Honesty is improvisation of the heart

The Self-Initiated Project (SiP) presentation is my aim to develop a concept as it was discussed in Teaching and Support Learning Evaluation. This project aims to investigate the idea of improvisation in teaching arts and design especially storytelling in film production.

The benefit of improvisation in teaching can be categorised in the following topics:

  • Improvisation in teaching creates an opportunity to discuss the contemporary concepts such as news or current affairs and establish a connection between learning outcomes and daily lives.
  • Improvisation in teaching develops an environment where is relaxed and open for both students and staff to develop debates and engage with the topics.
  • Improvisation in teaching is open to tutor’s vulnerability. However, it can provide the opportunity to the students to learn concepts such as taking risks, failure and also how they can develop their confidence.

All the mentioned posts will be the point of studies for the SiP project.

SiP presentation Screenshot

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Learning for Sustainability: A Report

The Elective unit essay.

The Problem

As a lecturer in Film Production with a focus on Storytelling, it becomes evident that the awareness of the sustainable issues is brief within the cohorts. Despite, the students’ awareness of the terms such as Global Warming or Equality and they can repress opinion on such subject matters, yet, it is evident that their analysis lack information, facts and broader view of the problems. In Film Production this gap might be more vivid as the size of the industry and the value of the productions those are accessible easily in cinema theatres, Netflix or other formats does not [perhaps deliberately] provide useful information to a provocative mind. A lecturer at Higher Education has the opportunity to challenge the ideas and provide the hidden concepts concerning sustainability. However, it is important to question how this is possible, and the ways we produce the argument can affect the audience [students] differently. This debate requires being challenging, open to debate, practical and finally open to disagreement. Hence, designing the suitable workshops becomes a necessity to be engaging at different levels for the students to be able to pay attention to diverse issues when developing their ideas. For originating this essay, I refer to this section as ‘The Problem’.

The Debate

The sustainability issues, as evident, caused dramatic changes to the environment we live in and consequently, they affect the ways we live. Saving the planet in the 21st century becomes a priority, and some positive methods are already taken place regarding actions and education (Gabitov & Kurmanalieva, 2014). However, a point should be considered; sustainability is not embodied in our lives. As Arianna Huffington mentions we “prioritise our health. Live our lives as if everything is rigged in our favour. Burnt-out people do not create a sustainable planet.” (Huffington, 2013) This leads us to the question of personal experiences and equity as a sustainability issue. Our behaviour relies on many situations we face in our daily lives and our reaction to those events are a personal approach learnt through our experiences. The sustainability of reactions has a direct connection to how we feel and see the society as an individual. Of course, dealing with sustainability can be part of our ordinary life in the society, but each person makes decisions to accommodate personal needs. Some of the gaps created in the society are the result of the inequality and imbalance opportunities provided to us. Dealing with such issues are related directly to our personal experiences in which can be challenged when we consider our understanding of the new concepts in our lives. The educational programmes can provide awareness in which we can understand the issues, yet, they do not necessarily relate to our daily lives if we do not get the opportunity to exercise them. Designing sustainable methods of teaching in which can create a better balance between saving the planet and also allow us to bring those understanding into our lives can create a pivotal concept in dealing with sustainability issues. This argument is designed to develop a model by approaching the individual experiences as the source of knowledge, and the workshop is aiming to generate the opportunity for the students to develop new experiences in which parallel concepts can be debated in relation to sustainability.

Throughout the sessions in sustainability, some concepts provided information to understand the mechanism of the Learning for Sustainability. Two central debates, Sustainability models and A. D. Henry’s argument provoked the plan for the workshop but not necessarily as it has been presented. Studying both ideas, developed a counterargument which this essay tends to explore as the study of ‘The Problem’. This critical debate does not mean to ignore the valid argument produced by the other researcher, yet, it encourages this examination to focus on a more philosophical debate.

The disagreement with Adam Douglas Henry argument appears as the result of the similarities it provides to the ‘Utilitarianism’ economic analysis. (Funfgelt & Baumgartner, 2014) In both arguments, the prediction of the consumption made upon the learning of the improved quality of life in comparison. In other words, both theories indicate that learning about the new values causes the improvement in people lives. ‘The understanding of the ‘quality’ as a consequence of what we learn about our lives and how we can improve it to benefit from the change’ is the method being frequently used by utilitarianism theories. (ibid) They also discuss the matter of the social communication in which we can learn through the social encounters in our daily life. Hence, the arguments are valid, though they possess a marketing concept. In fact, the learning becomes a more objective concept as the market requires providing information to the audience to encourage their buying pattern based on what they have learnt. Hence, this essay approaches the discussion in a more philosophical concept by arguing both Immanuel Kant [1724-1804] and Henry Bergson [1859-1941] theories.

