Media Studies Seminar 2023

Recordings Vol.3 –
Beyond Broadcast Archives

Media Studies Seminar 2023

The Media Studies Seminar 2023 was hosted by the  FIAT/IFTA Media Studies Commission (MSC) and the BFI at the BFI Southbank in London, UK.

The 5th edition of the Media Studies Seminar had Rethinking Broadcast Archives: Dig, Deconstruct, Display as its theme.

Over the coming weeks, the recordings from the Media Studies Seminar will be published on the FIAT/IFTA website and YouTube page, with the final closing round table recording being shared on Thursday, February 22nd 2024.

This week’s sessions are from the panel Beyond Broadcast Archives:

  • “Preserving Atrocity”: Trauma and the Broadcast Media Archivist by Michael Marlatt (York University).
  • Opencast Broadcast: Digging Up Other Coal Stories by María A. Vélez-Serna (University of Sterling).
  • “Not to be Missed”: TV Reviews for Just Seventeen and a Different Kind of Broadcast Archive by Joanne Knowles (Liverpool John Moores University).

You can access all recordings on the Media Studies Seminar 2023 page.

“Preserving Atrocity”: Trauma and the Broadcast Media Archivist

by Michael Marlatt

York University

"Preserving Atrocity": Trauma and the Broadcast Media Archivist

Many recent studies have been done on the impact that working in journalism has on journalist’s mental health. This includes heightened rates of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. According to a salary and demographics survey conducted by the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), archivists also experience higher rates of mental health struggles than the general public.

Unfortunately, little to no data currently exists that examines archivist mental health in relation to the type of archive they work for. There is, however, certainly a correlation to be made between journalists and archivists who work in broadcast media archives. Much of this is due to the traumatic nature of the material within the broadcast media collection. Material in these archives often includes, but is not limited to, local tragedies, problematic histories, global conflict, and human rights violations.

So, what happens to the mental health of the archivist when needing to constantly inspect, catalog, and make accessible this horrific material? Using concepts such as lived experience, archival bias, the person-centered archive, and trauma-informed archival practise, this presentation examines the current archival media landscape as it relates to archivist mental health for those who work in broadcast media archives.

The panel concludes by offering strategies on how to best support archivists working with this problematic and important material. Proper support networks and open conversation are a necessity if we are to care for archivists who work with broadcast media collections.

Michael Marlatt

Michael Marlatt is a Canadian disabled film archivist, archival accessibility consultant/workshop host, and PhD candidate. His dissertation examines accessibility in archival film education from the lived experience of students and alumni who identify as disabled, neurodivergent, or have a chronic illness. He has presented at various industry-leading archival conferences. Michael co-founded AMIA’s Accessibility Committee in 2022. Michael’s writing on archival disability advocacy has been published in Archival Outlook, Journal of Film Preservation, and The Moving Image, with an upcoming chapter in the book Preserving Disability: Disability and the Archival Profession.

Opencast Broadcast: Digging Up Other Coal Stories

by María A. Vélez-Serna

University of Sterling

Opencast Broadcast: Digging Up Other Coal Stories

Heroic images of coal miners crouching in darkness or holding the picket line are amply represented in the visual repertoire of documentary filmmaking. In the UK, the National Coal Board produced the Mining Review newsreel for over three decades, distributing it to cinemas in colliery towns across the land. The end of the newsreel, the year before the miners’ strike, was symptomatic of the broader shift afoot. But on the margins of this story, there was another coal industry, that of opencast mining – a newly globalised industry. In this paper, I will discuss two projects that involved researching and screening sponsored television content about opencast coal mining in Scotland and Colombia, where the largest mine in South America started operating in 1985. The projects used audiovisual archives to engage with local memories of landscape and with current discussions of energy transitions and land restoration. The comparative strategy highlighted the different ways in which mining can intersect with communities’ relationships to territory and how questions of socioenvironmental impact are negotiated in formal and narrative terms.

María A. Vélez-Serna

María A. Vélez-Serna teaches film and media at the University of Stirling. She is the author of Ephemeral Cinema Spaces (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), and co-author of Early Cinema in Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). She has also published on archive film reuse, early film distribution and showmanship, and Colombian films and audiences of the 1940s. She studied at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the University of Glasgow.

“Not to be Missed”: TV Reviews for Just Seventeen and a Different Kind of Broadcast Archive

by Joanne Knowles

Liverpool John Moores University

"Not to be Missed": TV Reviews for Just Seventeen and a Different Kind of Broadcast Archive

This paper will examine TV reviews from the girls’ magazine Just Seventeen between 1985 and 1987 drawn from the Femorabilia archive of twentieth-century girls’ and women’s magazines, held at Liverpool John Moores University. Popular girls’ magazines established a wide readership during the 1970s and commanded considerable influence in how their readers engaged with other forms of media, leisure and entertainment. In the 1980s, TV reviews and previews became a regular feature, and teenagers were being more widely acknowledged as also being television viewers with an increasing agency with regard to family viewing choices, to examine what was offered to its readership as ‘not to be missed’.

Historically girls’ comics and magazines have been undervalued both financially and culturally (Gibson, 2015), meaning that although they were hugely popular and widely consumed, their preservation has been precarious. Little attention has been paid to existing research on these magazines’ representation of screen media and their framing of how their audience might engage with popular film and television. Just Seventeen’s TV section offers an alternative to traditional broadcast archives, which can yield insights into how the sought-after young audience has historically been addressed and how girls’ own responses to viewing appear in reader-focused spaces of the magazine, such as letter pages. This range of views and voices enables an exploration of how viewing is framed in relation to the social dynamics of the family and the changing sense of authority and autonomy in this process that can be discerned during the mid-1980s. The paper addresses questions about the benefits of such archival research on TV viewing discussions for young viewers and the ability of such magazines to embody a different kind of ‘broadcast archive’.

Joanne Knowles

Joanne Knowles is a Senior Lecturer in Media, Culture, and Communication at Liverpool John Moores University. She is interested in popular media and culture from the 19th century to the present day, particularly in relation to gender and narrative. She has published on seasonality and television in the Journal of Popular Television and for Viewfinder, and her latest article on girls’ magazines, fashion and public space, appears in the current issue of Film, Fashion and Consumption.

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