Film Literacy Seminar: Exploring Visual Culture

The aim of the seminar was to exchange and broaden perspectives both on visual culture and the positioning of film in the cultural and educational debate. Best practices were discussed and during hands-on sessions we zoomed in on a variety of topics, such as lobbying and collaboration, to increase awareness of the importance of the visual language nowadays. It was an inspiring day of informal sessions within an international environment, from which we sought to learn how to put film education on the European school map.

Film offers a wealth of possibilities as a cultural subject: film as art, film as communication, film as technique and film as heritage. And like the other arts, film can move, entertain and make us think. Film is also a very popular medium for discovering and understanding the world. Understanding the visual language of film is, therefore, an essential skill in our society! Increasingly, more and more organisations are working together to deliver this message.

The day’s notes of the plenary sessions were recorded graphically by Maarten Kersten, Visual Notes. Visual Notes is an Amsterdam-based company that delivers growing visual needs in organizations (Visual Notes, Visual Academy and Visual Consultancy). During the seminar, Maarten converted the spoken words into big notes on to a big storyboard.

seminar programme

11:00 – 11.30 Registration (front desk Eye Filmmuseum)
11:30 – 11.45 Welcome and introduction (cinema 3)
11:45 – 12.30 Keynote speech by Claire Boonstra (cinema 3)
12:30 – 13.30 Lunch break (foyer)
13:30 – 16.00 Zoom-into-sessions (Waterfront/Room at the Top/Studio)
16:00 – 16.30 Tea/coffee break (foyer)
16:30 – 17.30 Wrap up (cinema 3)
17:30 – 19.30 Opening drinks CfP (foyer)

opening & keynote 11:30-12:30

Moderator Jordi Wijnalda
A person in awe of everyday life, Jordi Wijnalda (the Netherlands, 1990) is a nomadic filmmaker, teacher and all-around arts enthusiast. He has honed his skill, knowledge and passion for cinema in New York City, Amsterdam, and Ludwigsburg, and is currently pursuing his film career in Paris.

Keynote speaker Claire Boonstra
Claire Boonstra opened our eyes to how important it is for education to move along the cultural and social changes in our society. As founder of œ Operation Education and known for her ability to raise the difficult questions needed to move forward, Claire was invited to kick off the seminar and inspire us to ask the right questions needed to raise awareness of the importance of film education in the curricula of European schools.

zoom-into-sessions 13.30 – 16.00

  • Session 1: One plus one equals three (Zoom-into-Lobbying)

The central question in this session was: ‘How can we best work together to put film literacy on the map?’.
Hosting partner ECFA: Margret Albers, President
Margret Albers is project manager at the Association for the Promotion of German Children’s Film (Academy for Children’s Media, Outstanding Films for Children and Formats from Thuringia). Margret is a regular member of various juries (e.g. Grimme Award), gives lectures and works as a journalist. Since 2017 she has been president of the European Children’s Film Association (ECFA).

Speaker Simone Fratini, Cineteca di Bologna
After completing a degree in Cinema and Music Studies, Simone founded Paper Moon Association, an organisation that deals with film literacy and media education. Since 2015 Simone has worked for Schermi e Lavagne, the education department of Cineteca di Bologna. He teaches cinema classes, hosts practical workshops, delivers screening presentations, offers guidance on teachers’ training paths and manages educational projects.

During his presentation, Simone discussed the strategies and actions which led to the call for proposals by the Ministry of Culture and Education for greater film literacy and associated education projects promoted by schools, institutions and festivals. The session assessed the effectiveness of this call, where things currently stand and future aims.

Speaker Bernard McClosky, Northern Ireland Screen
Bernard, head of education at NIS, launched A Wider Literacy, the film education strategy for NI’s schools. He works with NI’s three Creative Learning Centres and Into Film, providing learning for teachers and pupils in film and digital technologies, as well as across more than 1,000 school film clubs across NI.

Bernard discussed the strategies and actions that led to investment in film literacy in Northern Ireland, and the establishment of the Creative Learning Centres. The impact of these activities was addressed, as will the next necessary steps.

Creative host Paul Tyler
Paul has 25+ years experience developing and producing concepts, strategies and projects within the cultural, public and corporate sectors. Paul employs a highly analytical, creative and often humorous approach when revealing the complex ecosystems in which we work, rest and play. He facilitated visualization of the session’s proceedings employing his unique mapping technique, using world-famous toys.

