Century of Faces

I saw a link last night, followed it and watched a 15 minute video about something called “Be Very Afraid”, an annual… conference?… organised by BAFTA at which some of the most innovative students attend and show off their work. Amonst the work carried out was a project in which students had gone out, interviewed and photographed 100 people from the age of 1 to 100 (I’m assuming they had help with the very young).

They looked at where each person was born (I gather there was a quite a diverse mix of cultures), what they had for breakfast and much more besides.

I thought the idea sounded fantastic, and after a bit of a natter with Andy Wallis (one of many forward thinking educators form the isle of Islay – it must be something in the water up there) I think it could be a really powerful idea worth stealing.

We could create a wiki, with 1 page per interviewee, embed/mashup with Google Maps, potentially use the data during topics on data handling at KS3 and potentially even try to convince other schools to do the same and compare data.

My main issues with the project are:

  • As a curriculum task it’s extremely large.
    Working with 20 mixed ability students, all with varying degrees of interest would make this project very difficult to manage and sustain.
  • Child Protection
    The nature of the project is such that students would be required to approach strangers to interview. Now actually I’m not that cyncical that I think it would be particularly dangerous. Most of our students are relatively streetwise and most of th elocal populous are pretty decent people. The students whose idea I am borrowing were working in (I think) Hounslow which (at the risk of a sweeping generalisation) sounds more potentially risky than a quiet and fairly well-off area of North East England.
  • Treading on toes
    If I’m going to run this as an extra-curricular project then I’ll need to attract a group of students, and it would only be fair to describe this as a ‘digital media’ project. This would present an overlap with our Drama/Media department and I need to be careful about treading on toes. I don;t think anyone down there would actually object or be put out but it is something that I need to bear in mind.
  • I have enough to do!
    [Skip list of jobs I’mdoing beyond the bare minimum – don’t want to imply I’m doing more than everybody else]. Do I need / do I have time to really commit to another extra curricular group, one that would take up a lot of time and effort?

You might think after reading that curmudgeonly list that I’m not going to run the club, but of course the idea of a Digital Media club sounds brilliant. We can look at podcasting, video editing, wikis, blogs, image editing, all sorts of topics that really interest me – and with (hopefully) a very interested and enthusiastic bunch of students.

I’ve a horrible feeling I might just do it, you know…


One thought on “Century of Faces

  1. Hi Mark,

    I think developing this idea of interviewing / filming / recording 100 people from a community is a great one and would really benefit if it obtained an international perspective as well as a national one.

    As I mentioned on Twitter, I can see 1 minute per individual working really well. It would also be a profitable way to get kids interested in documenting other people’s lives through a variety of media and where they would be in control of the composition, the process, and the outcome. It would also encourage them to see the world through another person’s eyes, where they also achieve a relationship between the two.

    If you are interested, I would be keen to trial this with you and your pupils, and those from my school.



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