As I wrap up this year of teaching undergraduate film and video, I struggle with what to tell my students. What “career” advice to give. I am optimistic, but I am constantly reframing the question – which ends up with the most useless advice: “whatever you want to do, just do it.”
I myself am leaving teaching for a while. Returning to the scary marketplace. I realized that media departments in higher education will first have to absorb the current media changes, and only then implement the necessary curriculum changes. This is a good five years away by my estimate. What professional standards are we to teach? What does “professional” mean? Adrian writes a lot about these very issues of media education and in a recent post sums up my feelings exactly.
Once upon a time a media education equipped you with skills and resources that were scarce. When scarcity is no longer a commodity we can do one of two things. We can commodify things even more, turning our technology into a fetish so that, for example, we teach ‘broadcast’ standards – expensive three chip cameras, high end sound recording, very expensive edit suites, and so reintroducing scarcity. Or we can try to work out what it is that we have and can do that separates us from every other person that has a video camera, the Apple iLife suite, and believes they don’t need professional skills. (Or from the other thousand media graduates this year.)