Intetain 2014: Comedy and interactive technologies


My next paper is at the Intetain 6th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment conference at Columbia College Chicago in July 2014.

The conference theme is distributed creativity – Creativity is a widely accepted concept loosely referred to as a resource or a capacity to bring about ideas and visions transformed into a body of work. Creativity encompasses making, playing, and designing meaningful opportunities such as interactive media systems and experiences. For INTETAIN 2014, researchers in science and engineering and creative practitioners come together to explore how shared media networks, shared production, and shared experiences may make use of a notion such as distributed creativity.

I’m speaking on stand up comedy performance and interactive technology via an analysis of Lost Voice Guy’s work. My paper will consider Lost Voice Guy’s live performance and his use of interactive voice technology as a tool to provide a mechanism through which he can perform live stand-up comedy illustrating that the technology has the ability to both allow individuals to transcend physical barriers and bring a new dimension to the form.

Create at Salford Festival


A free, family-friendly arts and media festival
Create at Salford 2014 is a showcase for the best creative work from the University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media students – with special input from our closest industry partners and friends.

The festival runs from 12-14 June at MediaCityUK and the programme features original theatre productions, music, comedy, immersive visual arts exhibitions, daring fashion shows, debut film screenings and creative workshops.

Everyone is welcome to come along to the festival on Saturday 14 June. You won’t need to book, entry is free and you can check out as many shows as you like.

To find out what we’ve got planned, view the festival programme, or search #CreateSalford on Twitter.

Carnivalising Pop: Music Festival Cultures: a one-day symposium at the University of Salford


Come and mark the start of the festival season at our Carnivalising Pop Symposium at the UNiversity of Salford organised by George McKay and featuring Gina Arnold, Alan Lodge and other researchers in the field of music festivals, as well as researchers from the arena concerts project coordinated by Benjamin Halligan, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, Nicola Spelman and Rob Edgar.

Symposium 2014
Carnivalising Pop: Music Festival Cultures: a one-day symposium at the University of Salford

Friday June 13, 2014

Guest speakers:

Dr Gina Arnold, Stanford University, USA, author of Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana, Kiss This: Punk in the Present Tense
Alan Lodge, independent photographer and festival activist, discusses some of his classic images from 1970s free festivals and 1980s/1990s free party scene.

Other contributors include:

Dr Nick Gebhardt, Birmingham City University
Dr Roxanne Yeganegy, Leeds Metropolitan University
Prof George McKay, University of Salford
Dr Anne Dvinge, University of Copenhagen
Dr Mark Goodall, Bradford University
Dr Rebekka Kill, Leeds Metropolitan University
Prof Andrew Dubber, Birmingham City University (TBC).
Tipi Circle, Glastonbury Festival 2000
Tipi Circle, Glastonbury Festival 2000

… Newport. Beaulieu. Monterey. Notting Hill. Woodstock. Glastonbury. Nimbim. Roskilde. Reading. Stonehenge. Castlemorton. Love Parade. Burning Man… Popular music festivals are one of the strikingly successful and enduring features of seasonal popular cultural consumption for young people and older generations of enthusiasts. Notwithstanding the annual declaration of the ‘death of festival’, a dramatic rise in the number of music festivals in the UK and around the world has been evident as festivals become a pivotal economic driver in the popular music industry. In 2010, there were over 700 music festivals in Britain alone, and it is estimated that three million people attend music festivals a year. Today’s festivals range from the massive to community and ‘boutique’ events.

The festival has become a key feature of the contemporary music industry’s commercial model, and one of major interest to young people as festival-goers themselves and as students. But the pop festival also has a radical past in the counterculture, a utopian strand in alternative living, some antagonistic anti-authoritarian history, an increasingly mediated other presence, as well as a strong current ethical identity. In the community/communitas of festival, interpretations vary from Temporary Autonomous Zone to festival as pollutant of the rural, from celebration to destruction of the genius loci.

Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock 1969
Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock 1969

At the start of the 2014 pop festival season, we are holding this international event. The purpose of the symposium is to discuss and explore the significance of music festival cultures. In part the event presents work in progress from the forthcoming collection The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture (McKay ed., Bloomsbury, 2015 and The Arena Concert (Halligan, Edgar, Fairclough-Isaacs, Spelman, ads Bloomsbury 2015)

But we may also have some space for other current researchers and festival organisers in the field to share their ideas too—please get in touch, soon. The day will be of interest across disciplines, from Popular Music, Media and Cultural Studies, Performance, Film, History, Sociology, American Studies, Business, Tourism and Leisure, Organisation Studies. and it will be of interest to festival organisers and festival-goers too …


This is a free event, as part of the AHRC Connected Communities Programme. It is organised by Prof George McKay, Connected Communities Leadership Fellow (

Carnivalising Pop registration form

However advance registration is essential—to register, contact Dr Deborah Woodman, conference administrator,, +44 (0)161 295 5876, or download the registration form above, complete and return. Any queries to Dr Woodman.

Salford University School of Arts and Media Graduate Prog talk 7th May: Martin Hall on the Violence of Things and Hannah Arendt



Media City UK (Salford University Campus): Room 2.07. 3pm-4pm. All welcome

The Violence of Things

Things and their images can carry complex, pre-verbal meanings that derive their valency from not being spoken. For example, the rich public archive of Buddhist iconography in Sri Lanka may, simultaneously, convey the principles of non-violence and also the trauma of recent extrajudicial killing. Similarly, the extreme violence of crucifixion is celebrated as religious art or a mark of forgiveness, but may also evoke memories of conquest and genocide. In her On Violence, published in 1969, Hannah Arendt insisted that, rather than being an extreme manifestation of power, violence has an independent instrumentality. This insight, that has remained undeveloped in subsequent work on materiality, has provocative implications for the material world of things. Understanding the ways in which the material archive is central to the instrumentality of violence leads, in turn, to appreciating the ways in which the archive interacts with the performance of public life.

Professor Martin Hall is a historical archaeologist and strategic leader. He joined the University of Salford in April 2009 as VC Designate, before taking up his role as VC on 1 August, 2009.

Born in Guildford, Professor Hall holds dual British and South African citizenship. After undertaking undergraduate and post-graduate studies in archaeology at the University of Cambridge he moved to South Africa in 1974. He was for a time President of the World Archaeological Congress and General Secretary of the South African Archaeological Society. After working at two major museums in the 1980s, he moved to UCT in 1983, where he led the Centre for African Studies and later became the Head of the Department of Archaeology. He was the inaugural Dean of Higher Education Development between 1999 and 2002 when he was able to exercise another of his interests, academic technology for innovative teaching and learning – particularly the use of digital and new media.



Date: Monday 17-Tuesday 18 November 2014

Venue: University of Salford, MediacityUK, Salford, Manchester.

The theme of the Challenging Media Landscapes conference is Exploring Media Choice and Freedom. It is hosted and organized by the University of Salford at MediacityUK and is part of the five day 2014 International Media Festival, Salford.

 Conference Aim

The aim of the 2014 Challenging Media Landscapes conference is to undertake an exploration of a range of the main conceptual and practice based issues which have framed the academic analysis of ideas, practical expressions and critiques of freedom and choice in media environments over the course of at least the last decade.

Papers may have as their focus empirical cases, conceptual and theoretical contributions, or both. They may also report on practice based research across the range of media scholarship. Research which is of an exploratory and interdisciplinary orientation is welcome. Broadly speaking, papers are invited which address the range of actors, institutions, structures, instruments and processes in media environments that affect and challenge in some significant way our understanding of media freedom and choice.

Below is a set of five core themes, to be interpreted flexibly, around which contributions might be centred, though ideas for papers which do not sit in or across one or more of these areas, but which address the core aim of the conference, are also welcomed.

 Theme One: Freedom, Choice and Privacy in Media Environments

Debates about privacy in media environments, particularly the online world, burn as strongly as they ever have. Some even contend that we are already in a post-privacy age, with the envelopment of professional and personal interactions and relations through social media and the melding of the two spheres, manifest, for example, in forms of immaterial labour. Concerns are expressed about surveillance, the treatment of protest by the State, and abandonment of respect for privacy by commercial organisations.  Yet, high profile dissenting organisations and analysts, such as Wikileaks, IndyMedia and The Invisible Committee, for example – provide evidence of a more complex, contested environment. Wikileaks’s maxim “privacy for individuals and transparency for institutions” is suggestive of a new paradigm of what must be private, and what will be public. This theme calls for papers which explore the contemporary nature of privacy.  What imperatives arise from its protection and what challenges arise in trying to secure it?


Theme Two: Policy Choices and Freedom in Changing Media Environments

The Internet is eroding the boundaries between the press, broadcasting and new, on-demand media services. The re-articulation of traditional Public Service Broadcasting as Public Service Media has now arguably been well-established. The rise of social media has created a set of new online communications environments where the associated commercial and governance protocols are still very much in their infancy and thus contested. What are the different ways of considering freedom and choice in this evolving era of media convergence? What are the key challenges that are developing in converging communications  environments in terms of broadening and maintaining choice and what are the implications of this? How has this been manifest in the consideration of  issues such as market regulation and the prescription of base line public service? This theme of the conference calls for papers which evoke new thinking in areas such as: new media market environments; possible subsidisation of media content, copyright regulation, ‘net neutrality’, and the possible regulation of social media.


Theme Three: The Growth of Big Data and Media Freedom

Debates about freedom, choice and control have been heightened by exponential growth in the range and amount of digitally collected and stored information. This has led to claims that the application of so called “Big Data” offers unparalleled opportunities to: understand social problems; track changes in public behaviour; and to develop more precise, incisive and nuanced policy responses to the needs of people as citizens, audience members, readers and consumers. More fundamentally, Big Data has been seen as challenging what we know and how we know it. However, superficial and deterministic assumptions that Big Data can automaticially produce solutions to a range of social problems ignore key questions around the interests which gather and have access to such data; exercise control over data flows; and undertake action to analyse and interpret such data. These concerns are already important sites of analysis and contestation in academic, governmental and media circles and this theme calls for contributions which will take forward the important debates this activity has generated.

 Theme 4: Journalism, Media Freedom and Democracy

The principle of journalistic freedom centres on ideas about democracy, the Fourth Estate and the public sphere. However, the Leveson Inquiry (2012) in the UK was a potent reminder both of the limits of those freedoms and of their capacity to be abused. Globally, journalists are struggling to establish and maintain their freedom in fledgling democracies, such as the post-Arab Spring countries. The emergence of participatory (or ‘citizen’) journalism represents another important development, including a challenge to the professional status and values of journalists and to their ability to foster and regain public trust. Some argue that we are witnessing a democratisation of media through growing interactivity in journalism and apparently decentralised social media. This theme focuses on the range of possible responses to ideas about freedom in journalism in a variety of contexts in the twenty-first century. It welcomes both specific case studies of the notion of freedom in journalism and new attempts to theorise and  explain critically the evolving and often elusive nature this idea.

Theme 5: Articulations of, and Barriers to, Creativity, Freedom and Choice in Media Practices

Media practice has long been a core manifestation of  creativity, and the exercising of freedom and choice in the pursuit of excellence. However, media technologies and practices, individual and collective, commercial and non-commercial,  are constantly changing. This theme calls for contributions which explore key changes in media practice from the perspective of creativity, freedom and choice. Papers and other contributions (such as audiovisual materials) may train their focus on the gamut of media practice from screenwriting to distribution and exhibition, from performance practices to cinematographic practices, from directing to sound design, from animation to games designs. Papers which explore multi-disciplinary and converged media practices, creative forms and business models are particular welcome.

 Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts of no more than 400 words should be submitted in Word document format by 9 June 2014 to:

Your abstract should address one of the above themes (please indicate which) and have a separate cover sheet providing your name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and e-mail address(es). You will be notified of acceptance by 15 July, 2014. Full papers are due no later than 1 November, 2013.

It is the intention of the organisers to put together an edited volume of the conference contributions.


Details on booking registration and accommodation options will follow on acceptance of your proposal.


