Posts

Showing posts from 2012

New Adventures

Just a personal note on the passing of 2012. As most of my friends know, the first ten months of this year were not kind. The challenges were many and pervaded every area of my life. Without getting into specifics, there were times when I did not know how, or if, things could improve. With unrelenting support from a lot of people, I kept at it, kept working, kept trying, kept taking and acting on generous advice, kept taking comfort from reminders of the strong support network that has formed around me for the past number of years, and - as some of the members of that network promised - things got better. My thanks to them is to return that support in kind.

Postgraduate study is a glorious yet arduous path to take in life, particularly if you expect it to provide a career for you. Hard work, determination, grit, being adaptable, and a bit of luck finding the right 'fit' (for you and employer), among other things, are how you might get a foot in the door. I find not keeping cou…

Catching up...

Wow, my poor neglected blog! This is just a quick update, really to keep it resuscitated and put out there what I am currently up to. Kind of more of a speedily written diary entry...

I have had the wonderful delight of being named the winner of publisher Peter Lang's Young Scholars in Film Studies 2012 Award, the prize for which is the publication of my thesis as a monograph. My baby is coming to life. Slowly. I want to make it really good and ensure that it reads as a book rather than a PhD thesis, but am up against the REF2014 clock, so am responsive to all advice on this matter. Haven't quite stepped into the process yet, though. Trying to get the last few weeks of this semester's teaching preparation out of the way and respond to some interesting and highly relevant conference CfPs first. This has become much easier since resigning from my job in a shop, explained by an earlier post. The book contract changes the game and I am determined to go full throttle at trying …

Shadow Dancer

*DISCLAIMER: I am writing about the film with an approach to critical analysis with only a hint of review, therefore there are spoilers within if you have not seen the film. This post serves as a line of thought that I am archiving for later development.*
It appears that reviews of Shadow Dancer (Marsh, 2012) have not been entirely complimentary, as far as I am aware (I am deliberately avoiding them so feel free to correct me), and seem largely to have been written by men. The film is much more than critics and general commenters deem it to be (e.g. one I came across stated that this is yet another Troubles film making the IRA out to be scum). Shadow Dancer does not attempt to depict the Northern Ireland conflict through a microcosmic narrative, rather it draws out a suppressed individual struggle within patriarchal organizations, and in doing so attempts to reflect the hidden lives many were forced to lead.
The most striking aspect of Shadow Dancer for me is its evocation of the di…

Culture Night 2012

Image
Following a miscommunication between myself and the editor of a cultural magazine who commissioned me to write an article about Culture Night, said article looks set to be significantly truncated and fragmented. The magazine is distributed throughout the nine counties amounting to the province of Ulster, hence the attempt at inclusiveness in the 2000 word article, all of which had been agreed over a phone call from which I took detailed notes. The magazine is due for release on Thursday 20 September, the day before the Culture Night festivities, and I will not know of the article's final outcome until then. I am using my blog to take ownership of my personal intellectual property rights to display the article in full, free of charge. It is not perfect and was written under pressure, but intends to be informative and fun. Many thanks to those who passed on images and information about events; I hope I have done you justice.


The Hunt: Clocking In vs. Signing On

While scouring of the internet for absorption of information and tips concerning applications for academic posts and publishing, it becomes frighteningly clear that the sheer amount of us out there unable to peek through a crack in the door never mind get our foot in it is astounding. Almost daily there are blog posts and internet articles featuring rants from some anonymous PhD graduate about how they can’t get work and that our institutions or the government ought to provide training or some other vague suggestion that basically hands us an escape clause from actual real life. I am in this position myself and I do not want to be associated with this expectation that jobs and opportunities should be handed to us, so I am posting my personal position – with my name against it – to show that not all postdoctorates are not otherwise workshy, whinging brats.
The dole is not an option for me. It wouldn’t even dent my monthly bills. Thankfully I have never had to sign on, and one of my life…

Thesis Abstract

Seeing that I am rather conscious that I began a blog with good intentions but have neglected to post due to unexpectedly getting full-time hours in my part-time job meaning I have not been out exploring the film and visual culture I am so passionate about, (*deep breath*) I am just going to post the odd fragment of older work until I can get out there making a critical nuisance of myself once again. Today’s instalment is my PhD thesis abstract for your viewing pleasure:
Old Borders, New Technologies: Visual Culture and Social Change in Contemporary Northern Ireland
The diverse convergence of film and visual art practices in contemporary Northern Ireland is indicative of its complex network of contested spaces; its visual culture is being radically re-shaped in the wake of the Troubles, and has become increasingly open to globally employed artistic influences and methods. Clearly, these factors challenge the expressive and social capability of traditional filmic practices to engage wi…

