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#393 Engagement and Film-making at Westbridge Academy with Slide Productions

Cindy Bathgate

What did we do?

Our project took place over 7 weekly sessions during March and April 2022 at Westbridge Academy / Raedwald Trust. Our Film Project was planned to work across three sites of the Raedwald Trust with 14 Year 9 and Year 11 students. This was the first time in many years we had received grant funding to pursue a project like this. Our aim was to provide an opportunity for our students to learn film and editing skills they could continue with beyond school. We hired Jim Horsley from Slide Productions to work with us. We discussed the project with a few local artist/ film makers before choosing Jim Horsfield/ Slide Productions. Jim is a self-trained film/ videographer who has done a lot of community funded projects as well as working on large scale video projection projects and festivals using his own film compilations. His portfolio was impressive as well as his history and the stories he could tell our students about getting into the business. The project was delivered by Jim Horsfield, Cindy Bathgate, Mike Challis and Lucy Cocking. 

Three members of staff worked alongside Jim Horsfield with 14 students taking part to make their own short films or to work as a group making a film. Students from 3 Raedwald Trust sites were given a taster session with Jim to see if they wanted to take part. Students were encouraged to plan their films carefully to work to the brief ‘Tell your Stories’.

Students discussed the stories the wanted to tell and planned their ideas with Jim. He facilitated the outome by teaching the fundamentals of short film production from inception to the editing stage. The activity was initiated by staff but once they got started, students worked in groups or independently to produce short films based on their own interests. 

Bringing established arts practitioners into Alternative Provision units is an invaluable way to foster awareness of the arts in practice to young people who have limited access to creative or cultural projects in their communities. In addition, projects like this one help to broaden a student’s understanding of the value of the arts as possible career choices or options for further education.

Summary of impact

This project benefitted many of our Year 11 students, in their last year of school to learn film editing skills they can continue with in future. Year 9 students had a unique opportunity to learn film and editing skills. Students were taught how to make effective edits using accessible, free apps as well as using Premier Pro, provided by Jim Horsfield. Students were able to collaborate on a project with peers, improving their engagement and confidence. Many of our students struggle to engage so this project was valuable in making connections with the work of artists in their own community and has helped them to discover creative outlets they can join or get involved in. Students enjoyed working with Jim, sharing their own interests to tell their stories.

We believe we worked towards achieving Hullabaloo22 outcomes, specifically these listed below: 

Education providers enrich the cultural and creative curriculum in their settings 

Providers support young people’s attainment in creative subjects 

Arts and cultural providers attract more children and young people from under-represented communities to take part the cultural offer in Ipswich  

Providers inspire & support young people to develop careers in the creative sector 

New partnerships develop between community organisations/groups and arts providers

What would we do differently

We learned that our students had some basic experience of a variety of film editing apps but not much understanding of how to combine film, photography and music to make quality work. We encouraged students to use apps and free software available to them om their phones but using the skills learned in sessions. Several of our students were also making digital music using Logic software. They learned how to combine video and music to create short films. Challenge were mainly due to limited access to editing software allowing only one pair or group to work on editing at a time. If we were to do the project again we would break it down into smaller groups to give more concentrated tech expertise.

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Cindy Bathgate, Westbridge Academy / Raedwald Trust