Impact Workshop, Leeds, 22 January 2015

Project non-academic partners

Venue: Leeds Humanities Research Institute

Chair: Alan O’Leary

Minutes: Luke Postlethwaite

Agenda

  1. 10:00 Introduction to Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories project (Alan O’Leary)
  2. 10:45 Introduction to non-academic partnerships and ‘impact’ statements (Matt Boswell)
  3. 11:15 Support for educational outreach from the Faculty of Arts (Esther Harper)
  4. 11:30 ‘Impact’ and academic/non-academic partnerships (Frank Finlay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts)
  5. 11:45 Self-introductions by non-academic partners
  6. 13:00 Lunch and demonstration of sample learning resources
  7. 13:45 Discussion:
    1. What kind of resources should we develop together?
    2. How can each partner benefit from participation in the project?
  8. 15:45 Closing remarks

Participants

Matt Boswell Leeds, Arts Engaged; School of English Arts engaged fellow
James Earnshaw-Crofts St Helen and St Katharine School, Abingdon, Oxfordshire Teacher in charge of Italian
Frank Finlay Leeds Dean of the Faculty of Arts
Chiara Fiorentini Ozu Film festival (Sassuolo Italy) Film department director and PhD student at Leeds
Austin Fisher Bournemouth University; ‘Spaghetti Cinema’ Film Festival Coordinator of festival and co-investigator in project
Esther Harper Leeds, Arts Educational Engagement (outreach)
Nonye Irukwu North London Collegiate School Student of Italian (Pre-U)
Manuela Knight St Paul’s Girls School, London Lead teacher of Italian
Peter Langdale North London Collegiate School Head of Italian
Nico Marzano Institute of Contemporary Arts, London Film programmer
Jo Nockels Opera North, Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds Projects Manager and programmer
Alan O’Leary Leeds, School of Languages Cultures and Societies Project leader
Deborah Parker ‘Cinema For All’ Managing Director
Andrea Piras Liceo Azuni, Sassari (Italy); Teacher of philosophy
Luke Postlethwaite Leeds, School of Languages Cultures and Societies Project research assistant
Lucia-Angelica Salaris Liceo Azuni, Sassari (Italy); Angelica Editore publisher Teacher of English; director of publishing co.
Beatriz Santos North London Collegiate School Student of Italian (Pre-U)
Enrico Vanucci Ozu Film festival (Sassuolo Italy) Festival artistic director

 

  1. Introduction to the Project (Alan O’Leary)

AOL began the day by welcoming and thanking all participants and by introducing the Italian Cinemas/Italian Histories project (https://historyonfilm.leeds.ac.uk/) and its development since 2011.

The project is evolving through dialogue with academic and non-academic partners. The aim of the non-academic partnership strand is to develop resources that can be adapted and employed by different constituencies in different contexts.

He also explained that there were a number of funding applications linked to the project in progress and that the intended submission date for the largest of these (to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), UK) is towards the end of the year.

Alan hopes to get funding, as part of this and other applications, for the development of resources to be driven by partners’ needs. There should be a two-way exchange between the project’s outreach elements and research questions. Therefore, today’s workshop was aimed at beginning this dialogue.

He thanked the University of Leeds, in particular the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange who made this workshop possible through Ignite funding.

  1. Introduction to non-academic partnerships and ‘impact’ statements (Matt Boswell)
Matt Boswell of Arts Engaged

Matt Boswell of Arts Engaged

Impact refers the economic or social effect of research outside the university.

MB began his presentation by introducing the theme of impact and what this means for large funding bids. He explained that the impact agenda has arisen because:

  • Up until about 5 years ago universities were focussed mainly on research and teaching. However, in recent years the impact agenda has emerged, from government and the higher education funding bodies, and brought public engagement more centrally into academics’ work;
  • Arts Engaged located in the University of Leeds Faculty of Arts, is part of this, as it aims to guide projects through the funding process in terms of their impact strategies;
  • Impact is about making a difference outside of academia and making universities more open and collaborative.

Many sources of money are tied to either the AHRC or REF. Money is becoming harder to get but there is also a trend for successful funding bids to be awarded greater sums.

An impact summary must be part of any AHRC funding bid. This should include:

  • Who might benefit from the research;
  • How might these people benefit;
  • Pathways to impact – i.e. the procedures the project will adopt to achieve impact.

MB stressed that the impact summary should be as specific as possible, with the focus being on outcomes, whilst also remaining flexible. The key to a good impact strategy is a project which is original, innovative and has ambition. The outputs/resources developed should be something different/new.

