm and tokenism, because the whole aim is about these issues and the kinds of voices that we need to centre. These things are knotted rather than root and branch, and this is a trap that we have fallen into in terms of the curated months. Such months are both the solution and part of the problem. It’s the solution of “this is more content and material that is being produced, which could then move onto a syllabus,” which is great, but then also you do lapse into these ‘specialist’ months, which go against or run counter to some of the ways in which we need to treat these kinds of problems that you raise. This brings me to a point about unlearning, because in the syllabus Mihaela you talked about the “resources below put together in an effort to begin unlearning,” and so I was interested in that element, and whether that process of unlearning also relates to some of the aims of the curated months? You sit students down in front of something like a syllabus, and explain that these sources here are going to get you unlearning, now off you go. So I am just interested, in what sense unlearning? MM: First of all, I want to emphasise that I do not recommend borrowing directly the categories that Netflix and other streaming giants come up with for their content because they are not useful. They were useful to me in the sense that I could find what’s out there, and then hopefully read more about it and figure out how to fit it into my own thinking and categories. But they do tend to be very reductive. But in terms of unlearning, I have struggled with the idea of canons all throughout my graduate education, because it was very canon-based. Without going into too much detail about it, I have concluded for myself as an educator that the idea of having an ossified list, or lists, of ‘great works’ that we can never challenge or push against or build upon is not productive, and it’s in fact usually very much rooted in all the politics that we’re trying to push against here and go beyond. The fact that, in general, canons tend to be incredibly white and male and Western has been true of animation, too, unfortunately. It is reflected in the way a lot of us teach animation. It is reflected in the way a lot of us assign readings, so that’s what I meant by unlearn. Firstly, to try to figure out and essentially question my own ingrained assumptions as to what constitutes an essential animation text. Whose work am I assigning in terms of both creative work and scholarly work to represent the richness – or essentially the value – of animation studies, and is it only white people? Is it only white Western people? So unlearning is a lot about your biases, both the ones that you’re aware of and the ones that are so deep, deeply ingrained, that unless someone starts a conversation like this, you are not actually going to think about when you put together a syllabus. But unlearning is secondly a larger disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) project that I hope we can engage with because, as Kodi was saying, a lot of these issues are systemic, and I think we have built a very good scholarly community. Obviously the field itself is thriving, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t take stock of what we have done right and what we have more work to do on, and try to do better in terms of how we teach, and whose work we’re teaching, and whose voices are being heard, and who we are actually inviting to the conversation, and that can be anything from whose film are you going to assign, to who is the guest lecturer. Who are you mentoring? I’ve seen this a lot in graduate programs – people just mentoring essentially a younger version of themselves, and that obviously leads to further marginalisation. CH: Presumably, Kodi, this unlearning process is also central to what you’ve been doing too? As you said, you’ve been pulling these people, pulling voices into animation studies, which raises questions about animation studies as a hermetically sealed thing as opposed to animation as something that’s available to lots of different areas and voices. So I wondered from your experience in curating, how unlearning presumably relates to interdisciplinarity because you’re pulling people in, or at least speaking to people who are within certain disciplinary boundaries and trying to think about what animation means to people working in a cultural studies department, rather than necessarily a film in media or film and television department. This goes back to conversations we are currently having at my own institution about syllabus design, and the way in which we deliver material and the quotes that we have on slides, the voices that we see, and also how long we spend on them. Essentially the time that you allocate. But from your practical perspective, you spoke a little bit about the challenges of pulling people into animation as part of your project. Was that different second time round? You obviously followed your anti-racist curated posts for Black History Month with new posts sourced for a special LGBTQ+ History Month, so I wondered if you have encountered similar issues when inviting all these voices into an interdisciplinary project to broaden animation’s critical study? KM: It was still a little difficult to pull in and solicit curations for the LGBTQ+ History Month. But because I have been very vocal about my research interests in queer animation, and queer ontologies in animation, it means that I am also fairly well connected to people who are interested in the same thing, so trying to find people within the animation studies community was not too much of a challenge. I borrowed people from comic studies, and another from musical theatre, so it was more luck that they were interested in writing. It was a lot more of an active pulling, but again, the contrast with the LGBTQ+ History Month is that I already had quite a few people within animation studies, which I do feel is a little bit hermetically sealed. I don’t know if it’s the infantilisation of animation that people don’t really take animation seriously, or that it’s worth a serious inquiry or serious study compared to other media. But one thing that I did notice when I was assembling this curation is that again, we all may be queer, but we are all white and I did try in the call for papers for that month to say if you were Black, if you are indigenous, a person of colour, if you’re disabled, please come talk to me. I want to centre your work. But for some reason I did not get a response. I don’t know if the people aren’t there, but again that would speak to what Mihaela was saying about mentoring undergraduate students. We have to really start thinking about who we are mentoring and who we are – not just pulling in laterally from our peers – but drawing up from our resources of students. What students are we nurturing so that their scholarship can make it out into the world? AS: I am known on the Fantasy/Animation podcast for asking impossible questions each week, so the impossible question for us all, which we can offer our thoughts on as a sort of ‘to be continued’ is what do we do next? What is there to be done next to continue this work that needs to be done? MM: I think it depends on whether or not you mean what should we do next within the discipline, or outside of it, and I think those are two pathways that we need to consider at the same time. By which I mean it’s very important to continue having that conversation in public-facing events that are not specifically dedicated to academic studies and are not only attended by academics, because otherwise we’re just going to keep having conversations in our own echo chambers and we know how well that works in actually enacting meaningful change. But at the same time, I think people within our own networks do need to have these conversations with each other so we can support each other in this group endeavour, exchange tips and ideas, and also plan for future events. Obviously, our annual conferences are a huge platform, and a huge chance to do both the mentorship work and actual organisation work, to have events that are dedicated to this topic, and to sort out our publications. Both publications that are aimed at a broader readership like yours at Fantasy/Animation , and our specialty journals. I think the challenge there, once again, will be avoiding tokenism, because if you just have one special issue on, let’s say, Black voices in animation, and then you say “I’m done, I did my duty,” that’s not systemic change. That’s just a gesture. So I think instead of doing that, we need to be making a conscious effort of – as Kodi was saying – encouraging people who are not in our usual networks to contribute work, and also making sure that we retain them in the community, because if they don’t feel welcome, they will stop contributing. I think retention in addition to outreach is something that we should think about. KM : As Mihaela was talking about this, I was thinking about my home group, the Society for Animation Studies, but also too about the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) and the other major screen organizations. One thing that I would like to see conference and symposium organisers explore is funding for BIPOC, disabled, queer, marginalised students, and scholars, because there will be real