Practicing and the Primary Charter


The Primary Charter

More and more I am given the opportunity to address groups of teachers, this is something I really enjoy. One such occasion was at The Primary Charter‘s inaugural conference at ULU (Univ. of London Union) in June 2013. The Charter is a movement to widen the debate about recent educational reforms and make a stand for primary education. I’m generally talking to teachers about practical media work and cross-curricular initiatives and always try and incorporate some media production element into the session – no matter how short on time or amateur it might all seem. I am often put in mind of a certain high profile advertising slogan of the 90s, “Just Do It.”, when introducing the idea of quick, rough and ready practical film exercises in conference sessions.

I promised I would publish the resultant clips on a blog. See below… The brief was A meets B in a public space and they had about 20 mins to conceive of and film it. Editing wasn’t an option at the time, so I did the rest in iMovie at a later stage. It’s always disappointing not to get to the editing stage… but this could be addressed if folk used their phones (as was the case with in this instance because of battery issues..) and then a mobile editing app like Vimeo. This session and another highly inspirational one I attended led by Debra Kidd laid emphasis on playing, trying things out, practicing, moving around and going with imaginative leaps.

Practice-based learning is a current theme for Pat Thomson, Professor of Education in the School of Education, University of Nottingham, who’s just finished some week-long research with Summer School teacher-delegates at Tate Modern. See here – her blog and ensuing posts. She mentions how the art activities in which they had all participated in and around the Tate had shifted/interrupted/disrupted the teachers’ customary subject positions, that is the roles they were used to adopting in everyday life – and how good this felt. In another post she mentions Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of ‘lines of desire’, ‘lines of force’ and  ‘lines of flight’ in relation to consciousness and how cracks sometimes appear that can be either generative or destructive. This is all new stuff for me, and I suspect it’ll be ‘colonising’ my summer reading… especially as my supervisor is using the very same metaphor – line of flight – to describe my ‘in progress’ theoretical framework.

D & G’s theories are incipient thoughts as Pat is in the early stages of data organising, let alone analysing, but it will be useful to see how they develop and I really appreciate her committing this messy process to “the electronic word” as it seems to have direct relevance to my thesis. The latest title of my study is: Making Meaning with Digital Media in Schools: towards an understanding of practical media education in formal and non-formal settings. I too am dealing with practical learning and making processes (more precisely with digital media), what children do with that learning, how the process feels, as well as media production’s image deficit in formal structures.

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