Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival 2016

Several members of the School of Culture will be taking part in the Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival this autumn. Click on the links below to find out who will be doing what and where. The festival starts on September 30th (the full schedule is here).

Spectral Visions book launch

Against the Grayne: Learning about your Reiver ancestry

Witchcraft and wizardry in Wearside

Northern Gothic: Jane Harvey's The Castle at Tynemouth (1806)

Eternity in an hour: William Blake and popular music

Gothic Wearside

World books to read before you die

Apples and Snakes performance poetry

Flash Fiction in a flash: how to write it and how to get it published

Reading philosophy to lose weight

The terrorist novel from Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent to Hamid Mohsen's The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Of Peter and Jemima: An introduction to the extraordinary life of Beatrix Potter

'Not quite a Geordie': The ethnonyms of North East England

Wizards, goblins and forbidden love: Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel

'My own, my native land'

University of Sunderland and Waterstones short story competition

A fatal North East marriage: Mad Lord Byron and the Princess of Parallelograms

Halloween guided fantasy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Belligerent broadcasting book

Professor Angela Smith and Dr Michael Higgins (Strathclyde University) have published a book entitled Belligerent Broadcasting: Synthetic Argument in Broadcast Talk (Routledge 2017).  The volume reflects upon and analyses the development of 'belligerent broadcasting', beginning with an exploration of belligerence in its historical context and as an aspect of wider cultural concerns surrounding the retreat of civility.  With attention to the different relations of power expressed in the various forms of belligerent conduct across a range of media genres, Angela and Michael explore its manifestation in political interviews, in 'confrontation' in talk shows, in makeover television, as an 'authentic' means of proffering opinion, and as a form of sociability in banter. The book uses examples from a range of well-known shows such as The Apprentice, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, The Jeremy Kyle Show, and Top Gear to reflect on the consequences and potentialities of belligerence in the media and the public sphere. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sincerity, authenticity and broadcast sociability

At the annual Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Seminar Group (held this year at the Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece) Dr Angela Smith gave a paper on the rise of 'dating shows' on television.  She explored the ways in the conventions of observational documentary have been adapted to engage audiences in a more sympathetic reviewing of participants through her discussion of Channel 4's First Dates.  This show employs a 'diary room' convention from reality TV formats, whilst also engaging in a minimal use of voice-over and absence of the conventional host of such shows.  In this way, Angela argues, we are encouraged to think of the participants as being more authentic and sincere, whilst the hidden formal production markers ensure that there is a perception of a partly mediated, independent reality.  In this way, the audience are not invited to laugh at people in the way the game show format of dating shows encourage, but instead we empathise with them. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Flirtation, desire and cut-glass biscuit barrels

Dr Angela Smith has co-written an article with Michael Higgins which looks at the development of broadcast talk in those reality TV genres associated with shopping and negotiation, focusing on Antiques Road Trip. In a context in which reality TV has become associated with judgement and rancour, Angela is concerned with the balance between expertise and ordinariness, and exploring the place of conversational and interactional styles we have come to associate with “sociability” and the maintenance of “face”, both in terms of pleasure and spectacle and providing a tactical basis for on-screen negotiation. Angela argues that these performances differ from conventional discourses of expertise as arbiters of specialist insight and market value, and offer new performances of expertise, based on a tactical mix of professional capital and sociability.

Smith, A. and Higgins, M. (2016) Flirtation, desire and cut-glass biscuit barrels: Forms of expertise in Antiques Road Trip. Discourse, Context & Media. Vol. 14.


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