Immanuel Kant’s phenomenology discusses that what we know about the world is based on the judgment we consider by referring to our experiences. He believes that the knowledge we possess is a combination of our ‘objective’ understanding of the concepts [analytic-a priori] and what we learn through our experiences [synthetic-a priori and synthetic posteriori]. (Kant, 1998) The objective knowledge is what we learn in our life as definitions, and we cannot deny them with any contradiction; (Ibid) These definitions are not changeable and embodied to our communication methods by accepting the fact that we use a similar form of expression such as the English language. Kant uses this approach and mentions that even though the objective truths we have learnt are understandable and undeniable, yet, we cannot justify how the world works as they are human-made concepts and not possible to expand to the world as a whole. Therefore, he introduces a new source of learning as the experiences. (Adorno, 2018) A synthetic-posteriori is a truth that we learnt by encountering the concept in our lives. These truths are only true for the person who has experienced them and they are possible to deny with a contradiction (Kant, 1998). So, Kant claims that what we know as what experience might be universal and true but it refers to individual’s experiences. (Ibid) This also refers to what we know culturally as people with similar cultures produce similar meanings though it is deniable and interchangeable in the future when they get more experienced. Kant continues his argument by providing the knowledge we learn from our experiences, but they are universal and not possible to deny by any contradiction. (Ibid) An example will be Mathematics; we assume that 2+3 is equal to 5 and we believe it is true and not possible to deny with any contradiction at this moment. However, it is the result of our experiences and might be able to change them in the future if we experience something new. Kant concludes that all we learn is a combination of or analytic and synthetic truths; however, the synthetic truths can help us to understand the world. (Adorno, 2018)

Up to this point, there are no differences in both Henry and Kant’s arguments. However, with a closer comparison, we can find out that the learning for sustainability challenges are the result of providing the truths as the values where Kant systematically avoids. He claims that “there is no implicit restriction or qualification to the effect that a commitment to give moral considerations decisive weight is worth honouring, but only under such and such circumstances.” (Stephenson, 2015) Moreover, he continues: “possessing and maintaining a steadfast commitment to moral principles is the very condition under which anything else is worth having or pursuing. Intelligence and even pleasure are worth having only on the condition that they do not require giving up one’s fundamental moral convictions.” (Gardner, 2011) The Henry and utilitarianism theories though use the value, in which mostly created as the market requirement component, to discuss the quality of the life in either current or future, by providing the values as the source of objective information that is not deniable. Hence the learning through such method will result in confusion, complexity and unchangeable facts.

Reflecting this argument into the teaching for sustainability and the ‘The Problem’ will show that providing values as objective matters to the audience [students], even though positive and effective, they are not as sufficient as it might accrue as the first-hand opportunity to be experienced, learnt and developed individual values. Nevertheless, to dig more into the argument and possibility to create meaningful values via individual’s experiences it is required to discuss Henry Bergson theory.

Bergson discusses the ‘fabulation’ as the way of producing stories in which the audience are imaginative on the concept provided by using their experiences. (Bergson, 2012) He argues that our memory is imageless and what we gather in our brain as memories is a pool of data intergraded with images we perceived during our experiences. (Ibid) The imageless memory can create pictures as close as what we perceived in the past, but and in all cases, it will not be an exact recreation of the image, yet, it can be very close. As a result, Bergson believes that some of the data we collect for the visualisation are interrupted or displaced. In this situation, we remember depending on the demand of the situation we are currently at. Bergson believes this process can be used for creating stories and new experiences. (Bergson, 2004) The author can manipulate the audience in such way that their brain only recollects the data those are required for the environment the author provided for the audience. In this case, the audience can place their own experiences in the new situation and feel familiar as they have a vague memory of the concepts but the visual representation they experience is entirely new.  This process [fabulation] is where we use our objective knowledge [analytic-a priori] to produce new components and values as subjective learning outcome [synthetic-posteriori]. The new refined values are the result of individual’s experiences and possible to expand or deny in the future.

This argument shows the contrast and similarity between the Henry and Bergson ideas. The similarity refers to understanding the values provide by encountering a different situation and using those values to improve the quality of life. However, the contrast originates through individual’s experiences. In Henry debate, the experience is the result of the direct information and both social and individual analysis of the data regarding the new concept we face. (Henry, 2009) It potentially creates a problem that individual values might not overlap the values we learnt through the social encounters. Hence, we learn about the values, but they do not become part of our practice. Though the Bergson theory refers to producing information to recollect data from the recorded audience experiences in which they can create their values. It might sound that the difference is not a significant one. However, it is the problematic matter between the understanding of the values [Henry argument] and re-establishing the values [Bergson theory].

