A four day film workshop for University of Roehampton and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) students was organised, structured and run by Dr Ruqiyabi ‘Naz’ Awan (RAFA2 Lead at QMUL), Dr Jessica Jacobs and Mr Vitor Hugo Costa of Film Geographies.
Althought it had initially been anticipated that students would work collaboratively, the medium of film and what it can convey within the short timeframe meant we had to be adaptble. It was clear that each student had very individual ideas on reflecting their own theorised and emotive understanding of the reality of race in Higher Education. The students that participated in this workshop had differing levels of film production ability and given both the time constraints – and the workshop brief – a variety of short films were produced.
Post workshop, students commented on the cathartic nature of film as a means to illustrate and convey their frustrations at the disjunct between what is officially said by the HEI and the reality of their lived experiences as students and researchers on this project. Various recommendations on how the BAME attainment gap might be addressed have been articulated by QMUL students throughout the RAFA2 etoolkit.
The use of video as a means to explore academic content proved a successful tool for providing the creators with greater autonomy in the visualisation and telling of the evidence and data on the attainment gap.
We suggest that these films are viewed by staff to promote self-reflection and/or to stimulate discussion within teams. We found it helpful to consider “how would we respond to the issues raised if it were bought to our attention by a student?” We felt that this helped us to consider “Do the students that I teach think/feel like this?” And “what does that mean for how I approach my teaching?”
We have shared some of the questions that can be used with student and staff groups to facilitate this process.
Download: Questions for Students and Academics Post-Presentations.pdf
Below are the short films produced by Roehampton and QMUL students for the RAFA2 project.