These were pretty impressive… seem quite well in time to the music.
My brain is still wavering between comments from Twitter re: watching various debts/people’s jobs going up in smoke (re costs of Fireworks), but suspect London got the costs back in tourism, and sometimes we need to do things that aren’t ‘necessary’…
Variance of numbers progressing into higher education – NE least likely, SE/London far more likely to (ties into economic value).
Parliamentary Constituencies send everything from 10%-60% to university.
Gender – much more women, but women still earning around 12% less. Also month of birth – September 5% more than August.
More ££, parents read Daily Telegraph – more likely to go.
Tip of a demographic downturn. 10 years of drops in numbers to 2020/21 (4-5%).
Student Numbers: Change over time
Student fees didn’t put numbers off, but there is a tipping point and feels has pretty much reached that point.
Where the money comes from in HE
Oxford/Cambridge could keep going for a couple of years if money stopped coming in today, average looks to hold 3.9% in reserve, but around 12 are in danger (not Winchester).
Some institutions heavily dependent on government funds… Makes them more vulnerable.
Money from research – from 0% to small number get £250k – most because of historical advantage they have. 1 modern university in London has more ethnic minority students than all the Russell Group universities.. Who have most money, etc & therefore could rectify the situation. But these Students – good at getting in to other institutions. Particular problem with white working class boys.
Starting Points: Finish Points
Selection at 11 more likely to ‘succeed’ at 18. Lots of measures of universities on their outcome, but few on the UCAS entry points .. Who is applauding the universities who are getting 200 points to 2:1, whereas 500 points should be a given at first…
Lower socio-economic groups – more likely to stay at home (pre tuition fees), not just cost but not recognising the attainment possibilities.
Most students still attend to get qualifications, get a job, etc a although good number for experience.
Students who want to get into Russell Group not so concerned about subject.. Just want to get in the door. More modern university – more concerned by being at home.
The more likely to vote: the more likely to be in HE
The more participation in elections, more likely to attend uni – not sure what happens first. Government successively cut fees since 1980s…
Choices made much younger e.g. 13 GCSE choices a rules out options at university & therefore late choices.
Graduate Premium by Subject
Graduate premium… Average ££ value after course. Varies by subject etc. figures vary wildly by institution also. Graduate destination data doesn’t vary that much.
Starting salary tends to vary by institution. Interrogate the statistics.. Geography and subject choice makes a big difference (eg arts never pays well).
Consumer Models of Education?
Success in HE – is you making use of the facilities to their best. Gym analogy works – if don’t use equipment won’t get fit (doesn’t matter how much pay) – if don’t take staff advice, use the facilities available – won’t have a good degree experience. Should not be equated with buying a car or a kettle. Lots of debate re cost – but so much more complicated than a simple tuition fee – previous life experience has a much bigger impact.
Important – aspiration & ability – universities CAN take people from all sorts of backgrounds – is still biggest springboard into new world and new opportunities. Bright enough/interested enough – can do what you want…
About 5000 courses being cut because ‘soft’. Definitely thinks universities should consider their portfolio. What is soft/hard is perceptual. Media studies – long derided, but has a great employability record. Media twice as big as pharmaceutical industries in UK.
Statistics = negative. What would say to those re apprenticeships, etc. Stats re happiness, health etc outstrips always. Politicians preach value of apprenticeships but always send own kids to university. Social circles = different world – wider – that apprenticeship can’t offer.
When paying £9k – will employers recognise value of this? In 1960s were saying literacy skills not good. Employers are mostly 80%+ happy with students. If employers want specific skills, should pay on the job. Unis need to be open to what unis can offer re employability… Though not driven by it. Youth un employment Stands at 20%. Graduates at 10% and earnings go up faster, with promotions, etc.
Passion for widening access/opportunities for all – only those universities that are keen to do so. Often written off at an earlier age… So important to continue working with primary/secondary schools to widen access. Important for parents to talk about university (even if not been) & how many books in house – makes a difference. Encouragement at choices at 11 makes a huge difference. Hopefully at 18 student drives the choices. ensure those in state schools get meaningful careers advice (when challenge is getting 5 GCSEs)… Give evidence of data of what university can do for you…
Hard/soft decided at school. Should be encouraged to take those they enjoy, but also good at… Not just those that can get a good grade/economics… Inconsistency in policy – calling for more practical subjects but not giving eg a D&T degree the same power as eg history.
