Last year I was contacted by Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta about taking on an artist-in-residence position with their new school. They were interested in telling their story, adding to their cultural identity, exploring multimedia potential in the classroom, and documenting the learning and teaching process.
In those initial discussions we touched on a lot of big concepts in search of a few specifics to get the ball rolling. The idea of having an "artist" in the school as a support and storyteller was intriguing, and honestly, it's what ultimately hooked me. It's too early to start making definitive predictions, but the scope and scale of what we're embarking on may turn out to be one of my most ambitious projects to date.
I have to clarify that collaboration is at the root of this entire undertaking. This is not just my story or the school's story, it is about the students, staff, teachers, and community at large. Part of what makes this so exciting is that we've essentially agreed to do a giant experiment.
The footage I capture, the projects the classes create, and the day to day activities that are documented have the potential to showcase the "process of learning" in ways that we can't yet predict. We're not sure what the end looks like. A school-wide exhibition? A documentary? At this stage everything is on the table.
It's rare that a project has this much freedom where the act of making it is arguably more important than a specific outcome. This willingness to challenge ourselves to find the stories as they're unfolding is liberating. It opens the door for some really meaningful and genuine content that I don't think we could logistically capture without investing this amount of time.
Odyssey (defined as a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding) is a word that we've used a lot to describe this idea / project. Even now as things are getting underway, I think we tend to ask more questions after each meeting than find answers. It's exciting, and maybe outrageously ambitious, but that's also what makes it seem worthwhile.
As of this month I'm starting to become a regular face around the school with my camera. This is not a permanent position for me, and I'm still working on a number of Editing Luke projects outside of the school, however I cannot downplay the significance of this new role in my professional life. In just this last week at the school I captured over 50GB worth of material. Whatever this is, it's going to be big. It's likely to be an opportunity for incredible personal growth as well.