Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Salford's Graduate Programme for 2013-2014

Graduate Programme for School of Arts and Media, 2013/14
Location: 2.20, MediaCityUK (unless otherwise stated)
Time: Internal speakers, 3-3.50pm; External speakers, 4.00-5.30pm.

It is my pleasure to present the Graduate Programme for the School of Arts and Media. Seventeen events have been arranged for this academic year. The programme features a number of internationally renowned academics and writers, and this year we have assembled a series of talks that look to timely questions of media, power and digital activism, film, sound and voice, and creative writing and aesthetics, reflecting the diverse research make-up of the School of Arts and Media.
These talks are open to all in the PGR and research communities at Salford, and beyond, and are a forum for intellectual stimulation, innovation and discussion as well as a chance to meet and socialise with fellow researchers. As in previous years, I’ll email out detailed reminders a couple of days before each talk. Very much hope to see you there!

Dr Michael Goddard, PGR Co-ordinator / School of Arts and Media

Tuesday the 8th of October, Salford Art Gallery and Museum
Professor Terri Witek (Sullivan Chair in Creative Writing at Stetson University, US) and Cyriaco Lopes

Special Event at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Professor Terri Witek  and new media artist Cyriaco Lopes present their collaborative visual poetry at the North Gallery in Salford Museum & Art Gallery Tuesday 8th October 3pm (free entry).

Terri Witek and Cyriaco Lopes have been collaborating since 2005. While Witek often writes poetry about art, Lopes’ art work often investigates language. A signature of their collaborations is that their media, art and poetry, interweave while each retains its identity. By reinventing, interrupting and restaging each other’s words and images, they create a hybrid third possibility. Their collaborations so far have extended to video, performance, photography, drawing, and artists’ books. Their projects have been featured at Art in Odd Places (Big Bronze Statues was chosen as one of the highlights of the 2009 season by Time Out New York), in a solo show at Le Petit Versailles, New York, at the British Film Festival (finalist in the avant-garde category), and in Contemporary Flanerie: Reconfiguring Cities (Oakland University, Michigan) among other venues. The first retrospective of their work to date, but here all dreams equal distance, was shown at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery in April, 2010 and featured a collaborative multi-media event, the day you left. In November 2010 their site-specific project, A Shelter on King’s Road placed the trace of Martin Luther King’s firebombed cottage in the Markland House, a National Register treasure acquired by Flagler College in 1966. Current projects include All Love is Stolen (2013), a 5000 flyer street distribution in South Beach for O, Miami, and The Fernando Pessoa Game, which they ran in Lisbon in the summer of 2013.

Wednesday the 16th of October, Media City room 2.36
Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, Michael Goddard, Benjamin Halligan, and Tony Whyton (University of Salford)

School of Arts and Media Book Launch and Launch of the Graduate Programme

This session will showcase some of the recent research publications by School of Arts and Media colleagues, focusing on the areas of media and music. Each speaker will give a short presentation on the book, how it came about and the critical issues that it raises, before opening up for a panel discussion and Q and A. The presentations will be as follows: Kirsty Fairclough on The Music Documentary (Routledge 2013), Michael Goddard on The Cinema of Raúl Ruiz (Wallflower/Columbia UP, 2013), Benjamin Halligan on Resonances (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2013) and Tony Whyton on Beyond a Love Supreme (Oxfrod University Press, 2013).

Wednesday the 30th of October, Working Class Movement Library

Radical Studies Network Event

Chris Witter (Lancaster University), “Remapping Social Relations in the New American Short Fiction of the 1960s.”
Stephen Dippnall (University of Salford), “Hating America? The British Left and the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.”
Jen Morgan (University of Salford), “ ‘Occupy This Wide and Fruitful Plain’: Chartist Fiction as Response to Middle-Class Social Problem Novels.”
Note: this event takes place from 3 to 5 in the Working Class Movement Library

Wednesday the 13th of November, Media City room 2.19 3 to 5PM

Saudi Media Research PGR forum.

Emerging out of the strong presence of Saudi Arabian PGR researchers within our school, this forum will present the research work of some of them namely Mohammad Mesawa, Saeed Alamoudy and Abdullah Abalkhail (more speakers TBC). Examining such issues as the rebranding of Makkah as a creative city, online activism and the Arab Spring, this promises to be a lively forum of interest to the School’s PGR and research community as a whole.

