Media For Change Workshop
Media For Change Workshop
Getting together with a group of thoughtful, determined media makers to discuss the future is always a meaningful experience. Add a group of top-notch educators into the mix and what you have is something special. That’s what happened last month when Vision Maker Media, along with the Institute for American Indian Arts, graciously hosted a gathering of media makers and educators in Santa Fe to discuss everything from how media can effectively reach students in the classroom to creating national media campaigns for that very same media.
For the first half of the day-long workshop the participants were divided into two groups based on whether you are a media makers or an educator. With the energetic Molly Murphy of Working Films leading the way, the media makers morning workshop focused on all the aspects of audience engagement for our documentary films, from raising money to building alliances with other like-minded entities, covering everything along the way such as goal setting, long-term planning, budgets, community outreach and educational strategies. We also did a short exercise that I liked very much where we talked about our projects, our goals, why we came to the workshop and what we hoped to learn while we were there.
After the morning session, we broke for a very short but very tasty lunch, then it was back to the main room where the two groups were combined for the afternoon portion of the workshop. At one point during the afternoon session we broke up into smaller groups in order to discuss everything we had talked about up to that point, with each group being a mix of both educators and media makers. In our group we discussed our projects and how they could be fully utilized in an educational setting by using our documentaries as well as all the ancillary media that goes along with each project such as interactive web sites and transmedia pieces, all of which could be used to enhance the learning process around a singular theme or topic.
At the end of the exercise, each table had someone stand up and tell everyone what their table had discussed. Many of the discussions were very interesting, dealing with problems such as the physical delivery of media into classrooms, how that can be done more efficiently and cheaply, and how educators can then use that available media to help them achieve their goals in the classroom. One of the possible solutions mentioned for this problem was the idea of a subscription service where educators or their institutions could pay a monthly or yearly fee and would then have access to a vast library of digital media that they could be delivered on demand and utilized in the classroom whenever and however each educator saw fit.
After the workshop wrapped, the discussions continued over dinner near our hotel. And this is where I have to voice my one complaint about the workshop: it wasn’t long enough. It felt as if the workshop ended just as we were starting to get to know each other, just as we were starting to get at the heart of our discussions and get to some real answers. In my opinion, it would have been better as a two-day event. That way, all the discussions we had throughout the day could sink in. Then, the following day we could get together again and really see where we could take all the ideas and concepts we had discussed the day before.
Hopefully next year we can do it again and maybe have the workshop extended an extra day. Because I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult for all who attended to stay an extra day in Santa Fe during Indian Market. I mean, who is going to complain about that? Certainly not me.