For further enquiries, contact the conference director:

Seamus Simpson,
Professor of Media Policy,
Director of the Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Research Centre,

University of Salford,
Salford Quays,
Manchester M502HE


Sex and the City Ten Years On: Landmark Television and its Legacy

I’m very excited to be speaking on the plenary at the Sex and the City Ten Years On: Landmark Television and its Legacy event on Friday April 4 2014 | 9am–7pm (including drinks reception)at the University of Roehampton, London

Plenary Speakers: Kim Akass, Janet McCabe, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs,
Beatriz Oria and Professor Mandy Merck

2014 will mark ten years since the final episode of Sex and the City (HBO 1998–2004) was broadcast. During the programme’s six seasons, and throughout the decade following its finale, Sex and the City has continued to be recognised as one of the most contentious and cherished series in recent television history, having tapped into a zeitgeist consumed by postfeminism
to become a cultural touchstone. Embraced and vilified with unforgettable vehemence by audiences, critics and the media, this conference will explore the ways in which the impact of SATC and its ‘afterlife’ continues to be felt
across popular culture and in a television marketplace that is hugely indebted to the way the series rewrote the boundaries of the medium.

Early bird* rate: £40 | Full rate: £50
Student rate: £20 up until Friday 28 February 2014, £25 thereafter
*Early bird rate is available up until Friday 28 February 2014
Lunch, refreshments and a drinks reception are included in the rate

To book your place please go to and select “Conferences”

For further information please contact Julia Noyce, or 020 8392 3698.

For academic enquiries please contact
Dr. Deborah Jermyn at

Celebrity Studies Conference Exhibition Announced


I’m speaking at the Celebrity Studies Conference at Royal Holloway, University of London in June 2014 on Jane Fonda and “acceptable ageing” in the popular media as part of the Lasting Stars panel.

The line up is looking very exciting, with a recently announced specially curated exhibition by renowned celebrity photographer Caranthia West’s work, whose intimate portraits of the stars include Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Anjelica Huston, Carly Simon and many more.

With keynotes from Nick Couldry, Richard Dyer, Diane Negra, Mandy Merck and Sean Redmond, this conference looks set to be diverse and engaging.

Full programme to be announced here shortly…

Salford Arts and Media Post-Graduate Talks: Ridiculumus’ Total Football // Voice and Joy Division

Two great talks in our Arts and Media Post-graduate Talks series:

Wednesday 27 November, 3pm, MediaCityUK / Salford Uni building; room 2.20; 3-4pm

Internal Speaker: Dr Richard Talbot
Devising Ridiculusmus’ Total Football: a schematic reading of performance process
This talk critically reflects on a series of drawings created during the devising process for Ridiculumus’ Total Football (2012). Ridiculusmus’ production, a narrative of a non-sporty bureaucrat tasked with harnessing the enthusiasm of football fans in the interests of national cohesion, examines the impossibility of thorough incorporation of a national body within the Olympic mo(ve)ment. Based on an existing convention among football commentators for contextualizing and narrating team play, a series of photographs of sketches-in-process discussed here capture the marks of live notation as an urgent activity during devising. As such the reader has access to a snapshot from Ridiculusmus’ rehearsal methods and process. The paper analyses the notation devices employed in the sketches arguing that the approximate qualities of sketched notation, and its failed totality, capture the tone of comedy in this work about masculine hubris. While the sketches attempt to keep pace with the spontaneity of tactics devised by performers, the paper argues that performance systems and dance notation that have paid attention to architecture and spatial arrangement as a score do not generally notate intention or strategy. The paper presents the idea that the sketches document a multiplicity of tactics, and footballing metaphor in process.
External Speaker: Dr Milla Tiainen (Anglia Ruskin University)
“Ventriloquism and convulsion: Voice, aesthetics, and paradoxes of agency in Anton Corbijn’s Control
As recent returns to this topic in media and cultural theory highlight, attempts to think about the voice soon gravitate on several paradoxes. Vocal emissions performatively produce the very (self-)articulating being and bodily presence that presumably act as their source. Whilst delivering selves and bodies as part of the world, vocal expressions at the same time inevitably depart from their emitters. As projection, the voice both exposes and replaces its source. Whether in a ‘live’ situation or when engaged in cinematic/other mediatised experience, we arguably strive to attach vocal sonorities to a visible origin. Yet, to elaborate on Steven

