Manuel José Damásio • Coordinator, FILMEU
“Our mission is to develop a European university that is a model for collaboration and integration in the fields of the arts and the creative industries”
- FILMEU, an alliance of four prestigious European film schools, aims to set up a European University of Film and Media Arts by 2023
We interviewed Professor Manuel José Damásio, coordinator of FILMEU, chair of the GEECT (European Grouping of Film and Television Schools) board and head of the Film and Media Arts Department at the Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (Portugal).
Cineuropa: What is FILMEU? When did you establish the consortium?
Manuel José Damásio: FILMEU brings together four European higher-education institutions: the Lusófona University in Lisbon, Portugal; the SZFE – University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, Hungary; the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels, Belgium; and the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin, Ireland. Together, these institutions collaborate around the common objective of jointly promoting high-level education, innovation and research activities in the multidisciplinary field of film and media arts and, through their co-operation, consolidate the central role of Europe as a world leader in the creative fields. The consortium is made up of four institutions with strong expertise, a common ambition of internationalisation and a long track record of past collaborations that include over a decade’s worth of experience in developing European joint projects, including E+ Knowledge Alliances, strategic partnerships and “Erasmus Mundus” Joint Master Degrees (EMJMDs), as well as other research and activities aimed at fostering the excellence and attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area.
FILMEU was formally established in 2019 in order to apply to the new European funding programme called “European Universities”, and the application was approved in 2020. This year, the consortium also approved an H2020 project that deals with the research-orientated part of the future university. The objective of FILMEU is to set up a European University of Film and Media Arts by 2023, jointly established and maintained by these four institutions. Our mission is to develop a European university that is a model for collaboration and integration in the fields of the arts and the creative industries.
What are your main joint activities and objectives? What kind of study programmes do you share or are you planning to develop?
Our long-term vision implies that by 2025, FILMEU must be constituted as an exemplary collaborative structure able to deepen the co-operation between all members of the alliance and foster their ability to act locally, regionally and globally in the cultural and creative industries, and across the other societal areas that they impact. The alliance will develop a joint governance structure that will implement cooperatively designed policies and action plans in order to increase the profile of film and media arts education, innovation and research in Europe and around the world. It will foster the implementation of a participatory structure and inner programmes across all levels of the partner institutions, and will share its experience and disseminate the outputs of its activities on a global scale.
Our long-term goals are therefore multifarious. The first is to empower students via the design and implementation of common degrees with harmonised curricula and alternative paths of specialisation and embedded mobility, greatly improving the experience of a diverse student body; empowering staff and teachers via professional development across all partner institutions; and empowering institutional stakeholders and the film and media industry across Europe through the promotion of a knowledge triangle that brings their expertise and needs to the centre of the educational process, thereby promoting the acquisition of competences that, while academically rigorous, are also better aligned with industry and societal needs.
We aim to implement a digitised system for mobility management, supported by existing solutions crafted by the EU for the implementation of the Erasmus Without Paper programme and the associated systems for document issuing and recognition, including the joint implementation of the European Student Card. Moreover, we aim to create a network of centres of competences named “FILMEU HUB”, based on a number of common infrastructures that span the main areas of research and technical expertise on which the consortium is focused, and we support an innovative, challenge-based pedagogical model that incorporates the main strengths of film education, such as cross-disciplinary project development, team-based work and the intensive use of media technology, though allowing for the uptake of essential skills such as creativity, problem-solving, peer-learning and collaboration.
Another goal is to create common virtual spaces and digital tools for learning, plus services including a learning and collaboration space, a production management tool, a media management tool and repository, and a media facilities and equipment management tool. We also plan to harmonise existing curricula at the bachelor level, heading towards the implementation of a new international bachelor’s degree in film that corresponds to an original educational offering.
Meanwhile, we’re working on the creation of three new EMJMDs in the areas of sound, film heritage and video games, developing the existing joint Erasmus Mundus master degrees DocNomads, Kino Eyes and Reanima, and preparing a joint PhD programme in Film and Media Arts, supported by a common supervision model and shared HR. Other important objectives include: to pilot an original lifelong learning programme in the area of media arts; to embed in all existing educational programmes a subject with a focus on entrepreneurial skills; to pilot a common quality-assurance system based on the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG); to implement a common staff development programme focusing on pedagogical competences; to increase the ability of the alliance to attract and retain talent via the implementation of a common tenure system; to design and agree upon joint management and governance structures, including a dedicated student board; to implement a common model and joint services for student mentoring and support, as well as a common framework for IP management in relation to the protection of creative rights; and to increase the levels of attractiveness of the higher education institutions involved in order to strive for a multicultural and multilingual university.
What has been the main challenge posed by the pandemic?
FILMEU depends strongly on mobility and the sharing of resources. COVID-19 and the limitations it entails pose a great challenge to these types of activities, and have forced us to develop original forms of mobility and collaboration, and rethink existing methods of teaching and collaboration.
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