Speaker at the Creative Economies Lab: Creativity, Knowledge Cities

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Description of Activity

Presentation entitled 'Towards a Post-Capitalist Filmmaking Pedagogy: Radical Hope, Group Consciousness and the Screen Industries.'

Not only was capitalism deemed by the “realists” to be the only game in town, but the gaze of its central phantasmatic subject, the evergreen “middle class”, was now taken to be the default subject position available as well [...] The message, though implicit, is familiar: there is no alternative (Fisher, 2020: p.18).

Indeed, there are alternatives but the questions this paper seeks to ask, in the specific context of filmmaking education, are: 1. what are they [the alternatives]? and 2. how might we go about encouraging them, through our pedagogic practice? Few tools seem appropriate to the current climate but there are options that are important to imagine (or better still, to enact!) One of those is the notion of ‘radical hope’. For Bloch (1996), as for our purposes here, a condition of art is hope. Conversely, art is also a condition of hope. As Gannon proclaims in the closing of Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto: ‘remember the “radical” part of radical hope: our teaching and learning is informed by a root-level, fundamental commitment to hope. That commitment is borne out in our everyday practices, and in the learning spaces and interactions with students those practices shape.’ (2020: p.150).

How are educators, themselves working in capitalist-realist spaces of education, supposed to embody such mighty principles? Are we not also cogs caught in the same neoliberal machines that our students are? In a way, yes, and this is in part what leads to the second concept explored here: developing group consciousness. For Fisher: ‘All you need is the members of the group together, and when they talk together, honestly and openly, they’ll start to see they have common problems and common interests, and also the cause of those problems is not them but something else’ (2020: p.115). Our degree courses, including the lecturers providing education, are the spaces in which the consciousness development that Fisher is describing can begin to take place.
What’s left then, is to consider what impact such radical hope, combined with group consciousness development, might encourage in aspiring film and television makers. Indeed, how might this pedagogic approach impact the screen industries and wider cultural landscape in years to come? Hjort claims that ‘the priorities and philosophies of institutions devoted to practice-oriented film education have a decisive impact on filmmakers’ creative outlooks, working practices, and networks, shaping not only the stylistic (visual and narrative) regularities that define distinctive bodies of cinematic work but the dynamics of a given film industry’ (2013: p.34). We concur, and to that end, seek to readdress the ways in which the work educators are doing in higher education spaces, is genuinely shaping the future of our creative industries, cities and cultures.
Period30 Mar 2023
Held at Creative Economies Lab: Creativity, Knowledge Cities, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational