Lecturer Jedge Pilbrow reviews a range of recent successful initiatives with local schools
23 Jul 2015
The University of Brighton’s College of Arts and Humanities Media department has continued to be actively involved in a number of Widening Participation (WP) initiatives with local school age children over the past year.
Led by lecturer Jedge Pilbrow, the ‘Speak Out’ project saw children from ‘year six’ classes at Coldean Primary School experience television studio production by getting involved in writing, directing and producing content, which included outside ‘broadcast’ footage. The project aims to give children who might have some communicative difficulties a platform to work collaboratively, enabling them to tell different stories about their school lives. Jedge said: "The project was challenging as it was the first time we had worked with a high number of transition year students on a project that ran for a whole term. However, the project, which involved 38 children, proved successful and the film was shown to the entire school at their end of year assembly".
Another project involved a collaboration between Moulsecoomb Primary School, Brighton and Hove Museums, Screen Archive South East, which is based at the Grand Parade campus, and the College of Arts and Humanities at Falmer.
The project brief was to produce a potted history of Brighton from the Iguanodon dinosaur to 2004 in the style of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Jedge said: “This involved a review of several millennia in eight and a half minutes and was achieved by utilising the TV studio green screen at Falmer campus, a year six cast and crew, fantastic costumes and script-writing and a considerable amount of help from media technician Mike Horton. We are really proud to have been part of this film’s production and the resulting film is being shown to all schools in Brighton and Hove and will also appear on Brighton and Hove Museum’s website.”
The most recent project involved assisting Patcham High School in their world record attempt on the ‘World’s Biggest Reading Lesson’ record. Despite the demands of the Guinness Book of Records rules for validation, 1,807 children turned up for a lesson led by Mark Warner, assistant head teacher at Patcham. The British Children’s Laureate and University of Brighton alumnus, Chris Riddell, attended to read extracts from one of his well-known books that provided the text for the lesson. Jedge said: “Filming conditions were challenging but first pre-editing reviews of the footage suggest that we will meet the requirements set by Guinness and we plan to provide them with the evidential footage to Guinness and hope to release the film to coincide with a confirmation from the adjudicators of the record being achieved.
The next big WP challenge Jedge is undertaking is going to be working with a number of partner schools in the Biosphere region. The Biosphere initiative in Sussex aims for greater harmony between the local environment by bringing people and nature closer together. Jedge said: “Our collaboration with outside partners on the Biosphere has been fruitful so far but we now need to take the project out into a broader participatory audience to achieve our objectives”. The project aims to provide data for research into the impact of Biosphere initiatives on the population that inhabit it and the next stage of the project will see students from the College of Arts and Humanities getting involved through community engagement modules.