  1. Support for educational outreach from the Faculty of Arts (Esther Harper)
Esther Harper

Esther Harper

EH introduced the work of the university’s Education Engagement team. The team developed out of the university’s ‘widening participation’ work and runs both on- and off-campus events for schools.

Aims of team:

  • To support student recruitment and widen participation through meaningful engagement and a sharing of expertise;
  • To develop school partnerships by bridging the gap between schools and the university;
  • To monitor and evaluate the impact of engagement with schools;

EH gave an overview of the department’s work but stressed that they can be flexible and fit in with an individual project’s needs.

Education Engagement can help projects by providing:

  • A network of teachers;
  • Event organisation support;
  • Promotion and advertising of events;

AOL added that he hope the ICIH project could be used for the benefit of teaching careers by feeding into teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD), as well as engaging with students, and that this should be reflected in the research questions.

  1. ‘Impact’ and academic/non-academic partnerships (Frank Finlay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts)
Frank Finlay

Frank Finlay

FF welcomed the partners to the university. He reaffirmed the university’s commitment to engagement, stating it was one of the ways that the University can offer public value. Such work is about the co-creation of research with external partners and if done creatively can enrich the experiences and work of all involved by opening up possibilities not previously available. FF cited the large project ‘Performing the Jewish Archive’ (http://tinyurl.com/pltdcf3) as an example of this. He stated that the value in such projects is that they can be used as a springboard to a range of other events.

  1. Partner Self-Introductions:
  • AOL asked all the partners to introduce themselves and talk a little about how they use Italian film/how they thought the project might fit into their own needs.
  • DP introduced the work of Cinema for All which works with film clubs and societies. Their aim is to get people together to talk about film and to build a desire for audiences to see a wider variety of film across the UK. They currently have 40-50 Italian titles on their booking system. Around half of Cinema for All’s members offer some form of ‘education’ alongside screenings (film talks etc.) and they are currently developing a project which is looking to link academics up with film groups. DP also added that on a personal level she is involved with the adult learning of Italian and feels that this is an area where the project should also look to engage (particularly as there were no representatives from this sector at the workshop).
  • CF and EV explained that the Ozu Film Festival has an educational strand which screens short films to Italian school children in the local area. Last year these screenings engaged with around 2,500 children. The festival shows non-Hollywood short films to a provincial audience, although the number of Italian films shown is small.
  • BS and NI explained that they are currently studying Italian as part of a Pre-U qualification at Sixth Form. They felt that, from a student’s point of view, time pressures mean that there is little opportunity to dwell on a film. Therefore, any resources/teaching aids should be built around short clips which link the film to wider issues found within the syllabus.
  • PL said from a teacher’s perspective there are real concerns around how the teaching of Italian was changing. He felt that the project has an opportunity to engage with government bodies/exam boards to influence these changes. The other teachers in attendance echoed these feelings. JE added that Edexcel (one of the examining/awarding bodies) has not yet given guidance on how the new Italian A Level will look.
  • NM introduced the work of the ICA and his role as programmer. The film programme mixes general art-house film releases with in-house generated projects and he is interested in supporting films which challenge the traditional concepts of cinema. NM stated that, unlike other partners in attendance, funding was less of a concern for the ICA as the film programme is supported more by ticket sales than government/other agency support. He would like the project to enable a discussion around films and so felt a film screening series, film symposium and/or film talks would work well.
  • MK teaches Italian to pupils from Key Stage 3 up. She finds that film is a good way of boosting interest in the subject but finds sourcing suitable films a problem: this could be an area in which the project could help.
  • JN stated that Opera North has a large education department but that this was very focussed on music education. However, the projects department looks to form a collaborative programme which engages with a variety of musical styles and other art forms (e.g. film). They have worked with the university before, inviting academics to give pre-film talks, on PhD projects etc. JN stressed that the work of Opera North means that it offers a different sort of partner for the project – one which can provide ‘grand moments’ within the programme, as well as providing different events throughout the project’s cycle.
  • JE has experience of teaching Italian to 8-18 year olds in both a formal educational setting and through outreach projects. He stated that he likes to use subtitled films in class as he feels these allow for more context and can act as a better tool for cultural learning.
  • AP is a history teacher in Italy and feels that cinema can be a useful tool for teaching. However, he also stressed that the Italian syllabus is very demanding so finding time to fit films in can be hard. Ideally the project would provide compact resources for around 1 hour’s teaching. He also stated that there was a growing focus on Content and Language Integrated Learning (i.e. teaching a content subject in a second language) and felt project could fit into this. However, for any of this to be useful the project would need to provide guidance on cinematic vocab as well as film content.
  • LAS is a publisher and part-time English teacher. In the classroom she feels that film is a good way of providing historical context, particularly when teaching literature. However, she is also interested in the project from a publishing perspective.
  • AF explained that the Spaghetti Cinema Film Festival caters to a mix of film fans and researchers and so brings together ‘fan boys’, academics and filmmakers. It is particularly focussed on popular Italian cinema and increasing the study of these films. He feels that the project could open up events. Previously they have had distributors involved (filming discussions to be made into DVD extras etc.) and thinks this is something the project could incorporate.
Luke Postlethwaite