Now You See Us

Had a wee visit to Belfast Exposed this afternoon, it has been much too long. I went to discuss the possible use of some images from their archive for a Culture Night event that is slowly gathering in the dark cold chasms of my mind while it tries to focus on big important things like job applications and peer reviewed journal articles.  Anyway, after snooping around on the Gateways computer (a device full of digitized photographs that may cause you to lose many hours from your life - once you pop you can't stop), I delighted in viewing the Children in Need sponsored exhibition 'Now You See Us'.

I am really impressed by the quality of the images taken by the young people affiliated to the various groups BX has been working with. Thoughtful composition, content, themes, and exploitation of the technology in their hands are all on display. The selected images juxtapose youthful innocence and the beauty and oddity of nature with the harsh realities of disillusionment coupled …

History and film/broadcasting

Yesterday, on the spur of the moment, instead of working on a job application I decided to attend a conference organized by former QUB Prof. of Film Des Bell and Irish historian Dr Fearghal McGarry, entitled 'Reframing History: film, television and the historians'. Interestingly, a few months back I attended some events during the BBC's Festival of History and Broadcasting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17033362). Many issues were raised yesterday that I've been pondering since February, and here are a few musings.
One common debate was the integrity of televised historical documentary series or programmes. Many argue that the information is 'dumbed down' and the audience's intelligence insulted. The reality we are in now is that tabloid-esque broadcasting has generated a vicious supply-demand cycle in which the bulk of TV viewers seem to desire 'reality' shows and docu-dramas such as X-Factor, Geordie Shore, Big Brother, TOWIE, etc. …

Ambitions...

Today is an 'other ramblings' kind of day. This post may well read like a diary entry rather than a blog. As many friends know, I am having a complete downer about academia and jobs, etc. From the outset I will stress that I never began a PhD programme with the assumption or intention that I would follow an academic career. I did it because an opportunity came up, because I am passionate about the topic, I enjoy researching and writing, and because I wanted to see if I could. And I did. So have and will countless others. Now what? Back to retail it was, and my soul is dying.

I am grateful for the job and given that my boss is giving me heaps of overtime, I'm luckier than others, and I'd work at anything rather than sign on. But receiving the tiniest bit over minimum wage after working so hard for the past decade makes things difficult. I'm in so much debt I can't see straight, and the fatigue is incredible. There is no will left to carry on. I constantly verse …

CAC and MAC

So after much resistance, yesterday I finally visited the newly built Metropolitan Arts Centre, formerly the glorious Old Museum Arts Centre and I was not disappointed. The building fully met my low expectations. It took a while to find a functional entrance, which is tucked away in an ugly courtyard full of gym-bunnies and ladies who lunch. For me it is a visualization of the Ministry of Truth or something equally oppressive. As a building it is an architectural wonder, but as a purpose-built arts venue it is not fit-for-purpose. Very few of the gallery spaces are conducive to effective installations or exhibitions. I only peeked into one of the theatre studios in which the seating looked cramped. Maria McKinney's installation 'Somewhere but here, another other place' was interesting and I'd recommend a look but the space just sucked away anything imaginative or playful I might otherwise have felt. All I could feel throughout the building was a personal insult as a ta…
Hello friends,

Several people over the past few years suggested I ought to set up a blog, and seeing as I enjoy blathering on about things but in the post-PhD blues phase of life I can't muster up the energy for much academic writing, I figured now is an appropriate time to have a go.

My primary research concerns film and visual culture in contemporary Northern Ireland, particularly ways in which film-makers and visual artists address issues that can be regarded as deriving from post-Agreement (rather than post-conflict) society in our wee country. These issues include questioning ideologies generated by mass media representations of conflict, the Troubles as a mediatized war, and confronting individuals' internalizations of complex sociopolitical upheaval. My broader interests include avant-garde/experimental/modernist film and documentary.

I am hugely passionate about creative arts and the people who drive them in NI. I intend to largely use this blog to write reviews or com…