financial barriers to them attending conferences and presenting their work. If we can help them remove those barriers, whether offering travel bursaries, waiving conference fees, helping with hotel fees, paying for food or things like that, I think that would be a huge help in perhaps bringing in fresh blood, or fresh ideas, or enriching screen studies in general. If we have to consider the external systemic barriers as well, in terms of financial barriers or social barriers, we should consider what may be blocking people from joining our community and then trying everything we can to remove those barriers. I know I personally have no control over my university’s purse strings, or over the Society for Animation Studies’s finances, so that’s not really something that I can do personally, but it is in my heart to continue to try and work with people to publish these voices as best as I can. And to network with people, see who else is out there, and then bring them to people like you, Alex, and Mihaela, and saying “look, I can vouch for this person’s work” or “I think it needs to be out there,” or “It needs to be in front of people.” So that kind of networking in that kind of community building is something that is extremely important to me. CH: In terms of this kind of much-needed intellectual and social engagement, I was thinking about animation as a medium often being understood as responsive, responsible, and reactive to the world. In my own teaching and in the classroom, I have often reflected on the way that animation has that unique and creative ability to interrogate systems of power, cultural formations, and questions of identity to help us determine what’s happening ‘out there.’ I always tell my students that animation is the thing that exists between us and the world. We must always ask what are some of animation’s historical, social, political, cultural, and geographical contexts, which might support our intellectual curiosities. More broadly, why and how is knowledge constructed and contested, rather than settled and fixed? It seems like if these are the fundamental qualities of the animated medium, then the interdisciplinary studies of that same medium can and should ask the same questions as part of this commitment to enact change. Ideas for the Classroom Targeted animation projects can identify the ability of the medium to effectively communicate elements of language, cultural representation, and aid in the development of literacy. For teachers interested in reflecting in action and ‘problem setting’ (Schön 1983) with the challenging issues of diversity and inclusivity raised by the participants of the roundtable, the following activities are intended to be implemented to reflect animation as a practical pedagogical agent in the emergence of non-Eurocentric paradigms and the decolonisation of ‘taken for granted’ intellectual heritages. TASK #1 – adapted from Eugenia Zuroski’s exercise that seeks to question ‘mundane academic structures and conventions’ (2020) through reflective enquiry, this activity asks students to examine the relationship between personal and intellectual positionality as much as their broader academic interests and expertise. Utilising the historical and cultural authority of certain forms of animated media, students are asked (as part of their introduction to the session and interest in the animated medium) to think about how their own knowledge is situated through a consideration of personal identity and, in turn, how such positionality guides their identity as interlocutors of culture. How have different kinds of knowledge in their experience of animation been generated in places and sources where they studied? Have these experiences set up certain assumptions about what is permitted to count as knowledge? This task therefore allows students to identify how their pre-existing understanding of animated media are shaped by political core/periphery hierarchies of visibility, accessibility, and marginality. TASK #2 – how might we conceptualise the animated medium’s telling of queer narratives, and its depiction of queer representation? Does animation function as a necessary tool for queer activism? Is animation itself a queer medium in its plasticity and potential for redefining more ‘orthodox’ forms of representation? In a current political climate marked by a volatility and hostility towards minority communities (and with few curricula explicitly including LGBTQ+ history), animation can be used as a potent and vital form of social justice and anti-racism. This task engages the fundamental queerness of animation as a transformative medium and the new possibilities of expression it engenders. Students are asked to source a suitable example sequence of what they determine queer animation, either in its subject matter or treatment of gender/sexuality. The aim here is to invite students to recognise via medium specificity the value of animation in the creation of ‘artistically oriented education’ (Desbarats 2021) by cumulatively curating their own screening series within the classroom of what it might mean to site animation along a spectrum of queerness in its radical freedom of form. TASK #3 – students are invited to reflect on animation’s historical relationship to propaganda and rhetorical potential for political communication. In the style of a classroom debate, students are organised into opposing teams that argue for and against the allegedly ‘innocent’ language of the animated medium, thinking about its potential for subversive acts through devices of satire, caricature, symbolism, and metaphor. Students discuss in teams whether animation, on the one hand, dilutes political content on account of its fundamentally graphic nature, or whether on the other the medium ultimately accentuates any ideological messages through its ability to sharpen meaning by transforming ideas into accessible images. To what extent is it effective and/or ethical to use animation as a medium to facilitate propaganda? How do caricature and cartoon aesthetics desanctify reality and challenge authority? How can the medium be accused of exaggerating prejudice via stereotypes of vulnerable and marginalised groups? TASK #4 – this task thinks through knowledge production and questions of the canon. Students find their own academic source that falls within the interdisciplinary field of animation studies and engage with the argument developed by the author(s) through the source’s content, intellectual scope, and methodology. Looking only at the source’s bibliography or reference list, they examine what material is being cited/not cited, and what factors might account for such references; what critical conversations are being held, and what are the stakes of any intellectual exchanges and omissions; and what kinds of evidence the author(s) is elaborating upon. The intention is to allow students to connect what their chosen text is ‘doing’ intellectually with the broader politics of citation in higher education, and especially how value and power are reproduced and sustained by practices of syllabus design that may (or may not) obscure the contributions of minoritized scholarly communities. Resources 1 / Centre for Education and Animation The Centre for Education and Animation (CAP) website includes numerous courses, workshops, and projects related to animation as an alternative learning and communication tool. 2 / Leeds Animation Workshop The Leeds Animation Workshop website offers a free downloadable guide for teaching young people how to create their own short animations. 3 / Animated Minds Animated Minds is a collection of animated documentaries that uses ‘real testimony combined with animation to make compelling short films about a range of social and psychological themes.’ Available to view free online. 4 / Cartoon Museum The Cartoon Museum website includes free learning resources and downloadable templates for drawing caricatures, designing comic books, and illustrating a range of diverse character body shapes 5 / animationstudies2.0 The Society for Animation Studies blog animationstudies2.0 includes several articles written by academics and creative practitioners discussing undergraduate animation studies courses, how to conduct animated field research, and the value of animation as an interdisciplinary mode of pedagogy. References Begum, N. and Saini, R. (2019). ‘Decolonising the Curriculum.’ Political Studies Review 17 (2): 196–201. Desbarats, F. (2021). ‘High-school cinema curricula: Evidence of new trends in education.’ Film Education Journal 4 (2): 125-135. https://doi.org/10.14324/FEJ.04.2.03 . Gopal, P. (2021) ‘On Decolonisation and the University.” Textual Practice , 35 (6), 873–899. https://doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2021.1929561 . Moosavi, L. (2020) ‘The decolonial bandwagon and the dangers of intellectual decolonisation.’ International Review of Sociology , 30 (2), 332–354. https://doi.org/10.1080/03906701.2020.1776919 . Schön, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action . New York: Basic Books. Zuroski, E. (2020). ‘Where do you know from?’: An Exercise in Placing Ourselves Together in the Classroom.’ MAI Feminism 5 (Special Issue: Feminist Pedagogies). https://maifeminism.com/where-do-you-know-from-an-exercise-in-placing-ourselves-together-in-the-classroom /.
