In today's attention economy there is no substitute for physical interaction to bring a subject to life. You only need look at our world-beating museum culture as evidence of our addiction to learning through experience. Admissions have doubled in the last decade.
Leading the media sector, the cinema and film industries have been quick to capitalise on this participatory trend. During the past three weeks more than 200,000 young people across the UK have joined with the National Youth Film Festival, an array of over 1,000 experiences in 400 cinemas with the support of hundreds of film and cinema professionals.
The Festival is the brainchild of Film Nation UK, a new organisation awarded Lottery funding of £26 million over four years by the British Film Institute - the largest investment in film education ever seen in this country.
Young people met leading film professionals and learnt about various career paths in the industry. School children in Hackney participated in an event with established UK (and rising Hollywood) star Idris Elba. Sir Peter Lord of Aardman and Stephen Woolley gave seminars on the highs and lows of being a film producer. Clio Barnard talked about the making of the British hit film The Selfish Giant, David Schneider discussed a career in film comedy, and Peter Elliot talked about his unorthodox, yet highly successful, career as a leading ape impersonator in films such as Project Nim and Gorillas in the Mist.
But beyond these creative sessions the industry was also conveying a serious educational message. A collaboration with the Industry Trust for IP Awareness was announced to deliver a wide-reaching copyright education programme to inspire millions of young people to respect intellectual property. The first of many pioneering educational programmes will be introduced in January 2014 with the launch of Creating Movie Magic -- a project that includes free curriculum resources and offers young people the chance to openly debate the issue of copyright and become movie makers and IP owners themselves.
The cinema and film business offers an unmatchable way to ignite imaginations whilst also bestowing an understanding of the value of the creative process to the very people who'll be filling auditoriums and fuelling our economy for years to come; our creative youth. The National Youth Film Festival has made a good start in realising this potential.