top of page

Teaching Philosophy and Approach

In the dynamic realm of photography and moving image practice education, the delicate bridge between theory and practice is the crucible where true mastery crystallizes. My pedagogical philosophy revolves around nurturing an environment where students can seamlessly blend theoretical concepts with hands-on experience. It's not just about understanding the historical and contemporary contexts of visual arts; it's about empowering students to be creators, innovators, and thinkers in this realm.

Foundations of Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is not just an accessory to my teaching approach; it's the very cornerstone. By immersing students in the works of both renowned and emerging photographers and filmmakers, they are introduced to a rich tapestry of visual narratives. Through rigorous analysis and critique sessions, students hone their ability to deconstruct, interpret, and, more importantly, contribute to these narratives. This deep-rooted understanding of visual cues and stories significantly augments their personal creative endeavors.

Practical Application: A Holistic Approach

A cornerstone of my teaching is the emphasis on real-world applications. For instance, consider the exercise on the intricacies of light in photography. Instead of a prescriptive lesson, students select a location for landscape photography without pre-determined lighting conditions. Such an approach propels students into the heart of the art – understanding and taming unpredictable elements. Their subsequent visits to the location, armed with insights from their previous experiences, result in images that aren't just visually appealing but are a testament to their evolving understanding of the craft.

Furthermore, students embark on a series of diverse projects throughout the course. These projects, meticulously designed to cater to different learning trajectories, ensure that students don't just amass skills but also integrate them. They are continually encouraged to push boundaries, to experiment, and to innovate. With the vast array of equipment and tools at their disposal, students can explore various facets of photography and moving image, always under expert guidance.

Diverse Teaching Experiences: A Rich Tapestry

The courses I've had the privilege to teach at institutions like Birzeit University and Duke University are reflections of my commitment to a broad spectrum of subjects within the visual arts. Each course, whether it's 'Image Making' or the 'Expanded Cinema', was meticulously designed to cater to different aspects of the field. The variety ensures that students gain both breadth and depth in their learning journey.

The 'Image Making' course at Birzeit University, for instance, wasn't just about technique. It delved into questions of representation, modes of seeing, and the ever-evolving politics of image-making. On the other hand, the 'Capstone Seminar in Documentary Studies' at Duke University emphasized immersive fieldwork-based research, enabling students to translate theoretical knowledge into tangible projects.

Collaborative Learning: A Two-Way Street

Every classroom session, every critique, every interaction with my students has always been a learning experience for me. I firmly believe in the power of collaborative learning. Students, with their unique perspectives and fresh ideas, often provide insights that enrich the collective learning experience. As an educator, my role isn't just to teach but to facilitate this vibrant exchange of ideas. My ultimate aim is to create a community of learners who are not only skilled but are also thoughtful contributors to the world of visual arts.

Teaching as Activism: Shaping Future Leaders

I view teaching as a form of activism, aiming to inspire change beyond imparting knowledge. My classroom is a catalyst for action, equipping students to become informed leaders dedicated to making a positive difference. This approach is crucial across various disciplines, fostering empathy, critical thinking, and a commitment to societal improvement. My courses encourage students to engage deeply with current issues, cultivating a sense of responsibility and a passion for advocacy and equity in any field they choose to impact.​

Proposed Courses for Diverse Disciplines:

  1. Archiving Memory Across Disciplines: This course invites students from fields like film, photography, audio, and non-fiction writing to document significant narratives, whether personal or communal. The focus is on developing trust and authenticity in storytelling, with a strong emphasis on community engagement and the preservation of narratives.

  2. Experimental Documentary and Storytelling: Building on the skills from the archiving course, this class is designed for students interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling. Using their collected materials, students will create a unified and polished work, whether it's a film or another medium. This course champions creativity and interdisciplinary approaches, culminating in a project ready for presentation that highlights each student's unique artistic and storytelling abilities.

bottom of page