Mediaworks: Animation, Documentary, and Experimental Approaches to the Moving Image

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 48
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

animation, media studies
Laurie Meeker
film and video production, media theory

The Media Arts and Studies Path foundation program, Mediaworks, integrates skill building in media technologies and hands-on production practices with the study of film/video history and theory. In 2020-21, we will place our work as filmmakers in the context of sustainability and justice. Collaborating with other academic programs, we will center one thread of our inquiry on the climate emergency, environmental and social justice, relationships among people and the land, and the sustainability and resilience of human and natural communities; issues that are vital to our well-being and the health of the planet. Students will explore ways that media producers can contribute to debates around energy, the environment and climate change, and learn about the environmental impacts of different media tools and practices.

In this election year, and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, another thread of inquiry will address critical alternatives to mainstream media. Media has the power to educate and influence attitudes and behavior. As filmmakers and artists, how can we contribute to public discourse, educate people about the economic and political forces that affect them, and support social justice movements? What media strategies will make a difference? By engaging with these questions, students will define and cultivate their voices as artists and public intellectuals.

Working within broad definitions of nonfiction media, students will sharpen essential skills of observation, research, collaboration, design and production, critique and reflection. They will engage in substantial reading and writing while learning to analyze and critique historical and contemporary films and texts, explore strategies to challenge dominant forms and stereotypes, examine the politics of representation in relation to race, class, and gender, and develop fluency in media analysis and criticism. Through hands-on practice, students will gain experience with the tools and materiality of different analog and digital media formats, the distinct qualities of animated and live action imagery, and strategies of representation in documentary practice. Building skills in audio recording and composition, they will also learn how to make images and sounds work together to communicate effectively.

In response to the pandemic, fall and winter quarters will be held remotely, focusing on digital media strategies, DIY practices including setting up a simple home studio, and the social and environmental implications of increasing dependence on virtual communications. To successfully participate in remote learning, students will need a recent model computer than can handle media production software, an external hard drive of at least 4 TB, a work table, smart phone and robust internet access. Other equipment necessary for production will be available for students in the Olympia area to check out through Media Loan. As Media Loan is unable to ship this equipment, students outside the region should contact faculty about what they will need to complete production assignments. The program will rely heavily on synchronous Zoom sessions, Canvas, and technological access to the equipment mentioned above; however, we do recognize that given current conditions unforeseen obstacles may arise. We will work with students to navigate those obstacles. Students can expect about 12 hours per week of scheduled, synchronous sessions in addition to an estimated 28 hours per week of self-paced, asynchronous work that includes reading, writing, film viewing and executing production assignments.

Both in fall and winter, students will develop media production skills as they work through a series of collaborative and individual design problems thematically related to a broadly defined framework of sustainability and justice. In spring, Mediaworks will be organized as a 12 credit program in which, as a culmination of their learning, students will research, draft a proposal for, and produce a self-directed, nonfiction media project arising from their previous quarters’ studies. Projects may take a number of forms, including film, video, animation, audio, installation, performance and internship.  Collaborative projects are welcome.  Students will produce these projects and exhibit them publicly at the end of the year. If conditions allow, some training and production may take place in on-campus media labs. 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

media arts, digital media, film/video production, visual art, journalism, communication, education, sustainability and social justice advocacy, and the humanities.


Credits per quarter


No prior production experience is required, but intermediate college level reading, writing and critical thinking skills are necessary. An additional prerequisite is successful completion of at least two quarters of college-level studies spanning multiple disciplines. This could be satisfied by Evergreen interdisciplinary programs or classes at Evergreen or elsewhere that provide breadth. Students must complete and submit an application in order to demonstrate that they have fulfilled these prerequisites.

Online learning:
  • Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
Special expenses:

Students should expect to pay $150 for an external hard drive and $100 per quarter in supplies and travel for productions, depending on individual project needs.


$350 in fall for film/art admission fees, film production expenses, and supplies. In winter, $120 for entrance fees, studio production expenses, and supplies. In spring, $50 for film/art admission fees.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 48

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 4, 2021 - 10:00 am

Located in: Olympia

2020-11-09This program is now 12 credits in spring quarter