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M:BRANE 2023

Annette Brejner • Senior creative advisor, m:brane

“This was a unique occasion to define some structures to work with, or – why not – against”


- The m:brane co-founder and senior creative advisor unpicks the new Learning Think Tank initiative, and discusses the importance of science and research when targeting young audiences

Annette Brejner  • Senior creative advisor, m:brane
(© Edwin Östling)

This year’s annual m:brane financing forum event saw the launch of the m:brane Learning Think Tank, spearheaded by the organisation’s co-founder and senior creative advisor, Annette Brejner, and co-created by Stéphane Malagnac, who moderated a group of handpicked professionals with specific skills across different sectors. At this closed session, held at the brand-new Malmö Wisdome science centre, the participants discussed a number of questions concerning science and research, and the potential to reach out to a wider and younger audience with this content. We sat down with the initiator herself, Annette Brejner, fresh out of an inspiring afternoon.

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Cineuropa: Can you give us a quick recap of the birth of the m:brane Learning project that this think tank grew out of?
Annette Brejner:
Let’s start with the word “learning”, as opposed to the word “education”. There’s a pedagogical value in “education” that we meet in school, while “learning”, to me, has a non-didactic value. I like to talk about a “non-didactic universe”, where universe means that we look at many different aspects. We’re specifically very interested in science’s role in this – all the riches that science produces through research. And science has an obligation to share its research with the public, to make it available. The most important target group to reach in this factual research is the m:brane target group, the young audience. With the Learning project, we wish to become an intermediary, bringing content from the universities and the scientific institutions to the producers of storytelling content – and do so in a non-didactic way, creating resonance and curiosity in our young target groups.

The “Learning” concept was launched at m:brane last year, and this year, you had a very lively session involving different speakers, such as science YouTuber Maria Jarjis, intercultural expert Niels Righolt, science educator Sofia Winge and VR producer Fredrik Edström. Was the Think Tank idea already around from the start?
Not as such. I first thought about a lab concept, of sorts, where thoughts could certainly fly free, but where we could find some common references and reflect together through a joint perspective. It would have been comparable to the RealYoung workshops here at m:brane, where producers and decision makers sit side by side with a board of youth experts. I then got into a dialogue with Stéphane Malagnac, who, at that time, was the head of innovation at Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle, and together, we structured what would become this Learning Think Tank.

What did you have in mind as far as the participants were concerned?
I chose a few, Stéphane suggested some, and Lennart Ström, m:brane’s managing director, picked some others. My aim was to have a group containing different types of expertise and different directions that would complement each other, but I wanted them all to be passionate, and I didn’t want them to have to worry about prestige or having to fight their own corner. I also considered their ability – or, even better, their experience – when it came to addressing young people. So, [I was after] very different personal facets and a joint interest in this venture, so that we could address the philosophical layers, not getting stuck in how things stand, but rather aiming to change current structures.

Who are they – your Think Tank constellation?
There’s Niels Righolt, Fredrik Edström and Maria Jarjis, who spoke at the Learning sessions. There’s Josefine Floberg, who’s head of exhibitions at Malmö Museums. There’s Amy Jenkins-Le Guerroué from Ubisoft, where they’ve created a version of the Assassin’s Creed game that can be used in history lessons in schools, which is intriguing. There’s Anna Lyrevik, from Lund University, a great asset thanks to her understanding of which parts of science we can access and her full comprehension of the vast mass of information that resides here, just waiting to get out there, once we know how to release it. Matias Seidler is from Khora, a Danish company working with VR and XR content, and he’s very knowledgeable on both the production and the financing side of things. There’s Sönke Kirchhof, also from the world of immersive media. There’s Elizabeth Markevitch, from ikonoTV, which streams only visual arts, who brought in some unique points of view. In all, there were 12 of us participating, and it lasted three hours – every minute of it was very good.

Will this think-tank concept return, or perhaps be a regular programme item?
Not necessarily. This was a unique occasion to define some structures to work with, or – why not – against. We will keep the lab idea and our main aim of co-creating with youth involvement. It’s been very inspiring. One participant said, “I wish this occasion was my home – I could easily live like this, all the time.” I feel very happy, very content and a bit overwhelmed!

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