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Critical Practice in Media Education:Teaching Documentary Theory and Practice

Abstract: Documentary: Theory and Practice is a third level module on the Film and Television Studies programme at Brunel University. It aims to develop the integration of theory and practice in video making begun at levels one and two. Teaching practice in a way that fosters a critical relation to 'doing' raises specific questions about the nature of practice, about how best to integrate the theory into student experience in the classroom and about assessing student video practice and reflection on practice. In particular the case-study explains how the delivery of the 'theory' part of the module shifted away from the standard procedure of lecture/screenings/seminars used for theory-only teaching, and towards a workshop model, where theory and practice could be generated up more immediately and directly by the students themselves.

Author Information: Mike Wayne has been teaching and designing video practice modules within the context of  a Film and Television Studies programme since the early 1990s. He is not a filmmaker or videomaker but a theorist first and foremost. At Brunel the video practice modules are designed to provide a creative space in which students can ground the theoretical and historical study of film and television which they get elsewhere on the course, in the practical experience of video making. Wayne wrote Theorising Video Practice (Lawrence and Wishart 1997) in response to the dearth of books then available which theorised and historicised video practice. His interest in student video practice and theory is part of a broader interest in the relations between film, television and video practices outside (but in relation to) the dominant audio-visual media (see for example, Political Film: the dialectics of Third Cinema).

Date: May 2003

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