It's that time of year again!
Next week sees me deliver a paper at the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference as part of a panel on Transnational Identity and Exploitation Cinema. My paper is concerned with the birthing of the "shot on video" horror film and represents early forays into a future book-length project.
The panel, organised by Ryan Rashotte, looks great, and I'm really happy to be part of it:
In June 2018 I will return to the university where I got my first academic job, De Montfort in Leicester, to deliver a keynote at the 7th annual postgraduate conference. The theme -- to mark the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein -- is "New Perspectives on Horror, Science Fiction and the Monstrous Onscreen". I can't wait for this one! I'm especially excited as I get to share keynoting duties with a good friend of mine, Dr Laura Mee (University of Hertfordshire).
I need to confirm the topic of my talk soon. Watch this space...
Steve Jones has designed a swish new site for the Media Subject Group at Northumbria that can be accessed here: http://medianorthumbria.com.
The site contains information about my colleagues' subject specialisms, research, as well as general material relating to the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer at Northumbria.
Nice work, Steve!
Call for Presentations:
Horror, Cult and Exploitation Media II: A Research Workshop for PhDs and Early Career Researchers
Friday 4 May 2018, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
A collaborative event between the Department of Social Sciences and the Department of Arts
PhD students and Early Career Researchers working in the field(s) of “horror, cult and exploitation” screen media, are invited to submit abstracts about their research to deliver at a workshop at Northumbria University on Friday 4 May 2018. The workshop – which follows on from a highly successful event last year – will take the format of a mini-symposium, and consist of three sessions, each made up of four speakers. Speakers will each deliver a 5-10 minute talk about their research to their peers and to a panel of academic experts from Northumbria’s Film and Television Research Group, providing a short introduction to their current project and identifying several questions for discussion. After each presentation, there will be an opportunity for the academic panel and other workshop participants to feedback to each speaker, and to ask follow-up questions.
The workshop is intended to be a small scale networking opportunity for scholars with shared research interests, and to provide a relatively informal opportunity for those newer to academia to engage in dialogue with more established researchers.
The event will close with a short presentation by James Campbell from Intellect Books, who will give advice about academic publishing (including converting a PhD thesis into a monograph).
The academic panel will comprise:
Applicants are reminded that there are only twelve spaces available. Lunch and light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.
Please submit a 250 word summary of your project and a 50-100 word bio to the organiser, Dr Johnny Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org), by Friday 30 March 2018. Applicants will be notified of the outcome the following week.
Next week I'll be presenting work from my current book project at King's College London as part of their research seminar series.
Find the abstract for my talk, below:
The Way to Blockbuster: The Birth of the British Video Superstore
Since the new millennium, a number of academic works have emerged about the infancy of video’s ‘tangible phase’ in North America (Wasser 2001; Greenberg 2008; Herbert 2014; Newman 2014). However, very little has been written about video’s early days in Britain beyond the controversy surrounding 39 exploitation films that were banned as ‘video nasties.’ This focus has partly been due to the fact that histories of video technology in the UK have mostly emerged from horror film fan communities, whose members have striven to emphasise the ‘subcultural relevance’ of horror video and the dealers that allegedly traded in them (Egan 2007). The emphasis placed in these discussions on ‘outlaw’ cassettes and retailers has meant that more anodyne elements of the British video industry have gone unscrutinised.
This presentation looks to redress the balance by considering the mainstreaming of video in Britain, historicizing the birth of ‘video superstores’ in the latter half of the 1980s. During this period, negative media coverage of video nasties ran concurrent with an industry-wide decline in video rentals; the blame for which was typically put at the foot of so-called ‘cowboy’ retailers unable to sustain the levels of professionalism acquired to keep business buoyant. And while trade publications and industry bodies initially fought back against the press, they too eventually found themselves calling for the rental business to ‘clean up its image’ in a bid to win back customers. For some in the industry, this meant moving away from the image of video as a business operated out of seedy shops in provincial towns, towards something far more streamlined and corporate. To show how these aims were met, I will reflect on foundational business practices such as rack-leasing, examine trade initiatives such as Video Business magazine’s ‘Superstore 88’ campaign, and briefly reflect on the expansion of British chain stores such as Ritz Video, Azad Video and Hollywood Nites.