Big Screen Science
Big Screen Science was created by First Light, the UK Film Council"s young people"s filmmaking initiative, with support from the Wellcome Trust and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). The project aimed to encourage teachers to explore creative approaches to teaching biomedical science; and to inspire informed and confident debate among young people about biomedical technologies and their ethical and moral implications. The project facilitated contacts between young people and professionals from the film industry, as well as academics concerned with biomedical research, and ethics.
Big Screen Science had three main stages. Firstly, seminars (‘Infolabs’) were held for teachers at W5. Secondly, a workshop was held for teachers with their students, culminating in each school producing a 2-minute news item. At this stage, the schools also discussed their ideas for producing a 10 minute film relating to biomedical science.
Six schools from across the UK, including Ballyclare High School, were then chosen to be awarded a budget of £7,000 for the production of a 10 minute film. A professional filmmaker was involved with each school to help them complete the film.
Pupils from Ballyclare High made ‘The stem cell controversy’, a film about a former pupil of the school, Craig, who had injured his spinal cord in a rugby accident and now uses a wheelchair. The film follows Craig as he considers various aspects of stem cell therapy as they relate to his condition. The film includes interviews with a scientist, and a Baptist minister – who present different viewpoints on stem cell research. Dr. Janet Johnston and Dr. Tiziana Cogliati (both Lecturers at QUB) acted as scientific advisers on the film.
The films from all six schools were shown in a series of screenings across the UK, and are available on DVD for use in schools. A resource book for teachers and pupils which contains information about the films, and background information to support group discussion about filmmaking and the biomedical issues raised, was also produced and is available to download from the website below. A copy of the DVD can also be obtained via the website.
Hosting School / Unit: School of Biology and Biochemistry
Target Audience: 11-18 year-olds
Start Date - End Date: October 2004 – October 2005
Name: Dr. Janet Johnston
Address: School of Medicine and Dentistry
Address: Progress Works
Telephone: 0121 693 2091
Fax: 0121 693 2096