New book reveals more on the Ministry of Education Film Experiment
The Ministry of Education Film Experiment
From Post-War Visual Education to 21st Century Literacy
Alex Southern (2016) London: Palgrave Macmillan
- Analyses the Ministry of Education’s production experiment and
discusses how the findings inform current film education strategies
- Offers insight into why the struggle for government recognition of
film education still remains
- Makes recommendations for future strategic practice
This book uncovers a unique post-war film production programme and explores how this first British government intervention into ‘visual education’ is relevant to film education today.
“Alex Southern reminds us there are lessons to be learnt from the relatively short history of film. Film and media still struggle for a permanent role in education, but this case study suggests we may have been focusing too much on the politicians and not enough on the practitioners.”
– Dr Paul Gerhardt, Director of Education, British Film Institute.
“In this monograph Alex Southern provides an in-depth historical account of the way in which film education has been constructed and reconstructed in. The analysis of the experiment conducted by the Ministry of Education makes a vital and unique contribution to the field. Detailing the process of production, distribution and evaluation of these films enhances our shared understanding of the use of the moving image to educate, raising issues about representations of reality, objectivity and truth which are relevant across a wide range of disciplines.”
– Becky Parry, School of Education, University of Nottingham.
This book uncovers a unique post-war film production programme and explores how this first British government intervention into ‘visual education’ is relevant to film education today. In 1943 the Ministry of Education took the decision to sponsor production of an experimental programme of nonfiction films specifically for the classroom. Almost 70 years later, the British Film Institute launched a new strategic development plan, at the centre of which was the aim to prove the value of ‘21st century literacy’ to Government and embed film in the school curriculum. This aim had been the focus of film education initiatives in previous decades, without resolution. Through archival research into original documents and the films, The Ministry of Education Film Experiment builds a story of conflict and collaboration between the Ministry and the filmmakers, offering an insight into why the struggle for government recognition of film education still remains.
Alex Southern is a film archivist, education historian and researcher. Previously, she worked as Head of Learning at the Yorkshire Film Archive, in Commercial Access at the Imperial War Museum Film Archive, and as a lecturer in Further and Higher Education. She is currently Research Associate at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
For more details on the book