The provided counterargument by referring to the three pillars model formed the basis of the workshop for sustainability. For this essay, it becomes critical to abandoned market-related methods in teaching arts and especially in film and video production. A philosophical approach might be more suitable in which allows parallel approaches and considerations to discuss in the next part of this essay.

Hopefully the Solution!!

The storytelling becomes a significant factor in Arts and Design; especially in film production that stories can reach a vast number of audience and a conventional approach creates a significant source of information for new experiences. Learning for sustainability is a crucial factor in cultural development that arts should aim as a moral value. Though and as it was discussed, providing direct information to the audience to create awareness might be forgettable, contradictory and the outcome might not be open to future changes. In contrast, providing indirect information as part of the audience ‘new’ experiences can create a positive outcome in which is more relative to the audience lives, open to expansion or contradiction and more likely to be remembered. A student-centred practice aligns with experiential learning are the likely positions for the designed workshop. As the provided philosophical discussion points out, our individual experiences can develop our understanding of how we assume the world works. Hence, for understanding the sustainability issues, providing opportunities for the cohort to get involved in developing the new ideas as a platform for new experiences can be referred to learning for sustainability. Teaching for sustainability, either as part of the curriculum or a method to teach other concepts such as creativity or character development, opens the opportunity for direct engagement of the audience with such concepts.  Additionally, it can create satisfaction for students as the result of reaching a conclusion rather than accepting the facts provided by the tutor. It is also essential to address different concepts parallel to the main topic as it might create the opportunity for the students to familiarised the learning points concerning their personal perspectives. For example, discussing the Global Warming should not be excluded from the issues such as Equality and Equity. The cultural development of the students is depending on analysing different concepts simultaneously (Stevenson, 2011); especially in film production storytelling. The presented workshop uses these methods to develop the awareness among the audience by creating relative debates and generate new experiences.

The aim of the workshop is to develop the required skills in storytelling and character development. But it also can create the opportunity for the cohort to face the sustainability issues and generate new ideas in relation to the topic. The primary point of the designed workshop refers to developing ideas by using an image as the inspiration which is related to a sustainable issue. Using references, such as an image, allows the cohort to analyse the reference by referring to their personal experiences in a concept that they have not considered as a subject matter in storytelling. This already creates a platform in which sustainability can be approached as the new matter of discussion even though it is not the primary point of learning. But the discussion on sustainability becomes necessary when they are required to do research and develop the story by considering different aspect of the sustainable issue. This notion provides an internal debate by creating the comparison between new experience and what they already know. While the students are developing their skills in storytelling and character development, the workshop produces indirect information in relation to sustainability in which students themselves creating the experiences and engaging with the topics. By referring back the outcome of the workshop to the philosophical debate, it is possible to consider that the designed workshop is aiming to, firstly, allow the audience to generate new primary experiences in relation to sustainability issues while developing their skills as storytellers. These first-hand experiences, as Immanuel Kant discusses, are our primary source of knowledge. This can provide the students with information closer to their peculiar understanding of the concepts. The tutor as the facilitator should only allow students to debate the concept, yet, can facilitate the debate where appropriate by providing some information about the under-discussion issues. The second aim, refers to the process of ‘fabulation’ provided by Henri Bergson. The image as the reference provides the opportunity to recollect the data the students have collected as memories and developed new concept as ‘the story’ in which their audience will have the opportunity to go through a similar experience. As a result, the story becomes the reference image and audience should go through the similar experience as the students have gone through. This can be referred back to the primary point of teaching as the tools for developing a story that is relatable to the audience as the primary skill required for storytelling and character development. The tutor concludes the session by explaining how the process worked whilst the audiences gain the new knowledge as the result of their new experience in discussing sustainability.

By designing this workshop, I hoped to come with a technique that can be used in my teaching to develop more understanding of the sustainable issues within the cohort while they are directly engaged with the topic to develop the relation between their personal experiences and the topic of discussion. The seminar on three pillars model grabbed my attention as I had a personal problem with the structure, yet, I could not disagree with it. Considering that we do not need to have pre-defined pillars for our analysis evoked my brain to consider personal involvement with the topic when designing the workshop. On the other hand, the second seminar in which applying different methods to discuss the sustainability created a great motivation in designing this workshop. Playfulness, as the primary skill for creative development of ideas, became essential to analyse the complicated topics. Hence, it becomes a priority to design a workshop which allows the cohort playfully discuss the ideas when producing something new [story]. After presenting the workshop, the feedback received was overwhelming. Both AUB students and UAL cohort expressed that the workshop allowed them to develop debates in which they would not consider happening at the beginning, and they have acknowledged the point of the workshop and the method of the delivery. I was aware that it required a better introduction as the cohort are not necessarily familiar with story structure, but, they have managed to develop some exciting stories, and the debate took off quickly between the students. I’m going to facilitate similar workshops in the future by knowing that it requires some more thoughts on engaging new sustainability discussions. It grows crucial for the students to be aware of such issues even if they want to develop the stories that are not necessarily related. This can be a solution to ‘the problem’ introduced at the beginning as it gives the opportunity to the cohort to have first-hand experiences in relation to the Sustainability Issues while developing their skills in storytelling. This approach is personal and as discussed, it allows the individual audience to get involved directly and based on their personal experiences.

