History is History

I’ve been teaching Layout + Design and Animation History at Seneca College since 2004. I’ve taught a bunch of other courses, but those two have been constant.

Today is my last Animation History lecture and that feels so strange.

Seneca’s Animation program is undergoing a major curriculum overhaul in September. The new streams look amazing and will keep our grads on top of the changing industry but within that new structure Animation History as its own course is being phased out.

Concepts and examples from Animation History will be incorporated into drawing and design courses where relevant, but it’ll be different from filling a lecture hall, watching each age of film and analyzing them.

Gathering films from the past has been a hobby and a vocation.

Digging in to understand how innovators and inventions have changed art and entertainment has enriched me in so many ways.

I’m going to miss it a lot.

At the start of each term I’d stress to students that we only had time to skip lightly along the surface to give an overview and inspire them.

For every film we watched there were hundreds more worth finding and learning from, but hopefully this would spark that discovery.

Once you decide to tell stories or make art for a living you can’t be a passive viewer of your entertainment. You have to take everything apart and learn from it. You have to be critical and deepen the pools of inspiration you draw from.

History isn’t just facts and dates.
It’s context and connectivity.
It’s emotional and humorous.

I strived to make Animation History fun and engaging, peppering each lecture with unexpected asides, useful comparisons and as many jokes as needed to get through the boring bits.

If I inspired students to be more curious, keep learning on their own, and remember key creators and films because it felt relevant and poignant to them, then the course was a success.

Now it’s the end of an era.
History is history. 😜

Thanks for giving me such a unique opportunity, Seneca.
It’s been a blast.

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