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David Puttnam

Atticus

atticus education

I don't for one second feel that I'm not with the students. They are on a big screen, and I'm on an even bigger screen at their end. When I started doing this, it was thought to be rather experimental; I now think it's a lot more usual. It allows me to be available to students at five different universities around the world where, under normal circumstances, I couldn't possibly teach. - Lord Puttnam, 2016

What is Atticus Education?

Atticus Education bridges the gap between technology and learning. Founded in 2012, it enables Lord Puttnam to deliver audio-visual seminars to students all over the world from his home in west Cork. 

In recent years, distance has been destroyed by technology, and no more so than when it comes to learning. When conceiving the idea for this endeavour, Lord Puttnam felt that mentoring, one of the core building blocks of learning, was still a physical concept – difficult to reconstruct in an online format.

Lord Puttnam speaking at LaSalle, College of the Arts, Singapore

Lord Puttnam speaking at LaSalle, College of the Arts, Singapore

To meet this challenge he set out to advance the possibility of mentorship using technology, allowing students not just to listen, but to engage, watch, converse, argue and reflect with both with himself and one another. As a result, Atticus Education offers far more than an online lecture programme: it is about having illustrated conversations, offering anyone seeking a career in the audio-visual world a connection with one of the industry’s most thoughtful exponents.

How does it work?

When the idea for Atticus Education was devised in 2012, Lord Puttnam set himself the most difficult technological challenge he could think of: to teach a class in Brisbane, south-western Australia from Skibbereen, in rural West Cork.

Today, after a great deal of work and research, video communication between Lord Puttnam’s base in west Cork and universities around the globe is facilitated using a Cisco TelePresence high definition video conferencing solution. This state-of- the-art connectivity allows for high speed uncontested internet access using BT fibre and a BT managed radio network; effectively extending that network into rural areas such as Skibbereen.

These technological solutions mean that Lord Puttnam can teach in an innovative and dynamic manner, using video clips, audio files and interacting with students in a two-way discourse throughout each seminar.

David Puttnam at his desk in Atticus Studio

David Puttnam at his desk in Atticus Studio

What’s in a name?

Atticus Education takes its name from one of cinema and literature’s greatest characters: Atticus Finch. He is the hero of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, a man of high moral standing, who is committed to making the world a better and more just place. In many ways, the ethical example of Atticus Finch provided the aspirational bedrock for Atticus Education – something that was echoed in one of Lord Puttnam’s first modules, ‘Cinema of Hope’.

Masterclass Seminars

Atticus Education offers a series of modules to postgraduate students (largely MA) all over the world, including the Griffith Film School in Brisbane, Australia, La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore, the University of Sunderland and Bath Spa University in the UK, and University College Cork in Ireland. Each class is made up of about twenty students. 

What’s involved?

The seminars deal with varied aspects of the spectrum of the creative process that is cinema, from purely technical accomplishment through to empathy and emotional engagement. Lord Puttnam draws upon his own experience as a film maker to illustrate each lecture. In addition, he constantly draws attention to the impact cinema has had on contemporary society, To compliment the seminars, students have online access to Lord Puttnam’s book Movies and Money (published in the UK and Australia as The Undeclared War), a provocative and entertaining account of the struggle for control of the world's film industry since its birth in 1895.

Lord Puttnam with his students

Lord Puttnam with his students

Seminars include:

Why Does Cinema Matter? 120 Years of Cinema and Society; From Spark to Shape - Turning Ideas into Images and Emotion; The Role of Sound: Music and Cinematography; The Overwhelming Power of Identity.

 Discover more from Atticus Education on Vimeo

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