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BCMCR Research Seminar: Screen Cultures

October 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Screen Cultures-  Networks and New Perspectives: Screen Cultures in Development
1600-1730 Wednesday 17 October 2018
C284, Curzon B, Birmingham City University

Free registration at this 
Dr Faye Davies (BCU) – Prisoner and Wentworth Reboot: Sexuality and the Sociopath  
This paper focuses on the notion of ‘retroactive continuity’ across distinct temporal spaces thorough the discursive consideration of the characterisation and representation of the character of Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson. This is a particularly pertinent case study as although Wentworth may be a ‘reimagined’ series, it can also be considered as ‘retcon’ in terms of narrative and character development. This means that it is quite unique in allowing a consideration of sociocultural contexts that relate to the creation and development of characters that have a representational burden in relation to sexuality, sexual practice, and social interaction. The key consideration of this work is the changing focus of characterisation of Ferguson from sexual predator (Prisoner) to sociopathic manipulator (Wentworth). What is uncovered through this analysis is a distinct alteration to the dominant order of discourse related to lesbian sexuality and sociopathic behaviour, this relates to a de-prioritisation of the social ‘problem’ of the predatory, but ideologically redeemable lesbian, into sociopathic manipulator. This is considered through interpretive frameworks related to commercial and industrial imperatives, and cultural shifts related to LGBTQI+ issues.
Please see the Eventbrite link for the full abstract.
Professor John Mercer (BCU) – Reflections on the AHRC Masculinities Research Network Project
Starting this year BCU is the host institution for a major AHRC research network entitled Masculinity Sex and Popular Culture. The network is open to international researchers across disciplines and comprises a steering group of researchers from BCU, UEA, Exeter, Schwules Museum and ICI Berlin, Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis and UoC Barcelona. Over the next 2 years the network will convene 3 themed events in 3 major European cities and will collectively write a report on sexualised masculinity in the 21st Century. In this presentation I will introduce the network and identify the aims, objectives and principle outputs that we intend to produce and identify through a discussion of ‘toxic masculinity’ (the theme of our recent symposium) some of the issues we will be tackling.
Ellie Tomsett (BCU) – Online to IRL: The impact of Social Media on the Live Practice of Female Identifying stand-up comics
This paper will consider the ways in which social media (specifically the Twitter platform) impacts upon the work of female identifying stand-up comics. Stand-up comedy has originated and been developed as a form in gendered spaces, most notably the Working Men’s Clubs of the 1960s and 70s. The UK stand-up comedy industry continues to be dominated by white, heterosexual, cis-gendered men. In the current context can social media provide opportunities to challenge this dominance, or does this digital space replicate the behaviours female comic performers experience in the live environment?

Stand-up comic performance, which traditionally requires direct address to an audience, is co-constructed through dialogue between performer and audience. This begs the question, what happens when that dialogue is no longer bound to the time and place of the live performance? Are there positive and negative aspects of this development that are unique to female comedians? This paper will draw on qualitative data from interviews with comedians and promoters collected as part of a four-year research project with the UK Women in Comedy Festival. 

About the speakers:
Dr. Faye Davies is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Theory at Birmingham City University. Her PhD focused on representations of sexuality in US television through the contextual prism of discourses related to industrial production, textual meaning, and audience response. Her research interests have now expanded to further explore oral histories of sexuality, and representations of incarceration in popular media. She has forthcoming chapters in Wentworth is the New Prisoner (2019) and The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Media (2019). Faye is also part of the editorial board for Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, and is a reviewer for Critical Studies in Television and the Journal of Gender Studies
John Mercer is Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. His research interests focus on the social and cultural construction of masculinities in the 21st century. He is the author of Pornography: Representations of Masculinity and Sexuality (IB Tauris, 2017)Rock Hudson (BFI, 2015) and (with Martin Shingler) Melodrama: Genre, Style and Sensibility.
John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies, one of the editorial founders of and co-editor of Porn Studies and editorial board member of Sexualities and Celebrity Studies. With Clarissa Smith, he edits the monograph series Masculinity, Sex and Popular Culture for Routledge and is currently writing Sexualised Masculinity for this series.
Ellie Tomsett is Programme Leader for Foundation in Media at Birmingham City University. She is completing her PhD research, entitled Reflections on UK Comedy’s Glass Ceiling: Stand-Up Comedy and Contemporary Feminisms, with Sheffield Hallam University. As part of her research Ellie has been Researcher in Residence with the Women in Comedy Festival in Manchester since 2014. In 2017 she co-founded Mixed Bill a comedy and gender research network with colleagues and has written on feminist and post-feminist stand-up comedy and self-deprecatory humour.


October 17, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:



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