Cultural Values: From Shakespeare to the Somme
FILM & MEDIA 2016 welcomes research which, through analysis and discussion of media texts, institutions and experiences, helps to illuminate the ways in which we understand the notion of ‘cultural value’. These issues are particuarly pressing as we prepare to commmemorate two famous and greatly contrasting moments of mortality in cultural history.
April 2016 will see the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, the font of much received wisdom about the cultural value of poetic drama and of British Culture in general. The beginning of July, in the days leading up to our conference, marks the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, the epitome of intercultural disaster amongst the nations at the heart of The Great War.
Entertainment, Art, and Science
The issues for the media are complex and wide-ranging. From the outset, the mass media were caught up in cultural tensions between ideas about ‘entertainment’, ‘art’ and ‘science’. On a scientific level, their documentary potential offered a freshly realistic way of depciting the world. At the same time they could also be seen as serving the sophisticated representational interests of ‘art’, and yet in turn they were fundamentally committed to the more intensely commercial and illusionistic demands of mass ‘entertainment’.
Media and the Arts: ‘High’ and ‘Low’ Culture?
The mass media were brilliantly capable of adapting and extending extant cultural forms - from the novel to theatre and photography - but they did so in ways which soon involved them in ongoing debates about ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Here, the media were often critically considered as secondary, derivative and reductive - often precisely because of their mass appeal - in attempts to enforce hierarchies of cultural taste, value, and consumption.
Television: Information, Education, Entertainment
When television emerged, it was caught up in similar debates over its role as an agency for the competing interests of information and entertainment. Its many differing genres - from news and documentary to quiz shows and soap opera - enshrined their own systems of cultural value as they developed characteristic relationships to audiences, representational issues, and institutional protocols.
Digital Cultures: New or Old Values?
In the digital era the rapid evolution of technology has placed greater media capacity in the hands of individual consumers, who therefore face greater choices in assigning value to a multitude of competing media capabilities. At the same time as being rendered more intimate and manipulable, these technologies, of course, remain entrenched in the interests of powerful commercial interests, or in the hands of governmental agencies with their own explicit or hidden values and agendas.
FILM & MEDIA 2016: Potential Topics
- Philosophies of ‘Culture’ and ‘Value’
- Representations of Cultural Value and Values within Films, TV Programmes, Popular Music, Advertising, Videogames, etc
- TV Format Values: News, Drama, Documentary, Light Enterainment, Advertisements, etc
- The Cultural Value of Hollywood/Bollywood/Nollywood et al
- Regional, National and Transnational media values
- Cultural Value: Race, Nationality, Gender, Age, Language, Social Class
- Cultural Value and Questions of Morality
- The Cultural Value of Media Censorship
- Production Values and the Media Institutions
- The Cultural Values of Independent Media
- Cultural Values and Media Authorship
- Cultural Value: The Star System
- Popular Culture: ‘High’ or ‘Low’ Values?
- The Politics of Cultural Value
- Media and the Values of Dominant and Subordinate Cultures
- The Media and ‘Family Values’
- The Cultural Values of Regulation and Deregulation
- Media and Multicultural Values
- The Cultural Values of Media Criticism and Theory
- Cultural Value and Media Education
- Questions of ‘Taste’ and Cultural Value
- Cultural Value and Media Aesthetics
- Cultural Value: Debates on Media Realism
- Audience Experience and Cultural Value
- The Cultural Value of Social Media
- Online Values and the Cultures of Virtuality
- The Cultural Values of Modernity and Postmodernity
- Media Ecology