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: 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: