About Media Arts
Evergreen's unique perspective on liberal arts education provides the context for our approach to teaching media.
As film and video educators we emphasize the linkages between practice and theory. Our curriculum incorporates critical reading, writing and decoding skills, as well as hands-on instruction in a variety of formats and disciplines. We believe that media literacy is central to the process by which students become informed image-makers. Cameras are tools that must be used responsibly, ethically, and with critical awareness of the realities they construct. Accordingly, we ask our students to apply the theoretical and critical concepts they are learning to a range of media practices, from solving design problems to the production of full-scale independent projects.
Media production is fundamentally interdisciplinary.
We want our students to be engaged with the world, with contemporary issues and ideas. We want them to be good listeners and problem-solvers. We encourage them to be attentive to the linkages between their work and the community and learn broadly about social and artistic movements. We actively work to provide curriculum that links media with other disciplines, and have offered coordinated studies programs combining media with gender studies, political economy, visual arts, dance, environmental studies and community studies, among others.
Our programs have historically focused on nonfiction, alternative, and experimental media.
More recently we have begun to incorporate animation and narrative production into our curriculum. Although film and digital video production remain central to our curriculum we are also actively exploring performance, installation, web design, multimedia, and sound design, as practices that widen the possibilities for visual expression and connect media production to other art forms. We encourage students to develop critical perspectives on dominant media practices, and learn from forms of visual representation that have been marginalized, such as animation, experimental film, performance art, installation, multimedia, documentary film, and activist film. Teaching critical awareness of the politics of representation is central to our programs. This means that we explore the social implications of image-making, and especially the ways in which self and other, identity, community and world, are inscribed in the images we make and view.
In recent years all of us have been challenged by rapid new developments in digital media technology.
These present opportunities, most notably, increased access, and a potentially more democratic paradigm for funding, use, and distribution. But they also require us to focus even more consistently on the need for "media literacy" as the development of critical perspectives on image-making. We support access to media across the curriculum, since it is a powerful tool for students, staff and faculty working in a variety of disciplines. At the same time we see our own work of connecting critical analysis of media with media production and use as quite unique and central to the mission of the college.
Our programs emphasize non-hierarchical production practices.
We reject paradigms that create decision-making roles for some students and "technical" roles for others. Instead, we emphasize collaborative processes in which all students must learn to make decisions together and work collaboratively on projects. By the same token we do not see faculty members as the final arbiters of a film's merit or success. We strive to create a collective discourse with our students, in which criteria are developed collaboratively, drawing on experience, and on the texts we've viewed, read, and discussed. We want our students to be accountable to each other, because we believe that a well developed sense of accountability will allow them to venture into the very charged and difficult arena of commercial media production with a strong sense of social responsibility.