Wednesday 27th of November
Dr Milla Tiainen (Anglia Ruskin University)

“Ventriloquism and convulsion: Voice, aesthetics, and paradoxes of agency in Anton Corbijn’s Control

As recent returns to this topic in media and cultural theory highlight, attempts to think about the voice soon gravitate on several paradoxes. Vocal emissions performatively produce the very (self-)articulating being and bodily presence that presumably act as their source. Whilst delivering selves and bodies as part of the world, vocal expressions at the same time inevitably depart from their emitters. As projection, the voice both exposes and replaces its source. Whether in a ‘live’ situation or when engaged in cinematic/other mediatised experience, we arguably strive to attach vocal sonorities to a visible origin. Yet, to elaborate on Steven Connor (2000) there is always something ‘ventriloqual’ in the voice’s ultimate incompatibility with such visually ensured origins. In sum, the relations of voice to agency, embodiment, space, perception, power, and technical media are expandingly complex. My intention in this talk is to explore and further conceptualise these complexities in conversation with Control (2007), the film directed by Anton Corbijn about Joy Division, particularly the band’s late lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis. This film, I contend, harnesses some of the above-sketched paradoxes of voice through its narrative but especially audiovisual and aesthetic presentations of Curtis’s character and vocal performances. I will inspect the voice as part of Curtis’s diegetic agency, but also as an agency in its own right in excess of its emitter’s control. This takes place in relation to such other distinctive audiovisual aspects of the film’s portrayal of Curtis as the dancing, convulsing body and the (still) face in close-up. This talk aims to address three areas that intertwine in my current research: the study of the ethico-aesthetics of voice in contemporary artistic practices and media culture; the return in the analysis of media to the political potential of sensory, aesthetic arrangements to shape our feelings, experience and thought processes; and the examination of non-normative media cultural masculinities from these two perspectives.

Milla Tiainen is Lecturer and Course Leader for Media Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. During 2013-2014, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Academy of Finland funded project “Deleuzian Music Studies”. Tiainen’s current research interests include the voice in contemporary artistic practice, media culture and theory, theories of affect, rhythm and the body in movement, sound and performance studies, and new materialist approaches in cultural/media studies and feminist thought. She has published widely in the areas of music scholarship and cultural theory. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in such publications as the edited volume  Carnal Knowledge: Towards a New Materialism through the Arts (IB Tauris, 2013), Body&Society, and NECSUS – European Journal of Media Studies. She is finishing a book about a new Deleuzian approach to musical performance (under contract with University of Minnesota Press).

Thursday 5th of December, Meida City room 2.20

Internal Speaker: Mik Pienazek (Design)

Three Themes of Impactful Research in Design
This presentation will present a number of successful research projects in the field of design:
1.                  SME Innovation strategies: with reference to graduate business start ups
2.                  Co-design as a strategy for advocacy, representation and inclusion of marginalised groups
3.                  Future 'assisted living' scenarios: with reference to the applications of ambient technology
Each of the research themes have been driven by a rigorous process and disparate methodologies. In addition, the 3 themes have achieved quantifiable impact relative to user groups, enterprises and curriculum. 

External Speaker: Benjamin Noys (University of Chichester)

Avant-gardes have only one time”: The Situationist International, Communisation, and Aesthetics
In this intervention I wish to probe the relationship between the Situationist International (SI) and ‘communisation’ through the question of aesthetics. I take up Roland Simon’s critical reflections on the SI and what he identifies as the central contradiction of their project: between the affirmation of workers’ identity (such as in worker’s councils) as the condition of revolution, and the negation or abolition of that identity as the true revolutionary moment. He argues that this tension is also reflected in the ‘aesthetics’ of the SI, as the tension between the realisation of art, which sees artistic practice as a possible critical mode under capitalism, and the suppression of art, in which ‘art’ can only occur ‘in’ the revolution. For Simon the SI indicates the outer limit of affirmative ‘programmatism’, and presages the abandonment of any ‘positive’ identity of the proletariat in communisation. The irony I want to consider is that it is precisely the ‘side’ of the SI – affirmative, artistic, humanist and vitalist – that should have been rendered passé that is the one that has most persisted in contemporary discussion and valorisation of the SI’s legacy (from Greil Marcus to MacKenzie Wark). While Debord recognised the necessary finitude of the avant-garde aesthetic model, it seems that it is this model that we are called to affirm when discussing the SI. I want to consider if it is possible to truly suppress art in relation to the SI.

