Early this year, I received an email from Agnieszka Krajewska (from film, AV & media education department at Children’s Art Centre (CSD), Poznan) inviting me to Poland for a project called ‘Animators of Tomorrow’ as part of the Festival ANIMATOR. She had seen Toon Club (TC) films at The Festival ANIMANIE in Pilzen (Czech Republic), and loved the work created by our students. I didn’t entirely qualify for this, hence I declined. And everything was forgotten.
Right in the middle of the lockdown, this May, Agnieszka reconnected with me as our films were screening at the same festival (Corti A Ponte, Venice). That’s when she shared a unique idea – an online cultural exchange between Indian and Polish children. Daunting as it seemed, I agreed.
Several emails and zoom sessions later, we finally launched our workshop in early July. We were nervous and excited at the same time. It was a first of its kind for both CSD and TC with 10 participants from each country.
We didn’t want to rely completely on Zoom for our workshops because of limitations such as connectivity, language challenges etc. So we created Tutorials which kids could replay as many times to understand concepts. Zoom sessions were strictly for reviewing work and solving problems. Doubts were lurking large in our mind – will kids be able to shoot their respective animations remotely and independently? Even if so, then would the quality suffer?
The workshops went beautifully and the 20 participants were enthusiastic and committed. Despite the challenges, our plan worked and our kids produced fantastic results.
My personal learning through this workshop: Online teaching is not easy, neither for kids nor teachers. And Zoom makes it even more difficult. It takes an effort to keep kids engaged, interested and excited. I found six sessions of 1 hour each exhausting. A lot of planning and preparation goes into conducting a session over zoom. I now admire all teachers who have been doing this since the onset of the lockdown and that too for 4 to 5 hours a day. Hope your efforts get it’s due recognition someday.
Here are the results of the animation workshop:
Magic House (Led by Milosz Marganski )
Fly (Led by Tehzeeb Khurana)
Collage of Kids working on their animation films: