Filmmaking as Pedagogy: Using Video to Promote Creative Analysis of Human-Environment Interactions

Authors: Evan Carver*, University of Chicago
Topics: Geography Education, Urban Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: film, creativity, pedagogy, study abroad, human-environment interaction
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Outside of arts fields, creativity does not have a prominent place in many college classrooms. Even if it is given lip service, it is rarely cultivated and in many cases may be actively discouraged, despite the fact that research has shown its links to social and emotional well-being, along with scholastic achievement and future success. In a similar vein, outside of media studies departments, film is engaged only sporadically and superficially, despite the fact that video is perhaps the most ubiquitous contemporary medium, one that holds incredible power to communicate (and analyze) social values, cultural practices, and the landscapes in which they unfold. This paper, I share the results of an attempt to address both of these shortcomings at the same time. As part of summer study abroad course in Berlin, Germany, students learned basic film literacy and then created a series of short films, culminating in the filmic equivalent of a term paper. The results suggest that even very short films made in a limited period of time have the power to unlock creative potential and reveal new ways of understanding and inhabiting both heavily urbanized and comparatively naturalistic environments.

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