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arch Animating the Humanities

This week, the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) celebrated the launch of a new animation by the award-winning artist Annlin Chao that engages with the question of why the humanities matter. The film was launched as part of a panel at the UK’s Being Human Festival, chaired by HERA KE & Impact Fellow, Tony Whyton (BCU).

During the festival event, panellists discussed the development of the film, its relationship to HERA projects, and the core themes emerging from the animation.  Describing his involvement in the development of film, Tony says:

“In commissioning this film, we started with the simple idea of exploring a world without the humanities, and this is where the animation begins. But, through her own sense of discovery, Annlin has created a thought-provoking film that directly captures what it feels like to be engaged in humanities research.”

HERA is currently celebrating 10 years of its Joint Research Programme, and the themes of these programmes – and associated projects – are referenced throughout the film, whether through specific design elements, images of research objects, or narrative themes. Tony continues:

“The animation is joyous and optimistic but it also acknowledges pain, conflict and trauma as an integral part of human existence. The humanities are essential to finding new ways of understanding cultural differences, learning from the past, exploring concepts of memory and identity, dealing with conflict, and accounting for social change.”

During the panel, Professor Daniel Carey (Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway) builds on the reference to COVID-19 within the animation to stress the importance of humanities research during the current pandemic. Tony concludes:

“The film serves as a clarion call for participation. Having interacted with the book and progressed through different cultural encounters, the animation closes with the central character moving forward to participate more fully in the world. I think that’s a powerful message that helps to convey the value of the humanities in a dynamic way.”

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arch Recording of ‘Connected to What? Jazz collectives as alternative practice’ seminar now available

To watch this video, enter the password “BCMCR”

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arch Midlands4Cities 2020-2021

AHRC Midlands4Cities PhD funding for UK and International applicants

The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. M4C is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

M4C is awarding up to 89 doctoral studentships for UK and International applicants for 2021 entry through an open competition and 21 Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) through a linked competition with a range of partner organisations in the cultural, creative and heritage sector.

The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University is inviting applications from students whose research interests connect with our fields of expertise in:

Creative Industries

  • Alternative and marginal economies
  • Cultural entrepreneurship
  • Cultural policy and media regulation
  • Craft making and production practices
  • Equality and diversity

Cultural Theory

  • Old and new racisms
  • Feminism and queer theory/politics in illiberal times
  • Posthumanism and digital cultures
    The politics of voice and listening
  • Rhythmanalysis

Game Cultures

  • Historical game studies
  • Video game narratives and adaptation
  • Posthumanism and video games
  • History and (video)game communities, including fan cultures
  • Video games and cultural policy
  • Games and national/transnational identity

Gender and Sexuality

  • Sexualised masculinity
  • The histories of adult film production across Europe
  • Gay men’s use of dating apps
  • Digital intimacies
  • Sex in cinema
  • Fetish communities

History, Heritage & Archives

  • Media as historical source
  • Media archives and the challenges online archives pose for media historians and archivists
  • Refugees, migrants, media history and archives
  • The historical retrieval of the UK adult entertainment business
  • Commemoration and everyday media memory
  • Curating and exhibiting popular music heritage
  • The archive, amateur film and place

Jazz Studies

  • The cultural meaning of jazz
  • Studies of jazz as a transnational practice
  • Improvisation and cultural practice
  • Jazz on television and radio
  • Archives and documentation
  • Mediation and technology
  • Jazz and philosophy
  • Festivals

Media & Place

  • Media and conflict
  • Hyperlocal media narratives
  • Media, populism and nationalism
  • Community media practices and the politics of space
  • Digital media and feminism
  • Media, migration and displacement

Popular Music Studies

  • Popular music consumption
  • Songwriting
  • Music scenes
  • Heritage and cultural memory
  • Mediation and representation
  • Media and technology
  • Music industries
  • Material cultures
  • Experimental writing

Screen Cultures

  • Marginal, subcultural and cult modes of screen production and consumer practices.
  • The gendering of media audiences and the gendered processes of fandom.
  • Film festival and distribution activities in screen research.
  • Documentary and VR filmmaking as production research perspectives.
  • The history and developments of sexual culture through screen media.
  • National and transnational traditions of cinema beyond Hollywood.

The deadline for M4C funding applications is 13 January 2021 (noon), by which time applicants must have applied for a place to study and have ensured that two academic references are submitted using the Midlands4Cities online reference form.

For full details of eligibility, funding, research supervision areas and CDA projects, and for dates of our November application writing workshops, please visit: https://www.midlands4cities.ac.uk/ or contact enquiries@midlands4cities.ac.uk.

For more information, please contact Research Degrees Coordinator Dr Oliver Carter oliver.carter@bcu.ac.uk.