Biggest issue not fees, but the removal of the infrastructure for access – eg Aim Higher = the biggest issue.
What about additional courses for trips, etc. ‘hidden fees’ especially when tuition fee goes up. Becomes less and less acceptable although universities have only same/less money. Need greater transparency around those costs – with a view of removing them. Is cross subsidy goes on – as e.g. Medics costs £17k+, whereas low end subjects £4k – how transparent are unis going to be?
5 years ago not a single care student at Winchester, this year are 18. Don’t sit on hands and say ‘we can’t do anything’.
This (just published) volume show cases 17 student papers, including coursework, FYPs and reflection pieces. Topics covered in this edition include a critique of a creative writing degree, paper examining Hindu pilgrimage, a report on the complexity of ADHD, a discussion on the Human Rights Bill, an analysis of Nokia Corporation, a look at Bosnian Theatre in a war zone. The contributors have demonstrated the excellent work produced by Winchester’s undergraduates.
16 November 2011 at NoonHer Majesty The Queen accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will attend a service of celebration, in association with the King James Bible Trust, to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible at Westminster Abbey on 16 November at 12 noon.
The place of the King James Bible in our culture and the continuing significance of the Word will be celebrated in the service.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams will give the Address. A new composition by one of the winners of the King James Bible Trust Composition Awards, Out of the South Cometh the Whirlwind by American composer, Zachary Wadsworth will be performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by James O’Donnell.
Following the service the Abbey’s bells will be rung to a peal of Stedman Caters comprising 5,400 changes.
Lancelot Andrewes, Dean of Westminster 1601-1605, was Director of the first Westminster Company responsible for translating part of the Old Testament. It is believed that the translators met in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey, a room also used by subsequent translators.
The service is part of a series of Abbey events marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
I’m a little concerned that we (Pete Phillips & I) have a meeting at 1.30pm, and it doesn’t start til 12 … we can get there from 10am. I’ll be getting the 854 I think – guess I should decide what to wear, and not forget my 2 forms of ID…
In 2006, I was on a ski trip in January, and said that I would run the Manchester 10k (May) .. thinking it didn’t sound that far… but after 1 minute on the treadmill, I was slightly dying, so joined the running club. My aim was to get it done in 1 hour 30 minutes, but I did it in 1 hour 8 minutes 26 seconds…
Later that year, after sharing a bottle of wine with a friend, we signed up for the Winchester 10k, which was a WEEK later (and I was still running, but definitely not at the same level), but I completed that in 1 hour 6 minutes! I’m sure it’s more hilly also…
In the time since, I’ve been travelling around the world (where I got a chest infection), partaken in a number of computer based jobs, and I felt the need for something to inspire me to get my ‘get up and go back’ (I’ve been back at the gym for over a year, and love the classes there)… and know that running before, though I don’t particularly “enjoy” it, I really reap the benefits from it… and seeing @batty_towers talking about her runs, a friend running today in the Great South Run, and seeing the apps that show how far you’ve run (seen those Tweets about #runkeeper?). Also see:
I’ll be running on behalf of the NSPCC, so at some point there will be an appeal for sponsorship, but encouragement & support will be greatly appreciated!
After blogging about @flashevensong on this blog the other day, and subsequent conversations on Facebook/Twitter, Wayne Clarke invited me to speak (at 7.40am!) on BBC Radio Merseyside about my experiences of being there.
Listen again, from around 1.32, to the stories about St Paul’s (around 1.37 for my stuff)
Today, I met with Pete Phillips to discuss where we’re going with @bigbible, etc. and, combined with a number of Tweets I’d seen earlier, decided that I would join the Flash Evensong, organised by @artsyhonker (who’d run a similar event on Sunday).
