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Elektroniczna platforma na rzecz uczenia się dorosłych w Europie



Filmmaking as a means for active ageing

Tungumál: EN
Document available also in: DE FR IT PL ES LT DA

/epale/is/file/knowthyself3edited2jpgKnow Thyself

Know Thyself

Jennifer Granville from Leeds Beckett University shares her inspiring story about her involvement in the international CINAGE project. CINAGE offers exciting lifelong learning opportunities to older persons and promotes active ageing through teaching adults critical analysis of European cinema as well as filmmaking skills. Read how Jennifer got involved in this project, what obstacles she had to overcome, and most importantly, what she gained from this experience.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work you do?

I work as a lecturer at the Northern Film School which is incorporated within the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts at Leeds Beckett University. One of the areas I was interested in was developing widening participation and lifelong learning. The reason for this was that we had one course within this school called Foundation Degree, but about 5-6 years ago the University stopped all foundation degrees.

It was very disappointing because it was a wonderful opportunity for non-traditional learners to come to the university and learn filmmaking, and very often a lot of our students came from that route. They tended to be older, to have more experience and that course had a very different dynamic. I wanted to try to find a way where we could use the expertise that we had in working with this sort of people.

How did you get started with your Grundtvig project?

I went to a meeting where they talked a lot about Grundtvig and about the different opportunities there might be to partner with people and develop courses for different learners. I put my name down on the list as willing to be a partner and the lead partner on the CINAGE project got in touch with me. The lead partner was a Portuguese organisation called Aid Learn who do a lot of this type of European projects. They were looking for a university who could provide them with expertise in research in health as well as expertise in filmmaking. Leeds Beckett University was ideal because we have a very large health school here as well as a film school.

We wrote the proposal together with Portugal, Italy and Slovenia and it was initially rejected but we didn’t give up, rewrote it and we got approved. I think the idea was quite appealing. To my knowledge there’s no other project that has done a similar thing with film.

How did collaborating with another organisation help?

Collaboration is always good – you’re always going to learn something from collaborating. You’re always going to approach things slightly differently once you’ve had discussions with people who bring a completely different experience. The beauty of this particular project is that Aid Learn in Portugal had quite a lot of experience in delivering that kind of projects – international projects are extremely complicated. In terms of cinema we wanted to make it truly European and not just something that we were doing in the UK.

Old age is not such a terrible thing

Also, the Third Age University of Slovenia brought an enormous amount of expertise in the field of andragogy. An interesting thing that we discovered was that most of the teaching we do is more by the students learning and finding out for themselves, which is probably quite different from how they usually teach in Eastern Europe.

Even though now we’re ready to deliver CINAGE independently, initially it was great to get a European perspective on it and to bring in that different expertise.

How do you want the project to expand?

We hope to deliver the course to older people next year as part of the University’s widening participation programme. For this purpose we’re partnering with Leeds City Council and we are using their network to pull in a wider demographic. However, through KA1 of Erasmus + we’re also planning to have a two-week ‘telescoped’ version of the course designed for European educators.

/epale/is/file/trappedclappereditedjpgCINAGE Clapper

CINAGE Clapper

How did you stay in touch with your project partners?

All our planning and decision making was done collaboratively through robust discussions. We met mostly in person. We had a meeting in Italy and Portugal, two in Slovenia and our final meeting was in the UK. We also had a very good online environment called Wiggio which is an open source software. It was an excellent place for sharing and storing documents and sending instant messages and having discussions. That’s also where the external evaluator went to find our documents.

Who took part in the project? Is there anyone that stands out in your mind?

The average people that we had in this project were quite educated, stimulated and active and they came out the same way. But I do think that what we did learn from them is how we might approach this project better in the future. The formed an incredibly strong friendship and working group and that has gone on. We’ve already had a party at one of the participants’ house and there have been a lot of social benefits for the participants. A couple of the participants have also volunteered to help me with the dissemination of the results and that’s been really great for us.

One of the students who stood out was Liz Cashden, 86. She wrote and acted in Swimming Pool and she also directed Know Thyself, and she was just full of energy, so eager to collaborate and intelligent – a true inspiration for everyone.



What were the results?

One of the tangible results of this project has been the CINAGE pack and the Guide for Adult Educators, which we’re very proud of. We also organised a final conference as part of our approved proposal and we ran a film festival, which we’re planning to make into an annual event. We weren’t allowed to raise sponsorship for the festival this year, but next year we’re hoping get sponsorship and make it a much wider reaching festival. It is going to be a festival based on old age in the UK but we’re also going to run it as a symposium so our target groups are academics as well as film makers. Our films and trailers are also available on our YouTube channel.

/epale/is/file/cinagewelcomepackjpgCINAGE Package

CINAGE Package

What we did this year was a screening of all the 12 CINAGE films and then in the afternoon we had a competition. The criteria for the competition were that the films either had to be about age or aging, they had to feature an older actor, or be made by an older filmmaker – these were also the three categories. We got about 50 films sent in, we screened 30 of them and we had three prize-winners.

