UNIT 4, TOWERDYKESIDE
THURSDAY 27 – SUNDAY 30 APRIL
11:00 – 16:00 / 9′ (looped)
by Tom Swift
In summer 2021, Alchemy Film & Arts launched Viewfinders, a hands-on two-year filmmaking and digital skills development project delivered in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and Hawick’s seven primary schools. Designed to maximise the roll-out of iPad provision to all teachers and P5-S6 pupils in the Scottish Borders, Viewfinders is funded as part of Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund and supports teachers in using film and digital technology to both enhance learning in the classroom and improve engagement and attainment across the curriculum.
Each of Hawick’s primary schools has its own rhythm, which is intrinsically linked to life in the town and surrounding areas. Apart from at the start and the end of the day, what happens inside these bustling hives of education remains out of sight for a lot of people. Made in collaboration with teachers participating in Viewfinders, 7 x 7 aims to change this by drawing on and showcasing the pupils’ filmmaking and digital literacy skills to capture what life is like inside their schools between the start and concluding bells of a typical day.
On 1 February 2023, each school was assigned one hour to film anything and everything that was happening within its schedule during that time. Using their iPads, pupils aged 9 – 11 planned and shot the footage that makes up the film, with assistance from their class teachers. In total, more than 500 film clips amounting to three hours of footage were recorded. This was then edited into seven 77-second-long segments – one for each school. Seven sequences: seven schools.
With the frame divided into a quartet of always-changing scenes, 7 x 7 reflects how schools operate – with each frame within the wider frame showing a distinct activity taking place simultaneously alongside others. As the film repeats itself on a loop, much like a new school day, the activities unfold again but this time you may notice new interactions and different reactions even if the lessons stay the same.