Screen Seminars at Glasgow
Film and Television Studies, with generous funding from Screen, hosts a series of regular invited seminars throughout the academic year. Guest speakers are drawn from both the UK and the wider world. They include scholars, filmmakers and a range of other practitioners and professionals from the cultural and creative industries. The seminars provide a forum in which to engage with the latest in cutting edge research, where staff and postgraduates from across the University can participate in lively discussion and explore new ideas.
Tuesday 13th November
5.15-6.30pm, Room 408, Gilmorehill Halls
Zoë Shacklock (St Andrews)
Queer Kinaesthesia in Contemporary Television
The evaluation of queer stories on screen revolves around questions of representation and the politics of visibility. Such frameworks reiterate the conflation between truth and image and the dominance of linear narratives of progress, none of which fit very well with the mobile principles of queer theory. In this paper I propose the idea of ‘queer kinaesthesia’ as a storytelling language and an evaluative framework, in which queerness is articulated and understood through the moving body. While queer kinaesthesia may be employed across different media, it is particularly at home on television, a medium that is also defined by questions of movement. Through an analysis of recent programmes that use the moving body as a site for the expression of queer identity and queer desire, such as Transparent (Amazon, 2014– ), Sense8 (Netflix, 2015-2018), Black Mirror (Channel 4, 2011-2014; Netflix, 2016- ) and American Gods (Starz, 2017– ), I argue that kinaesthesia can help us understand both contemporary articulations of queerness and contemporary television. Kinaesthesia highlights the intersections between the queer and the televisual, such as a shared investment in embodied performance, intersubjectivity, and the properties of serial narration. In so doing, it offers a way to approach queer bodies on screen that remains sensitive to their mobile potential, and to reconnect contemporary television to the foundational features of the medium.
Thursday 22nd November
5.15-6.30pm, Room 408, Gilmorehill Halls
Lucy Fife Donaldson (University of St Andrews)
The reward and challenge of performance in the television series
Abstract: Television offers a set of opportunities for performance, both for the performer and the audience. For the performer, the television drama series presents an opportunity to inhabit a character for a far greater length of time than on film, possibly over several years, therefore giving them time to develop and hone their performance. As a result, television can afford the performer a model of acting practice that has many benefits, including the time and space for professional development and stability. For the audience, the television drama series permits a familiarity with performers and their gestures, ways of speaking and moving. One of the pleasures of the long-running television series then is this kind of familiarity and in-depth knowledge or understanding of a performer’s work. For the critic, there is a significant challenge to be undertaken in evaluating the expressive achievement of such extended performative textuality and the accumulation of meaning over time.
This talk will explore the particular possibilities granted performance and challenges to performance analysis by the serial nature of television drama, taking an example of performer’s work across two different series: Timothy Olyphant in Deadwood (HBO, 2004-2006) and Justified (FX, 2010-2015). In his performances Olyphant utilises parallel gestures, facial and vocal expressions, and ways of walking - a restricted performance range within which there are subtle differences and changes adapted for use with each character. The refinement of such modifications is noticeable precisely because they are presented through the medium of television, that repeated contact over several years allows the performer’s fine-tuning of their style and enables the appreciation of this by the viewer. Through the course of my analysis, I will seek to highlight the value of a restricted acting range in counterpoint to the emphasis placed on achievement through transformation that so often dominates popular appreciations of performance (especially in film).
Lucy Fife Donaldson is Lecturer at the University of St. Andrews and her research focuses on the materiality of style and the body in popular film and television. She is the author of Texture in Film (Palgrave Macmillan: 2014) and co-editor (with James Walters) of the forthcoming collection Television Performance (Palgrave Macmillan: 2019) and a member of the Editorial Board of Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism.
Wednesday 24th January
5.30-7pm, Andrew Stewart Cinema, Gilmorehill Halls, University of Glasgow
Sex, Gender & Power in a Post-Weinstein World
In this roundtable seminar each of our panellists will offer a short position paper followed by discussion. The seminar will be introduced and chaired by Dr Lisa Kelly (University of Glasgow) and will welcome the following speakers:
- Prof Karen Boyle (University of Strathclyde) 'The Sex of Sexual Violence'
- Dr Vikki Turbine (University of Glasgow) 'Are we listening now?'
- Alys Mumford (Engender) '#Ustoo - the power of empowerment?'