 

Bibliography

Adorno, T. W. (2018). Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Bergson, H. (2004). Matter and Memory. Chelmsford, USA: Courier Corporation.

Bergson, H. (2012). Creative Evolution. Chelmsford, USA: Courier Corporation.

Funfgelt, J., & Baumgartner, S. (2014). A utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability. Leuphana University Lüneburg, Department of Sustainability Science and Department of Economics. Lüneburg: Leuphana University Lüneburg.

Gabitov, T., & Kurmanalieva, A. (2014). Sustainable development as a priority of contemporary cultural policy. ScienceDirect, 4.

Gardner, S. (2011). Kant’s Practical Postulates and the Limits of the Critical System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Henry, A. D. (2009). In Henry debate, the experience is the result of the direct information and both social and individual analysis of the data regarding the new concept we face. Human Ecology Review, 16(2), 131-140.

Huffington, A. (2013, 08 02). Arianna Huffington: ‘My mother said failure was a stepping stone to success’. (D. Aitkenhead, Interviewer) The Guardian.

Johnston, L. F. (2013). Higher Education for Sustainability: Cases, Challenges, and Opportunities from Across the Curriculum. London, UK: Routledge.

Kant, I. (1998). Critique of Pure Reason. (J. Meiklejohn, Trans.) London, UK: Henry G. Bohn.

Stephenson, A. (2015, October). Kant, the Paradox of Knowability, and the Meaning of ‘Experience’. Philosophers Imprint, 15(27), 19.

Stevenson, B. (2011). Reflecting on culture in the classroom: complexities of navigating third spaces in teacher education. Oulu, Finland: University in Oulu Press.

Serious People, Funny Stories!!!

The Scheme:

The workshop introduces a sustainable issue without any introduction accompanied by an image and piece of music. The students are divided into small groups have given a piece of paper to come with a story inspired by the photo and the music. For this unit, the following poster provided to them. [iceberg photo that is a floating plastic bag]. The photo is a recognisable image yet by paying attention to details, and it shows that this is not an iceberg but a floating plastic bag. The music is instrumental and primarily to distract the students from their daily hobbies. They have been asked to write a short story with at least two characters. The story should have a beginning, an end and the transition between the two in the middle. After 15 minutes, new pieces of papers are handed to the students. The new papers are designed persona (character) development sheets. [Image] They are asked to fill the sheets and develop their characters in 15-20 minutes. In the end, the facilitator asks each group to explain the story they have written and to introduce their characters.

Reference Image

Reference Image

At this point facilitator presents a new topic via a question such as ‘how many of your characters are gay?’, ‘who has got a woman protagonist?’ or ‘do we have any transgender characters?’. To answer those questions, a discussion opens up within groups that how this can relate to the story, they have written as the reference image and music would not have any connections to the newly generated questions. The facilitator briefly explains the matter of responsibilities and how we are unconsciously moving towards white-male protagonists. The outcome of the questions initiates a series of debate related to equality and equity in which students discuss the issue in their perspective. At this stage, the role of the facilitator is chairing the debate for 20 minutes. In the end, the lecturer can conclude the debate by mentioning that the different concepts can be related and it does not matter if we only focus on our main plot, but we equally can develop sub-plots that relate to different cultural concepts. Finally, they are asked to redevelop the stories to accommodate more than one sustainable concepts.

The Story

The story

 

Example Character Development

Example: Character Development (Persona Sheet)

