They’re Not Going to Give it to You

Johnson Drew, Liz and Havemann, Leo They’re Not Going to Give it to You. In: OER19: Recentering Open, 10-11 Apr 2019, National University of Ireland, Galway.



Session Description:The concept of open is illuminated from various angles by this example of digital storytelling as a short form of open pedagogy that provokes consideration of contexts: The production (collaborative), distribution (unlimited) reception (open to interpretation) and potential to inspire and repurpose are manifest. The aim was to create a learning object to facilitate an understanding of a complex theoretical concept, central to a key text on a humanities module: Marshall Berman’s seminal book All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (1982) that references Marx’s prediction, in 1848, that a market led society would result in ‘everlasting uncertainty and agitation’. We also wished to foster an emerging development of ‘alternative’ assessment to open a previously restricted (to media students) opportunity to create and share work that would be afforded the same credit as the traditional essay.

We aimed to open the issues and debates, as proposed in the material from the 19th and 20th Century, to current participants. We transposed Berman’s example of New York to central London using the controversial infrastructure project HS2. Chosen for relevance to debates on the impact of development on the environment, this is also a cultural object, open to all as “the essay film disrespects traditional boundries” (Nora Alter, 2008). There has been external attention from community organizations; we have opened interaction beyond the institution. We will introduce, and reflect, on digital storytelling and essay film-making as radical forms of pedagogy and as part of the broader ecosystem of open.

Session content: Alt-format.
Screening a digital story: This is an example created as a digital learning object to work across various modules in arts and humanities, also open to all and addressed to heart and mind.
5.48 mins. HD digital video with sound. The film will be introduced, screened and then we will facilitate an interactive discussion on digital storytelling as radical, open pedagogy.

Berman, M. (1983). All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. London: Verso.

Cronin, C. (2014) Navigating the Marvellous. Available at (Last accessed 1/12/18)

Meadows, D. (2003) Digital Storytelling: Research-based Practice in Visual Communication 2 (2) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, pp. 189-193

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