On Tuesday this week we tried out a couple of Gothic ideas in preparation for our Education plans supporting the BFI’s Autumn and Winter Gothic season. First, a group of Year 7 English students from Kingsford Community School in Beckton came to watch The Innocents. Fortunately, they had no idea that a 1961 black and white British film might completely freak them out, so they were in for a series of unpleasant and unsettling surprises. They were ably set up in preparation for Gothic motifs, tropes, and techniques by BFI Education’s Dominika Widlak-Manka. The Gothic is a staple of KS3 English teaching, and we’ll be promoting The Innocents, and 12 other films, as 13 key texts for Gothic study in the Autumn.
In the evening we brought a group of teachers together for a Gothic TeachMeet in the BFI Reuben Library. TeachMeets are rigorously structured, occasionally gently riotous, social cum professional development sessions, run in the evening, enabling drink to be taken. We partnered with LATE, the London English teachers’ group, and were facilitated by Chris Waugh, known online as Edutronic, and in the real world as the Head of English at London Nautical School, just behind BFI Southbank.
TeachMeets bring teachers together to present ideas in 2 or 6 minute slots, and this time we had Francis Gilbert on filming mock-murder scenes, Morlette Lindsay on filming Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Cathryn Heyward on the relationship between Jane Eyre and I Walked with a Zombie (a revelation!), Amy Keenan on low achievers and the Gothic, Michelle Cannon looking at primary school practice, and TeachMeet granddaddy Drew Buddieon a whole host of ICT approaches to Gothic teaching (have a look at Inkle). George Macpherson told us about CinemaLive, an immersive Secret Cinema style idea he’s developing for schools.
Beyond introducing teachers to each other (and hello to the entire Art Dept from Cumberland School who turned up!) we were using the event to plan sessions for our LATE/BFI teachers’ conference, on 7 December. We’ve now got a bunch of ideas to help us on our way…