“I’ve long been a francophile as well as being a teacher and documentary filmmaker - all three passions have been part of my life since I was a teenager at school in the UK.
I started working on Shared Histories in 2013 with my students at Wellington College as I had been involved in several projects around WW1 and WW2 in Northern France and thought the topic would interest the boys. Once involved in the project, I saw the potential for another educational resource similar to those I’d made 20 years ago when young NZ students won a trip around la Francophonie. The resource, still sometimes used in schools today, consists of a series of videos around the topic of la Francophonie. They are short stories which showcase young New Zealanders speaking French and cover a variety of topics used within the curriculum.
This new educational resource [nb - produced with the Young Ambassadors 2018] will be similar to the first series, featuring young New Zealanders speaking French and telling stories about events in WW1 and Northern France, using their own research into their ancestors as stepping off points. However, as well as being for use by French/English teachers in classes, the stories have commemorative attributes as well and could be used within a history curriculum. It would be suitable for use within the cross-disciplinary projects envisaged for the future in secondary schools.
I can’t say much more about the projects as students will be developing stories on an ongoing basis as they experience the places they visit. It’s a lot of work for the film crew as we have a short time in order to work with the students but I’m very lucky to have the same cameraman who worked with me through the hectic 4 weeks across 7 countries in la francophonie to produce 14 films and to have Robin Laing, one of New Zealand’s best known producers. The resources will not be available until 2019 as I still have classes to teach as well as find time for this project."
Jennifer’s combined expertise in documentary filmmaking, teaching and working with students provides an exceptional opportunity to capture the Young Ambassadors’ visit to France, beyond their own experience.
The product of this expertise, the teaching resources, fully serves the intention of the programme to provide students with the opportunity to discover the profound significance and impact of the sacrifices made by participating countries and territories, beyond those who have participated since late 2013. It has the potential to act as an ongoing legacy, a lasting outcome of the Shared Histories programme.