Benjamin Noys (Bsc, MA, Dphil) is Reader in English at the University of Chichester, and the author of Georges Bataille: A Critical Introduction (Pluto 2000), The Culture of Death (Berg 2005), The Persistence of the Negative: A Critique of Contemporary Theory (Edinburgh University Press 2010), and editor of Communization and its Discontents (Minor Compositions 2011). Benjamin has published widely in contemporary theory, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, film, literature and cultural politics. He is on the editorial boards of Film-Philosophy, S: Journal of the Jan Van Eyck Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique, and Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, and is also a corresponding editor of Historical Materialism. He directs the interdisciplinary Theory Research Group at the University of Chichester (

Wednesday 11th of December, Media City 2.20
Professor Jonathon Green (Independent researcher)
(title TBC)

I am a lexicographer, that is a dictionary maker, specialising in slang, about which I have been compiling dictionaries, writing and broadcasting since 1984.  I have also written a history of lexicography. After working on my university newspaper I joined the London ‘underground press’ in 1969, working for most of the then available titles, such as Friends, IT and Oz. I have been publishing books since the mid-1970s, spending the next decade putting together a number of dictionaries of quotations, before I moved into what remains my primary interest, slang. I have also published three oral histories: one on the hippie Sixties, one on first generation immigrants to the UK and one on the sexual revolution and its development.  Among other non-slang titles have been three dictionaries of occupational jargon, a narrative history of the Sixties, a book on cannabis, and an encyclopedia of censorship. As a freelancer I have broadcast regularly on the radio, made appearances on TV, including a 30-minute study of slang in 1996, and and written columns both for academic journals and for the Erotic Review.

Wednesday the 29th of January
Dr Emma Rees (university of Chester)

Vulvanomics: How We Talk About Vaginas.

In Vulvanomics, Emma considers why British and US culture has such a problem when talking about the female body; she maps the long history of advertising that profits from the taboo of the vagina, and she reflects on how writers, artists and filmmakers have been influenced by, or even perpetuate, this ‘shame’.

Dr Emma L. E. Rees is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Chester. Her research and teaching interests include Shakespeare studies; early modern literature and culture; film theory; and gender studies. Her new book is The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History. Her first book was Margaret Cavendish: Gender, Genre, Exile, and she has many other publications on Cavendish, and on gender and representation. She has also co-authored an essay on Led Zeppelin, and has published on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Wednesday 12th of February

Internal Speaker: Dr Scott Thurston
Language and Motion: Postmodern Poetry and Dance

Poets have been fascinated by dance for centuries, seeing in its expressive, yet elusive, gestures an analogue for their own handling of language. In the twentieth century, this fascination led to a series of encounters between poets and dancers, such as those which took place in the multi-disciplinary milieu of the Judson Dance Theater in New York City (1962-66). Judson, however, is only part of a larger story of how poets and dancers on both sides of the Atlantic in the postmodern period sought ways to bring their respective art forms into dialogue with each other in order to create new and exciting works of the imagination. My current research hopes to shed light on how we relate to, and seek to express, our embodied self in language and movement, and will explore how the tension between the constraints on our being and the possibilities for overcoming these constraints becomes the subject of groundbreaking artistic endeavour.

External Speaker: Professor Des Freedman (Goldsmiths College, London)

Reflections on Media Power

Media power is a crucial, although often taken for granted, concept. Does it express the economic and political prowess of particular ‘media moguls’? Does it refer to the media’s capacity to modify attitudes and beliefs, transform social circumstances and exert influence over other social institutions? Does it refer to the ability of media to provide other state or corporate actors with a valuable resource to assert their own dominance? Does it point to a concentration of symbolic influence that is mobilized in quite personalized contexts or to the growth of economic blocs that are all the more significant in 21st century ‘knowledge’ and ‘information societies’? Are we to believe that the media are increasingly the locus of power or, as Castells argues, that ‘the media are not the holders of power, but they constitute by and large the space where power is decided’? As a way into thinking through some of these issues, the paper identifies four paradigms of media power. As with any conceptual model, it is filled with holes and probably fails to address all the complexities of media power. However, in thinking through different frames through which to assess the dynamics of media power, it may be a useful starting point.

Des Freedman is a professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Politics of Media Policy, co-author (with James Curran and Natalie Fenton) of Misunderstanding the Internet and co-editor (with Daya Thussu) of Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives. He is the chair of the Media Reform Coalition and is working on his new book, The Contradictions of Media Power.

Wednesday 26th of February
Allen Fisher (Emeritus Professor, MMU)
Articulating a Research Practice.