  • Session 2: Europe Shaken & Stirred (Zoom-into-Collaboration)

The central question in this session is: ‘What are the steps necessary to achieve real cooperation?
Hosting partner & speaker Cinekid: Tessa Stoke, Head of Education
Tessa has degrees in media and education. Since 2010 she has been part of Cinekid (combining this with teaching at a primary school), and in 2017 she was appointed as our Head of Education, which makes her responsible for the educational profile of the organisation, the festival programme for schools and the different year-round film and media education activities and collaborations, including teacher training.

Besides hosting, Tessa also gave a presentation of Wrap!: five years of lessons learned and how they worked together effectively to create a European catalogue for children’s film.

Speaker Elena Solte, Vision Kino
Elena Solte studied French, sociology and educational sciences in Leipzig. She has worked in various media and cultural mediation projects in France and Germany, and since October 2012 has been working for the nationwide SchoolCinemaWeeks (SchulKinoWochen) at VISION KINO in Berlin.

Her presentation about the project ‘Film – A Language without Borders’, addressed how a European film collaboration can strengthen intercultural communication and stimulate integration.

Creative host Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman
Douwe-Sjoerd works as an artist and writer with a background in serious game design. He loves to create interactive story experiences, either plugged or unplugged. Follow the adventures of his picture book character #StoutKonijn that drops huge rabbit droppings everywhere.

Creative host Tessa van Grafhorst, Taartrovers
In 1999 Tessa started the Kinderbioscoop, a small children-only cinema in the old centre of Amsterdam. This was her introduction to film education. She is one of the founders and art director of Taartrovers (2003), a touring children’s film festival. In addition, Tessa is part of a collective of artists who undertake film, art & food projects directed at young children for museums, festivals and other organizations.

Douwe-Sjoerd and Tessa van Grafhorst helped the participants investigate the do’s and don’ts of successful international film education collaborations, through the creation of a short stop-motion animation video.

  • Session 3: Sneaking into School (Zoom-into-Curriculum)

Central questions in this session are: ‘How can we make a film education a core part of the European school curriculum. Can film education be part of all school subjects or can it only be embedded in the arts?
Hosting partner Eye and FLICK: Margreet Cornelius, Senior Project manager
Margreet coordinates the development of educational programs at Eye aimed at teachers and students. Not only for use in the Eye Filmmuseum but also in the classroom. She also coordinates activities for the Film Education Network (Netwerk Filmeducatie), a Dutch national network of 16 partners active in developing film education programs. Margreet always tries, even in her free time, to convince every teacher to analyse moving images, the same as they do texts (who, what, where, why and how)!

Speaker Linda Sternö, University of Gøteborg
Linda is a senior lecturer at Valand Academy where she teaches the VP model at the preschool teacher program at Gothenburg University. She holds BA degrees in film directing and high school teaching of moving images (Gothenburg University), and an MA degree in visual culture and learning (with a specialization in art education) from Konstfack in Stockholm. Linda has worked as a film director and producer of films shown on national television, in international cinemas and at numerous film festivals.

Linda’s talk was about her experiences in Sweden and how she and her colleagues managed to get into schools where film is not part of the curriculum. Using film they addressed core topics such as gender, religion and democracy, and worked with immigrant children.

Speaker John Peto, The Nerve Centre
As director of education at the Nerve Centre john is responsible for a range of projects that support digital creativity in schools and communities across Northern Ireland. From an award-winning background in broadcast documentary production, John has overseen the establishment of Northern Ireland’s first FabLabs (at Nerve Centre and at Belfast’s Ashton Centre) as well as operating their Creative Learning Centres, which fuse technology and creativity in curriculum-based learning for teachers and students. In this, he pioneers the use of digital creative media in conflict education through teaching the Divided Histories Project.

Creative host Aafke Frederik
Aafke rediscovered the power of drawing when she worked as a change management consultant. While preparing hundreds of powerpoint slides and excel sheets she started drawing to get an overview again. Now she trains others in working visually and captures the essence of presentations and meetings as a graphic recorder for Visual Notes and Studio Pen. Aafke taught everyone how to visualise the words used during the session and put everything on a coherent poster.