Audiovisual messages invade and are part of our daily lives and are a powerful strategy of information and communication today. The influence of the media can be seen in multiple formats and windows, from the most traditional movie theater to video games, blogs, sharing networks like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many others. They carry and disseminate values and models of conduct.
Researchers from the Higher School of Education of the Viana do Castelo Polytechnic (ESE-IPVC) in Portugal and other national and international researchers and partner cultural institutions, such as the “AO NORTE” – Audiovisual Production and Animation Association believe that there is a broad consensus on the recognition of cinema as a means of acquiring media literacy. The problematisation of cinema as an artistic expression and the promotion of interdisciplinarity between the areas of communication, cinema and education, and artistic education in particular, have been established in the field of communication science teaching. Viana’s International Film Conferences, with themes such as cinema and school; film and art; science and culture gather annually a large number of national and international teachers and researchers at ESE-IPVC, supporting diverse projects in this area and highlighting how many schools at all levels of education already integrate media literacy in their educational offer, with a format that allows students to read critically and use audiovisual tools as a creative and communication medium.
In this context, along with several other colleagues, I recently published a research article entitled Film Education Project with Youth which describes the action-research projects that are repeated annually at ESE-IPVC, when students are confronted with cinema, audiovisual language, the analysis of still and moving images and the follow-up of documentary creation with students from different courses. Students also are invited to create a dynamic audiovisual space based on the text of “Manifesto Anti Dantas” by Portuguese writer, Almada Negreiros.
They also record video interviews in rural communities in the context of the International Project Rural 3.0 Service-Learning for Rural Development which was funded as a Knowledge Alliance in July 2018 under the Erasmus+ Programme and which is coordinated by the School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo and which involves sixteen partners from eight European countries.
This project is setting up a framework for an integrated transnational approach to academic teaching and learning that contributes to the development of rural areas, meeting their needs and boosting innovation in these areas through an innovative methodology and creating community-university partnerships. One of the project goals is to establish a virtual Hub with a broad network of academic and rural stakeholders that will offer teaching and learning content through a dedicated transnational academic module with courses on service-learning and social entrepreneurship, community training materials and digital collaborative & learning tools. It will also promote interactions between universities and rural community stakeholders. The strength of this international project lies in its implications for cultural learning, sustainable rural development and international cooperation.
We believe that such projects highlight innovation, learning and transferability in developing media literacy. The following key points are worth noting:
- when operating an integrated and cross-curricular approach to cultural practice, art and culture can bring real benefits to local contexts by addressing community priorities and needs;
- working strategically in partnership is key to delivering outcomes, such a strategy in relation to art education practices and projects needs to operate at both the macro policy/national and the micro delivery/partnership levels and that both need to develop in parallel.
Although much work has been done in Portugal, the concept of art education, which has changed little during the last two decades and which has dominated both general education and teacher training, it is in great need of revision. In this article, a description of media literacy topic identification is given and a number of questions are raised, as well as the values required of Higher Education students regarding the development of civic and critical skills. The case for the extension to the development of a consistent, coherent and rational programme of media literacy is presented in the article which argues for the potential of such a programme to make a direct contribution to the advance of general education, both in national/international and institutional terms.
This work was partially co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union, under the development of the project entitled “3.0- Service Learning for the Rural Development”. Promotor: Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo.
Professor Anabela Moura,
Project Coordinator, IPVC