Information had been circulated via Twitter since Sunday afternoon (always with the knowledge that the Cathedral might reopen), with materials available on a website (therefore those coming were asked to either print off, or use their phones for the material). We were welcome, however, to just stand and enjoy the atmosphere (tho I knew I’d be doing some tweeting, etc..) … and it was great to run into a number of people that I often talk to on Twitter but rarely meet face to face… It was great to see how Twitter had brought people together (for an event that @artsyhonker had expected about 10 people at), and to see crowds grow as 30+ singers sang beautifully… although the ‘paps’ were rather disconcerting – they know how to get their picture (yes, push!) … lots of us just stayed up to watch ITV News … but no sign of us I was asked by ‘Classical Music’ magazine – there was a guy in the right place at the right time – whether I thought this was a ‘publicity stunt’ or a service … those of us there definitely felt that it was a service, and Kathryn (@artsyhonker) rationale for creating it was that people aren’t able to go to Evensong in the Cathedral, but faith/worship is clearly so much bigger than the building (see Jhon Cooper’s interview)
Academics from physicists to experts on Scandinavian culture are crafting stand-up comedy routines based on their work. But this is no joke. Matthew Reisz finds that a crowd’s laughter is not the only payoff
Here’s an idea of the content:
The nominal theme, tying in with a major exhibition, Power of Making, is “craft”, though the audience could not possibly have guessed it. Performers explore Tory drinking rituals and the “extreme decollete fashions” of the 17th century; pubic hair loss during the menopause; the importance of anti-Catholic fart humour in the early development of printing; the difficulties of translating Danish jokes into English; and the history of racist comedy (the speaker warns the audience in advance that “because this is a national institution, I’m not allowed to tell you the punchlines”).
A PhD student offers a glimpse of his lonely life: “Today is Tuesday, the day after University Challenge, when I get a chance to spend some quality time with Jeremy Paxman.” There is also a song about dinosaurs in Westminster and a polka-dotted cabaret duo, not to mention the occasional groan-worthy one-liner (“Anyone seen Ralph Fiennes in The Tempest? It’s going down a storm”).
And here’s the rationale:
As head of public engagement at UCL, Cross created his academic comedy nights in response to a specific challenge: to find a way of engaging with people in “the great demographic gap” between the ages of 20 and 40. “Universities have been very good at schools outreach and at getting academics on to Radio 4,” he explains, “but we haven’t been so good at reaching the market in between.” Many museums and cultural institutions face a similar problem.
So how could they get “an audience to turn up and listen to members of the university sharing their research, teaching and knowledge in a meaningful, interactive way, face to face and not through a facilitator”? Cross and his team talked to people who ran theatre, music and comedy nights. “We wanted something with content that would attract an audience beyond those already working and studying in universities. The thing we came up with was stand-up comedy – because of the rise of intelligent comedy, because researchers can learn to perform to a good standard relatively quickly, and because you can make anything funny.”
Wednesday evening, I popped along from working on The Big Bible Project, to check out the first event of its kind held by Psychologies Magazine. Aside from snapping my calf muscle en route (2nd time in 2 weeks), I turned up in time for wine (sure it’s a great pain killer!), and had a chance to chat to some of the team from Psychologies mag – always nice to know more about the people who are writing what you’re reading! I’ve got every edition of Psychologies, although I’ve not necessarily read them all (yet!), and it was great at the end of the event to chat to some more of the team, and there may be an opportunity to write some materials! So, I guess… watch this space… I guess it depends how much I procrastinate about it
I would go to the bottom of these images and read up…:
I wanted to wish a Happy Christmas to everyone (as you may know, I only send Christmas cards to older relatives!), and as per usual, have been looking out for bits and pieces online to brighten up people’s Christmas! Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year… I will be enjoying myself in Egypt (and yes, trying not to get eaten by sharks!)… having a ‘digital break’ for 2.5 weeks!! BTW, don’t you just love this shadow pic by 12baskets!!
The Birth of Jesus: Social Media Style
This year, it’s all about the Nativity, so here’s a great video (if you’re into social media, you’ll love it… if you speak Portuguese you’ll love it even more, but I think you’ll get it anyway edit: or we’ve now found an English version!)
