This week Pop Up Docs has been involved in another ‘alternative’ screening – at King Edwards School. One of our aims as an organisation is to inspire people to think about the world in different ways by showing thought-provoking films that encourage people to engage in the world around them. But we don’t just screen to members of the public – we also work with local filmmakers to deliver school workshops that use documentary film to explore a range of issues, many of which can be often be otherwise be difficult to cover within standard lessons.
As Lisa Bowman of King Edwards School says: “The strength of Pop Up Docs is that it is a local organisation, in tune with today’s major issues and au fait with quality documentaries. The beauty of PopUp Docs is that it brings these pieces of magical brilliance to groups who can appreciate and question them together.”
On this occasion we brought local transgender filmmaker Jason Barker to King Edwards School to screen his authored film MILLENNIUM MAN and talk to over 100 GCSE students about issues of gender identity.
MILLENNIUM MAN is a film about Jason’s transition from female to male which coincided with his godson’s puberty. Jason and his godson had filmed each other over the course of four years.
The workshop which followed was part of the Year 10 students’ PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Economics) curriculum covering the topic of gender. The number of children referred to the NHS as a result of transgender feelings and confusion about their gender has quadrupled in five years and the government recently commissioned a major new report into how to ensure full equality for trans people. One of the key recommendations from the report was a call for gender issues to be included in the PSHE curriculum for all schools.
As well as watching Jason’s documentary film the pupils worked in small groups to discuss the difference between sex and gender and what ‘trans’ means to them. King Edwards’ PSHE Co-ordinator Lisa Bowman said: “By providing insight into what it’s like to transition, Jason asked us to question what it means to be a boy or a girl which proved a difficult and profound exercise. Often pigeonholed as a transgender issue, the film MILLENNIUM MAN’s message was what it’s like to be human.”
Pop Up Docs next screening for the public takes place at 8pm on Thurs 2nd June at St Marks Community Centre. In collaboration with Fringe Arts Bath Festival, we invte you to bring your (well-behaved) dog to the cinema to watch the Bath Premiere of Laurie Anderson’s new film HEART OF A DOG. Described by The Guardian as a “poignant, eccentric essay-film (that is) more a waking dream than a lecture”.
Tickets on sale via www.popupdocs.com but all dogs go free!