- The BFI and London Film School | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Teaching Film Everywhere: Mark Reid (BFI) and Saskia van Roomen (London Film School) In Conversation Mark Reid (BFI) and Saskia van Roomen (London Film School) In Conversation In setting up this interview in February 2021, Mark Reid, Head of Film Education at the British Film Institute (BFI) wanted to talk to Saskia van Roomen about the range of her work, across formal and informal education, with children, students, film-makers, and parents and families, in practical, creative, terms as well as in the sheer unadulterated pleasure of watching films from all over the world. Mark felt she was well placed to draw connections across different film pedagogies, approaches, and settings. We share links to specific work in the text, but readers might also like to visit the London Film Schools outreach pages at: https://lfs.org.uk/outreach/projects and also her family film club website: https://www.smallworldcinema.com The Interview in Full Mark Reid: Saskia can you tell us about yourself, your background and professional role, just to put your work into context. Saskia van Roomen: I’m originally from Holland, from a place called Hilversum which is near Amsterdam. I never went to the cinema as a child. We don’t have a class system in Holland but I’d say I come from a working-class or lower-middle class family. My parents never had money to send us to the cinema or the theatre. It wasn’t part of my growing up at all. I do remember a couple of films I watched in school which bowled me over. One was Kramer vs Kramer (Robert Benton, 1979) and one was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman, 1975) I think I saw 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ in primary school, which is kind of mad. So, film wasn’t part of my growing up. Then by chance I fell into the film industry at large. I was a nanny when I was a student, living with the woman who was the Head of Film at the Dutch Ministry of Culture. I looked after her son in exchange for a room. She got me an internship at the European Script Fund, which at the time was part of the MEDIA Programme. That was putting money into development of single projects and slates for production companies across Europe. I worked there for six months and off that I wrote my thesis on the GATT negotiations linked to French and Belgian identity. It was all about whether film could be excluded from that. That was my entry to the film industry. Then I went back to Holland and, after my studies were finished, I came back to London and worked in different jobs. I worked in different production companies, funding agencies, the MEDIA programme, I produced two short films. It was all a bit random. Then I ended up at the London Film School. I took a break to have the children and that’s really where I restarted not just my love for film but started looking at children's films and was able to discover through their eyes. I used them to go on this journey of films for children and young people. I was lucky that I found [UK-based precursor to Into Film] Film Club. This was back in 2014. It had existed for a few years already. M: You mean Film Club which became Into Film? It started in 2006. S: When I found that I thought ‘what an amazing vehicle to use’. Quite selfishly I wanted to go on this journey and introduce my children to film. Doing it at the school was such a lovely place for it. I got free rein from the headteacher to do it, although they weren’t especially proactive, but they didn’t stop me. M: I wanted to start with your ‘formation’, of your ‘sensibility in film’, because for lots of us who work in film culture and film education, there are lots of accidents but there are also moments of awakening or igniting an interest in film as an art form. It's really interesting to hear that moment being when you became a parent and started looking at film with your children. I’m sure it happens to lots of people; we have these moments when we make a choice around what we’re doing. What I think characterises lots of us who work in this sector – we work here and love the art form. It's not just a job, it’s a bit like a vocation. I wondered if you could tell us a bit more about the – I think they’re called ‘side hustles in America. They're the things we do, the passion projects, that we do alongside our work, which are related to our work. You mentioned the film club. Becoming an Into Film Ambassador and and the community cinema family film stuff as well. How did that develop alongside your day job? S: It’s funny really, it wasn’t my side hustle. The side hustle became my actual work. It was a perfect synergy. When I set up the film club at school, I was the Head of Workshops at LFS. I had a lot of experience creating workshops for professionals. I liked drawing on the experience of that, to bring it to children in schools. Using Into Film was a starting point. I made up my own things. I was inspired by Mark Cousins’ 8 1/2 film club, which he created with Tilda Swinton. It had a great website, although it’s pretty much now defunct. But it was a great resource to find films and broaden your mind to other types of films, not necessarily made for children, but that are really great for children. I started to do my research and use the children as little guinea pigs. I brought in all kinds of people. I brought in an editor who was at the Film School at the time. He did Frankenweenie (Tim Burton, 2012) and Shark’s Tale (Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron, and Rob Letterman, 2004). He came into the school to do an editing class with the children. I got in a friend of mine who worked in marketing and he did a session on making film posters. They did a whole session on posters and he chose the winner and made that into a professional film poster. I took them to the Apple store to go on classes that they do for kids there, they did something on film music and making soundtracks. Obviously Into Film had a lot of opportunities as well. We went to see an early cut of Get Santa (Christopher Smith, 2014), with the director and the producers and gave early feedback. It was all so enjoyable for me. I enjoyed watching the films with the children, having that peaceful time once a week. I used to make popcorn and we’d have drinks and just sit and watch films from all over the world. That was my one stipulation - that we wouldn’t watch generic, mainstream film. Some of my best moments were watching Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey, 2010) on a rainy afternoon. Everyone is watching it absolutely spellbound. I remember watching Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2003) and the teacher next door started playing loud music and the kids were so outraged and insisted she turn it down. At a really emotional moment, these boys who were usually the most raucous kids in the class, were watching a Ghibli film whilst holding hands, the girls going ‘look at them.’ M: Maybe people will think that film clubs are just babysitting services where children sit in front of the screen while the teacher does something else. Yours sounds very practical, interactive, full of variety, very kinetic. I’m thinking about the Alicia Vega example [Note: see issue 3.2 of the Film Education Journal https://www.filmeducationjournal.com/ 100 Children Waiting for a Train, trailer at: https://vimeo.com/251876199 ] S: Yes, totally. When I watched that film I thought ‘my God, this is what I’ve been doing all these years.’ It was absolutely the same. I really loved that film and I showed it to them. They were very bored but they did watch it. They did say afterwards ‘yeah, it was quite good.’ I think I was lucky with this group of children, but there’s always a different group. I think so many kids have gone through film club at that school now. I never tried to make it too ‘schooly’. Sometimes the problem with things like Into Film is that it becomes an extension of school. I did not want to do that because it’s not what I wanted either. I thought it needs to be a place where they discover stuff themselves. I also think it’s so important that you offer things and let them take from it what they want. Not being so massively prescriptive that they need to write something about it or say why it was good or why they enjoyed it. No, they just sit there and let it wash over them and the fact that they would react in the way they did just made me feel that it was enough. For a lot of people that was enough – some kids just standing up and getting so excited they would do a very quick dance and then sit down again. Or after watching Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008), and then doing a big – how to do you call it – where they all hold each other's shoulders and waltz through the class. Just an instantaneous reaction to what they’ve seen and expressing it in a way. M: It’s a version of what education should be really, isn’t it? It’s not that film education should be this dull, prescriptive stuff and then we do the nice stuff outside of it. S: Exactly. For me this has been a massive journey because I'm not a teacher. I haven’t got any teacher training. And I'm not a filmmaker. I'm almost in the same position as the children. It's just I'm an adult and I can pretend I know what I'm doing. But in effect I was enjoying it at the same level as they were. That was my guiding principle – for us to enjoy it. I remember the headmistress coming into the class from time to time, to check what we were watching. She would say ‘please don’t sit on the tables, sit down, health and safety’ and walk off again. Then I’d say ‘okay, you can go back on the tables.’ M: What about the family film club? How did that develop? S: That came a year later after the one in school. I’d heard of this quite English tradition, or so I thought, of the Saturday Film Club. It wasn’t something I’d experienced as a child but many people told me it’s where they got their formative film experiences. A friend of mine said: ‘there’s so many things available for regular kids.’ She has a son with Down’s Syndrome and she said ‘why don’t you do something for audiences of children that don’t normally take part in these kinds of activities.’ That was my initial brief, or outlook for the club. I contacted a local library with a massive hall upstairs with a projector. They gave me the space once a month on a Saturday. I just followed the same outlook as for the film club in the school...well, not the same because we had a lot more time. We would screen a film and think of a creative activity to do beforehand, something that would link to the film. I’ve always advertised to many local parent groups for children with special needs, schools for children with special needs, I promoted it quite widely, but it's had quite a mixed audience. This was quite nice because a lot of my friends who also had children of a similar age, we were all volunteers, we would all put it up together with our kids and they would all mingle. It was interesting from that point of view because it was like a community event. It was less overtly film education, it was more broadening their minds and having something to do on a Saturday with their friends. Because it was regular they could see each other, and it was a chance for siblings of children with special needs to mingle and feel like there was a safe space for them to hang out. Their parents would have a cup of tea and I’d make sure there was coffee and biscuits. M: Are the activities you do film-related? I’m quite puritanical about face-painting activities before you watch a film. I’d always prefer the practical stuff to engage with what the film’s about. Probably unfair, but I like seeing how the practical stuff relates to the art form. S: Yes, we would do that. We would look at the film were planning and then figure out a suitable activity. When we watched Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight, 2016) we did an origami workshop for that. We watched Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011) and a colleague brought in a projector, an 8mm and a 16mm. We would unspool the films and look at them with magnifying glasses and colour in reels of film and project it on screen. We were sometimes very ambitious like that. It was lovely. Through the projector we watched little Snow White films and someone would hold the piece of paper to project it on. It was very tactile. I felt we needed to do things that were hands on. We did the same things as the woman in the slums of Santiago [Alicia Vega]. We did a lot of making your own thaumatropes and flip books. We didn’t want to be snobbish about it, so we did do a Halloween one, for example, and we did have face painting. I would also think about the fact that some people didn’t have the same facilities. So we would always have posters and images from the film that we were screening as a colouring in page. I would print out story boards for the children to fill in. What I loved about it is that you would see them come in, see the table full of resources, and just sit down and do it. There was no thinking, they would just get stuck in. M: it’s an instructive example of how education might work where children don’t have to be told or have things explained to them because they can see the point of the activity and they sit and engage with it because it’s transparent to them. S: Yes and often you need to tell the parents to stand up and give their seat to a child because they would also sit down and get stuck in. We'd make a stop motion animation with the creatures they made. Or we’d have a lightbox and they would cut out silhouette figures and we would already have it pre-printed and people could make up their own stories. They would do totally random stuff. But put all together we would then make a little film out of it and screen it at the end. I always felt people would walk in and be surprised. We watched Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (1928) and got a circus performer in to do a circus workshop. We had people with wheelchairs. It was so festive and very relaxed - that’s why I continued it, I just enjoyed it myself. That was the main prescription I set myself. If I’m not enjoying it anymore, just stop. M: Let’s move on to Cinema Cent Ans De Jeunesse. How did you come across it? What appealed to you? Your experience of following it for that year with the school film club? S: I went back to work at London Film School, this time in Outreach, which was quite a dormant department and I was free to pursue things that interested me. I really wanted to figure out a way of how to include my experience from film club and bring that into an outreach setting. A colleague introduced me to your project. When he told me about it, I instantly recognised it was the missing link between what I was doing and how to bring it into something more in terms of watching films. I’d always felt the children wanted to make films but it was difficult for me because I’m not a filmmaker. Having to do that hands-on guidance, I didn’t feel I could do that. And this programme of course gave me the tools for this – I was working at the Film School and I had Chi who was leading it all. It was the perfect combination. M: So the missing link was because it was about filmmaking? Or the missing link it because it looked at film in a particular way or was structured in a particular way? S: I think what I really enjoyed is it was looking at world cinema, and the fact it was a bit of watching and then I really liked the exercises. It wasn’t on a theme that is very prescriptive e.g. ‘today we’re going to look at bullying’. The project gave you a lot of freedom to look at the theme and fill it in as you’re working on it. I think the way the children interpreted the exercises has been so varied, and looking at the differences in what all the schools did, it shows you that even though there is a theme it leaves you very free to experiment. I loved that, it chimed with the Film School sensibility. I could see that’s where we could add something. For me it was an experiment to see what could work and, in my view, it really has worked. It chimes with what the Film School teaches to adults. M: How did the children take to it, when you did The Situation [the theme for CCAJ in 2018/19], not just the exercises but also the watching, the engaging and the talking about this wider range of cinema. S: At the time they were very ready to be more active. I knew the children by then, a lot of them had been in film club for quite some time. They were very good at discussing the clips, that wasn’t particularly novel for them. The children instantly could recognise what we were talking about and could interact. I think what was interesting for them was to be able to then link it to something they had to do themselves. I think watching and then having the exercise where you put some of those elements in practice, that is what is so challenging for them. It really stretched them, in a good way. M: The stretch involved, the cognitive challenge, is quite unusual in a film education programme. They don’t often seek to push children’s imaginative resources and responses very far. S: I think that’s because at school they are so used to figuring out what the teacher wants them to reply. Everybody does the same thing because they’ve all been taught in the same way and taught how to regurgitate stuff. I think exposing them to something like this, concepts in film which are so difficult to describe to children. The [theme of] ‘situation’ was easy but the [theme of] ‘sensations’ really stretched their abilities for them to figure what we’re talking about and how to recognise it in film. It was so different and no one had done anything like it. In the feedback you could see they found it difficult to understand the concept but slowly, slowly they started to. Even though they thought they didn’t know what it was, in terms of what they produced you could see they grasped the concept and were able to make their own response to it. I think the film they created on both occasions was really accomplished. [see Highfields Junior School’s film on the theme of ‘Situation’ here: https://vimeo.com/468906609 ] M: It’s interesting how you evidence what children have learnt in a medium that isn’t in language. If you’re asking them about literature, they write or talk about the book. If you ask them to demonstrate that they understand a film concept, they can only show it to you by representing it [in film] rather than by telling you. Like you said, if they can’t articulate it in language, they might feel they haven’t got it or understand it, until they show it in a piece of film. Then you look at it and think: ‘oh, you do understand how film represents a sensation because you’ve just shown me one.’ S: Yes, absolutely. That [‘sensation in cinema’] was a really difficult concept. Not only showing a sensation, but making a piece that will elicit a sensation in the viewer. I think lockdown really helped on that project. But quickly going back to the Situation, what was interesting for me was that they were more interested in doing the exercises than they were in doing the final film. That's something to keep in mind, they can explore by themselves and something they have more ownership over and enjoyed more. I've noticed this more in feedback from other groups as well that, when they do their final project and it’s much more structured and they haven’t got an overview in their own heads about what they are doing, they enjoy it less. M: Why do you think that is? S: I think children want to do things quickly. They don’t want to think a week, two weeks, or a month into the future when the piece might be finished and figure out all the different building blocks we put together to have a lovely end result. They want to have ownership of the thing they are creating themselves in the moment and then watch it quickly afterwards. In the exercises they did, for example, I remember saying to them ‘now we’re going to have this exercise, you’ve got half an hour, come up with an idea, here are some tools.’ All of a sudden they came up with the idea of using flashlights and music, figuring out how are we going to play the music whilst timing it, making the lights on the wall flash in time exactly. They loved doing that. It was so immediate. You go in and ‘5 more minutes’ and they say ‘ok, we’re just doing the editing!’ and then screening it. For them it was the biggest thrill. M: We should put a link in the article to the flashlight exercise, it really is extraordinary as a representation of what you’re talking about – children's autonomy, mastery and control. [see their film exercise here; https://vimeo.com/389520479 ] S: The professionalism. They create it themselves. They don’t muck about. Or that one where they did that modern dance, that riff on what the exercise was [SEE ABOVE]. That’s what I love about working with children. They don’t sit back and go ‘ok let’s hear everyone’s thoughts.’ They literally dive in straight away and do it. M: The final film is much more like that process [see the final Sensation film here: https://vimeo.com/468905342 ] it has to be a group process, it has to be collaborative and planned. Also the only person who can hold the whole project in their head is the teacher or the filmmaker. So it’s not going to belong to the children. It belongs to them collectively, but individually they don’t know what the whole thing is and it’s not theirs. It's a really important insight I think, between doing something improvised, quickly, in which you have total control, and being part of a bigger collaboration. Which is probably a good discipline to have – you put aside your own ego and desire to support something which is bigger than yourself. You can see how it’s a good thing but also how children might find it hard and more challenging. S: Absolutely and by saying they enjoyed the immediate more I don’t mean that you shouldn’t make something bigger. I think that has a different learning curve and enjoyment for the children. They can learn something more about their particular role on that film. They’ve learned how to be a sound recordist and it’s something you can’t take away. They don’t realise it at the time but that is something you know as a teacher that you’re giving them. It will stick with them and, if they’re interested, they can take it further. The children who were the actors loved doing that part of it. My daughter was the producer, she has no idea really and it was maybe a bit boring because she did all the paperwork. But it’s understanding that everything you give to the project is just as valuable as being the star or the director. In our case we were very lucky with the boy who was the director. He really stuck with it, he wasn’t flustered by adults shouting over him. Very impressive to see children shine like that and reveal their hidden talents – it's really exciting. M: Shall we move on to Virtual Film Club and how the pandemic and lockdown shaped your thinking and changed your practice and the approaches you had. Thinking about that transition, that you made very quickly, part of it that strikes me is that you wanted to do more of that smaller exercise, that practical activity as a way of getting children to do things quickly and learn things quickly. Tell us what happened from lockdown and how you took things online. S: When lockdown started last year we were already halfway through our CCAJ project. We had already started in class with the children, delving into the sensations. That was very important because it was such a tricky concept. So we were lucky in a sense that we’d already done most of our exercises. When lockdown started we thought: ‘okay, we’ve done all these exercises. We need to come up with something else.’ Also, we didn’t want to leave them and say ‘sorry, it’s lockdown, we can’t do anything.’ We quickly created resources that we could use in an online setting. We went back to talking about film grammar, film elements we could offer them in bite sized pieces. We decided on a range of them. We did sessions on things like point of view, why we use them, what kind of response do you get from your audience when you use these shots. We would give them a little tuition with a Powerpoint and then we would give them a homework task for them to go off and do during the week. That was very, as you say, thinking back on their enjoyment of doing the exercises. Also what I’ve found is that you always have in a class setting either the children who are the most able or the most assertive. There are always children who sit back and let other children do the work for them or are just living in the background. But this gave us a chance to have everybody equal. You all see each other on the Zoom screen. Literally everyone is equal, you all have a little box for your head. You can't really hide in that sense. Everybody doing their homework, and sending it back, we would watch it by sharing our screen, watch each clip, let each filmmaker talk about what their thoughts were, and have people comment on them. It was a really enjoyable project but we did ask a lot from the children. We have adapted it afterwards because it was too long and at the end they were falling off their chair with boredom and hunger. M: How long were the sessions? S: They were meant to be an hour and a half but sometimes they would stretch to two hours. M: Wow. S: I know. But it’s because we were figuring out the technology and how it works. We had never used Zoom before, it was a totally new thing. It was an opportunity for the children to see each other, have a discussion, see their school mates. It wasn’t a school setting – there was no ‘correct answer’ - it really was a free flowing discussion surrounding film. They all took it very seriously and commented in a professional manner. They learned a lot from that aspect. Whatever you put on for children you’re never just teaching the topic. You're teaching so many other skills alongside it. M: How old were they? S: They were 8-11 years old. By that stage the parents were joining in. We often got comments back saying how they enjoyed it. We said to the children: ‘you’re not supposed to be in it. You're the director, the filmmaker the camera person.’ So they had to work with their siblings and their pets and their parents to make their films. It became quite an enjoyable thing to do as a family. It set the children up as the experts in their house. When they were watching a film they could recognise ‘oh this is a frame within a frame.’ M: It’s another kind of ambition of all education really: to make a better connection between home and school and for children to get families involved in their learning. It seems that’s one of the benefits of lockdown, children are learning at home and doing things at home, and their families get involved because they are the natural resources that they use. Especially for something like film. S: Especially as they see you’re doing it through a school. It makes the parents feel that it’s part of their education. It's not just a fun thing to pass the time. They still have at the back of their minds that ‘it’s a learning opportunity for my child.’ They’re so used to the fact that you can't do the homework for your child, they have that mindset, which is good, because they don’t interfere. They take it seriously. I think it’s different if you do it as a fun club. Then the parents don’t take it as seriously. Doing it through school helps. M: Did you find the children learned anything different, or in a different way from when it was face-to-face? Were there any unanticipated benefits of outcomes? S: The nature of what we did meant they got their hands dirty a lot more. In class you have such limited time and a lot of pressures in terms of not being allowed to use the internet or having enough tablets to film on. Now it gave them all the chance to join in equally. I think that was really useful. But we did miss those sessions where they would spark off each other and create things together. Of having that experience of watching something together and holding hands or being moved or having a laugh with your friends. All these things that a cinema setting would give, those are the things we missed. But this was just something else and in a way it’s something to continue after lockdown. It offers something intensive. You do it as a short burst in addition to something you can do in a cinema or film club setting. M: Fast forward to now, to where you’ve taken Virtual Film Club and online learning and the things you’re doing now. Have they evolved again? S: Yes. After that first project that we did, it’s inspired me to think much bigger than just doing something in a classroom that nobody knows about, in a school in the suburbs. That was great for those 15 children that took part and it was a great experience. But I’ve realised we can bring this to a lot more children and can celebrate their successes much more widely with just a bit of effort. I submitted the film that we made to children’s film festivals across the world. We got an award. We've been screened in film festivals in America, in Ukraine, possibly Ireland. It's mind-blowing to the children. The idea you’ve made something and it’s being screened across the world. It brings it so much closer to home. For myself as well, I feel inspired by the possibilities that this new way of working gives us. We can make these connections and we can offer something that is MA film learning to young people. And to older people. I think what we’ve developed is something that can be applied to people in many different times of their lives. I’m keen to do something that’s intergenerational – maybe children and older people together could have a film club. Why not? There are so many opportunities now. This new way of working offers so many different ways of bringing people together. We can all lament the terribleness of the pandemic and the fact we can’t be together, but there are ways. And while it’s all happening let’s try to figure out a positive way to do the same work. I'm really optimistic and hoping we can work with other age groups and schools across the UK. I'm now working with two groups of people in Ukraine. M: Fantastic. I wanted to ask about filmmakers and the contribution they make. What have they learned as a result of participating the workshops and following this approach? S: It’s a question I can ask them. Because I work for the London Film School I am interested in working with our filmmakers and our alumni. Lots of them are interested in working with teachers and children. I think whatever you do in life, if you have a spell of teaching it makes you better at whatever it is you’re doing. I think it is useful for anyone’s development to be a teacher even if it’s for a short time. From working with my colleague Chi I realised it was a steep learning curve and, at times, a very nerve-wracking experience for him, teaching primary school children every week. It’s been interesting to see the film-makers grow as teachers and great to be able to offer them that experience. M: I was going to ask what you’ve learned about film education in general but I think you’ve brought that out in what you’ve been saying. S: it’s difficult for me. I’m such a do-er. I kind of dive in with a gut feeling that it might work, and see if we can tweak it or abandon it. I’ve done quite a few sessions in real life with people, going to a community group, and doing filmmaking for a while. I find it quite limiting because you go in, you’re pressed for time, you leave. Yes, you’ve made a short film but you’ve only done that one part of the CCAJ project. They've missed out on the whole development part and I think that is so important. It’s a shame, almost, to go into a school where you just make a film. Here’s a topic, make a film. You miss the actual good bits, the real learning. So much of bringing film into classroom is concentrated on that bit. It's never the real experience and they get the boring bits of having to do one bit, one element. They miss the fun bits of looking at film, discussing it, trying bits out, experimenting. Those are most enjoyable and they take time. M: The notion of why we would want children to do this kind of work in these kinds of settings, and your role working for a Film School. This is almost a rhetorical question – are you working with children so they will eventually work in the film industry? What are the benefits? What are the reasons behind this project? Or behind workshops like this? Is it about preparing them for roles in the screen industries? S: It would be crazy to think you’re preparing everybody for the film industry. There's no way that is a possibility. First of all, I’ve read some research that says that children’s career aspirations don’t change much between the ages of 7 to 17 and are often based on gender stereotypes and socio-economic backgrounds2. If you’re not introduced to a career possibility at primary school, you will never choose it as a sector to work in. I think that children in primary school already, in the back of their mind, have an idea of what is a proper job and what isn’t. I think the earlier you can expose children to the cultural industries as a whole is beneficial. It definitely has that aspect to it. It doesn’t need to be film. It could be anything. I did a session with film critic Jonathan Romney with the children in Film Club, where they all wrote film reviews and he read them and gave feedback. They were all like: ‘That’s your job? Do you actually earn money doing that?’ I think in general it’s opening their minds to the creative industry. But apart from that it’s being exposed to culture, the whole exercise of analysing work, talking about it with your peers. That is so important. Those skills are not taught much in school. Doing it in a professional manner. If the children get the chance to do that it helps with their own personal development. I also think we are developing an audience for the film industry. From a Film School perspective it’s all about creating that appreciation of the art form in children and young people. That is also a really important part, that they have this life-long appreciation of film. What do you think? M: I was reading something earlier last year, somebody from the 1950s and 1960s who was asked what the purpose of education is. He said, it’s to transmit the experiences that are worthwhile, that every society thinks is worthwhile. Cinema offers so much in terms of worthwhile experiences and important and valuable cultural knowledge and experience. The more you see, and the broader the range you see, the more you understand. The more practically you can engage with it, the more you understand about how things are made and how things are communicated. I think we’re not very good - and it’s a global thing, a big shift, somebody called it ‘the business ontology in education’ - that education always seems to serve the economy and industry. We've lost the ability to imagine what else education could be about. S: It’s the same thing we discussed a while ago. Why is it important for children to read books? It's the same thing. M: Not to support the publishing industry. S: Yes. The same goes for film. To be able to unpick apart what life is about. The thing we were saying about children who have been read to all their lives and had exposure to lots of different stories, they already have this empathy for others because they’ve experienced it through books they’ve read and they have this bank of stories in their heads. It’s the same for watching films. You find some children at Virtual Film club haven’t got that same level of imagery or possibilities in their heads as children who have grown up watching a varied array of films. It's very interesting to see the levels that children are at. I think it’s important for children to be exposed to a wider diet of films than what they’d otherwise get. Ideas for the classroom: The BFI's Resources for Teachers offers a wealth of inspirational lesson plans to get you started: https://www.bfi.org.uk/resources-events-teachers/resources-teachers
