News Archive December 2013

Minutes of Exec Meeting December 2013

mea exec minutes dec13-1




The MEA has drafted a response to the BFI consultation. It can be downloaded here: BFI v5. Please e-mail us with any suggested changes by Jan 11th.


You should still feel free to write your own response- the link to the full survey is below.

Message from the BFI:

A great deal has already been achieved in film education, and there is excellent practice to be found in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England. Furthermore, since the launch of Film Forever twelve months ago, the BFI has completed the first year of the BFI Film Academy (for aspiring young film makers) and awarded Lottery funding to FILM NATION UK (to deliver film into the education of all 5-19 year olds). At the same time, we continue to support education through our programming, our online services, and our in-venue work at BFI Southbank.

Now is the time to bring our vision and plans up to date, to confirm the value of partnership across the sector, and to define the specific role of the BFI itself. We also want to bring into focus the evidence we have for the importance of learning about – and through – screen media, and we will commission additional research where gaps can be identified.

I do hope that you will be able to join us in this endeavour. You can read more about the proposal, and find key questions to answer, here:

Please note that all responses to this first phase of consultation should be received by December 13th.

I look forward to hearing from you

With best wishes


Dr Paul Gerhardt
Director of Education
British Film Institute



MEA/BFI Moving Images in the Classroom

report: Kate Domaille       photos: Michelle Cannon 

56 Media teachers/educators descended on BFI Southbank on Saturday 23 November to attend the 3rd joint BFI/MEA conference  – What’s Learned when we teach moving images in the classroom?

The conference commenced on Friday 22 November with a welcome reception attended by many workshop leaders and MEA executive as well as Dr Paul Gerhardt, newly appointed Director of Education at the BFI. MEA is grateful to the English and Media Centre for the kind donation of wine for this event.

On the Saturday, a keynote from Jenny Grahame, English and Media Centre, and Ian Wall, previously Director of Film Education outlined some of the history of media education in the UK. In this talk Jenny showed how technology has woven its effects on practical work substantially yet she asked whether this correlated with a deeper connection to issues to be learned, or rather a greater engagement with the gloss technology can provide.

2013 Conference 1

Jenny shared an early piece of practical work drawing on ET which showed where students were using the practical work to explore wider issues about identity in the contexts of the lives they faced. Though lacking in the technical polish more common of contemporary practical work, what was evident in the piece were some of the processes of learning. There were clear references in the work to issues affecting the young people, as incorporated in the script . Whilst at one level, the work was amusingly raw in terms of production values, Jenny questioned whether the advent of better technology had lead to better learning about the media in classrooms and cautioned that we still need to look past the impressive surface of much practical work to find the engagement with learning.

Workshop Sessions

As ever, MEA is grateful to the willingness and professional pride of its members who give of their time freely and come and present some part of their research or practice to an audience. This year, research presentations were given by Michelle Cannon and Dr Steve Connolly who presented aspects of their research and explored the learning outcomes of production tasks in classrooms or out-of-hours settings. Dr Heather Mendick and Dr Ben Lee presented different outcomes from their research on respectively, Young people’s use of celebrity, and E-engagement against violence project. 

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Across the day, other workshop leaders, who came from Belfast, Bradford, Sheffield, Gloucester, Bristol, Dorset, London, Kent and Surrey provided a stimulating array of topics and practice for delegates.

Many of the workshops were about production work in line with a part of the theme of the conference. These were not just the practicalities of production equipment (although Adam Ranson’s workshop did afford getting to grips with DSLR Video equipment), but the ways in which young people engage with issues during practical work and where the learning is focused.  Victoria Walden showed how shifting an emphasis away from technical production processes to a focus on affective film-making, had produced a higher quality of work where students began to focus more on how they could create emotional moments for audiences.

Creativity was at the heart of a series of other practical workshops: Franzi Florack, Geraldine Walker, Jennifer Johnston and Julian Gurr all variously demonstrated and explored how using visual texts in literacy contexts provides for a new way of supporting storytelling, and as a means to improve writing skills and engage pupils with the creative aspects of English/Literacy. Encouragingly, given the attacks on the curriculum, they were all reporting practice that takes place in primary settings or early secondary school in English/Literacy rather than in Media Studies.

Dominque Oliver provided a lively update on technology in classrooms, culminating in a logo bingo! And, both Steve Keevil, and Dr Andrew Webber gave workshops that enabled delegates to explore the cultural capital prejudices they bring to the selection of moving image texts for study in the classroom.

BFI Southbank – in the midst of  its Gothic Season – provided a perfect backdrop for some horror filmmaking, led by Leanna Arkell and Sally Thomas. Delegates followed a plan of ‘top shots’ to improve filmmaking in the horror genre.

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Beigel Lunch and Networking

There were up to three separate choices of filling in this year’s beigel lunch!!  MEA/BFI base the conferences on low-cost, low-fuss approach enabling maximum time to network!

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Plenary Session

The Plenary Session was chaired by Kate Domaille who put questions to Paul Reeve, new CEO of FilmNationUK and to Dr Paul Gerhardt, Director of Education at the BFI. The Pauls gave brief outlines of their vision for film education. To see FNUK summary of Vision go to and Paul Gerhardt talked briefly about the round of roadshow events undertaken in November 2013, reporting their Film Forever strategy one year on from its launch.

2013 Conference 5

Questions and comments from the floor focused on the need for both the BFI and FNUK to act more urgently as advocates for media educators. Leanna Arkell, asked whether much could be done to counter the rumours that Media Studies could be stripped of GCSE standing, which would affect how it is counted in the performance indicators for schools. Such a move by government would put extreme pressure on schools as to whether to offer it anymore. The optimism of some of the out-of-hours successes forwarded by Paul Reeve e.g. in FilmClub were countered by questions from the floor about entitlement, access and universalism and to make the lobby for film education one that is with the DfE principally.

Additionally, questions from the floor were focused on legacy, and about what needs to happen for another £27m to be reissued in five years time. Delegates urged Paul Reeve and Paul Gerhardt to recognise that there is much good work that has been developed – indeed evidenced in the conference itself – and that development of this new organisation should take account of previous work as well as seeking advice on where and how to focus efforts.

Both Pauls expressed an understanding that the context in England was critical in terms of excising words like digital from the formal curriculum but also offered to work closely with MEA and with practising teachers in making the case to retain and continue to promote moving image work in the classroom.

This session was all too short but it was valuable in alerting all delegates to the strategic landscape.

Next Steps …


MEA would like to run two conferences per year: one on the model that it currently operates on with access to ‘good practice’ workshops, networking and sharing. We think there is room to develop further and perhaps provide a more targeted set of presentations and workshops for more experienced media teachers to develop their practice even further. But what do you think?  Suggestions for Events/Conference ideas for 2014, send to: by 31 December 2013



Annual General Meeting Minutes

On Saturday November 23, the MEA hosted the 2013 AGM. Below is a downloadable copy of the minutes.

Media Education Association Annual General Meeting