A personal summary of the tactics, plans and methods used in my poetics and artistic practice, in the facture of poetry and visual imagery. The talk will discuss some of the conceptual and pragmatic ideas involved and will include examples.

Allen Fisher is a poet, painter, publisher, editor and art-historian and has produced over one hundred and twenty chapbooks and books of poetry, graphics and art documentation. A major figure in British Linguistically Innovative Poetry, he worked for over thirty years on two massive projects in multiple books, Place (now published in a complete edition from Reality Street, 2005) and Gravity as a consequence of shape, now collected across three volumes: Gravity (Salt, 2004), Entanglement (The Gig, 2004) and Leans (Salt, 2008). He has intensely engaged with the history of ideas, science, art and architecture.

Wednesday the 12th of March
Double external session on Digital/Social Media and Activism
Dr Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College, London)

Social Media Activism and the Generic Internet User, between Homogenisation and Disintermediation
Paolo Gerbaudo is Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College London. Previously he had been an Associate Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, at the Media Department at Middlesex University, and an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Apart from his academic work Paolo has also acted as a journalist covering social movements, political affairs and environmental issues, and as a new media artist exhibiting at art festivals and shows. He holds a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College.

Dr Fidele Vlado (King’s College London)
Online Activism and Electronic Civil Disobedience

Fidele Vlavo joined the Department of CMCI in January 2012. She was previously lecturing at the department of arts and media at London South Bank University where she completed her doctoral research. Fidele holds a BA (Hons) in Arts Management (London South Bank University) and a degree in Film studies (Sorbonne-Nouvelle Paris). Her PhD examined the concept of electronic civil disobedience and the practice of online activism. It provided a discursive analysis of the use of cyberspace as an exclusive site for political protest. Prior to her PhD, Fidele worked on digital projects at the Courtauld Institute and the British Museum.

Wednesday the 26th of March
Internal Speaker: Professor Seamus Simpson (University of Salford; English and Journalism directorate and head of CCM)

Public Service Journalism and Converging Media Systems
Concepts and practices of public service have been an integral part of the evolution of communication media systems for decades in Europe and beyond. However, the process of media convergence has called forth an examination of the place of public service in communications. Ideas of public service have been an important part of the development of journalism and have too come under increasing pressure in the era of media convergence. This session will commence with an exploration of some of the key ideas that have shaped articulations of public service in media systems and journalism. It will then go on to explore some of the challenges and opportunities for public service journalism which have arisen from the development convergent media platforms and services. It will conclude by exploring the extent to which public service journalism is relevant today in our diverse-yet-converging, highly commercialised, digital multi-media systems.

External Speaker: Professor James Curran (Goldsmiths College, London)

Mickey Mouse Squeaks Back

What are the main grounds for dismissing media and cultural studies as a ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject? What underlies these attacks? Are they justified in full or in part? A media studies academic surveys the field, and responds to its critics.

James Curran is Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Professor of Communications. While at Goldsmiths, he has held a number of visiting appointments including McClatchy Professor (Stanford), Annenberg Professor (UPenn), Bonnier Professor (Stockholm University) and NRC Professor (Oslo University). He has written or edited 22 books about the media, some in collaboration with others. These include Media and Democracy, Routledge, 2011, Power Without Responsibility (with Jean Seaton), 7th edition, Routledge, (2010), Media and Society, 5th edition, Bloomsbury, 2010 and Media and Power, Routledge, 2002 (translated into five languages). His latest book is Misunderstanding the Internet (with Natalie Fenton and Des Freedman), Routledge, 2012, arising from Leverhulme funded research. His work falls mainly into two linked areas: media history and media political economy. In media history, he has sought increasingly to relate the development of the media to wider changes in society, while in media political economy he has turned to comparative media research, drawing on quantitative methods.  This has resulted in three comparative studies, two funded by the ESRC (for outputs see ‘publications’ above). More recently still, he has been evaluating the impact of the internet and new communications technology.

Wednesday 9 April

Internal Speaker: Michael Goddard (University of Salford, Media and Broadcast directorate)

Media Ecological Approaches to Alternative and Radical Media

This presentation will explore some of the issues in approaching alternative and radical media drawing on and extending the work of Downing et al (2000) on Radical Media and Atton on Alternative Media and An Alternative Internet (2001, 2004). In particular it will use the concept of media ecologies as developed by Matthew Fuller (Fuller 2005), as a way of approaching a range of case studies drawn from both analogue and digital media. Using examples ranging from free and pirate radio and guerrilla television to cyber-activism, this talk will look at how media ecologies and approaches to self organisation can shed light on both small scale media and activist use of larger media forms (television, social media etc).

