Lights, camera, action...!
Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) and Youth Hostel Association (YHA) (England and Wales) have announced the launch of a creative media project, supporting young people from across the National Park area as they create promotional films about The Sill, a planned new Landscape Discovery Centre and YHA Youth Hostel at Once Brewed.
The students, aged 16 – 18, are all studying media and creative media BTECS at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham and The Duchess High School in Alnwick. They have been commissioned by the NNPA and YHA project team to create visual media content, designed to interact with members of the public and bring to life The Sill's vision across a wide range of digital media. They will bring their own knowledge and experience of the stunning countryside surrounding their homes to the project, as well as fantastic technical skill and creative vision.
The project is in line with The Sill's aim to support learning and participation activities in the community, which encourages current and future generations to discover, explore and conserve the incredible landscape of Northumberland National park.
16 students from Queen Elizabeth High School recently pitched their initial ideas to The Sill's learning and participation officer, Georgia Villalobos, after working on a detailed client brief during lesson time. The students worked in four groups, each with a brief for a film with a specific aim, and were given free rein to be as creative as possible.
Their ideas included time-lapse footage of various beautiful landscapes from dawn until dusk, split screen demonstrations of multiple activities, subjects transforming from older to younger people to convey different audience groups who will enjoy The Sill, transition shots from town to country and interviews with key figures.
Georgia Villalobos said: "I was so impressed with the pitches the students gave. They really did their research and took our brief very seriously – their presentations were well thought out and very well delivered; they were a genuine credit to their school.
"It was fascinating to see the ideas they've come up with around the aims of our films, there was so much creativity and their films sound really dynamic – I can't wait to actually watch them! This project is extremely mutually beneficial, it gives us insights from a key group we are committed to engaging with and, at the same time, provides the students with an exciting, real-life client project to work on for their course.
"We want the new landscape discovery centre to welcome visitors from far and wide to celebrate, enjoy and conserve the natural world and enchanting open spaces, encouraging exploration around the whole of the National Park and beyond. With this in mind, it's really useful for us to be engaging with young people who live in different parts of this vast landscape, who can offer new perspectives on the wonders contained within it, and who can suggest how The Sill can act as a gateway to discovering these.
"I am sure the students will continue to enjoy getting out and filming the gorgeous scenery Northumberland National Park has to offer and we look forward to sharing their work with members of the public as soon as possible."
Stuart Evans Project Director for The Sill at Northumberland National Park, commented: "In both developing and designing The Sill all our deliver partners are committed to offering internships, apprenticeships and learning opportunities for young people in our region. This initiative with two local high schools is a great example how the project is being used to help young people study and to further their employment and educational prospects. If successful, we expect The Sill to create an additional 170 jobs in our region as well as many apprenticeships and learning opportunities."
The Queen Elizabeth High School students, who will start their final sixth form year in September, are using The Sill as their "real life" client for the Corporate and Promotional Programme Production module of their BTEC Creative Media course. The learning outcomes of the module include understanding codes, conventions and current practice in corporate and promotional programming, and planning and producing corporate or promotional programmes to a brief.
The four groups were each given an aim for their video which has been carefully thought out to ensure they have the opportunity to meet their learning outcomes at the same time as meeting the objectives of The Sill project team.
Lesley Kerr, head of social sciences at Queen Elizabeth High School, teaches the BTEC course and attended the pitch with her students. She said: "The BTEC in media is all about students being involved in film making, and having the opportunity to do so for a real client is invaluable, especially with Northumberland National Park on our doorstep. This is a great opportunity for the students to explore the beautiful scenery as well as thinking about promoting it to other people. They were enthusiastic about preparing real pitches and this is a fantastic motivator for them to work with a client in a real working environment."
Enya Mason, 17, is in group one, and tasked with introducing people to The Sill project. She said: "I really enjoyed my visit to Once Brewed, I've been looking forward to it since I heard about the project – it's excellent experience because we usually only get teacher feedback so it's good to speak to real clients. I've been walking up here before and it's great to be informing more people about it, hopefully more young people will get out and experience the landscape because of our film. I'm considering doing primary teaching in the future so it's also really great to work with Georgia to see what her role here involves."
Alex Phillips, 18, is in group three who are tasked with engaging young people with The Sill. He said: "I'm really interested in this project and find it really intriguing without the parameters of school – it's great to be out of the school building and in the countryside. This project gives you a good idea of what it'll be like in the professional world, I could be looking into working in this sort of area soon so it's really helpful to have this practice."
The students will start shooting their films after the summer holidays, with completion and a presentation evening expected in the Autumn term.
The development phase of the project has been made possible through funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA are seeking to secure an additional £3 million in funding for the full project costs and to make their vision for The Sill a reality, the project needs your support. You can support The Sill by volunteering, attending one of the project's consultation events or making a donation towards the £3 million target.
For more information about The Sill and the upcoming events, visit our events pages, find us on Facebook or follow The Sill on Twitter @thesillproject