PhD defence Tom Slootweg (University of Groningen)

Resistance, Disruption and Belonging: Electronic Video in Three Amateur Modes

Date: Monday, April 9, 2018, 16:15
Venue: Aula of the Academy Building (University of Groningen), Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Promoters: Prof. H.B.M. Wijfjes and Dr. S.I. Aasman

On Monday April 9, 2018 at 16:15, Tom Slootweg will defend his doctoral thesis Resistance, Disruption and Belonging. The thesis returns to the period before the explosive rise of YouTube. The slow introduction of video as a consumer media technology, from the mid-1960s onwards, set in motion a long phase during which expectations were rife with video’s potential for everyday users in terms of participation and media democratisation. This particular era has been largely ignored in Dutch media history. In this thesis the gap is filled and it is revealed that video was able to capture popular imagination for a considerable amount of time during the second half of the twentieth century. By studying a wide array of sometimes forgotten sources, from official as well as private archives, a new picture emerges of a turbulent time in which the possibilities of video were understood in various ways. With three case studies of distinct historical amateur media practitioners, it is shown that video acquired meaning in terms of “resistance,” “disruption” and “belonging.” The thesis successively discusses a progressive video collective from The Hague, a traditional amateur film club in Groningen and a Dutch expat family in the Middle East. Whereas the idealistic collective claimed video to bring about socio-political change, and to give a voice to the under-represented, outspoken members of the amateur film club regarded the use of video as a threat to the cherished hobby and the spirit of community. The expat family, in contrast, saw many new possibilities in video to capture the dynamic of the family, in sound and vision, against the backdrop of a foreign environment that became their new, temporary home.

This doctoral research has been carried out in the context of the research project “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen and the University of Luxembourg, as well as various partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad.

For more information about this research project, see the weblog: https://homemoviesproject.wordpress.com You are cordially invited to attend the public defense, which will take place at the aula of the Academy Building (Broerstraat 5, Groningen). After the ceremony you are welcome for a drink at the Grand Theatre (Grote Markt 35, Groningen) between 17:30 and 18:30.

In case you have any questions, or would like to receive a digital copy of the thesis, please contact the paranymphs via: resist.disrupt.belong@gmail.com

PhD Defence: Rik Smit (University of Groningen)

Image: Sylvia van Schie, illustrator

Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work

Date: 29 March 2018, at 16.00h
Venue: University of Groningen
Promotor: Prof. dr Marcel Broersma

On Thursday 29 March 2018, Rik Smit will defend his PhD Thesis Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work.

People increasingly share their experiences and knowledge about the past on social media. Simultaneously, social media are enormous archives that contain vast amounts of audiovisual material from which the past is reconstructed. This study examines this ‘memory work’ by social media users and these platforms themselves by means of three case studies.

The first case study revolves around a chemical weapons attack in Syria in 2013. In the days after the attack, thousands of videos were uploaded on YouTube by various individuals and organizations with their own agendas. The research showed that especially videos edited by mainstream media gained popularity and visibility, instead of the material uploaded by witnesses. The main reason for this is that these media know how to curate footage well.

The second case study zooms in on the Facebook page Justice for Mike Brown. During and after the riots in Ferguson in 2014, this page was used for diverse types of memory work. Page users shared their personal memories of Michael Brown, reconstructed the shooting, created iconic and recognizable images and phrases, and made historical comparisons. Facebook’s technology played a guiding and shaping role in these practices, especially in terms of visibility and dominance of specific representations.

The final case study investigated the memory work behind the scenes of the Wikipedia page on MH17. Some editors have more power over how an event like the MH17 disaster is re-constructed on Wikipedia. They can also deny other editors from editing the page. This ultimately shaped the content of the wiki.

All three cases show that users as well as platforms themselves play an important part in the representation of the past in the present.

Image: Sylvia van Schie, illustrator

PhD Defence: Tim van der Heijden (Maastricht University)

Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005

Date: Thursday 18 January 2018, at 16:00h
Venue: Aula of Maastricht University, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht
Promoters: Prof. dr Maaike Meijer, Prof. dr Andreas Fickers, Dr Jo Wachelder

On Thursday 18 January 2018 at 16:00h, Tim van der Heijden will defend his PhD dissertation Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005. This research project analyses how throughout the twentieth century various generations have recorded their family memories on film, video and digital media. More specifically, it investigates how changes in these “technologies of memory” have shaped new forms of home movie making and screening. Covering the period from the invention of the film camera in the late nineteenth century, the introduction of 9.5mm, 16mm, 8mm small-gauges and Super 8 film technologies for amateurs, via home video to digital media technologies, this study addresses the complex interrelations between the materiality of film, video and digital media technologies, their social usages and cultural meanings from a long-term historical perspective. Focusing on specific periods of transition, it becomes clear that different media technologies, user practices and discourses not only succeed each other in time, but also increasingly interrelate, interact or even transform each other. Maintaining both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective on media transitions, this dissertation proposes an alternative form of media historiography that rethinks media histories beyond the frameworks of change and continuity by perceiving hybridity as a constant factor in media historical development.

The dissertation is carried out in the context of the research project “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen and the University of Luxembourg as well as several partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad. For more information about this research project, see the project weblog: http://homemoviesproject.wordpress.com

You are cordially invited to attend the public defence, which will take place at the Aula of Maastricht University (address: Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht). In case you have any questions or would like to receive a digital copy of the dissertation, please contact Tim van der Heijden via: tim.vanderheijden@maastrichtuniversity.nl

PhD Defence: Christian Gosvig Olesen (University of Amsterdam)

When? Wednesday 10 May 2017, 14:00
Where? Agnietenkapel at the University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229-231, Amsterdam.
The doors close at the exact time and latecomers will not be able to enter.