Karen Boyle will join the University of Strathclyde as Professor of Feminist Media Studies on 1st February, where she will be heading up Glasgow's first Applied Gender Studies programme. Her research has long been concerned with questions of gender, violence and representation.
Vikki Turbine is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Glasgow and Convenor of the Glasgow Human Rights Network. She has longstanding research interests in women's perceptions, experiences and claims to rights & participation in Russia and the UK. She is currently writing her first book (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan) entitled 'The everyday politics of women's rights in Russia: beyond Pussy Riot'. She tweets @VikTurbine.
Alys Mumford is the Communications and Engagement Manager at Engender, Scotland's feminist policy organisation. Her work involves challenging Scottish media to better represent women, pushing for greater representation of women in Scotland's politics, supporting women to participate in political processes, and hosting the 'On the Engender' policy podcast.
Friday 20th October
12-6pm, Andrew Stewart Cinema, Gilmorehill Halls, University of Glasgow
La Batalla de Chile/The Battle of Chile: Interrupted Screening (in association with Document Film Festival)
On September 11, 1973, the democratically-elected socialist government in Chile was overthrown in a bloody coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.
The Battle of Chile is an outstanding three part documentary film, which catalogues the events leading up to the country's open and peaceful revolution, the election of President Salvador Allende, and the violent right-wing counter-revolution. The film won countless awards on the international film festival circuit and this is an extremely rare opportunity to see all three instalments in one sitting.
David Archibald and Maria Velez-Serna, with Martín Farías, researcher in Chilean cinema at the University of Edinburgh, will facilitate an interrupted screening, with the film paused at certain moments throughout for questions and discussion.
Thursday 2nd November
5.30-7.00pm, Room 408, Gilmorehill Halls, University of Glasgow
Dr. Michael O’Neill, University of Glasgow: “Tamed, Leashed, Interrupted”? How Walter Presents represents the global contradiction of Channel 4’s post-TV local future.
Abstract: This paper seeks to discuss three main topics.
Firstly, it will provide an overview regarding how All4’s rebranding from 4oD and the announcement of Walter Presents (both towards the end of 2015) operated as a functional differentiation from other on-demand, post-TV, “disruptive” platforms. This has been through its insistence upon television-style curation (a la scheduling) through the subsequently exported WP strand or ‘portal’ (Lotz 2017), rather than a focus on the power of the algorithm (a la Netflix, Amazon et al), highlighting how this is subsequently promoted as a point of Channel 4 remit-obligated “difference” and “innovation”.
Secondly, it will highlight how the Walter Presents strand operates as part of a historical continuum in terms of Channel 4’s relationship with niche and international media content. Comparisons will be drawn to both the Film-on-Four scheduling strand on C4, along with the subscription incarnation (1998-2006) of the FilmFour cable/satellite channel; both of which prioritised/promoted their curatorial and educative roles in ostensibly showcasing diverse film content for discerning audiences (rather than TV in this instance), sourced from a range of media markets.
This will finally culminate in a discussion relating to how Walter Presents represents a wider strategic push by C4 to market/position itself as transnational exhibitor (and commissioner) of quality/niche imported TV content in order to once again re-define the parent channel’s brand identity (both beyond the televisual and the national), which itself echoes and recycles previous moments and strategies in the broadcaster’s history. This is especially pertinent (and intriguingly contradictory) in a context of a broader push towards regionality and the local within contemporary British broadcasting policy.
Dr Michael O’Neill is a post-doctoral research associate on the ESRC Television Production in Transition project (2017-20), operating out of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow. His research has previously focussed on the use of British youth television by Channel 4, along with the impact of new media viewing practices and convergent technologies upon British broadcasting, whilst he also has interests in promotion/branding, social media, fan cultures, media ephemera and British television history.
Thursday 23rd November
5.30-8.00pm, Room 408, Gilmorehill Halls, University of Glasgow
The Screen Séance Seminar: This seasonal seminar invites two researchers to share their work on the séance on screen.
