Talking film with the Oral History Collective

We’ve been getting into movies lately…

Our Alison Atkinson-Phillips has been working with Leeds University to plan the Post-Work Mini Film Season (see bottom of the page for event listing) on behalf of Newcastle’s Labour & Society research group. The films shown explore the way ‘work’ has changed and the impact of deindustrialisation and neoliberalism.

In May, our regular Seminar Series is kicking off with a visit from Steve Humphries of Testimony Films on Tuesday 9 May. Although best known as a film-maker, Humphries is possibly one of the most prolific oral historians in the UK, basing his documentaries on detailed interviews with his sources.

The Post-Work events also include a short film, Song for Billy by local film collective Amber Films, who have been documenting life in the North East for the last 40 years.

Oral historians are increasingly recording interviews using video, but it’s not as simple as learning how to use a different type of recording device and finding some extra data storage (although these are practical considerations). Some oral historians worry that video makes interviews more ‘performative’, and it seems common sense to assume that doing an interview differently will produce a different interview, just as physical setting and the interviewer themselves have an impact.

Here at the Oral History Collective, we are also interested in using film and visual sources alongside audio interviews, so we’re very excited to have these opportunities to learn from these fantastic visiting directors.

Event dates:

Sunday 22 April 2018 @ Side Cinema: film screening 3:00-4:30pm, Song For Billy (Amber Films) and Brumaire (Joseph Gordillo) followed by Q&A 4.30-5.30pm with Joseph Gordillo, Graeme Rigby (Amber) and Steve Cannon, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, University of Sunderland.

Follow this link to view the trailer

Wednesday 25 April 2018 @ Side Cinema: film screening: 6.00-7:30pm, La mano invisible (the invisible hand) (David Macian) followed by Q&A 7.30-8.30pm with the director and Carmina Gustran, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Cultural Studies, University of Leeds.

Follow this link to view the trailer

Tuesday 1 May 2018 @ Newcastle University (Barbara Strang Building BSTC.B.32): film screening: 5.00pm, I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach) followed by discussion about labour, life, and the social consequences of the neoliberal state.

Wednesday 9 May 2018 @ Armstrong Building, Newcastle University: seminar 4.30pm, British Life Stories on Film Archive, Steve Humphries

Steve Humphries is a former academic oral historian who set up Testimony Films in 1992 and recently received a Royal Television Society Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a documentary filmmaker. He will talk about the collection of around 1,200 interviews he has created over the past thirty years. They were filmed in conjunction with 175 social history programmes made by Steve, many of them for the BBC and Channel 4. They cover all the big themes of 20th century life in Britain, including World War One and World War Two, and are particularly strong on childhood and youth, schooling, family life, work experience, parenting, women’s history, love, sex and marriage.

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