Connor (2000) there is always something ‘ventriloqual’ in the voice’s ultimate incompatibility with such visually ensured origins. In sum, the relations of voice to agency, embodiment, space, perception, power, and technical media are expandingly complex. My intention in this talk is to explore and further conceptualise these complexities in conversation with Control(2007), the film directed by Anton Corbijn about Joy Division, particularly the band’s late lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis. This film, I contend, harnesses some of the above-sketched paradoxes of voice through its narrative but especially audiovisual and aesthetic presentations of Curtis’s character and vocal performances. I will inspect the voice as part of Curtis’s diegetic agency, but also as an agency in its own right in excess of its emitter’s control. This takes place in relation to such other distinctive audiovisual aspects of the film’s portrayal of Curtis as the dancing, convulsing body and the (still) face in close-up. This talk aims to address three areas that intertwine in my current research: the study of the ethico-aesthetics of voice in contemporary artistic practices and media culture; the return in the analysis of media to the political potential of sensory, aesthetic arrangements to shape our feelings, experience and thought processes; and the examination of non-normative media cultural masculinities from these two perspectives.

 Milla Tiainen is Lecturer and Course Leader for Media Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. During 2013-2014, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Academy of Finland funded project “Deleuzian Music Studies”. Tiainen’s current research interests include the voice in contemporary artistic practice, media culture and theory, theories of affect, rhythm and the body in movement, sound and performance studies, and new materialist approaches in cultural/media studies and feminist thought. She has published widely in the areas of music scholarship and cultural theory. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in such publications as the edited volume  Carnal Knowledge: Towards a New Materialism through the Arts (IB Tauris, 2013), Body&Society, and NECSUS – European Journal of Media Studies. She is finishing a book about a new Deleuzian approach to musical performance (under contract with University of Minnesota Press).

Exploring British Film and Television Stardom Conference, Queen Mary, University of London. Nov 2nd 2013


A little late on this one, but it looks great. Organised by Julie Lobalzo-Wright and Adrian Garvey.

Exploring British Film and Television Stardom Conference

Saturday, 2 November 2013 at Queen Mary, University of London

Supported by Living British Cinema

Keynote speakers: Dr. Melanie Bell (Newcastle University) and

Dr. Andrew Spicer (University of the West of England)

While British cinema and television history are thriving fields of scholarship,the issue of stardom has been insufficiently explored in national terms, and most British star images suggest that the dominant Hollywood model, associated with individualism, glamour, and consumption, sits uneasily in a British cultural context.

A decade after groundbreaking work by Geoffrey Macnab, in Searching for Stars: Stardom and Acting in British Cinema, and Bruce Babington’s British Stars and Stardom: From Alma Taylor to Sean Connery, there are new directions in star studies to consider, including performance, fandom and transnational stardom. Has film stardom now been usurped by celebrity, calling into question Christine Gledhill’s assertion that cinema “still provides the ultimate confirmation of stardom”? Meanwhile, television in this period has been marked by the phenomenon of a wave of British stars, including Hugh Laurie, Dominic West, Idris Elba and Damien Lewis, who have been reimagined in American long-form drama, and by the recent international success of Downton Abbey.

This one-day conference seeks to explore British stardom from historical, cultural, industrial and contemporary perspectives and will be an unprecedented opportunity to study stars in a British context. The conference aims to explore the issues around media stardom and national identity in innovative and challenging ways.  We welcome proposals from established academics, postgraduates, and independent scholars in the field.


mirrormirrorA fantastic event and interesting review by Rina Ross.

Old Age and Feature Films

“The photo is never a mirror” Dr.  Margaret Morganroth Gullette

After I attended the Lumière Blanche Festival I explored with another member of the Film Group the possibilities of reaching  and exposing young people to images of old women. We obviously thought of the caring professions following Dr. Depassio’s example. But surprise! double surprise it is the London College of Fashion that set the trend.

Hannah Zeilig organised the best conference on Ageing that I have attended these last two years: Mirror Mirror: Representation and Reflections on Age and Ageing. This was not academics talking to academics. This event was about changing attitudes and Hannah explains this need in the foreword of the conference document.

The attendance was a wonderful mix of women of all ages.  I noted by talking to young women that their perceptions of old women were changing there and then.   The old woman was…

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