The key of our thinking about modern media education is parallel activity for the professionalisation of cultural workers and investing in young artists who can combine their artistic potential with social mission, who can share their skills with younger generations. Film and photography are currently two of the most popular media used by young people to learn and describe the world. Cell phones are used as photographic cameras, and cameras provide video and voice recording functions. The recorded images can be published right away on Vimeo, YouTube or on social networking platforms and thus shared with millions of viewers.
Every year organisations, community centres and common rooms invite us to conduct workshops. Each of our film and photography projects has several hundred applications a year. The application and evaluation forms show us that young people need and look for modern media education. In the 9 years of our work we have observed that this kind of education is created and realised by community centres, common rooms, libraries or independent artists and animators. At the same time our experience shows that Poland still lacks animators and educators who consciously work with film and photography.
That is why we have created the Polska.doc programme in which young DIY artists get the opportunity to develop their skills trained by professionals. They go through the project process (form the idea to the finished project) and realise their own (often their first) documentary projects (film, photocasts, photographic series) with the support of experienced tutors. The first year of the programme gave us 13 finished productions. All are accessible on our website (www.polska.doc.e.org.pl). They can also be seen during shows and events initiated by the international Doc Next Network in which we partner.
Within Polska.doc we have also conducted a very important educational path called „Animate on your own!”. Our participants could not only master their talent and make their imagination roam freely but also try to work as a cultural animator. With theoretical and practical knowledge they went to places all around Poland to voluntarily assist experienced tutors and co-conduct multimedia workshops for less experienced friends. Good practices gathered throughout the project are presented on our website in the Inspiration section.
We believe that visual media prove useful in unravelling history and the local identity, in engaging young people in actions for the local community or in integrating neighbours. We want the world to be described by grassroots initiatives, by the members of local communities and with the assumption that the artists want to dig into reality, not slide on its surface.