On Wednesday 10 May 2017, Christian Gosvig Olesen will defend his PhD Dissertation Film History in the Making – Film Historiography, Digitised Archives and Digital Research Dispositifs. The research project investigates the implications which digitisation in film archives bears upon film historical research in primarily academic settings. It adresses the need for understanding the consequences of digitisation for film historical methodology to develop a critical framework for evaluating and conceptualising digital archive-based scholarship. From this point of departure, it produces both a historical account of digital scholarship in film historiography and suggestions for further developments of digital research methodology. To this end, it discusses in a historical perspective how the conception of film archives as a source of film history has developed, from the ”first wave” of scientific film archives founded in the 1910s, over filmic appropriation art in the 1970s to scholarly Hyperkino presentations of silent cinema a century later.

The ceremony will open with a general introduction to the research project which will last approximately 10 minutes and is followed by a defence of 45 minutes. After the defence a reception will be held on the floor below the Agnietenkapel where attendees are cordially invited to join the celebration.

You can read more about Christian Gosvig Olesen’s project and the research process on his research blog.

PhD Defence: Birte Schohaus (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Redacties talkshows vermijden risico’s

Format tv-show bepalend voor keuze politieke gasten

Datum: 14 maart 2017
Promotoren: prof. dr. Marcel Broersma & prof. dr. Huub Wijfjes

Niet de presentator, niet de opvattingen van de redactie maar het ‘format’ bepaalt volkomen welke politici worden uitgenodigd in de zes belangrijkste Nederlandse talkshows. Zij worden, naar gelang de aard van het programma, geselecteerd op politieke relevantie en ‘talkability’. Redacties zijn daarbij huiverig om te experimenteren met onbekende hoofdgasten. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van Birte Schohaus, die op 14 maart promoveert aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Ze weerlegt in het onderzoek ook de kritiek dat talkshows de ‘gewone man’ te weinig aan het woord zouden laten.

Wie zich op een onderhoudende manier wil laten bijpraten over het nieuws van de dag hoeft niets anders te doen dan een van de vier vrijwel dagelijkse talkshows (De Wereld Draait Door, Jinek, RTL Late Night en Pauw) of de twee zondagse shows Buitenhof en WNL op Zondag te volgen. Die zijn niet alleen voor de kijker belangrijk, ook voor politici zijn deze optredens onmisbaar om hun boodschap te kunnen verkopen. Dat roept de vraag op naar de relatie tussen de talkshows en de politiek. Schohaus onderzocht hoe de verschillende shows hun gasten en onderwerpen selecteren, aan de hand van tientallen interviews met programmamakers, voorlichters en politici, inhoudsanalyse en een etnografische studie op de redacties van Pauw en Jinek. Al die programma’s hebben hun eigen format: het geheel van keuzes met betrekking tot cameravoering, regie, de toon van het gesprek, de sfeer van het programma en de onderwerpskeuzes. Schohaus: ‘Het blijkt dat de samenstelling van deze elementen per format verschilt. Juist deze specifieke combinatie maakt de programma’s uniek. Het is hun succesformule. Programma’s bewaken het daarom ook heel goed om hun doelgroep te blijven bereiken.’

Bereik

De doelgroep hoeft niet noodzakelijk een miljoenenpubliek te zijn. Buitenhof mikt nadrukkelijk op de hoger opgeleide, DWDD wil een jong publiek en RTL Late Night de consumenten tussen 25 en 45. Toch blijkt dat de meeste programma’s hoge kijkcijfers nastreven. ‘Ze moeten een zo breed mogelijk publiek bereiken. Dat wordt vaak gemeten aan het aantal kijkers, terwijl dat niet hetzelfde is,’ zegt Schohaus. ‘Dat niet alle programma’s dezelfde politieke gasten presenteren ligt eraan dat ze, afhankelijk van het format, een afweging maken tussen een maximale politieke relevantie en de talkability van de gasten. Wat ze zeggen moet nieuwswaardig zijn en ze moeten ook leuk kunnen praten. Voor een programma als Buitenhof is dat eerste belangrijker, voor RTL Late Night het laatste.’

Risico

Juist omdat een redactie liever een fractievoorzitter met politiek gewicht aan tafel heeft dan een backbencher met hetzelfde verhaal, zijn bepaalde gasten vaker te zien in talkshows dan andere. Datzelfde geldt ook voor de verschillende soorten experts die vaak in verband met politiek aanschuiven. Onbekende gasten betekenen een risico dat programma’s niet snel willen nemen. Schohaus: ‘De mogelijkheid om inhoudelijke, verrassende en persoonlijke gesprekken te creëren zou meer benut kunnen worden om politiek op een vernieuwende manier te bespreken, maar dan moeten de programma’s wel de ruimte krijgen om daarmee te experimenteren.’

‘Gewone man’

Talkshows krijgen de kritiek dat zij de ‘gewone man’ niet laten horen. Maar daar wil Schohaus niets van weten: ‘Als je de programma’s analyseert dan zie je dat in veel van de uitzendingen ervaringsdeskundigen aan het woord komen die vertolken wat die gewone man meemaakt, bijvoorbeeld in de zorg of het onderwijs.’

Curriculum vitae

Birte Schohaus (Aurich, 1983) studeerde Kunsten, Cultuur & Media en Journalistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Ze deed haar onderzoek aan het Centre for Media and Journalism Studies van de RUG. Daarnaast werkt ze als freelance journalist voor diverse media (online en print).

Noot voor de pers

Voor meer informatie kunt u contact opnemen met Birte Schohaus: mail[at]birteschohaus.com