ARTS-BASED RESEARCH, STUDENT-VOICE AND CULTURAL HERITAGE EDUCATION: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY INNOVATION BASED ON THE AKENFIELD BOOK AND FILM
University of East Anglia (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper describes arts-based research with advanced level students (16-18) in an arts-based project based on Ronald Blythe’s internationally renowned book Akenfield (1969). Blythe’s work presented oral history accounts of life in rural villages in the UK region of East Anglia. It later inspired Peter Hall’s innovative documentary (1979) of the same name.
This new project, entitled Akenfield Now, invites young people to make their own films in a format similar to Peter Hall’s film. The films they create are an expression of student voice and an articulation of cultural identity in response to their region’s recent history and its representation in literature and in film. Students conduct oral history interviews, improvise drama based on the arising transcripts, and make then edit their own films. Working in response to amateur film material of rural life curated by the East Anglian Film Archive, they will incorporate archived footage in their own original films.
Linked activities involve teachers and post-graduate students in complementary disciplines (Literary Studies, Linguistics, History, Geography, Drama, Film and Media Studies) in exploring the interdisciplinary connections around the project and particularly around oral history and heritage film archiving.
The project a focus for arts-based research and methods from three perspectives:
i) With attention to the films young people create based on their project experiences, making new films to follow the tradition of cultural heritage representation in the Akenfield book and film;
ii) Considering the potential of arts-based research to inform and enhance subject curricula, and to aid understanding of the connections young people make between their school subjects and experiences beyond school;
iii) Presenting the project as a research method or template for community heritage projects comprising oral history interviewing, film-making or both – and especially those that explore the representation of regional and cultural identities.
Keywords: Arts-based research, cultural identity, cultural heritage, oral history, film in education, student voice.