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arch smARTplaces toolkit published

Researchers at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research have published a cultural policy ‘toolkit’ as part of their evaluation of the four-year, European smARTplaces project. (more…)

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arch Attitudine Riottosa (Riotous Attitude) (Giulio D’Enrico, Editor and Translator)

For those among you who are fluent Italian speakers, readers and writers, you might be interested in this recent Italian publication on British anarcho-punk by Giulio D’Enrico. Giulio has spent over a year collating some of the best published academic writing on British anarcho-punk and painstakingly translated it all into Italian, and then published it through Agenzia, who publish  oral stories, memoirs, autobiographies and testimonies that  intersect with historical reflections, analysis and insights. I have a chapter in this book called “From Protest To Resistance”: British Anarcho-Punk ‘Zines (1980-1984) As Sites of Resistance and Symbols of Defiance originally published in The Aesthetic of Our Anger: Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music (2016. Autonomedia/Minor Compositions). My chapter explores the way in which anarcho-punk ‘zines disseminated the central ideas of anarcho-punk and the way that the editors mediated a shifting notion of anarcho-punk. In doing so I seek to move beyond the simpler notion that ‘zines acted as simple channels of communication, but to the idea that discourses of resistance and  defiance are constructed and reinforced through the embodiment and undertaking ideological work of ‘zine editors as ‘organic intellectuals’ and thus represent cultural work.

Penso che sia un’ottima lettura, buon divertimento. i punk!

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arch Launch of the New Cine-Excess Journal Issue

The latest issue of the Cine-Excess journal has just been launched, and is co-edited with Dr. Joan Hawkins (University of Indiana), Professor Janet Staiger (University of Texas) and Dr. Glenn Ward (University of Brighton).

This edition of the journal is entitled Are You Ready for the Country: Cult Cinema and Rural Excess, and is a special themed issue which deals with representations of rurality across a range of national cinema traditions. It contains seven key submissions from a range of scholars who address constructions of the countryside in American, Australian, British and German cult cinema cycles. Articles are complimented by related filmmaker interviews and a conference and book review section.

The Cine-Excess journal is an open access, online publication that combines peer-reviewed academic articles on global cult film cultures alongside interviews with the filmmakers responsible for their creation.

Read the new edition of the Cine-Excess journal here: https://bit.ly/cine-excess-4

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arch Punk Now!! Contemporary perspectives on punk.

Punk Now!! brings together papers from the second Punk Scholars Network International Conference and Post Graduate Symposium, hosted by BCMCR and Birmingham City University, with contributions from revered academics and new voices alike in the field of punk studies.

The collection ruminates on contemporary and non-anglophone punk, as well as its most anti-establishment tendencies. It exposes not only modern punk, but also punk at the margins: areas that have previously been poorly served in studies on the cultural phenomenon.

By compiling these chapters, Matt Grimes and Mike Dines offer a critical contribution to a field that has been saturated with nostalgic and retrospective research. The range and depth of these chapters encapsulates the diverse nature of punk subculture -and the adjacent academic study of punk- today.

https://bcmcr.org/publications/punk-now-contemporary-perspectives-on-punk/

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arch Material Reflections – BCMCR New Thinking #2

We are pleased to announce the publication of “New Thinking #2”, the second in our series of ‘zine-style publications developed by researchers within BCMCR. This edition showcases contributions to the Material Reflections project, which emerged from our ‘Materialities‘ research theme for the 2019/20 academic year.

Following the success of the first issue of BCMCR New Thinking in October 2019, this new edition brings together contributions from a range of academics, students, and cultural practitioners from across the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media and beyond. It showcases work developed as part of the Material Reflections project – a collection of images and written reflections seeking to explore the complex personal relationships that people form with material things. Contributors were asked to submit an image of a particularly meaningful artefact, along with a 500 word reflection upon the significance that it holds for them. The project seeks to highlight the breadth and plurality of ways in which these material things impact upon our ideas, identities, research, and practice.

The resulting submissions highlight the incredible breadth and depth of meanings that can be ascribed to seemingly mundane or everyday things. Contributions range from reflections upon cherished religious icons, to musical instruments, to vegetable peelers. They find hidden depth in artefacts of the everyday, and uncover the layers of personal memories, ambitions, and identities ascribed to them.

You can download a PDF version here, and read each of the contributions online, along with many more, here. In keeping with the materiality theme, there are also a limited number of physical copies – please email Iain.taylor@bcu.ac.uk if you’d like one.

The call for contributions to the Material Reflections project is still open. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please read the CfP, and send contributions, along with a short bio, to Iain.taylor@bcu.ac.uk.

A second Material Reflections issue of BCMCR New Thinking will be published later in the year.