By designing this workshop, I hoped to come with a technique that can be used in my teaching to develop more understanding of the sustainable issues within the cohort while they are directly engaged with the topic to develop the relation between their personal experiences and the topic of discussion. The seminar on three pillars model grabbed my attention as I had a personal problem with the structure, yet, I could not disagree with it. Considering that we do not need to have pre-defined pillars for our analysis evoked my brain to consider personal involvement with the topic when designing the workshop. On the other hand, the second seminar in which applying different methods to discuss the sustainability created a great motivation in designing this workshop. Playfulness, as the primary skill for creative development of ideas, became essential to analyse the complicated topics. Hence, it becomes a priority to design a workshop which allows the cohort playfully discuss the ideas when producing something new [story]. After presenting the workshop, the feedback received was overwhelming. Both AUB students and UAL cohort expressed that the workshop allowed them to develop debates in which they would not consider happening at the beginning, and they have acknowledged the point of the workshop and the method of the delivery. I was aware that it required a better introduction as the cohort are not necessarily familiar with story structure, but, they have managed to develop some exciting stories, and the debate took off quickly between the students. I’m going to facilitate similar workshops in the future by knowing that it requires some more thoughts on engaging new sustainability discussions. It grows crucial for the students to be aware of such issues even if they want to develop the stories that are not necessarily related. This can be a solution to ‘the problem’ introduced at the beginning as it gives the opportunity to the cohort to have first-hand experiences in relation to the Sustainability Issues while developing their skills in storytelling. This approach is personal and as discussed, it allows the individual audience to get involved directly and based on their personal experiences.

Serious People

Serious People

I CAN’T read the comments!!!!!

Microteaching is a show-off!!! At least it was for me. In principle, I wanted to demonstrate my techniques in simply teaching complicated subjects. I was nervous to see the other people feedback. I’m interested in philosophy and also teaching skills such as playfulness, critical debates and the expression of the idea.
As experienced previously, in those topics students engage more with a little humour. I decided to teach about risk-taking by using an elephant as an object by referring to “Elephant in the Room.” The session is designed based on some horrible and some funny jokes. The slide texts are simple and not informative. Some limited images to accompany the jokes.
The overall feedback was overwhelming. 🙂 I wish I could get more negative feedback though. Also, I realised one thing!!!! I can’t read my colleagues’ handwriting!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛 Judge it yourself 😀

MicroTeachings Notes
MicroTeachings Notes
The Elephant Story

The Slides:

PGCAP Elephant in the Room

Subjectivity is the Consciousness

The assessment is a funny game! It is guilty!! The pleasures one! It is a philosophical one. Martin Heidegger states that “as the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents something, relates this representation back to itself, and so gathers with itself” (Heidegger, 2014). The dilemma of if the assessment is the reflection of success or failure is a myth; especially in Arts and Design. Throughout my teaching experience, I came across different methods of markings; some more detailed, e.g. UAL and some more subjective, e.g. AUB. Regardless, there are always ups and downs to consider. The main issue though is not how the marking system works; it is a frequent students’ questioning “why this mark”. The session on assessment helped to understand how different system might work, though it didn’t necessarily solve the issue I concern to the time that one of the colleagues who teaches in France suggested a technique he is using! Such a brilliant idea. He mentioned that they allow their first-year units to be marked by students and use their marking outcome as 10% of the overall assessment. It will enable students to collectively analyse the learning outcomes and reflect their understanding as the teacher and the process of marking. This suggestion was my nemesis in the last couple of weeks. The most significant idea perhaps and why I didn’t come with it 😛
At Arts University Bournemouth this is one of the most significant issues. This technique might allow the students to learn how the marking works. I got the permission to trial the new system in my unit and record the outcome. Hope it works. To this point, I found this the most important lesson I learnt in the PGCAP. It excites me, and I’m confident that students will enjoy it. Let see what is happening. I made up my mind.

Made Up Mind. Getty Image
Made Up Mind. Getty Image

Work Cited: 

Heidegger, M. (2014). Introduction to Metaphysics: Second Edition. New Heaven, USA: Yale University Press.

Where’s Wally! The story of the society not the white tall man with a funny hat

The workshop is designed to develop the awareness of the contemporary sustainable issues by considering different concepts such as social justice, diversity or other cases where we can recognize effective to create awareness while considering sustainable matters.

The question raised when in my storytelling workshops I encounter the students approach in their stories by not considering concepts in which can be contested in different perspectives. The questions they should ask but could not find a response; e.g. why an event is important in the story or why their stories are not relatable to the other people when being discussed. There is no doubt that keeping the focus on one concept is essential, especially when it is about writing a short story! However, understanding the background of events they create are is critical. This debate grabs my attention, and during the PGcap sessions on sustainability, I faced the problem again. The three Pillars Diagram, yet being open to adding more pillars, was a striking point to develop this workshop.

I do believe that cultural learning of Arts is a crucial factor to create better artist! Though, it doesn’t mean that it is possible to teach how to think culturally. Similar to the idea of adding a 4th pillar to the diagram as the culture! All the other pillars (Environment, Economy and Social) are valid points to consider, but they provide the direct information about the situation. On the other hand, the cultural aspect can be viewed as the way we manage to understand the concept! So, it is not possible to add that as an additional pillar. However, in my studies, cultural understanding of the concepts are more informative than any other approach. Regarding the storytelling, this becomes an important element! Many of us are being told that there are no unique ideas anymore!!!!! Such a piece of rubbish (excuse my language). Here I need to refer to Freud:

“It sounds like a fairy-tale, but not only that; this story of what man by his science and practical inventions has achieved on this earth, where he first appeared as a weakly member of the animal kingdom, and on which each individual of his species must ever again appear as a helpless infant… is a direct fulfilment of all, or of most, of the dearest wishes in his fairy-tales. All these possessions he has acquired through culture. Long ago he formed an ideal conception of omnipotence and omniscience which he embodied in his gods. Whatever seemed unattainable to his desires – or forbidden to him – he attributed to these gods. One may say, therefore, that these gods were the ideals of his culture. Now he has himself approached very near to realizing this ideal, he has nearly become a god himself. But only, it is true, in the way that ideals are usually realized in the general experience of humanity. Not completely; in some respects not at all, in others only by halves. Man has become a god by means of artificial limbs, so to speak, quite magnificent when equipped with all his accessory organs; but they do not grow on him and they still give him trouble at times… Future ages will produce further great advances in this realm of culture, probably inconceivable now, and will increase man’s likeness to a god still more.”

Creating a story to tell requires a cultural approach in which you can combine different aspects of Society, Economy and Environment by analysing them through oneself understanding of the issues. This cultural understanding cannot be taught directly though it is possible to debate in order to raise the awareness.  This approach formed my workshop.

The workshop is designed to develop a debate on Equality and Equity, through a session inspired by sustainability. The Students are being asked to produce short stories and a series of characters based on one picture and a piece of music. As they are developing their stories in groups, some questions are being asked to grab their attention on the matter of the equality and equity. In practice, it creates a debate on the subject in which seems irrelevant to sustainability. However, if the discussion is possible to form, the facilitator can refer it back to the sustainable issue and be pointing the relation between equality and sustainability.

The session is designed to challenge the students based on their cultural understanding of the sustainable issue. The aim of this workshop is:

1. To portrait that each story requires being reviewed in different perspectives to make sure it is resistance to the questions we might not face in our cultural understanding of the story.

2. To create a debate that points the relation between the main topic (sustainability) and cultural issues (Equality and Equity)

3. To raise the awareness on the contemporary issues which they can discuss in their stories, even in a minor part.

To have an example of similar discussion, I present the following illustration! Do you know what is this about? (The answer is in comments)

Comments:

Picture Description:

It is about Equality and Gender Balance in WorkPlace.  Detail from IC4 Design’s poster Finding Her, which highlights the lack of women in male-dominated industries in Egypt. Photograph: IC4 Design for UN Women Egypt.

Lindsey Riley Comment: 

Ah- I didn’t get was the picture was about until I read below! Like the storytelling idea for your workshop.

Best Lindsey

The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression!!

Playfulness. Getty Image

Playfulness is the crucial concept of any creative decision. It was the beginning and the reason I read ‘Understanding Art: The Play of Work and Spectator’. I found the text a bit hard to read, but in overall I agree with the majority part of the book. In the group discussion in the class, we had a good review on it. It is funny to say the colleague who was working in the library found the concept pointless!!
In arts institutions, it is a typical approach to design workshops based on games and plays. But I have added a new approach to my teaching. I teach playfulness. Referring back to the article, it indicates that “The self-presentation of human play depends on the player’s conduct being tied to the make-believe goals of the game, but the “meaning” of these does not in fact depend on their being achieved. Rather, in spending oneself on the task of the game, one is in fact playing oneself out. The self-presentation of the game involves the player’s achieving, as it were, his own self-presentation by playing—that is, presenting—something. Only because play is always presentation is human play able to make representation itself the task of the game” (Gadamer, 2013, p. 12). Hence, I do believe that the learning how to play can be a unique skill to develop the creativity. In a series of lectures being held in Storytelling unit, I aim to teach playfulness directly and by facilitating workshops in the relation of the playing games. Throughout a 20 weeks unit, playing games become a priority when any problems occur. Reading the provided article was a pleasure. It helped me to become more confident on my approach. Also, I wasn’t familiar with the Philosopher. It is always good to learn new things. I’m using this debate to develop my playfulness sessions further. Students loved it so I do. I use this method to develop the Micro Teaching session. Wait for the info to come!

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” (Jewell, 1997, p. 25)

Works Cited:

Gadamer, H.-G. (2013). Truth and Method. London, UK: A&C Black.

Jewell, D. L. (1997). Reflections on Leisure, Play, and Recreation. Carbondale, USA: SIU Press.

