My Thesis & Old Heads (VI)

By Francisco Castro

Cuba’s Higher Art Institute in Havana
Cuba’s Higher Art Institute in Havana

Five years of studying at the Higher Art Institute’s Audiovisual Media Faculty, and a few months working in Cuban radio and television, have allowed me to outline a few points that could serve to improve both institutions.

What is outlined below are only a few off the cuff notes of an analysis that deserves and needs more time for study and presentation to specialists and decision-makers; these individuals could give breath and coherence to these ideas and, finally – if they considered them appropriate – could put them into practice.

  • Place students in TV production from the beginning of their studies so that when the moment arrives to do the work for their theses, they will be better prepared to confront the professional team of specialists. They will be able to be part of the industry, producing high-level works of artistic and technical value. In addition, they will generate a sense of belonging to the media, which will allow them to instill values of professional ethics with which they must work all their lives.
  • Focus the study program on practice. The student should have a hands-on sense of the creative processes, and – based on that experience – investigate the theory that sustains them. In this way, theory acquires the true value that it possesses and doesn’t become tedious; instead, it is made indispensable.
  • Concentrate the study of the media (cinema, radio, TV) on the specificities in their respective languages. Work to achieve the specialization of the student in one of these. This, in addition to facilitating a deep and exclusive study on the part of the student, allows the teachers to plan their courses so that they don’t interfere with their own work as creators.
  • So that a good relationship exists between academia and the industry, the will must first exist on the part of both institutions. It must be clear that these good relations benefit Cuban culture, which ultimately is what we are all working for.
  • The management of ICRT (Cuba’s Radio and TV Institute) must be open to new proposals from the youth, and they must create opportunities so that all generations can express themselves, exchange ideas and coalesce.
  • The industry should evaluate the access and permanency of the creators, keeping in mind only the quality of the work.
  • Advocate the representation of the peculiar interests of all social minorities. This will make the public identify more with TV, and will give it – and therefore the country – a more truly democratic character.
  • Transform the faculty into a producer, directed by producers and creators who understand the creative processes and know how to defend the interests of students, which is to defend the interests of Cuban culture.