- Teachers Resources | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Filmmaking about social issues with primary school children in Scotland Read about the experiences of Scottish teachers at Granton Primary School in Edinburgh. This case study of the making of the short film See You Tomorrow is a great first-hand account of some of the benefits and challenges to consider when creating films in a primary-school context . Discover a range of tips and ideas for you to take away and use back in the classroom with your pupils. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #racism; #primary school ; #emotional literacy Discussing films in the classroom with children of different ages in Slovenia How can we best approach discussing films in the classroom? Mirjana Borcic is one of the foremost figures within Slovenian film education. Explore a range of her ideas on how film can be used as a means of facilitating discussion in the classroom, and in particular on how to ensure that discussions are pupil-centred and encourage creative thinking. MORE Keywords : #discussing film #Slovenia #student voice; #active viewing A 16 week course of practical filmmaking with secondary school children in Portugal Explore the detailed overview of a filmmaking project from start to finish, which provides a useful model for secondary school teachers interested in making films with their students . This case study of film education in Portugal takes readers through the 16 weeks of a filmmaking course, acting almost as a project diary, describing the weekly tasks and outcomes. MORE Keywords : #filmmaking; #Portugal #secondary school; #collaborative;
- Cinema en Curs | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Sharing lived experiences through the film education project Cinema en curs Seeing the world from your perspective via Cinema en curs Cinema en curs: Transmission of film as creation and creation as experience This article explores the Catalonian project Cinema en curs, an annual, recurring and now international programme of film education that takes place with students aged 10–18 in schools and colleges. Set up in 2005-6 by Núria Aidelman and Laia Collel from the arts association A Bao a Qu, the project now runs across various regions of Spain and internationally. The project is an experience-based form of education based around spectatorship and creation, where students participate in a programme of screenings and workshop activities before making their own short films. ‘There are no single answers in art. Right or wrong cannot be predetermined. Learning to watch and make films is not about assimilating a grammar made up of A=B formulae, but about learning to look at the world, to explore and enjoy the resources and infinite expressive possibilities of cinema.’ Laia Collel and Núria Aidelman (p.61) Download the full article for free from the Film Education Journal Key points to explore Cinema en curs provides many examples of the enriching learning experiences and outcomes that filmmaking can provide young people, particularly in terms of developing their creative and collaborative skills. The article covers a range of topics including: The rationale and motivation for the project, which is founded on principles of young people discovering different types of film and where ‘a grounding in reality and lived experience is fundamental.’ (p.60) A discussion on the types of films and clips shown to participants. These are made by filmmakers from around the world, chosen to help students understand ‘certain essential aspects of cinematic art’ and develop participants’ ideas and creative choices (pp.62-63) The structure of the workshops, which is based around four major stages, each of which corresponds to a creative practice: the Lumière minute, the photography project or experimental film, the sequence and the final film. (pp.63-67) A detailed section on how students plan and shoot their final films, with a focus on collaborative teamwork and paying close attention to shot types (pp.65-69) An example from Cinema en curs 'shots of the world' Ideas for the classroom: You can explore the wide variety of film content created by participants on the Cinema en curs website: https://www.cinemaencurs.org/ Try your own version of the ‘Shots of the world’ exercise. Inspired by film-makers such as David Perov, Chantal Akerman and James Benning, students film their surroundings, rediscovering the places in which they live and go to school through cinema. Sometimes students choose to accompany their ‘shots of the world’ with short texts on placards or with voice-over. Some of these films can be seen here: https://vimeopro.com/plansdelmon/shotsoftheworld . Read more about Le cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse the international filmmaking project that Cinema en curs was inspired by: https://www.cinematheque.fr/cinema100ansdejeunesse/en/
- Home | Filmeducationjournal
Latest Issue FEJ 6.1 is out! Navigate over to UCL Press to browse our latest general edition. As always, contributions span a wide range of topics and angles on film education, ranging from the role of animal in film-making teaching settings, an account of the development of film education in China, and a translated reflection by Emmauel Siety on how films we watched during childhood invite a different approach to the analysis of cinema. Recent Events The sixth Scottish International Film Education Conference took place from Thursday 15 to Friday 16 June 2023 . Recordings from the event will appear in the 'Recorded Events' section soon. Stay tuned! Teaching Resources Click Here Recorded Events Click Here About FEJ The Film Education Journal is the world’s only publication committed to exploring how teachers and other educators work with film, and to involving other participants – policymakers, academics, researchers, cultural agencies and film-makers themselves – in that conversation. The journal publishes a range of article types, aimed at reaching our diverse academic and practitioner audience. Editorial Team Jamie Chambers Edinburgh College of Art Profile Page Bio coming soon. Robert Munro Queen Margaret University Robert Munro is Programme Leader in Film and Media at Queen Margaret University. He has served as an Associate Editor on the Film Education Journal since 2020. Robert's research interests centre around film education, Scottish cinema and videographic film criticism. His publications can be viewed here . Mark Reid British Film Institute Bio coming soon. Read Film Education Journal at UCL Press Email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow
- A 16-week film course In Portugal | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources A 16 Week Course of Practical Filmmaking with Secondary School Children in Portugal Realidades Ocultas . Dir. Mariana Sousa. 2019. Short film production in educational contexts: a methodological proposal from the project “Olhar Pela Lente” This article describes a filmmaking project called ‘Olhar pela lente’ (Look Through the Lens) which took place in a state secondary school in northern Portugal in 2018. Over 16 weeks, working with 160 students, project tutors Pedro Alves and Ana Sofia Pereira worked alongside teachers on a structured programme which combined aspects of film theory, film analysis and film practice. The school had successfully applied for funding which enabled them to buy filmmaking equipment and by the end of the project students created 27 short films on a range of different topics. ‘Olhar plea lente' demonstrates that the school is an important meeting place between young people and film. By providing the necessary guidance and resources to create opportunities for practical filmmaking, the school is a catalyst for personal and collective student growth, fostering skills and knowledge that positions students as better informed, integrated and active citizens….it is important to motivate young people to be interested in cinema, to discover what it is, what it means to make films and what we can think, feel, express and live through them.’ - Alves and Pereira Download the full article for free from the Film Education Journal Key points to explore The article provides a clear overview of a filmmaking project from start to finish, providing a useful model for teachers who would like to make films with their students. At the same time the authors do not shy away from describing the challenges involved and provide several key tips for readers to keep in mind. The authors describe: The unique benefits of schools as spaces for young people to encounter film and how ‘filmmaking and film literacy foster students’ motivation, engagement and productivity in terms of their relationship with their school and wider sociocultural environment.’ (pp.2-4) A clear timeline which can be used when planning your own filmmaking project. The article takes readers through the 16 weeks of the filmmaking course, and at points acts almost as a project diary, describing the weekly tasks and outcomes (pp.8-21) An emphasis on the importance of preparation, and also of valuing the filmmaking process as a learning experience just as much as the final result (p.7) Reflections on how the project could have been improved, particularly in terms of managing staff and students’ expectations, overall time management, and the challenges of working with less motivated students (pp.22-25) Listen to Pedro Alves and Ana Sofia Pereira discuss the challenges and opportunities of their high-school filmmaking project with Flip Kulakiewicz, Administrator at the Film Education Journal. Ideas for the classroom You don't need expensive cameras to make films with your students - they can be made on school iPads or smartphones! For a great guide to filmmaking with iPads, check out the free resource provided by Into Film (email registration required): https://www.intofilm.org/resources/1146 Further resources and opportunities Four of the 26 films have been uploaded to the Portuguese film education platform Primeiro Plano, and can be accessed through the following link: https://primeiroplano.ciac.pt/projeto/olhar-pela-lente /. The short film Hidden Realities is embedded at the bottom of the page. For teachers based in Scotland who are keen to develop their filmmaking skills, a number of local community film organisations provide filmmaking workshops and courses. Try Screen Education Edinburgh: https://www.screen-ed.org / GMAC Film (Glasgow) https://www.gmacfilm.com / or SHMU - Station House Media Unit (Aberdeen) http://www.shmu.org.uk/ Have you made a film with your class? Consider submitting it to a film festival for young filmmakers https://www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/bfi-film-academy-scheme/film-festivals-young-filmmakers Watch one of the films made as part of the 'Olhar pela lente' project.