Sustainability: Film Productions

The film production, some may call the money printing industry, has attracted many in different capacities. An average number 1000 Cast and Crew for a medium size Hollywood production is considered as a vital industry. Many governments and political systems understand the potential of the sector in which they have provided many tax cuts, benefits and support. In 2016, UK film and TV industry contributed £7.7bn into UK economy (Elliott, 2017). It is important to mention that the UK is the 7th most significant film industry in the world. These figures show the impact of the worldwide £207bn industry on economy growth beside the other impacts such as ethics, advertising, etc.

The Film and TV industry has a good track record of being used to provide information to the audience and be a successful tool to control or manipulate consumers behaviour. As cruel it might sound, it is impossible to divide the political system interest in Film Industry and the Film Productions. Even though there are films produced which we consider Art House Cinema and their focus is social-political issues caused by cropped systems, but, the majority of the industry focus is on the marketing and consumers behaviour. This approach generates some problems regarding Sustainability.

As recently revealed, the film industry faces allegations such as sexism, inequality and racism. Yet, it is essential to acknowledge that these issues are routed to the expectation of the audience, cast and crew as the part of the industry chain beside the marketing decision and the support of political systems. The main issues in the UK film industry can be categorised as follow:

– The percentage of the Female Crew in the Industry is just under 20% compare to 80% Male Crew. This gap is more prominent in HOD roles such as Cinematographers, Composers, Editors and Directors. The current figure shows the female cast percentage (30%) is lower than 1913 (31%). (Brown, 2017)

– The Non-binary gender is not considered for any statistic of funding applications. (Follows, 2016)

–  Sexism both facing male and female cast and crew as the result of the hierarchy structure of the industry.

– Direct involvement of the big co-operations in the story development, productions and distributions.

–  The non-environmental Friendly process of the film production. Luckily, there has been some research and development towards this, but unfortunately, the industry is well behind. (Unknown, 2007)

Comments:

Lindsy Riley Comment:

Hello Babak,

I was interested to read about sustainability related to the film production industry from your insider perspective. I was surprised that 1000 cast and crew for a medium size Hollywood production is normal and hadn’t considered the non-environmentally friendly aspect of making films before. The film industry allegations of sexism and racism are very much in the public eye and cover ethics I suppose rather than sustainability.

You mentioned the air miles required to film on location in class and the Independent article you cited discusses lighting, electricity, food wastage through crew catering, celluloid and the film used itself, not to mention the props that are not needed after finished with on set. Actors and the industry are taking note to some extent and It induced me to hunt a bit further and I found some information on a film I had seen recently- The Revenant.

The Revenant

Leo Di Caprio called attention to climate change in his Oscar speech for The Revenant, but the film itself was far from green. 93% of the film was made on location in Calgary and Montana, but due to the lack of snow the production was moved to the frozen tip of Argentina, necessitating flights for over 400 cast, crew and production team leaving a huge carbon footprint in their trail. Planes were used to bomb an area on Fortress Mountain to set off an avalanche. Di Caprio himself claims to be a ‘Carbon Neutral Citizen’. He drives a Prius and his extensive use of private jets and vacations on diesel-burning yachts are offset through Future Forests who have planted thousands of trees in Mexico to compensate for the tons of carbon he is personally responsible for creating. However, in the same way that confessing a sin to a priest may cleanse the spirit, the deed is still done. It seems as if as long as you plant a £4.50 tree or two you can burn as much fuel as you like and it’s all ok.

Nick Parks on set of Early Man, Los Angeles Times.

I shall think far more about sustainability next time I go to the cinema. I am planning on seeing Nick Park’s Early Man that apparently makes use of a modest by Hollywood standards crew of 140 and I am already wondering what happens to all that Plasticine when they are done?

Lindsey.

https://www.futureforests.org.uk/about

 

Katharine Hackney Comment:

A friend recently worked on a film with a well know actor director.

He insisted on all things ‘green’, No printed mood boards or scripts, nothing. However if you really needed to print something, he had flown some exceptionally environmentally friendly paper over from the USA they should use, oh and his favourite water!

 

Babi’s Reply:

Lindsy! Thanks for the reply and insight. Some may argue, Caprio is one, that making a film can create awareness. I’m not against it! But at what cost!! The film industry regarding the environmental sustainability is behind many other industries that might not even generate the same benefit. It is good to consider the large sum they make to improve the research and find solutions. But which rich person want to do that?! Harvey Weinstein?!?

Most of the props go to museums or cast and crew houses for decoration and remembrance. Many of them are possible to reshape or reuse. The electricity is the most prominent issue. And mentioning it as a cinematographer who is in charge of lights, well, is painful.

Also, regarding the sexism, I agree with you it is an ethical matter. But inequality and equity are both sustainability issues. This is more leans towards the Social Sustainability. Though there is a reason I put both in the same field as environmental issues and that needs to be discussed.

