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CEFIMA – Centre of Excellence in Film and Interactive Media Arts

Lillehammer University College

Centre

The declared aim of the centre is to innovate education in modern artistic storytelling including new interactive media as a means of artistic expression. The challenge is to prepare students to exploit new technologies for telling meaningful stories that help us understand both intellectually and emotionally an increasingly complex world. The centre aims to lead a paradigm shift in terms of the development of students working in interactive media arts combined with creating a lifelong learning attitude in students and staff.

Strengths and weaknesses

The Norwegian Film School (NFS) has a clear history of excellence with great student engagement and a focus on individual growth. The students are really engaged in the drive to learn for current and future needs of their practice. The academic standards are very high in terms of requirements to get into the school, throughout the studies and the jobs that the graduates go into. The school has developed an effective staff, student, and institutional community of practice with strong links to the industry.

At the site visit, the panel noted the premise is exceptional and customised as “fit for purpose” for the demand of the current and future film education and provides a safe space for learning/experimentation and risk taking. There was some concern in the general presentation that the focus was on the school rather than on the proposed centre. However, meetings with students made it very apparent that there was a real sense of ownership, with students hugely engaged in the visions for CEFIMA and keen to influence their own education and therefore wanting to shape the centre. Similarly, stakeholders were very committed, enthusiastic, involved, and keen to bridge the gap between technology and art. Stakeholders strongly emphasized the requirement for graduates capable of bringing together gaming and storytelling. The meeting with teachers and staff demonstrated an embedded collective philosophy and ethos with strong connections to the industry.

There are aspects of the written bid that are unclear, however the site visit enabled the assessors to ask relevant questions and gain greater clarity around how the aim of the project was to be achieved. In fact, it rapidly became apparent that the bid had been developed further since the original proposal had been submitted. The paradigm shift is forward thinking for film education and hence inherent in the bid is the dilemma of how to define actual outcome for creative education. We understood clearly from the discussion groups, that, to be successful, the process of research and exploration must remain fluid.

Lillehammer University College is supportive of the proposal for the Centre as outlined in the bid. The centre leader was very convincing, although the management structure around the centre was somewhat unclear, especially the administrative support for the project. This needs to be addressed for the centre to function efficiently.

Collaboration seems to be a key feature in order to bridge the gap between technology and art and put the project on an international level. However, none of the links to partner institutions had been formalized. Indeed, without the partnership with NTNU (Gjøvik), the proposed pedagogic shift could not happen. The assessors would have liked to have seen this link formalized, so as not to constitute a major risk to the project. The dissemination plan had clearly been thought through and the assessors applauded this. Planning is already under way for the initial Train the Trainer conference.

Overall, the expert panel viewed the likelihood of this project delivering the identified outcomes as very strong. The projects has the potential to make a real impact on the future of the gaming industry – via NFS graduates influencing the industry - moving it more into the sphere of narrative and storytelling. This is something for which Norway has been so famous for many centuries. This proposed paradigm shift is very relevant to film schools around the world, as it is seeking the creative space to pioneer a synthesised and transferable model of a film school that educates practitioners for the future.

This bid strengthens life-long learning and continued professional development for staff; it has the potential to enhance the future for the coming generations of students and has the value of working with and informing the growth of an industry. Such an impact will result in young people around the world engaging in a more imaginative and grounded cultural activity.

Concept:

The vision of CEFIMA is to innovate teaching and learning in filmmaking to fully incorporate digital technology and interactivity as a mean of artistic expression. Digital technology has long been adopted in all phases of film and television production, but artists are just now beginning to explore its full potential. The challenge is to prepare students to exploit the new technologies for telling meaningful stories that help us understand both intellectually and emotionally an increasingly complex world.


Strengths and weaknesses:

CEFIMA represents a specialist area, filmmaking, with potential to make international impact. The application documents clear evidence of excellence in the current provision. The plans are well aligned with institutional priorities. The film school at Lillehammer has a strong international reputation and the panel believes that the educational provision is of high international standard. The centre has strong professional expertise with good connections to industry and the wider community.

The pedagogical approach is clearly stated with the use of innovative learning and teaching methods, which focuses on active student learning, student engagement, co-creation and students’ ownership of learning. The student transformation is a strength in the bid. The intake of students is highly selective and there are evidence that they achieve well, with good employability. Candidates are well regarded within the professions. The provision is highly relevant to the labour market in the discipline area.

The centre has potential to make a real impact given the standing of the school together with a strong dissemination plan. The implementation phase of the centre is less clear, particularly on how to involve students. More consideration should be given to evaluation and impact.

The bid provides some evidence on how R&D permeates education, particularly with artistic and experiential learning. More evidence on how R&D permeates student learning could be included. More analysis of learning outcomes would have been useful although student success is evidenced. The innovative aspects could have been developed in more detail.


Points to consider:

  • How can collaboration with other institutions be strengthened?
  • How will students contribute to the centre and shape the activities?
  • How will the centre change the society?
  • How will value for money be gauged and the centre sustainable post-funding?

Grade: 5
Site visit: Yes

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