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Birkbeck College, University of London


The research project began with the appointment, for one year, of a Junior Research Fellow, Jamie Sexton, in May 2001 to work with Professor Laura Mulvey. This project will stay closely in touch with that of Central Saint Martins on experimental film and with that of the University of Ulster on British television drama.

The research is intended to:

  1. Break down the traditional generic divisions in British television studies crossing between drama, news/current affairs, documentary.
  2. Use research into technological innovation to advance concepts of television theory, particularly those relevant to the changing inscription of time, space and mode of address.
  3. Reconsider the question of ‘technological determinism’ in the context of current debates on technological change.
  4. Reflect on the mapping of region and metropolis in British television at the time and consider these issues in terms of both of television institutional policy and changing perceptions of national identity.
  5. Consider the concept of ‘experimental’ television.

The research will, in practical terms, aim to do the following:

  1. Identify:
    1. the key figures supporting the use of 16mm during the innovative period
    2. specific influences on these figures (for instance, cinema verite, cinema direct)
    3. the time-line/chronology of 16 mm’s trajectory from novelty to normality
  2. Identify significant programmes for archive research, contact archives and establish present and potential programme availability
  3. Initiate an interview/oral history project concentrating closely on this period and these issues (outside funding to be obtained).
  4. Initiate a DVD publication project (in collaboration with the BFI) to include selected programmes and interview material.
  5. Organise an NFT season of selected programmes, accompanied by educational events, designed to give the project a profile in Higher Education, drawing attention to both historical and theoretical issues at stake.
  6. Publish academic articles which document the research and analyse its theoretical implications.

During the funded research period, Laura Mulvey and the Junior Research Fellow will assist with the organisation of, and participate actively in, study-days and seminars initiated by other partner institutions’ research-strands.

In addition to the Junior Research Fellow funded April 2001-2002, Birkbeck will have one other funded position, a Senior Research Fellow, in Year 4 to follow up Birkbeck’s other research initiative which is dedicated to research on early cinema in Britain.


Professor Laura Mulvey
AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies
Room 102
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

020 7631 6138




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Last modified 16 June, 2005 ; web@bftv.ac.uk