Now in its fifth year, Pic ‘n’ Mix is our Creative Engagement film education programme for school children and teachers in Tower Hamlets. A key focus of this year-long primary school programme is developing visual literacy through film and media skills. As always, this theme will compliment what children are already learning in their own curriculum, using filmmaking to help deliver it.
What’s In A Theme?
After so much of our everyday lives were put on hold in 2020 and 2021, this year’s theme, The Future Is Ours, asks our local children what they would like to see from the years to come. What kind of world do they want to inherit? What changes do they want to implement? This theme aims to help children take ownership of their own stories, and reflect on younger generations from the past, as well as their own futures.
Our Film Education Officer Max Dickter tells us that he came up with the theme as a way of looking ahead from everything people have been through in 2020 and 2021:
“In order for us to make a better world, we have to imagine it, and the next generation of school children will be the people who lead this.”
From Creative Professional Development (CPD) to a sharing festival for all of the schools involved, Pic ‘n’ Mix is packed full of opportunities for local school children and teachers to enhance their understanding of film and media, in tandem with their curriculums.
A Few Highlights
The programme kicked off with the Into Film Festival in November 2021, the largest youth-focused film festival in the world, when participating schools were invited to attend. This gives our school children a chance to see where their films will be premiered, and also to soak up the atmosphere of a working cinema! We held our Takeover Days where students from Thomas Buxton Primary School got to go behind the scenes of our building, taking part in workshops with our Marketing Team, a session with our Head of Events and Production Nikki Smith on our Rich Mix Goes Green campaign, and a tutorial of the projection booth with our Technical Coordinator, Dennis Cooke.
In February, the CPD sessions took place over two half days with nine teachers attending, before the workshops began in March, along with the Spring Into Film Festival in the same month.
Our Literacy and Filmmaking Training CPD sessions are a great opportunity for teachers to enhance their techniques and resources for filmmaking, as well as providing inspiration and support when it comes to their pupils completing their films. As the theme of this year’s Pic ’n’ Mix supports the recovery curriculum, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) approaches were also considered, with a leaning toward poetic and narrative storytelling. By focusing on helping young people improve their teamwork, time management and creative problem-solving, the learnings from Pic ‘n’ Mix’s programme can be used into the future, too.
Max told us:
“The teachers truly got stuck in, creating their own films and having the chance to experiment and play with film. Along with learning how to film using a tripod and animate using various styles, they also had loads of fun collaborating and activating their own creativity! It was joyous having everyone together in the room and was expertly facilitated by Robin, from our partners Into Film.”
Check out one of the films made:
After the CPD days, we started a series of 24 in-person workshops for our participating schools. This year we have six participating schools, all within walking distance of our building: three we’ve partnered with before and three that are new partners.
Y5 have been fortunate to take part in a borough-wide project with Max from @RichMixLondon. In our first session, we looked at different camera shots, storyboarded our own ideas & filmed, starred in & edited our own short film. @_THEpartnership pic.twitter.com/jbooSZBgFu
— Osmani Primary (@OsmaniPrimary) March 16, 2022
The workshops are designed to complement what children are already learning in their lessons, so the topics and approaches they choose can be wildly different!
Highlights from the sessions so far include…
- A group of students discuss leaving their school for secondary school and what they will be when they grow up when they discover a looking glass that enables them to see into the future!
- While reading Frankenstein, a group of students bring the monster off the pages and into real life! They then teach the monster about their world and their hopes for the future.
- One group of students wants to create a vision of London in the future where trees and flowers have overtaken buildings, and there are flying cars that run off solar power!
— St John’s CE Primary School (Bethnal Green) (@5tJohnsTower) March 22, 2022
Quotes from school children about the process so far:
“I’ve never been to the cinema before, it’s AMAZING!” — Year 3 student
“[Rich Mix] is very big, I like it.”
“They’re so kind!”
“We get to watch a film!”
“Rich Mix is great! You can watch films, plays, and do much more! It’s even green, they’re trying to make it eco!”
Today marks the first day of our filming journey with @RichMixLondon We’re now young and inspired film makers, we can’t wait to create our final outcome! @StAnnesgaCPS @PTA_StAandGA pic.twitter.com/1dqGMifeT4
— St. Peter (@StPeterClassE1) March 15, 2022
And from teachers:
“It’s so very special to witness children realising their creative abilities. All pupils are able to access the activities, regardless of their prior academic attainment. They find a role suited to their skills, and they feel valued for their contributions. Such an amazing project! Thank you.” — Year 5 teacher
“It was really great to see children, who would sometimes struggle to access their learning, engage so well with the content and relate it to their wider experience – a very inclusive project and beautifully facilitated.” — Teacher
— Rich Mix (@RichMixLondon) March 7, 2022
We love hearing about how excited the children are to make their films! After the Easter break, we begin full-on production. Following on from the team work and discussions in the spring term, the summer term will see the kids learn how to shoot and edit their films, as well as sessions on sound design and costume. We can’t wait to see what they come up with. Watch this space, as the children will be presenting their creations with a film premiere here in June…
The programme is delivered in partnership with THAMES (Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service), Into Film and supported by THAMES, Derwent London, The Portal Trust, Travers Smith and Garfield Weston.
Watch 2019’s Tower Hamlets Stories compilation film.
Watch 2020’s Green Tower Hamlets compilation film.
Watch 2021’s My Story, Our Story compilation film.