For those who have yet to check it out, the draft shape paper for the Australian Curriculum for the Arts is now available on the ACARA website.
Given that up here in Queensland the school subject ‘Media Arts’ is separate to the subject ‘English’, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to intervene in the text and see if I couldn’t just find the crossover between the two subjects.
It wasn’t hard.
2.3.3 Defining Media Arts
Media ArtsEnglish is the creative use of communications technologies to tell stories and explore concepts for diverse purposes and audiences. MediaLanguage artists represent personal, social and cultural realities using platforms such as prose fiction, poetry, dramatic performances, television, film, video, newspapers, magazines, radio,video games, the worldwide web and mobile media. Produced and received in diverse contexts, these communication forms are important sources of information, entertainment, persuasion and education and are significant cultural industries in Australian society. Digital technologies have expanded the role that mediatexts play in every Australian’s family, leisure, social, educational and working lives. Media ArtsEnglish explores the diverse artistic, creative, social and institutional factors that shape communication and contribute to the formation of identities. Through Media ArtsEnglish, individuals and groups participate in, experiment with and interpret the rich culture and communications practices that surround them.
As I spend more time in Queensland I find myself having to wrestle with my identity as an English teacher because of this overlap with Media Arts. It’s not that media texts don’t still feature in the English curriculum – they do. But the culture here is that, while student might study visual language and analyse some/increasingly visual/multimodal texts in English, it’s Media Arts you have to go to if you want to make anything serious.
On one hand, it’s like Media Arts teachers get to do a lot of the fun stuff, which kind of sucks if you’re an English teacher from New South Wales!
But on the other hand, I have to admit, compared the rigour in the Media Arts curriculum up here…well, I have to admit that as an English teacher I always seemed to run out of time to ‘do the fun stuff’ anyway (do you know how LONG it takes for students to rehearse and record their own 10 minute version of Act I of Romeo and Juliet? Fricken ages!) And it would be nice, for just a short while, not to have to feel like I am dragging my English colleagues kicking and screaming toward increased multimodal study…now if I need to find a like minded media teacher, I can just go and, well, find one.
Leaving aside the ‘are knowledge silos good or bad’ debate, what thoughts do people have about the picture I’m painting here? NSW people, if you came up to the sunshine state would you want to specialise in English, or Media Arts?