For an overview of the Media Arts and Studies curriculum, download this handout (2020 edition).
Evergreen’s unique perspective on liberal arts education provides the context for our approach to teaching media.
As film and video educators we emphasize the connections between practice and theory. Our curriculum incorporates critical reading, writing and analysis, as well as hands-on instruction in a variety of formats and modes. We believe that media literacy is central to the process by which students become informed image-makers. Cameras are tools that must be used responsibly, ethically, and with critical awareness of the realities they construct. Accordingly, we ask our students to apply the theoretical and critical concepts they are learning to a range of media practices, from solving design problems to the production of full-scale independent projects.
Media production is fundamentally interdisciplinary.
We want our students to be engaged with the world–with contemporary issues and ideas. We support students in strengthening their listening and problem-solving skills. We encourage students to be attentive to the connections between their work and the communities they are a part of and to learn broadly about social and artistic movements. We provide curriculum that links media with a range of other disciplines and have offered coordinated studies programs combining media with gender studies, political economy, visual arts, dance, environmental studies and community studies, among others.
Our programs have historically focused on nonfiction, alternative, and experimental media.
More recently we have begun to incorporate animation and narrative production into our curriculum. Although film and digital video production remain central to our curriculum we also explore performance, installation, web design, multimedia, and sound design, as and connect media production to other art forms. We encourage students to develop critical perspectives on dominant media practices and learn from forms of audio-visual representation that have been marginalized, such as animation, experimental film, performance art, installation, multimedia, documentary film, and activist film. Teaching critical awareness of the politics of representation is central to our programs. This means that we explore the social implications of image-making, and especially the ways in which self and other, identity, community and world, are inscribed in the images we make and view.
In recent years all of us have been challenged by rapid new developments in digital media technology.
These present opportunities, most notably, increased access and a potentially more democratic paradigm for funding, use, and distribution. But they also require us to focus even more consistently on the need for “media literacy” as the development of critical perspectives on image-making. We support access to media across the curriculum, since it is a powerful tool for students, staff, and faculty working in a variety of disciplines. At the same time we see our own work of connecting critical analysis of media with media practice as quite unique and central to the mission of the college.
Our programs emphasize non-hierarchical production practices.
We reject paradigms that assign decision-making roles to some students and “technical” roles to others. Instead, we emphasize collaborative processes in which all students must learn to make decisions together and work collaboratively on projects. By the same token we do not see faculty members as the final arbiters of a work’s merit or success. We strive to create a collective discourse with our students in which evaluative criteria are developed collaboratively, drawing on experience, and on the texts we’ve viewed, read, and discussed. We want our students to be accountable to each other because we believe that a well developed sense of accountability will provide those who venture into the charged and challenging arena of commercial media production with a strong sense of social responsibility.