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Dec 4th 2009
Most film societies with a constitution list as one of their aims "education" as it is seen as a "cert" to get charitable status.
The requirement of the charities commission that annual reports now include a section on "public benefit",i.e. where your charitable aims have to be set out and then "proof" of how they are achieved given, means that where "Education" is a charitable aim we should see increased activity.
At the Annual Conference, John Salisbury gave an example of what can be done and explined how it can be done, but are there other ways of meeting the "education" aim?
Jan 24th 2010
See my comments in 'Attracting your audience'. I think providing film notes is the most concrete way of doing and demonstrating an educational agenda.
Feb 6th 2010
Hi Jim & Adrian
Maybe the first question to tackle is why film societies should get involved in educational activities in the first place. Programme notes aren't the issue, in my view, because although they are educational, they are pretty much a default option, something we should all be doing anyway. What Jim says is true - educational activities are a good way of demonstrating public value - but it's not a compelling reason, and there are much better rationales around.
Firstly, film societies should get involved in education because there is no-one else out there doing it: with the exception of the WEA, all adult informal education in film has disappeared. People who want to know more about how this happened can read a fuller explanation on www.ventnorfilmsoc.org.uk/adult_informal_film_edn.pdf. So there is a hunger out there for film education, resulting in a Field of Dreams situation: if you put it on, they will come.
Second, putting educational sessions in your programme adds variety. I know that people go to see films, and films are what they want to see, so I don't suppose a society would want to disrupt its main fortnightly (or so) programme much, but we have put on educational sessions in other slots with success. We also find that a very wide range of things can be done under the general heading of education, so the variety can be wider than you suppose.
Thirdly, education sessions can be a lot of fun. And they don't have to be a huge amount of work. In the past I've done whole 90-minute Powerpoint-style presentations, and they take ages to prepare, but next time, I plan to simply put a few clips on the laptop as presentation slides, and discuss them, one at a time. Just in the interests of learning to read film a little better.
There are other reasons of course. But these seem to be a good starting point.
All the best, John
Feb 8th 2010
At Southampton we have had some specific education sessions, notably having Adrian Wootton (Film London) giving some specialist talks. These have been very well done but, unfortunately, not very popular with our audience.
Education is also about thinking and talking about films with others - better still if with someone with 'expert' knowledge. My most enjoyable and thought-provoking discussions have been after seeing a film. This means ensuring that the film ends early enough to allow this and having a suitable (pub-like?) venue in which to facilitate the interchange. We do have such a venue but it is only used BEFORE the film. This isn't so effective as just after seeing a film.
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