Public Keynotes RMES Summer School 2022: Communities of Feeling

Thursday 16th June 2022
Keynote lecture: Amy Holdsworth (University of Glasgow) | 10.00-12.00 | OMHP C C0.17

To (not) grow up with television

In a 2006 essay John Caughie asks the following question: “When we as academics and intellectuals write about television, who do we think we are?” While the question alludes to the anxious place of television studies within the academy, it is prompted by an observation of the ways in which the reflections of different scholars on their own histories, experiences, and engagements with television underpin their critical responses. But what might an autobiography of television look like? This work might take the form of an individual’s viewing history or an account of specific televisual moments that have punctuated a life story. In this presentation I will introduce my own use of autobiography as a way in which to explore those experiences of intimacy, familiarity, community, repetition, and duration that have come to characterize television. An autobiographical focus, I suggest, can tell us not only something specific about television but also something more general about living with television—about (not) growing up and growing old at a particular time and in a particular community or society.

By way of example, I present the story of my sister Alice, a young girl with complex developmental disabilities, and our shared viewing of Disney Home Video. I explore how Disney and VHS technology became embedded in our family life through routines and rituals of care, offering an important framework for and point of connection within the family and our wider community by providing a means for expression and communication. My family’s own use of Disney videos is recalled to think through the iterative potentials of television as a site of comfort, community, safety and therapy as well as frustration and boredom. What I will suggest is how Alice’s relationship with television offers a way in which to widen our understanding of media use and to complicate notions of ‘growing up’ and prevalent (normative) conceptions of childhood. Simultaneously, it presents an avenue through which to rethink the ‘taken for granted’ and normalized uses of television in everyday life.

Amy Holdsworth is Senior Lecturer and Head of Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on television and domestic media as interdisciplinary objects of inquiry, and her work has drawn upon theoretical traditions and frameworks within memory studies, childhood studies and disability studies. She is the author of Television, Memory and Nostalgia (Palgrave, 2011) and co-editor of Discourses of Care: Media Practices and Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2020). Her most recent monograph, On Living with Television (2021), has recently been published by Duke University Press.

Register here before June 11, 2022

Friday 17th of June 2022

Keynote lecture: Anna Gibbs (Western Sydney University) | 9.30-11.15 | OMHP C0.17


According to epidemiologists, cryptic spread occurs when there are hidden or cryptic connections in viral transmission either between or within species. This makes for transmission events that are hard both to qualify and quantify, often imperceptible and difficult to identify. In the case of Covid-19, for example, this might mean looking beyond the extended dinner party with friends to all those confined but nevertheless shared spaces through which we pass only fleetingly, like a quick bus ride or an even shorter trip in a lift, and they might also involve infected but asymptomatic people or what’s left behind in the air of the apparently empty lift we enter unaware.
This talk, though, explores another kind of airborne transmission, discussing the way cryptic spread occurs in the epidemic generation and transformation of affective atmospheres, making palpable connections between people and things that seemed unrelated, producing complex circuitries of transmission that give rise to unpredictable atmospheric dynamics. Not always negative, but sometimes turbulent and sometimes stalled like a low pressure system in a particular mood until conditions change, these dynamics are as unpredictable as weather, and are only observable as they crystallize in the moment or leave a trail or trace of events in their wake.

Professor Anna Gibbs is based in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at UWS, and is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and the Digital Humanities Research Group.

She has published widely across the fields of textual, media and cultural studies with a particular focus on affect theory, mimetic communication, corporeality and feminism.Other current research interests include new materialism, experiemental and conceptual writing, e-poetry and poetics.

Co-editor of three collections of contemporary Australian writing, she is also an experimental writer, collaborates with artists and performers, and curator of ‘(Un)coverings: art, writing and the book’ (Horus and Deloris Gallery, Pyrmont, 2009). She is a long-time practitioner and theorist of fictocriticism.

Her ARC-funded Discovery Projects include ‘The Power of the Image: affect, audience and disturbing imagery’ with Virginia Nightingale, and Creative Nation: writers and writing in the new media culture’ with Maria Angel (UWS) and Joseph Tabbi (University of Illinois, Chicago), the major outcome of which was the Australian Directory of Electronic Literature and Text-based Art (ADELTA).

A member of The Longford Project group of artists, she is currently working on a collaborative project investigating co-incidence, connection and collaboration through the history of a pinprick-sized town in northern Tasmania, and the intersectng, overlapping and clashing passgae of a few generations of Aboriginal and European people through a critical point in time. This project, which held an Australia Council Development Grant in 2013, has exhibited at Articulate Space in Sydney; Sydney College of the Arts Gallery; and the Tasmanian International Arts Festival. The group has been awarded a Bindanon residancy in 2016, and exhibitions in Hobart and Launceston are planned for 2017.

She has successfully supervised more than 40 postgraduates in writing, the interdisciplinary creative arts, and textual, visual, media and cultural studies.

Register here before June 11, 2022

Keynote lecture 3: Eugenie Brinkema (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) | 14.00-15.45  | VOXPOP*

Blindness and Description; Or, How to Read a Sunken Form

For all that Jordan Peele’s lauded horror film Get Out (2017) appears to traffic in the conventional negative affects of the horror genre—anxiety, suspense, panic, shock—Professor Brinkema will argue in her talk that the film in fact models a formal account of violence, one that grounds its critique of racialized terror and the dynamics of aggressions both micro- and micro- in its juxtaposition of the relationship of black life and survival to the very question of how to describe and interpret visual form, in particular the form of photographs. ‘Communities of feeling’ thus become intimately bound to communities of reading, while the political stakes of reading become visible solely through a complex grappling with different formal registers of the image.

Eugenie Brinkema is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research in film and media studies focuses on violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics. In dialogue with critical theory and continental philosophy, she argues for the speculative value of formalist readings in texts ranging from horror films to works of the new European extremism, from gonzo pornography to contemporary photography. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Angelaki, Camera Obscura, Criticism, differences, Discourse, film-philosophy, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, LIT, qui parle, and World Picture. Her books include The Forms of the Affects (2014) and Life-Destroying Diagrams (2022), both published with Duke University Press.

Register here before June 11, 2022

*VOX-POP is de creatieve ruimte van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen van de UvA. Het is een culturele plek waar UvA studenten, -medewerkers en de bewoners van Amsterdam gratis kunnen samenkomen. Meer informatie: