Interactive Spectatorships

Media Viewing Practices in the Digital Age

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Interactive Screening of In Bruges at Bedford College

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

By Neil Fox


As part of a BTEC Film Studies lesson that looked at audiences and spectatorship I showed my students the short documentary made by Falmouth University students on Dario Llinares’ research on Interactive Spectatorships and the students really wanted to try it as a way of analyzing screenings. So, for the last lesson of the term we agreed to give it a go and I worked with the media technician here at Bedford College to set up an interactive screening of Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges.

The screening was chosen because we had looked at modern crime films for genre studies, and it fits into the allotted lesson time frame as unlike universities we have to deliver screenings in class time. I also thought it would be something the students would enjoy but would also enable them to look at one or two key themes throughout. I watched the film in advance and prepped some prompts, focusing on the idea of the visual portrayal of status and dominance. It’s a simple piece of film grammar analysis but felt appropriate for the level and the fact this was a first time experiment.

The screening, which involved Dario from Falmouth University seemed to be a great success. The majority of students agreed it was a much more effective way of analyzing texts, indeed the only ones who didn’t were those who failed to watch the film in advance. I had provided a file of the film for all students in advance and the vast majority had watched it. The lecturer prompts were helpful to create a rhythm and focus for students as the screening progressed and I was impressed at the comments, which mainly were rooted in the areas of study undertaken in class.

It was also good for getting students who were less confident verbally in class, to engage with the ideas. One student in particular contributed more to this screening than any other lesson to date. It requires preparation and resources that are limited in an FE environment but it’s well worth the time and effort, because it allows visual learners the chance to address questions and comments to a text as it is playing, and the twitter feed creates a unique record of learning that is vital in an OFSTED driven ‘learning and teaching age’.

It is definitely something I will integrate into the teaching structure here and for key future teaching, either at FE or HE level. The students, who are far more visual than textual nowadays, really enjoyed it, and the results were encouraging, far more than screening a film and handing out a worksheet.

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