Adaptation Nation: Medium Specificity in the UK

Authors: Berger, R.

Editors: Bahloul, M. and Graham, C.

Pages: 33-60

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars

Place of Publication: Newcastle

ISBN: 978-1-4438-3657-9


The use of film in UK school, college and universities initially began as a policy of ‘protectionism’. There was certainly a sense of paternalist inoculation as it was felt that children and young people needed to be ‘protected’ from this potentially dangerous media; the perverse logic went that if children could be taught how to discriminate between good and bad films, then they would become better citizens – and the cinema industry would be forced to clean up its act as a consequence. So, film was not initially studied as a legitimate cultural form – although that would quickly happen – and film was not taught with a view to opening the UK’s film industry to a new generation of filmmakers either. This context created a medium specific silo within education, which ran counter to the development, or evolution, of media technologies which were clearly interrelated and connected, even as early as the late 1950s. The result was that Film Studies became a separate discipline to other subjects, and would later be joined by radio, television and computer animation as fairly distinct subjects in our schools and universities. In addition, those teachers using film to teach were doing so in a rather piecemeal way. The problem was essentially a technological one, so, what I am proposing in this chapter is that a study of adaptation – or a study of the texts that come out of the relationship between different media – can act as an antidote to such positions.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Richard Berger