I recently experienced the massively nerve wracking experience of presenting the case for Moving Image Arts Education in Northern Ireland to a group of esteemed Scottish Educationalists. The title of the conference was ‘Moving image education and digital media in Curriculum for Excellence’ and it was hosted in the rather impressive Scottish Youth Theatre building in Glasgow.
On arriving in Scotland I suddenly realised I was delivering a presentation alongside some of the top Moving Image specialists in the UK, Dr George Head, Scott Donaldson, Ollie Bray, Derek Robertson and David Griffith to name but a few offered a position from years of research and Higher Education.
It was a tremendously interesting day and I left with a greater understanding of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence as well as a much greater appreciation of the work of Northern Ireland Screen, the Nerve Centre and CCEA on actually managing to get the Moving Image Arts curriculum from dream to the classroom.
The development of Moving Image Education in Northern Ireland is down to the perseverance and dedication of a small but growing number of people there is clear evidence our young people are benefiting massively. Evidence alone can be seen in the quality of student films created on zero budget and low quality equipment. You can see samples here.
Since introducing Moving Image Arts A-level six years ago I have not only witnessed massive improvement in the area of digital and technical literacy but I have also seen a much greater understanding and appreciation for the area of Moving Image education. The study of narrative, the art of cinema and by gaining a taste of the television and film industry our students have become self motivated to learn and succeed in the creative industries.
CREATIVE LEARNING CENTRES
Northern Ireland Moving Image Education is supported by a number of creative learning centres who not only come to the aid of our students but also actively train teachers on both the technical as theoretical sides of Moving Image Arts.
The centres advise on resources, networking and school equipment. The Creative Learning Centres together with the Moving Image Arts teachers forum managed by Jennifer Johnston offer excellent opportunities for the sharing of good practice across the province.
It is this ignited student motivation that drives us to call in the support of local industry professionals who fortunately are only too willing to pass on their advice and experiences to our ‘knowledge hungry’ group. It was our student’s ability to impress even the greatest of film professionals that led to 150 of them rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ben Barnes, Robert Sheehan, Nick Hamm and Northern Ireland’s own Mark Huffam during the filming of Killing Bono in 2010.
Despite being shot in the surrounds of our own school building during possibly the coldest weekend in January the students loved it and craved more with many attending a number of different shoots across the province.
The result wasn’t just the chance of appearing on the big screen along side Krysten Ritter or having your name in the credits of a global film release it was about experience and the opportunity of seeing the film industry first hand.
The first twelve hour shoot in freezing cold conditions was enough for me to crave my classroom but for many of the students it was a focus and a realisation there is an entire creative industry out there crying out for talented students who don’t just have an knowledge of the techical side of film making but an appreciation of the art of the Moving Image.
You can download a stripped down version of my presentation below. I have removed some behind the scenes footage of Killing Bono generously provided by Greenroom Entertainment and a short student created animation. You can view a vimeo version of the animation here.