Dr. Alison Peirse, University of York: ‘The Séance and British Cinema’
Abstract: In examining spiritualism, the social practice of communicating with the dead, this paper explores an alternative history of British cinema, one littered with burnt-out mediums, horrifying séances and dubious psychic investigators. Considering such films as Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), Full Circle (1977) and The Awakening (2011), this paper reveals a tradition of female-centered horror cinema, where the desire to communicate beyond death is invariably bound up with motherhood, memory and loss. Drawing upon historical, censorship and production material, this paper argues that the combination of women, spiritualism and cinema is an alternative tradition of British horror cinema that goes against the established narrative of British horror cinema discussed in numerous books by predominantly male academics. This paper is part of my larger research project, The Talking Dead, a revisionary monograph that rewrites the established narrative of horror film history while also critiquing the male-centered, dynamics of existing writing on the subject. I invite my audience to dim the lights, join hands and bear witness as the untold story of British horror cinema manifests itself.
Dr Alison Peirse is a Lecturer in Writing for Stage and Screen at the University of York. She is the author of After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film (I.B. Tauris, 2013) and co-editor of Korean Horror Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2013). She is currently writing The Talking Dead: British Horror Cinema and Spiritualism (Edinburgh University Press) and developing her new research project Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre. She is also a scriptwriter and script developer. Her latest credit is Script Editor on the independent British horror film Dark Beacon (2017, Corrie Greenop).
Dr. Philippa Lovatt, University of St Andrews: ‘“Blackouts”: Dickie Beau, tape machines, the séance and the cinema.’
Abstract: This paper will explore the relationship between ‘found sounds’, séances, live performance and the cinema in the work of Dickie Beau: a multi-media cabaret and mime artist who uses the technique “playback” to re-embody the recorded voices of deceased stars in live stage performances. What Connor refers to as the cinema’s “fixation” on synchronicity of voice and lips, and the imaginary “anchoring” of sound to image on screen, requires a suspension of disbelief on the part of the spectator that is tested to its limits when performed on the stage - performances that are then also recorded on video. I argue that Beau synchs the voices of the dead so seamlessly with the movement not only of his own mouth, but also of his entire body through gesture, rhythm and phrasing, that it can be said to be “cinematic” at the same time as engaging with older “theatrical” forms of entertainment such as puppetry and the séance (making connections in particular with the method of “direct voice” practiced by British medium Leslie Flint). This paper will bring into dialogue work on the voice by Connor and Dolar with Muñoz’s queer analysis of prosopopeia as a mode of ‘giving voice to the face from beyond the grave’ (p.65). The paper will consider Beau’s face as a screen onto which the spirits of the dead are projected, and re-animated through the queer ‘re-embodiment’ of their voices.
Dr Philippa Lovatt is a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. She is currently writing her first monograph Sound Design and the Ethics of Listening in Global Film and Video (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). Before taking up her post at St Andrews, she was a Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Stirling and a visiting lecturer at the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art where she taught Film & Television Studies and Sound Design. She gained her AHRC funded PhD ‘Cinema’s Spectral Sounds: History, Memory and Politics’ from the University of Glasgow in 2011.
Papers and Q&A followed by small wine reception.
Wednesday 6th December
5.30-7.00pm, Room 408, Gilmorehill Halls
Dr. Hannah Hamad, University of Cardiff: 'Screening the NHS at 70: Exploring the Political Stakes of Contemporary UK Medical Television'
Abstract: In 2018 the NHS is seventy years old. So far the BBC’s most noteworthy gesture towards this has been the nostalgic, reverential and celebrity-oriented television documentary series Matron, Medicine and Me: 70 Years of the NHS (BBC, 2016). The media, including television, have always played a crucial and high-stakes role in making the organisation and its services knowable to the British public, and in negotiating its wavering status as the most seemingly immovable bastion of the UK welfare state. Since its beginnings, the media have functioned as a mouthpiece for government policy and agendas on the National Health Service. But since the immensely controversial passing and implementation of the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, critics like Oliver Huitson have lambasted the news media in particular for their perceived complicity in enabling this to take place with relatively little outcry from either the public or the commentariat. However, as I argue and explicate in this talk, niche outlets and platforms on UK television, even within the mainstream media (e.g. BBC Four’s observational mockumentary sitcom Getting On), have provided audiences and users of the health service with differently oppositional and counter-hegemonic positions on readings and depictions of the NHS under neoliberalism.
Dr Hannah Hamad is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Cardiff University and the author of Postfeminism and Paternity in Contemporary US Film: Framing Fatherhood (New York and London: Routledge, 2013).