Luke Postlethwaite

  1. Over lunch, Luke showed examples to resources that have already been produced within the Centre for World Cinemas, including web-based teaching resources and videos, PowerPoint lectures on individual films aimed at School-aged pupils, and video essays, including the following:

 

  1. Roundtable Discussion:
    • What kind of resources should we develop together?
    • How can each partner benefit from participation in the project?

AOL summarised the needs/possible resources that had been mentioned so far, including:

  • School resources focussed around short clips and linked to syllabus. These should be possible to integrate with teaching and not interrupt the syllabus.
  • Academic events linked to schools. EH mentioned that these can include history and Italian students. However, PL felt that in a UK context it was also important to see Italian and History as linked but separate subjects.
  • Adult education. DP added that this should look to upskill local people to deliver workshops themselves. EH added this could be linked to CPD training for teachers which is already underway at university and could be spread to Italian
  • Other public events including film seasons, Q&As. DP asked about timeframe for this as Cinema for All could run test events relatively quickly.

The discussion was then opened up to all, with the main points being raised including:

  • MB felt that the project should look at what we already have and then find ways to mix this up and build on these resources/expertise to create something new and inventive. DP raised a concern that something ‘extraordinary’ could alienate those looking for a more traditional outcome. AOL and JN both replied that the project could do both – bring together more traditional resources under something bigger or more speculative/innovative. MB added that funders would be receptive to something new, powered by more traditional inputs.
  • NM feels that there is an audience for Italian film in London. However, JN was concerned this was not true across the UK. DP said around 25% of their bookings were foreign language films but not sure what percentage of these were Italian. NM said that this audience should be used to feed into other events away from screenings. AF mentioned this was aim of his film festival but also stated that Italian films often fall under cult cinema rather than a language classification. Yet, this need not be a disadvantage and could be exploited as another ‘in’ for the project. LP said German film academics have looked to produce film screenings programmes aimed at both academic and general audience with support of Goethe Institute. JN mentioned that Leeds International Film Festival may be looking into an Italian retrospective this year.
    Peter Langdale

    Peter Langdale

    PL also mentioned that the BFI had enquired about the desire for an Italian film event in London for schools. AOL to investigate this.

  • JE felt it would be useful to organise website/resources by themes and to include a list of films/further resources that would fit into these themes as this is the knowledge that can be hard for teachers to find out themselves. BS and NI both stated that an online presence is key for students. JN added that for any public-facing resource the production values have to be high. MB stated that other projects have looked to create an online presence which makes them a ‘one-stop-shop’ in that field – this should be an aim of this project. DP pointed out that Bradford has done this under its ‘city of film’ umbrella. AF also mentioned that academics are beginning to produce more audio-visual material for publishing online (e.g. peer reviewed video essays) and these could prove a useful asset for this project
  • For Italian teaching in school, JE stated that the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) element of Sixth Form learning would be a logical place for project to engage. EH added that Education Engagement have a dedicated team working in this who could help the project. BS and NI agreed with this but again stressed that the teaching of film language/how to critically evaluate a film needs to be an essential part of any school engagement. LP added that this was already the approach taken by Education Engagement when running workshops on film in other languages – film analysis more than language content.
  • MB noted that the project offers an opportunity to include a Post-Doc position within any funding bid to manage and explore the gaps and needs between partners and academics. AP added that an industrial approach linked to film production may also be a useful element of this. AOL suggested that another option would be for a PhD to be offered in collaboration, or at least for the graduate to be ‘embedded’ with a production company in Italy/working with Italian film or a historical theme.
  • EV raised a concern that the discussion had not yet addressed what the Italian partners could bring to the project. He suggested a cultural exchange element should be built into any plans. This could also feed into CLIL teaching. DP also suggested that from her perspective film club ‘twinning’ could allow for a non-academic form of cultural exchange

Next Steps:

There were a number of points for development raised during the discussion. As a result, the next steps for the project include:

  • AOL to begin the drafting of an impact summary and make this document available online as a googledoc for partners to view and edit;
  • AOL and LP to work on developing the engagement plans for the project, including examples of possible resources;
  • A second workshop will be organised to take place in Autumn 2015, most probably in London for convenience. AOL will confirm details in due course.