Friday, 13 March 2015

GradProg talks Weds 18/3: Google Glasses / BBC and Popular Music

Two talks on the Graduate Programme this coming Weds (18 March):

Salford's Prof Andy Miah on Wearable Technology. 3.30-4.30, MediaCity, Salford University Campus Room 3.17.

and Prof Tim Wall (Birmingham City University) on the history of the BBC's engagement with popular music. 4.35 - 5.35, MediaCity, Salford University Campus Room 3.17.

All welcome, and drinks in the Dock Bar afterwards!

Internal Speaker: Prof Andy Miah (Chair in Science Communication and Digital media, University of Salford)

OK Glass? The Aspirations and Anxieties of the Google Glass Generation

This discussion explores online discourses about Google Glass, over a period where the devices were not yet available. It examines the aspirations and anxieties of the developers and the perspectives of (potential) user groups, so as to develop an understanding of how people imagine the impact of wearable technologies on society. The research draws on videos made by various parties, which show Google Glass in use, but which also parody the discourse surround its transformative potential. It also the content within the Google Glass lens itself - the lens within the lens - providing an additional layer of content and narrative about Glass. Analyses also take place on content related to the Google Glass promotional campaign #ifihadglass, teasing out the ways in which the use of Glass was imagined. The conclusions speak to the imagined, transformative potential of Glass specifically and wearable technologies generally, which may set a new research agenda for the next ten years in studies of digital culture.

External Speaker: Prof Tim Wall (Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies, Birmingham City University)

Popular Music and the BBC

This presentation will focus on three moments in the history of the BBC’s relationship with popular music. I’ll examine the way that jazz entered broadcasts of the early BBC in the 1920s and 30s, and especially the way the new corporation struggled to deal with the idea that jazz was a sophisticated metropolitan form of entertainment, while others saw it as a radical new form of music that provided a strong sense of a new cultural identity to its listeners. It is interesting to note that the BBC was still struggling with these ideas in the late 1960s when the BBC completely reorganised its radio broadcasting into Radios One to Four. This is often seen as the moment in which the BBC accepted the challenge of the sea-based pilots but, as I will show, it is far more complex than this, and these endeavours resulted in a radical, if compromised, attempt to rethink popular music. I’ll complete the analysis with a discussion of the Later…. and X Factor. As twenty-first century popular music television, these programmes represent very different institutional takes on discourses of popular music and the way it can be mediated for domestic consumption. Rather ambitiously, I’ll use very different approaches to understand each of these moments, framing the 1920s by focusing on the (then) new wired and wireless technologies, grappling with the 1960s through ideas of institutionalised culture, and opening up today’s BBC using Barthesian ideas of mythology. Here I’m consciously seeking to study each period using a framework that is usually used to study other moments. In doing so I hope to open up some fundamental questions about what we think we know about music and the BBC, and about method and insight. This should be an interesting intellectual provocation for anyone studying media and/or music culture.

Tim Wall is Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He researches into the production and consumption cultures around popular music and radio, and work on knowledge exchange projects with music and radio organisations and the wider creative industries. Most recently he has been applying insights from music to activism and citizen journalism in the Arab region. His recent publications have included the second edition of his book Studying Popular Music Culture, and articles on music radio online, punk fanzines, the transistor radio, personal music listening, popular music on television, television music histories, jazz collectives, Duke Ellington on the radio, The X Factor and jazz on the BBC 1922 to 1955.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Salford symposium: Melancholy Empire (16/4)

Salford symposium on contemporary British and Irish literature at Salford, you may register here:

The programme will be posted on this event page two weeks before the conference, which is on 16th April. Current confirmed paper titles, including the keynote lectures, can be found here:

GradProg talks 11/3: Qs of Practice-Based Research // Zero Budget Film-making

11th of March, MediaCityUK, University of Salford Campus, Room: 3.17

Internal Speakers: Rosie Miller and Jonathan Carson (3.30-4.30)

Combining practice based and non-practice based research

This session examines strategies for students interested in combining practiced based and non-practice based research. It will also discuss the value of this combining especially in relation to reflexive thinking and the development of research work and a research profile. The session will be led by collaborative artists Carson & Miller.

External Speaker: Dr William Brown (Surrey Roehampton) (4.30 - 5.30)

Zero Budget Filmmaking: Why It Matters (and Why I Do It)

In this talk, I will discuss various forms of zero- to low-budget filmmaking from across the globe, including Uruguay, China, Iran, the Philippines, South Africa and the USA. I shall contend that zero budget filmmaking is, in the contemporary era, enabled by digital technology – and that the technology, in conjunction with the low budget, often leads to formal innovation that makes of this kind of filmmaking a vibrant and important form. Nonetheless, distribution remains a key issue for such films and filmmakers, in spite of the utopian promise of online distribution and exhibition sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. What is more, while often supportive of such films, film festivals are forced increasingly to be risk-averse in their film choices. Perhaps this means that academia is the realm where zero-budget filmmaking might thrive. Indeed, I query that the academic sphere is the best hope for zero-budget filmmakers, among whom I include myself: cheap enough to be formally adventurous, too cheap for festivals to risk losing an audience for.

William Brown is Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Roehampton, London. He is the author of Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age (Berghahn, 2013) and Global Digital Cinema: Cinema and the Multitude (Berghahn, forthcoming). He is the co-author, with Dina Iordanova and Leshu Torchin, of Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe (St Andrews Film Studies, 2010) and the co-editor, with David Martin-Jones, of Deleuze and Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). He has also directed several zero- to low-budget films, including En Attendant Godard (2009), Afterimages (2010) and Common Ground (2012). He hopefully will also finish Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux (2013) by the time he gives this talk.