F.A.C.E – Double Interview

I started the week interviewing two senior students from F.A.C.E public-alternative school, in Montreal. What’s a public-alternative school? Well, as far as I’m concerned, a public school that deviates (even a hint) from the average curriculum; and August and Olivia whom I interviewed seem to feel the same way. FACE is well known for putting strong emphasis on the arts–namely, music, theater and visual arts. Their classroom setting and general curricula are, however, the same that you’d find in any other public school.

It’s interesting, I forever felt that FACE would have been the perfect school for me given its reputation as an art-centric school; the concerns that my interviewees had about the school, however, were extremely similar to many other students in public and private schools that I’ve spoken to. Namely, when a teacher is not passionate about what they teach and convey that they are there to ‘hand out’ the class requirements and go home, they lose their students. Even some of the arts classes fall victim to this form of teaching. Still, given the choice, I would have probably been happier having so many art classes to look forward to…I think. Overall, August and Olivia expressed significant satisfaction with their experiences at FACE over the years. An hours’ worth of chat was, nonetheless, immensely insightful as they shared details not only of their likes and dislikes regarding the school structure but also the kind of learning environment that they would envision if schools did not exist. Experiential learning being at the fore of their description.

Olivia, me, Deborah (camera op., friend & August's mom), August (L to R)

I tried something a little different with the shoot this time. For one, this was the first occasion where, for this thesis project, I have interviewed two people together. I was trying to imagine how I could make the interview more dynamic rather than the predictable question-answer relationship between interviewer and interviewee. So, since August and Olivia are such good friends and such wonderful conversationalists, I threw out some questions of interest and asked them to discuss their thoughts with one another seemingly ignoring me and the camera; just two students chatting by the lockers in their school hallway. It was a nice change but we’ll have to see how it really looks when I examine the material in the coming weeks, back at Ryerson U.

This Friday, I’ll have a group interview with middle school students from a public high school in Mtl, once again. It’s hard to tell if a similar interview style will be a smart idea. I’ll have 50min with them as a group–while they eat their lunch!… Let’s hope the video recording of this interview will lessen the unappealing effect that eating has during an (exclusively) audio interview as I discovered with Michele a few months back!

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (citizenshift.org), the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)