- Backup - Granton | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Filmmaking about social issues with primary school children in Scotland Aoife Donnelly and Avril Whelan (teachers, Granton Primary School) and Jamie Chambers (ECA, Film Education Journal) discussing how they used film in the classroom. See You Tomorrow: A case study of the Understanding Cinema project at Granton Primary School in Edinburgh [LINK TO ARTICLE] This article describes a filmmaking project which took place at an after-school film club at Granton Primary School in Edinburgh from 2016 to 2017. It is written by the teachers and filmmaker who were involved in the project and is a great first-hand account of the benefits and challenges to consider when creating films in a primary classroom context. There are a range of tips and ideas for you to take away and use back in the classroom with your pupils. The final film created by the pupils can be viewed online for free at the link below and provides a template which pupils can use when creating their own. The film could also be a starting point for conversations with your class around the challenging topic of bullying and racism within school life, discussing the difficult issues faced by the character and how they are resolved. “Seeing what seemed to me a bunch of sporadic, random clips all fit together as a film with a hugely powerful message was very moving. Furthermore, the kids who wrote, directed, acted and filmed each and every scene (lots of times!) were speechless watching their hard work back. Seeing it all put together and to see their project turned into a film was something they were very proud of. I remember them saying ‘that’s so good, I can’t believe we made that’” - Aoife Donnelly, Class Teacher (p.74) Key points to explore : The article discusses a range of themes - below are a summary of certain points which you can read about in more detail, with page references so you can find them easily: • Setting up a filmmaking project: tips for preparing pupils; taking photographs as a way of expressing emotion visually and learning how to frame shots; how pupils learn to reflect upon and evaluate their work (pp.66-67) • The project’s direct links to the Curriculum for Excellence and how filmmaking can develop pupils’ skills in a range of key learning areas as well as their emotional literacy and personal development (p.67, 70) • How filmmaking is beneficial in developing pupils’ teamworking abilities and communication skills, particularly for students who struggle with traditional literacy and numeracy (p. 67, pp.69-70) • Challenges that teachers and pupils might face (p.67, 69, 72) Ideas for the classroom : Watch See You Tomorrow at the link above. 1. Discuss the following questions with your class: • What is the message of the film? • When making a film, what do you think are the biggest challenges for the filmmakers? • If you had the chance to make this film, what would you do differently? 2. Now rewatch the first minute of the film. Ask your students the following questions: • How many shots are there in the first 60 seconds? Get pupils to clap every time there is a cut. • Discuss the following questions with your pupils. How many shot types can they identify (close-up, medium shot, long shot etc)? Why do the filmmakers use these certain shots? What do they tell us about the characters? Further resources : On practical filmmaking : film education charity Into Film has a free (registration required) step-by-step filmmaking guide, designed for primary schools, which will take you through all the stages of filmmaking: https://www.intofilm.org/resources/23 Films which tackle the theme of bullying: Into Film has a detail list of resources and film guides for both primary and secondary pupils https://www.intofilm.org/theme/33 Watch See You Tomorrow, the film discussed in the article above. Watch Aoife Donnelly and Avril Whelan (teachers, Granton Primary School) and Jamie Chambers (ECA, Film Education Journal) discussing how they used film in the classroom both for See You Tomorrow and beyond, with contributions from some of the children who participated in the process.
- Film in Scottish Secondary Schools | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Securing a place for film within a Scottish secondary school Ready Player One (Warner Bros. Pictures All Rights Reserved) Securing a place for film within the ongoing life of a Scottish state secondary school Michael Daly and Jacqueline Thomson are English teachers at John Paul Academy, an inner-city secondary school in Glasgow, Scotland. Working together as probationary teachers, they decided to start an after-school film club. From there, film has gradually become a central part of their teaching strategy, and has moved beyond their own English and Media classrooms to become embedded within John Paul Academy’s broader curriculum. Film education does not yet form any significant part of Scottish teacher training programmes and, as such, incorporating film into curricular teaching can be a challenge. This article covers a broad array of ways in which teachers can use film as a tool for learning. It details the benefits of setting up a successful film club as an extra-curricular activity and explains how using film in the English classroom can motivate students, teach them to critically analyse texts, and develop their oral and written skills. This article is a rich source of ideas for any teacher looking to learn and take inspiration from their peers. Download the full article for free from the Film Education Journal Key points to explore The article covers a range of topics including: A discussion of the role film plays in the national Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and how it ‘can provide a powerful means through which to begin addressing the attainment gap and engaging with hard-to-reach students in Scottish schools.’ (pp. 137, 149-150) An account of setting up and running a regular after-school film club with the support of film education charity Into Film, and the different reactions and discussions certain films provoked among students (pp.139-141) The role of film reviews and how they provide opportunities for students to express opinions and develop their written literacy (pp.141-144) A detailed case study of how the films Joker and Skyfall were successfully used as optional ‘texts’ as preparation for an SQA English exam (pp.144-149) Watch Michael Daly discuss the work that he and colleague Jaqueline Thomson have done to embed film in the classroom. Ideas for the classroom: Michael has very kindly shared one of his lesson plans that they created to use the film Ready Player One as a 'pathway to literature'. Michael also talks about his lesson plan, and how the film allowed them to think about their own lives. You can download the lesson plans here .
- Community Cinema in Chile | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Taking Wonders to the Margins: delivering community cinema workshops within marginalised communities in Chile Young filmmakers dressed as the Lumiere Brothers welcome the audience to a screening of their film Taking wonders to the margins (Maravillas al Margen ) Alicia Vega is a Chilean film scholar, educator and outreach worker. In 1985 she initiated a series of cinema workshops within highly disadvantaged communities across Chile, which sought to provide younger children with early, formative understandings of cinema. Over the next 30 years Alicia and her team of instructors delivered hundreds of workshops across the country. Illustrated with photos, examples of the children's work, and testimonials from participants, her article is a rich and intimate account of how film can be used within community learning and outreach programmes. “The main achievements of the workshops certainly include that children experienced an increase in their self-esteem, developed their creativity and learned some fundamental values, such as working in a team. But our main objective, which was fundamental to us, was that the children had a good time.” - Alicia Vega Download the full article for free from the Film Education Journal Key points to explore Vega’s workshops consisted of weekly sessions where children watched films and then undertook various arts and crafts activities which were designed to break down the mechanics of filmmaking for them. This later developed into practical filmmaking sessions where they wrote, acted and filmed their own short films. Vega introduces readers to the workshop methodology, particularly its focus on the history of early cinema and screen pioneers such as the Lumiere Brothers and Charlie Chaplin. Other topics covered in the article include: A detailed description of the arts and crafts activities which were designed to explore the history and mechanics of creating moving images, including the recreation of nineteenth century optical illusion toys such as zoetropes, the ‘magic roll’ and kinetoscopes (pp. 196-197) Vega's pedagogical approach - her belief of treating everyone equally, allowing the children a large amount of autonomy, and her solution to behavioral issues (pp.201-205) A discussion of the funding difficulties the workshops faced, including a frank overview of the economic hardships experienced by the local communities (pp. 205-215) A description of the films that were shown to workshop participants and their reactions to them (pp.216-221) Ideas for the classroom: Creating thaumatropes is a simple yet effective way of introducing learners to the concept of 'the moving image’ in its most basic form. The Norris Museum provides free downloadable resources and video instructions of how to create your own thaumatropes and kaleidoscopes:
- FEJ 7.1 Call for Abstracts | Educating Indie Filmmakers
Educating Independent Filmmakers FEJ 7.1 Guest Editors Dr Chris Nunn (University of Birmingham) Rachel Carter (De Montfort University) Dr Rachel Wilson (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) Call for Abstracts References Hjort, M. (2013). The Education of the Filmmaker in Europe , Australia, and Asia (Global Cinema) (1st Edition ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Meek, M, ed. (2019). Independent Female Filmmakers . New York: Taylor and Francis. Stoneman , R., & Petrie, D. (2014). Educating Film-Makers: Past, Present and Future (1st Edition ed.). Bristol: Intellect. Stoneman, R. (2019). "The Academy and the Industry." Alphaville , 13-25. This special edition of the Film Education Journal seeks to explore critical and emerging perspectives upon how practice-based film education intervenes to foster the next generation of independent filmmakers. In defining practice-based film education, we draw upon Rod Stoneman’s contention that 'the role of [film] education is to be an agent of change—bringing forward critical practitioners familiar with the structures, equipped with the skills to deploy in work within existing organisations and companies but also able to act autonomously having learnt to create forms of social- and self-expression’ (Stoneman, 2019: p. 20). Cheaper digital technology coupled with a period of rapid growth in film and screen ‘content’ on streaming platforms has enabled a generation of independent micro-budget filmmakers the opportunity to make films with commercial viability. Patricia White suggests in her preface to Independent Female Filmmakers: ‘low-cost high-quality digital production tools; proliferating cable, streaming and transmedia outlets; and peer-to-peer communication networks promise access to filmmaking for all. But without the public support for the arts […] there is no guarantee of access and sustainability.’ (ed. Meek, 2019: xviii). We are interested in responses to these claims.Proposals are sought which explore educational and pedagogical approaches that foster autonomous, enterprising and risk-taking in their filmmaking students. The editors are also interested in proposals that interrogate the relationships between public funding for filmmaking, the commercial realities of the contemporary film and screen industries, and the role of educational institutions and programmes within this. For example, what is the role of the film educator in an era of content ‘abundance’, and how such abundance narrows or expands the range and kind of films available to, and desired by, aspiring filmmakers? It our proposition that practical film education and industry training needs to ensure that it does not carve a narrow path in kowtowing to what may reductively be thought of as an “industrial imperative” (Petrie and Stoneman, 2014: p. 42) to focus on the big-budget mechanisms of production associated with the holy grails of Netflix, Amazon, and Disney. The pressures within the non-STEM Higher Education sector to deliver ‘employability’ outcomes are also pertinent. For an industry seemingly seeking innovation, new stories and new storytellers, it could be argued that such a narrowly defined “industrial imperative” is counterproductive. By encouraging wider exposure and viewing habits in our students, we are also working to improve recognition and appreciation for indie films and a better understanding of their place within the ways in which audiences engage with film in a contemporary context. Hjort’s provocation that ‘the priorities and philosophies of institutions devoted to practice-oriented film education have a decisive impact on filmmakers’ creative outlooks, working practices, and networks, shaping not only the stylistic (visual and narrative) regularities that define distinctive bodies of cinematic work but the dynamics of a given film industry’ (2013: 34), provides food for thought when contemplating the educational environments that we wish to create for our students; those that encourage autonomy, experimentation, room for failure, and self-expression. This special edition of the Film Education Journal therefore seeks case studies and pedagogic strategies which educators are deploying to help aspiring filmmakers find their feet in an increasingly complex yet seemingly monopolised industry. International perspectives that address issues at all stages of filmmaking education are welcome. We also seek articles from colleagues working outside formal educational settings in more radical, informal contexts. While this special edition specifically seeks to address filmmaking practice, we recognise and welcome articles that address the ways in which theory, relating to film or otherwise, is deployed to encourage departures from mainstream commercial practices. In the first phase we are seeking abstracts of approx. 300 words by close of play, Monday 24th April 2023. Submissions are particularly welcomed from authors outside the Global North. Prospective authors will be contacted shortly after this, with a view to receiving full article submissions (between 5-7,000 words in length) by Monday 14th August 2023. The special edition will be published in June 2024. For any queries pertaining to this special edition, please contact Chris Nunn: email@example.com, CC-ing in firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doc Filmmaking in Chile | Filmeducationjournal
Home Teachers Resources Exploring local heritage through a documentary filmmaking project in Chile La Pequeña Historia de un Lobo de Meta (The Little Story of the Metal Wolf) Immaterial heritage and a sense of place in film-based art education: A case study of a documentary film project with secondary school children as part of Cine en curso Chile Felipe Correa’s article describes the process of a documentary filmmaking project at a secondary school in Chile. Run as part of the film education programme Cine en curso , its aim was to encourage students to engage with the places, crafts and community where they live. Over the course of a year, students watched and analysed documentary films from different periods and cultures, whilst performing practical filmmaking inside and outside the school. At the end of the project, their short films (which documented and celebrated traditional local trades) were screened at a local cinema. Watching and making documentary films is a fantastic way for educators to explore different social themes and issues with their pupils, and, as Correa says, ‘can compliment and articulate’ the learning aims and outcomes in many subject areas such as history, science, geography etc. For students who might feel intimidated at the idea of scriptwriting, documentary can be an accessible way of exploring storytelling through film and is an interesting way for them to critically examine and reflect on their own environments and everyday experiences. Download the full article for free from the Film Education Journal Key points to explore Correa’s article offers teachers lots of ideas about how watching and making documentaries can enhance students’ learning. Points of interest include: The particular setting of this project within a school which ‘focuses on reintegration programmes for children and young people with learning disabilities’ as well as the pedagogical methodology behind Cine en curso (p.122-123) A detailed description of how photography is used as a practical exercise to teach students about colour, light, perspective, framing and composition. (p.124-125) How to prepare for the practical side of filmmaking in terms of choosing topics, discussing students’ roles, and interviewing documentary subjects (p.125-134) A reflection on how the project increased students’ overall levels of motivation and engagement. The filmmaking process also developed their skills of observation, participation and critical analysis, as well as empathy with their documentary subjects. (p.134-135) Watch La Pequeña Historia de un Lobo de Meta (The Little Story of the Metal Wolf) , the film discussed in the article above. Ideas for the classroom: You can watch the final documentary, La Pequeña Historia de un Lobo de Meta (The Little Story of the Metal Wolf) made by the students above. Discuss the following questions with your class: What is the message of the film? When making a documentary, what do you think are the biggest challenges for the filmmakers? If you had the chance to make this film, what would you do differently? Now encourage discussion of what subjects would make for good documentaries. Ask your students the following questions: What topics from their own lives and communities would make for an interesting documentary? What questions would they want to ask the people they would film? What obstacles might there be to making that documentary, and how might they overcome them?