External Speaker: Dr Joss Hands (Anglia Ruskin University)

Collective Idiocy: Of Digital Multitudes and Mobs

One of the most revisited concepts in critical and media theory is that of ‘general intellect’, as originally outlined by Karl Marx in his celebrated ‘Fragment on Machines’. The concept is often framed as containing a liberatory promise via the destruction of the value of labour power, and thus the capacity of capital to generate surplus value. While autonomist theories have speculated that this concept pre-empts characteristics of the digital revolution and the creation of cooperative common, there is a potential dark side of a digitally enhanced general intellect. The paper will ask whether such intelligence is indeed ‘intelligent’. This paper explores the question of whether this is actually closer to a general ‘idiocy.’ It will explore the idiotic tendencies embodied in such thinkers as Clay Shirky, James Surowiecki and Charles Leadbeater and the likely decomposition of the common into what Heidegger refers to as the ‘they’. The paper will ask whether such collective idiocy is part of our technical condition and what, to use a pointed phrase, is to be done?

Joss Hands teaches Communication and Media Studies at Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge, where he is also director of the Anglia Research Centre in Media and Culture. He is author of @ is for Activism: Dissent Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture published by Pluto Press.

Wednesday the 7th of May
Dr Susan Smith (University of Sunderland)

From Child to Adult Star: an exploration by video essay of the film career of Elizabeth Taylor
The death of Elizabeth Taylor on 23rd March 2011 prompted a global outpouring of tributes to the actress right across the various sectors of the media, some of which highlighted the need for a reappraisal of her achievements as an actress. This video essay will offer my own reflection on Taylor’s distinctiveness as a film performer, the significance of her early career and the contribution of both to her enduring stardom. In doing so, it will draw upon my AHRC funded research project on the actress’s work in film, exploring the crucial role played by Taylor’s star-defining performance in National Velvet (1944); her later collaborations with actors such as Montgomery Clift and Richard Burton; and the dynamic ways in which she made use of her eyes, voice and body in her performances. I also hope to open up for consideration the role that the video essay can play in the detailed analysis of performance and some of the challenges and benefits arising from scholarly engagement with this form.

Susan Smith is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sunderland, UK. Her most recent book - Elizabeth Taylor - was released in summer 2012 as part of the launch of the new Film Stars series that she co-edits for the BFI (published by Palgrave Macmillan). She is also author of Voices in Film (in Close-Up 02, 2007), The Musical: Race, Gender and Performance (2005) and Hitchcock: Suspense, Humour and Tone (2000).

Wednesday the 21st of May
Internal Speaker: Professor George McKay
Popular Music and Disability

External Speaker
Dr Liz Greene
Music and Montage in Punk Films
Liz Greene is a sound practitioner and academic whose main research interests are in the theory, history and practice of film sound. I teach film and television studies in the School of Cultures and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. She teaches and writes about film sound design and specialises in sound effects, the voice and sound archiving. Liz also creates sound art, music, and radio shows. She is currently creating the sound design for a documentary film on women’s experience of Long Kesh/The Maze prison during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday the 4th of June Mark Cote (Kings College, London)
Data Motility: Life, Labour and Debt in the Age of Big Social Data

Mark Coté is a Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College, London. He has published extensively on Social Media, Digital media culture, Media theory, Autonomist Marxism, and Foucault. He is further exploring the relationship between the human and technology by developing the mobile phone as a research tool to examine the changing parameters of mobility, location, and information.

Wednesday the 18th of June
Internal Speaker: Dr Benjamin Halligan (Performance Directorate)
Title TBC

External Speaker: Dr Gavin Hopps (University of St Andrews)

Too Much Heaven: The Kitsch Epiphany

A talk based on Gavin Hopps current research into popular culture and radical wonder

Gavin Hopps is Lecturer in Literature & Theology and Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. He has been a Lecturer in English at the universities of Aachen, Oxford and Canterbury Christ Church and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He has published numerous articles on Romantic writing, a collection of essays on spectrality in Byron, and a monograph on the singer-songwriter Morrissey. He is currently working with Jane Stabler on a new edition of the complete poetical works of Lord Byron (to be published by Longman in 6 volumes), a monograph on popular music and radical wonder, entitled The Kitsch Epiphany, and another on the levity of Byron’s Don Juan.

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