It was an incredibly moving experience

We hope that in future we’ll try to make it even bigger. The event was supported by the Leeds City Council and we’re hoping that next time will become a part of the Leeds International Film Festival. They already have a younger persons films festival so why not an older people films festival? In fact it would be great to use EPALE as a means of publicising our project and upcoming events.

What did it mean to you to be involved?

I was involved in the making of three of the films here in the UK and we also helped in the making of the subtitles of the other films, but when we saw all 12 of them on the big screen, it was quite a moving experience. It really felt like we’d done something quite special. I also find it amazing how so many different aspects of aging were addressed in quite a positive way. They weren’t all gloomy and grim by any means.

 I’m 61 and what I got out of this experience was that old age is not such a terrible thing; and also you have plenty of time to do things that are personally fulfilling, that you wouldn’t normally have the time to focus on. Working at a film school I’m quite used to collaborating with people from different countries and cultures. What I did learn from my project partners was a lot about running a project, as all three of them were very experienced in that. Also, there’s so much that I learnt from the participants as well – all of them are such interesting individuals.



Another really great thing for me personally was the intergenerational aspect of things. When we made the films we used a lot of our students to support the older learners. Both groups were able to see how competent and good at their jobs the others were and how much they had to offer. That was an incredibly successful part of the project which I hadn’t even thought about. A lot of my students said to me afterwards that this was one of the best projects they had done since they’d been in film school – they absolutely loved it. On the UK side we had about 30 older learners and about 50 younger students altogether. We had a professional cinematographer and a director who was there as a support for the older students who were directing.

The two weeks of filming that we did were so very exciting and seeing all these people coming together as a crew will remain in me. If I had the chance, I would definitely like to do it again.

If you’re working  with adult learners and you’d like to share your story with EPALE, get in touch with us at

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  • Elena Galifianaki's picture

    An EC project you might be interested in having a look at is "ARTES" which uses all different types of Art as a vehicle for education and social inclusion. You can read more about it here:

  • Teresa Dello Monaco's picture

    Thanks a lot to highlight ARTES. I'm reading about Cinage and it's great. I'm coordinating another project on the use of video for language learning. Language learning is a multi-sensory process and video allows communicative learning skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing, with one resource. Here is VideoforAll:  An effective tool for teachers...  

  • Elena Galifianaki's picture

    Hi Teresa,

    you are very welcome and thank you in return for directing me to the VideoforAll project. The link however doesn't seem to work, could you perhaps re-post it?


  • Teresa Dello Monaco's picture

    Yes, Elena... the start of the sentence next to the link was also hyperlinked....

    Talk soon!


  • Rumen HALACHEV's picture

    Thank you Elena, Artes is difenitely an excellent source of good practice. EPALE is always on the lookout for good materials, resources and best practice related to adult learning, so if you agree, we would love to help promote your materials in our Resource centre.

  • Teresa Dello Monaco's picture

    Hi Rumen!  I'm Teresa Dello Monaco and introduced ARTES on EPALE few dyas ago. Thanks a lot for your comment. Please, feel free to promote ARTES in your Resource centre. Just few days ago, the proceedings of the ARTES Conference held in Florence have been published on the platform. You may find them of interest:

    I would be pleased to be in touch! Kindest regards. 

  • DUSANA FINDEISEN's picture

    Hello Teresa, yes with pleasure... in a few days and I would very much like to stay in touch.


  • Elena Galifianaki's picture

    Hi Rumen,

    Thank you for your feedback on my post. I am not in any way engaged in the Artes project, so would not be able to provide more info on this one, I am just always on the lookout for new and interesting developments in the domain.

    However, I suppose they would be happy to further promote their project through EPALE if you contacted them directly through their link?



  • Elena Galifianaki's picture

    Thank you for posting this interesting info on the CINAGE projectWhat a nice interview with J.Granville and a great way to bind filmaking with active ageing. 

  • Nikolai SCHULZ's picture

    Congratulations for this project. A guide, a Youtube channel and thanks for the Wiggio hint! Cool.

    "We wrote the proposal together with Portugal, Italy and Slovenia and it was initially rejected but we didn’t give up, rewrote it and we got approved." After a successful Grundtvig project we, MEMORO - the bank of memories Germany, made the same experience for a very small Erasmus+ application, a "train the trainers" concept of making video interviews of elderly people. It had been rejected, and the frustration had been so enormous that we cancelled a second try. Weeks spent for nothing, the old project problem, not only in the EU.

    The bureacracy and the rules of EU projects are a challenge for small NGOs, if you don't have the staff working in full-time on this. "international projects are extremely complicated", indeed, especially when the different partners shows a complete diverse engagement. But it could be a great chance to work, laugh and travell with different people of other nations. Important to "save" our European idea....