Kathrine! That’s true. It is avoidable and there are apps and software are designed to create a better enterprise situation to avoid the use of paper; e.g. Celtx. But that wasn’t an issue much. Not in the film industry. Most of the communications and documentations happen digitally anyway, unless, it is extremely important; e.g. contracts and invoices as they required to be printed because of the Law. I really want to see how your friend managed to sort the delivery of the water!! hope it wasn’t a plastic bottle. 😀

 

Work Cited

Brown, M. (2017, September 20). British cinema’s gender imbalance worse in 2017 than 1913, says BFI study. The Guardian.

Elliott, L. (2017, December 14). The force is strong with British film industry as revenues soar. The Guardian.

Follows, S. (2016, May 4). A major new study into gender inequality in the UK film industry. Retrieved from Film Data and Education: https://stephenfollows.com/gender-inequality-in-the-uk-film-industry/

Unknown. (2007, November 16). Emission impossible: Why Hollywood is one of the worst polluters. Independent. Retrieved from Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/emission-impossible-why-hollywood-is-one-of-the-worst-polluters-400493.html

Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted

This is a blup. Creating a link between Philosophy and other concepts might sound intellectual and some believe that it might be out of content. Bertrand Russell mentions “Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom” (Russell, 1999, p. 104). Though, the uncertainty in finding the solutions will provide us with an opportunity to creatively looking for solutions and constantly review the concepts behind the problems. Hence, the philosophical reading becomes an important tool for me to discuss the matters in teaching and learnings. The indication of “if nothing is true; everything is permitted” (Metzger, 2009, p. 66) can be referred to all the philosophical analysis of problems in which philosophy actively questioning the concepts and the creative mind would recollect data from the memory to generate temporarily solutions. The temporary solutions with not expiry dates are open to contradiction via other philosophical arguments. The organic movement behind these concepts would develop an opportunity to fluidly debate issues independent of time and space. This notion grabs my attention in academic practice; using philosophy to question not providing the ultimate solution. The provided readings caught my attention; notably, the Whitehead’s The Aims of Education and other essays.
University as the mean of change and progress is one of the main reasons for my involvement as a lecturer. As a student activist in Iran, I do firmly believe that the university can provide opportunities to the students to develop social-political concepts in which can create a change while they are studying and more importantly when they enter the working environment. The essay is an old one! The university culture has fundamentally changed in the past decades. The reasons behind this perhaps require further investigation. But as the University Lecturers, it should become a priority to understand the cultural impact the universities can make in the students’ lives and society changes. In the era that political understanding of the world becomes a job for elites and limiting students involvement used as a tool to control the changes in politics, the future of the univesities should consider dramatic changes to persuade students to face countercultural debates as the progressive graduates.
The Whitehead’s essay is a fascinating read regarding this matter and using Kan’t philosophical perspective creates fluidity in the subject matter. Although, his idea requires to be developed within academic members of universities to encourage students to take part in the social-political activities. Education at the university level should be further than providing required skills for the future jobs. It is essential that students learn to be a responsible person who can create changes. Margaret Mead states “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” (Mead, 2005, p. 12). Developing committed and thoughtful citizens at the universities should not be an aim; it is a responsibility.

Works Cited:

Mead, M. (2005). The World Ahead: An Anthropologist Anticipates the Future. New York, USA: Berghahn Books.

Metzger, J. (2009). Nietzsche, Nihilism and the Philosophy of the Future. London, UK: A&C Black.

Russell, B. (1999). The Problems of Philosophy. Dover, UK: Courier Corporation.

Look Mum No Hands: A technical Demonstration

Lindsay asked me to write something for this!!! But what?! Here we go; it is the outcome of my brain at the end of the session!

Blogging is cool!

Workflow makes sense!

I’m going to write like a champion everyday!

I’m enthusiasticly loving the technology!

I’m going to read everyone’s Blog.

 

Update:

Well!! I didn’t do any of those!!!!!!! 😀

But at least met new people. And one not so new! Talking about Clare.

The Minimal Cat. Getty Image.

Happy Middle, a very happy beginning!!!

“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part, 
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.” (Silverstein, 2012)

Let this begins! I’m looking forward to it. It seems fine yet stressful. What if they tell me I’m a horrible teacher?! I wouldn’t mind that really. As long as it helps me to be better. Better than what? I have no idea. Looking forward to meet new people. Those who are going to love me and those who hate. No point in being loved only. Hating is as important isn’t it!? Anyhow, let it begins. I’m looking forward to it. At the end it is a story.

Hug O War by Shel Silverstein

Silverstein, S. (2012). Everything on It. London, UK: Penguin Books.