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Universities And Their Function, Whitehead, 1929

‘Imagination is a contagious disease. It cannot be measured by the yard, or weighed by the pound, and then delivered to the students by members of the faculty. It can only be communicated by a faculty whose members themselves wear their learning with imagination. In saying this, I am only repeating one of the oldest of observations. More than two thousand years ago the ancients symbolized learning by a torch passing from hand to hand down the generations’.

Whitehead argument above reinforces the importance of the broadest means of thinking that includes imagination. This statement also points to the university as a system providing an environment that facilitates creativity and a flow of knowledge exchange from tutors to students, students to tutors and from one generation to the next. 

The pedagogy that I’ve experimented with that helps students to think imaginatively when developing their ideas for their documentaries – is the technique of conceptual thinking, of seeing the subject or theme through different lenses and modes.  In developing a particular subject the first thing I say to students is that they need to conduct thorough research and as part of that methodology they are told to watch films made by other filmmakers. They are advised to review text on the subject and brainstorm in discussion groups.

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