Critical Connections is an interdisciplinary multilingual digital storytelling project in the UK and overseas since 2012, hosted by the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning at Goldsmiths, University of London. Europa School UK has been on board since 2015 and is this year one of the school pilots.

Schools in Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Taiwan, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Switzerland, Japan, U.S.A as well as the UK are taking part and a range of languages are represented (last year 20 films were submitted including 20 languages).

The project directors Jim Anderson, Yu -Chiao Chung (known at Europa as Jojo Prouton, mother of 3 children both in Primary and Secondary), Judith Rifeser and Vicky Macleroy are keen to promote activist citizenship and think about how creative work and language learning can help students to look differently at the world and listen to each other’s stories.This project offers opportunities for our students both to develop their understanding of the issues locally and globally and to make their voices heard.

We are very proud that Europa School UK’s first film, Abandonnée (2016) won a prize at the BFI festival, and attracted the interest of researchers from the University of Glasgow. We have participated in their RSE funded project, entitled “How to talk about Migrations”.

The same film recently featured in a university article on creativity and education.

For the second year this collaborative storytelling project is on the theme – Our Planet. Last year 5FE produced a film called Toi, Moi, Tree and the club Go Ecolo from secondary lead by Dr Sandrine Philippot- Gasc made a film called Green Planet Dreamers. Our films can be watched here.

Dr Yu-Chiao Chung and Dr Vicky Macleroy presented both films in their talk titled as “Inspiring Young Multilingual Activists through Digital Technology and the Arts” at the Language World 2022 Conference held in Sheffield.  

This year, we have once again been working on multilingual poetry and artwork alongside the filmmaking process in connection with the theme of ‘Our Planet’.

Class 4EE, led by their teacher, Liz Cook, have chosen to work on the theme of “the water”, this being a part of their Discovery of the World curriculum. They have been thinking about and exploring water through art, poetry, and even stories.

Class 5FE, with Marie Gaillard, has produced artwork and made a song about the world they can see and hear from their bedroom windows, and their accompanying dreams and fears about the current state of the planet. They have been working hard on producing animations to go along with their song.

Go ecolo club from Secondary with Dr Sandrine Philippot- Gasc is creating a film on what they can do locally for their environment of Europa School (rewilding, relocating owls, restoring a  pond, cleaning the school, planting trees…)

The children will have the opportunity to present and share their digital stories at an online international film festival organised by Goldsmiths, University of London on Friday 10th June 2022. Michael Rosen will open the festival and Michael Vidon will be running a multilingual poetry workshop for the occasion.

5FE also feel very lucky to receive training from Dr Judith Rifeser from Goldsmiths University of London who will help the children to understand the art of filmmaking on Wednesday 6th April.