The I/MA/C/S Network, a Vector for International Dialogue on Teaching Cinema

The Université de Montréal has been a part of this inter-university network since 2013.

William Pedneault-Pouliot

The conference “Ouvrir le dialogue: variations sur l’éducation à l’image,” will be held from 29 September to 1 October at the Carrefour des arts et des sciences of the Université de Montréal. Organised jointly by the International Master in Cinema Studies (I/MA/C/S) and the cinEXmedia partnership, this event will bring together experts from the seventeen universities in the I/MA/C/S network who will reflect together on the pedagogical issues specific to film and media studies.

An opening lecture, presented by the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS), will be given on 29 September by André Gaudreault, professor of cinema studies at the Université de Montréal. On the sidelines of the conference, three previously unseen film classes given by Jean-Luc Godard at Concordia University in 1978 will be shown at the Cinémathèque québécoise from September 29 to October 1st. The final screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by André Habib, who is also a professor of cinema studies at the Université de Montréal.

This event, on a scale hitherto unseen in the history of the I/MA/C/S network, will shine a light on the history and importance of this exceptional structure.

I/MA/C/S in Short

What is the I/MA/C/S network? It is a master’s program founded in 2006. Today, it is offered in seventeen universities, primarily in Europe (France, Belgium, England, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Spain), and since 2018 the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora in Brazil. The Université de Montréal, a member of the network since 2013, is the sole North American institution to be part of the network.

The goal of the I/MA/C/S program, with a research orientation focused in particular on an interdisciplinary approach, is to provide new perspectives in the fields of the arts and audiovisual media, beyond linguistic and cultural barriers, to enable students to study the aesthetic, historical, social and economic dimensions of contemporary media culture.

In the course of the program, which leads in the second and final year to the writing of a master’s thesis, students have the opportunity to study in three different universities: their home institution (for the first and fourth semesters) and in two partner universities (for the second and third semesters respectively). Students will be supervised both in their home institution and in the partner universities, providing them with rigorous training in these institutions with different teaching methods, and have rewarding encounters in the student and teaching communities of the different schools.

The Importance of the International Program in Cinema Studies

For Sébastien Lésvesque, a course instructor who is in charge of the Université de Montréal I/MA/C/S program, this network makes possible greater sharing and diversification of knowledge. It also puts students in touch with new methods which could be beneficial to their thinking and their research.

Because participants attend three different universities under a single program, there is considerably more variety in the courses to take and greater diversity in the resources to which they have access. In this way students can choose the host institutions which best correspond to their research topic, according to the participating universities’ courses on offer, faculty and department. Over the course of their studies students also make connections which can prove to be crucial to the rest of their career.

Sébastien Lévesque believes that the network provides benefits on several levels, and not only to the students. “[It] stimulates collaboration between our institutions, on all kinds of levels,” he remarks. In particular, from the university’s perspective, participation in the I/MA/C/S program contributes to internationalising its film department. Most participating institutions, moreover, offer a number of courses or seminars in English in order to facilitate student mobility, while offering language courses to students seeking greater immersion in the culture of their host institution.

In short, the network is an innovative opportunity to create connections between institutions and researchers around the world and to examine different ways of perceiving and teaching the vast field of cinema studies. These thoughts will be at the centre of discussions at the 29 and 30 September conference, which is the product of a long dialogue that has taken place among the partner universities since the founding of the I/MA/C/S network.

William Pedneault-Pouliot wrote this article as a newly admitted master’s student in cinema at the Université de Montréal under the I/MA/C/S program. Previously, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history and a certificate in art history at Laval University in Quebec City.

For more information about the I/MA/C/S program: