#BoycottVue Power and VTS in our Classrooms

‘The Joker has been pulled from the cinema!’

Pran Patel

There is an act of violence white youths attack each other with machetes, the news reports it as,

Media Outlets have reported:

Seven police officers were injured after they were called to reports of 100 people – including youths and thugs with machetes – fighting in the entertainment complex Sun City just after 5.30pm on Saturday.

Five teenagers have been arrested, including a girl aged 13, after a violent fight involving 100 people broke out at the packed Vue cinema in entertainment complex Star City near Nechells on Saturday evening

Supt Ian Brown, from Police, said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.

“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.”

As a result, the violent film Joker has been pulled from cinemas, in the movie, violence is glorified, and scenes of riots and violence are frequent.

The above is an obvious parody, of course, the Joker hasn’t been banned. However, Blue Story by Andrew’ Rapman’ Onwubolu has, from Vue cinemas. From what I have read here are some points.

1. The youths were at the cinema to watch Frozen 2.

2. The children were not black.

3. Blue Story is rated 15, and the teenagers involved were younger than that.

4. The Blue Story is centred around a pacifistic storyline ( I can’t be sure as I haven’t seen it, for obvious reasons).

What do you think are the possible reasons for this reaction by Vue cinemas?

As educators, this is an excellent opportunity to educate about perceptions, censorship and power. This week, please do consider discussing with your pupils that certain groups are much more likely to be vilified and other groups are given critical acclaim. 

I would advocate using VTS style (visual thinking strategies) to explore further. 

VTS was developed by Yenawine and Housen in the late 1980’s for use in museums and art galleries,

‘VTS uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills–listening and expressing oneself. Growth is stimulated by several things: Looking at art of increasing complexity; answering developmentally based questions (what’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find?); participating in peer group discussions carefully facilitated by teachers.’ (Yenawine in Spring et al 2017) 

Yenawine argues that VTS offers a ‘new paradigm that nurtures deeper learning’ and gives participants’ permission to wonder’ (p. 163). It is now used by educators in many museums (Yenawine, 2013). 

In pure VTS, facilitators are not supposed to provide any praise or context for the art- works that are discussed. This is meant to create space for participants to think openly, vocally and socially – using the artworks as inspiration and subject matter (Simon, 2010, in Yenawine, 2013). 

Possible questions:

What is going on in the actions of the cinema?

Who are the people involved in the crime?

Who are the people impacted by the decisions made?

What is the message?





Lauren Spring, Melissa Smith & Maureen DaSilva (2018) The transformative- learning potential of feminist-inspired guided art gallery visits for people diagnosed with

 mental illness and addiction, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 37:1, 55-72, DOI: 10.1080/02601370.2017.1406543 

Yenawine, P. (2013). Visual thinking strategies: Using art to deepen learning across school disciplines. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 


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