Crossing the Theory-Practice Divide

Crossing the Theory-Practice Divide

A Multi-Perspective Reflection on a Practical Course for Film and Television Students

Willemien Sanders

Utrecht University
Department of Media and Culture Studies
Muntstraat 2a
3512 EV Utrecht
The Netherlands
w.sanders@uu.nl

Daniel Everts

Utrecht University
Department of Media and Culture Studies
Muntstraat 2a
3512 EV Utrecht
The Netherlands
d.everts@students.uu.nl

Bonnie van Vugt

Utrecht University
Department of Media and Culture Studies
Muntstraat 2a
3512 EV Utrecht
The Netherlands
b.e.h.vanvugt@students.uu.nl


Abstract:
Scholars are increasingly expected to share their knowledge through different media besides the written publication but struggle to do so. How might they teach their students the skills to do so? This article argues that Practice as Research, developed by practitioners venturing into academia, provides a useful framework for shaping research outcomes into, for instance, video essays or interactive narratives. It is especially valuable for undergraduate students aiming to increase their knowledge and understanding of media through practical work, as it trains them in both practical and academic skills. This gives Practice as Research an added value in academic media studies curricula. This article is based on a case study of an advanced practical course for film and television students at Utrecht University and relies on course assignments, feedback conversations, and auto-ethnography. As this article was authored by the course lecturer and two students, it provides insight from multiple perspectives.

Keywords: Practice as Research, self-directed learning, inquiry-based learning, productions studies, auto-ethnography, film practice, interactive narratives

Disclaimer

This article is designed as an interactive narrative. Reading it online will provide an enhanced reading experience. The premise underlying the design is the easy access to the different sections of this article. On each page, images link to the various case study findings while the introduction and conclusion are accessible through textual links. In addition, links in the text quickly provide access to related information, including the theoretical framework and case study design.

Introduction

This paper argues that a Practice as Research approach has an added value in the curricula of university students studying media. This is based on our case study, which is framed by theories on the relationship between practice and research, on how-to-study practices, and on theories about student learning. Read more…

figure1

Theme 1. Learning about content

figure2

Theme 2. Complexity and luck

figure3

Theme 3. Interactivity: Seducing the user

figure4

Theme 4. Working with limitations

figure5

Theme 5. Organisational skills

figure6

Theme 6. Academic skills

Conclusion

Practice as Research has an added value for university students, which we discuss in relation to the authors’ practice of writing and developing this interactive narrative. Read more…