News & Media

News and Media

News and Media

Apollo Outreach Initiative

Mar. 22, 2010

Gary Cohen '11

This semester, cinema studies professors Rian Brown-Orso and Geoff Pingree, along with students in their media literacy and pedagogy practicum, are laying the groundwork for the Apollo Outreach Initiative. The new, year-long program will place Oberlin College students in classrooms, where they will teach children of all ages. Their purpose: To critically examine media and create films.

“The acquisition of the movie theater has allowed cinema studies to reach its goal of teaching media studies and production to the community,"  says Brown-Orso. "We’re working very hard for this project to be self-sustaining.”

A gift made by two anonymous parents will sustain the initiative for two years and already has helped hire an outreach coordinator. Funds also will help purchase such needed equipment as cameras and other film devices. Brown-Orso and Pingree, who will serve as liaisons between the college and the high school, say they hope the Apollo Outreach Initiative will teach both high school and college students how to build bridges within their community.

Ideas generated from this semester’s practicum, which serves as a think tank for the initiative, will inform a curriculum that will be implemented in a two-week summer workshop this year. To aid the process, practicum students are studying other outreach program models, such as that at the Jacob Burns Film Center. Brown-Orso and Pingree are also busy training students to be teachers.

“It’s about giving students access to tools—cameras, computers, etc.—and helping them understand what media is,” Brown-Orso says. “We’ll look at the media-saturated world we live in and study the impact it has on our lives and learn to understand what it’s saying and how to analyze it. Otherwise, we’re all just a recipient of mass media.”

This summer’s workshop will end June 30 with students showing their films on the Apollo Theatre’s big screen.

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