Research on art pedagogy has been expanding in recent years. The research project “The practice of cinema in higher education: for a comparative approach to the teaching of film practice in art schools”, supported by Campus Condorcet, has sought to fill in several scientific gaps in this field of research. Thus, four meetings organized in 2021 and 2022 focused on the teaching of cinema, transnational circulations, the teaching of screenwriting and animation[i]. This project was directed by Gabrielle Chomentowski (CNRS), Stéphanie-Emmanuelle Louis (École nationale des chartes) and Barbara Turquier (La Fémis). All of the workshop’s work is presented in a scientific blog: https://hpca.hypotheses.org/
Aiming to extend the work of this research workshop, the present call for papers welcomes texts dealing with the teaching of cinematographic practices in higher education, and particularly in schools dedicated to the teaching of the arts, including cinema in France and abroad. The aim is to question how the teaching of film practices is organized institutionally, intellectually and from a social perspective. In order to highlight the permanence and the mutations of these practices, proposals focusing both on historical and contemporary aspects of film pedagogies are welcome.
The initial workshop was rooted in the French context, in which art schools are separate from universities in higher education. The initial workshop involved five major French art schools, which are all members or partners of the Université Paris Sciences & Lettres : the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, La Fémis, the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique, and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris[ii].
Including institutions which are not specialized in cinema gave us the possibility to study diverse forms of teaching, which are not limited to directing but rather address different collaborative trades in film creation (such as acting for the screen or music for film). We welcomed various artistic forms using the moving image, such as fiction & documentary cinema, video art, experimental cinema, animation film, etc.
Secondly, the workshop sought to explore little-studied archival sources, allowing to enrich historical knowledge on these pedagogical practices.
The archives of Ecole nationale des Gobelins, IDHEC, CNSAD and ENSAD were considered as specific showcases during these sessions. Mapping sources has also contributed to historical perspectives, sometimes lifting the veil on the under-explored history of these institutions, whether it be their organization, their pedagogical practices, their communities or their cultural, social or political role.
Apart from exploring existing archives, bridging past and present was also sought by creating new archives through individual or group interviews. The multiple testimonies of previous or current teachers, pedagogical directors, and students, proved as essential in defining the complexity of the pedagogical experiences.
Finally, starting from the French fieldwork, the crossing of perspectives led to consider what was happening at the university on the one hand, and abroad on the other, in a comparative perspective, and without claiming to be exhaustive. In particular, the international dimension made it possible to open up the field to circulations between schools and to explore contrasting national contexts.
The aim of this call for proposals is to expand on of the research project’s conclusions, work on the transmission of cinematographic practices in art and film schools, in France and abroad, in order to publish a book with international contributions. The proposals may fall within the following research areas.
Areas of reflection
By focusing on art and film schools, the book wishes to highlight the plurality of teaching in the practice of the moving image. The institutions in question may be specialized in cinema or simply integrate its practical teaching among other artistic disciplines. In this respect, it may be appropriate to recall, depending on the case studied, how the teaching of practical knowledge, and not only technical knowledge, has been historically organized, and how it has found its place in art schools. However, the objective of the book will be, beyond the description of structures or institutional approaches, to explore pedagogical experiences from the point of view of social actors, such as teachers and students, from a historical or current perspective. In other words, it will be a matter of analyzing, in context, the multiple ways in which the transmission of film-making is thought of and experienced. Particular attention will be paid to the development of student or teacher circulations from a national or transnational point of view. The expected contributions can be in two formats: either articles, or interviews or testimonies accompanied by a critical contextualization.
The proposals should be structured around the following research topics:
- The plurality and hybridity of film practice teaching
- The local and international mobility of teachers and students
- The plurality and hybridity of film practice teaching
What is film practice? How does one teach, according to a well-known paradox, “what cannot be taught” and is rather acquired through practice? Film teaching involves various professional skills, classically divided into artistic (directing, screenplay), technical (editing, shooting, sound, set design, visual effects) or economic (production, distribution, exhibition) professions, but this division is rightly questioned.
Specifically, the current research program “Collective creation in cinema”[iii] aims to shed light on the complex modes of cooperation within a film crew and to question the cinematographic collective in its relationship to creation. How does the collaborative nature of cinema translate into teaching practices? Apart from teaching each specific field of film practice, how do you teach students in these fields to collaborate with each other?
Opening up the questioning of film pedagogy to all the dimensions of the “collective creation” is key. If film schools, such as La Fémis, emphasize a collaborative dimension, more individual teaching models are emerging in other places, more centered on the artist-author model. The budgetary limitations, the extent of technical means or student numbers are also variables involved. The question of collaboration and the complementarity of the skills needed to make a film is nevertheless central to all these pedagogical practices.
In fact, film pedagogical practices often involve forms of hybridity – between theory and practice, between two professions (lighting and set design, for example). The name “7th art” historically refers to this hybridity of cinema between sensibility, art and optical and technical science. Partnerships between art schools, such as the one between the Fémis and the Conservatoire Supérieur National de Musique et de Danse de Paris in the context of script training, aim to integrate the various professions into the creative process. What are the challenges and educational benefits of these partnerships?
Finally, favoring the term “cinema”, one may overlook other forms using the moving images in art schools or departments. It appears that cinema, as a historical art form and as an industry, is not the only focus of the teachings of art schools. We could broaden the field covered by these courses to designate all artistic practices that handle the moving image.
The book aims to embrace a variety of formats and approaches, including narrative or documentary cinema, video art, experimental cinema, as well as animation. This editorial project, however, is not interested in non-artistic uses of moving images (e.g. journalism).
- The local and international mobility of teachers and students
Secondly, we welcome proposals studying the circulation of films, people and practices and their role in the construction of cinema pedagogy.
A first type of circulation is that of students, especially at the international level. The absence or limited presence of training in the film industry in many countries, combined with the reputation of certain schools, spurs international student mobility. The archives of the IDHEC entrance exam, as well as the great names of the cinema trained in this institution, bear witness to these circulations. To a certain extent, they reflect economic inequities between countries or echo various geopolitical issues. As an example, recent works have focused on these circulations based on the case of the Moscow Film Institute, the VGIK, or the FAMU[iv]. One could also question the role that the International Liaison Center of Film Schools (CILECT), created in 1955, or its subsidiaries such as the GEECT (European Grouping of Film and Television Schools) and others, have played and still play in the circulation of film teaching practices from one school to another.
The mobility of teachers will also be broached, both internationally and between institutions more locally (e.g. between different art schools, between schools and universities). Indeed, if the film teaching institutions are distinguished by their offer and their practices, it must be noted that the teachers are not necessarily exclusive to them and that they officiate in differentiated pedagogical contexts. Does this circulation have an impact on what is transmitted? Are the contents adapted from one context to another? Why and how?Finally, in addition to the mobility of students and teachers, one factor of the students’ professional integration is the circulation of their films outside the schools where they are produced: their selection in festivals[v], their programming in cultural institutions[vi], their broadcasting on television[vii], their edition on DVD[viii] or their distribution online.
These modes of circulation constitute other modalities of “transmission” operated by schools worth investigating.
Proposals of 2,500 to 5,000 words in French or English with bibliographic guidelines and a short biography should be sent by February 13, 2023 to the following three email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The answers will be communicated to the authors on March 13, 2023.
The texts of approximately 35,000 characters including spaces will be due on May 15, 2023 for a publication in the fall of 2023.
For more information, see this link.
[i] “Teaching film in art schools” on January 29, 2021; “Transnational networks of film teaching in art schools” on September 24, 2021; May 20, 2022; “Teaching animation film in higher education, crossed views” on June 23, 2022.
[ii] See on this subject the guide to sources published by the École nationale des chartes as part of the research program “Histoire de la pédagogie de la création artistique” in 2021).
[iv] Gabrielle Chomentowski, “Filmmakers from Africa and Middle East trained at VGIK during the Cold War,” Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, vol 13, issue 3, pp. 189-198 and Gabrielle Chomentowski, “Camera in hand and suitcase in hand: student mobilities from the South to film schools in the socialist East,” Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 63/3-4 | 2022, See Rasha Salti and Koyo Kouho, Saving Bruce Lee, African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy, HKW editions, 2018, Tereza Stejskalova (ed.), Filmmakers of the World, Unite! Forgotten Internationalism, Czechoslovak Film and the Third World, Prague: Tranzit, 2018; Léa Morin, https://cinima3.com/A-propos, Marie-Pierre Bouthier, “Transnational route of Moroccan filmmakers: Studying in socialist Poland in the 1960s-70s, rather than in postcolonial France?”, International Journal of African Historical Studies“, Monika Talarzcyk and Magda Lipska https://artmuseum.pl/en/cykle/nadzieja-jest-w- innym-kolorze-program-filmowy.
[v] The festivals of Clermont-Ferrand and Annecy have a great importance as regards the animation.
[vi] Programming dedicated to the films of Fémis students at the Cinémathèque française, for example.
[vii] The first tests of the Computer Image Workshop of ENSAD were broadcasted in the Dim Dam Dom program.
[viii] For example, ENSAD has published several boxes of its students’ work.