Making movies in Northern Ireland I

n our second feature this month, Education Today looks at the cultural importance of

film, and learns how a pioneering A-level course in Northern Ireland is giving students the opportunity to examine the role that film plays in our modern lives. 2016 marks 10 years of the Moving Image Arts

(MIA) A-level in Northern Ireland. This unique qualification in digital filmmaking, the first of its kind in the UK, has been proving extremely popular and the uptake by schools and young people has been increasing year on year. CCEA’s MIA qualification was conceived in

parallel with the development of Northern Ireland Screen’s Wider Literacy strategy, the screen agency’s vision for moving image education for all young people in Northern Ireland. Following the AS-level being trialled in 2003, the first cohort of schools, teachers and young people entered the full AS-level in 2004, just a few months after the publication of A Wider Literacy, with the first A- level awarded in 2006. It has been argued that the moving image is

the predominant medium of the 21st century. The combination of movement, colour and sound impacts on our daily lives like no other communication medium. To be able to understand and create ideas, messages, and stories using moving image is a vitally important

skill for all our young people. Moving image literacy is critical to understanding and interpreting modern society. The moving image is also a vital dimension of

the creative industries. The rapid growth of digital media technologies has made the creative industries increasingly accessible and attractive to young people. The growth of these industries is

vital to the continued economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland. The potential is limitless. The impact of these developments is being felt within the classroom, where young people are seeking opportunities to learn new digital skills and to express themselves creatively. Kate Duddy, volunteer assistant at the Sheffield

LEON MCCARRON - Adventurer, documentary filmmaker, author Year completed MIA: 2004

“I felt like I was creative, and I wasn’t quite sure at 16 years old how to use that creativity. I was interested in storytelling, and the prospect of doing so visually was very appealing. The MIA course also offered a nice counterpoint to my other subjects, which were mostly very academic. “MIA was something completely different, and allowed quite a bit more freedom and

experimentation than many other aspects of schooling at that point. “I think MIA was directly responsible for my decision to eventually do Film Studies at

university. I now make a living through telling stories from the world of slow travel and adventure journalism, so I’m sure there’s a line that can be drawn back through my choices and actions to the formative sessions from MIA.”

26 December 2016

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