Have you come across Natwivity yet?
Meet Joseph, he’s an ordinary guy with a pretty ordinary life. He’s in a relationship with Mary and works as a carpenter in Galilee. This young couple are about to receive some very un-ordinary news and begin an extraordinary journey – One that will change the world forever… (Join 1000s of others on Twitter, Facebook, Website)
Through the eyes of a child…
Cute kids acting out the story more your thing? This one’s very cute!!
Happy New Year and look forward to an excellent 2011…
2011 is the 400th anniversary since the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Biblefresh is a movement of hundreds of churches, agencies, organisations, colleges and festivals which has a vision to reignite and re-enthuse the church in its passion for the Bible. For many in our churches the Bible has become tedious and toxic rather than treasured, trusted and true. The aim of the Biblefresh initiative is to encourage a greater confidence and passion for Scripture across the Church.
Biblefresh is asking churches to agree to raise the level of biblical understanding amongst their members by taking practical steps in four areas: Reading, Training, Translation and Experience, providing resources through the Biblefresh website, book, leaders guide and e-letters which will provide you with ideas as to how to fulfil development in all four areas.
The Big Read 2011
Alongside other projects, I am working on The Big Bible Project, which includes “The #BigRead2011″, part of Biblefresh. The Big Read involves meeting together in housegroups to read the Bible, making use of Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone: Matthew (December 2010) with opportunities to go much bigger and much more creative and join in online (inter)nationally. From quiet sitting rooms with Bibles and books, to coffee shops and Internet chatrooms across the world…. Get involved!
Even though the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the big thing that the moment, London’s Fringe Festival continues throughout the year. I was invited to come hear Charly’s short-story which had been short-listed. I don’t leave work til 7, when the event started, and unfortunately they went in alphabetical order, so I missed, but still, I think the support as the results were read out was appreciated!
“Have you ever wondered how the media works, or watched a TV programme and asked yourself what values underpin it? Ever pondered the ethics of media production and consumption? Is there a theology of communication? How might the church engage with and support those who work in the media? Ever thought about how the national church engages with the media? How do church press offices work? Could your local church engage more effectively with the media? What might the digital future look like? How might social networking develop? Today Twitter and FaceBook, tomorrow…?
MediaLit gave the opportunity to explore all these issues and more. Based in the wonderful setting of St John’s College, Durham, MediaLit was a week long, intensive course – both hands on and theoretical – which brought together media practitioners, journalists, the Churches Media Council, those exploring how to use social media in relation to Christian faith, trainee ministers, vicars and other interested parties.”
“A few days ago Pete Phillips from CODEC guest blogged on the Church and Media Network Conference, and mentioned an upcoming course organised by CODEC and the Church and Media Network, called as MediaLit. The course describes itself as “an opportunity for first class training and resources in media for ministry for those engaged in formal pre-ordination training, those already engaged in local or national ministry and anyone concerned to connect Christian faith with communication in a digital age. ”
MediaLit has now taken place, and Mouse wanted to bring it to your attention. Below is a guest post from Dr Bex Lewis on what it was all about. Bex has a PhD in Second World War posters (http://ww2poster.co.uk), teaches History & Media Studies, whilst working on Blended Learning projects for the Universities of Winchester & Durham.”
Should be important for all to take this, media is so central to our society.
Is it OK for all to have wi-fi when many still don’t have water?
If you can’t do something really well it’s better not to bother or pay others? If all that means is that noticeboard is smart, etc. and is all can manage, then go with that.
Given more confidence to use technology, especially new media.
Use simpler new media more effectively – use good values. Make own material that like – not just moan about Rob Bell, but make better.
Is it my fault that in The Times that Christians look stupid – so stop blaming the media & engage with existing, and stand up for own thoughts.
So many thoughts. Difficult to stay up to date & be savvy, and how naïve we are with broadcast radio/tv media. Would be good to have refreshers to keep people engaged. Need to step back from the computer screen & think what is this really showing/doing – the right tools!!
There’s a role for lots of people in our congregations, particularly those who find it difficult to get involved in other areas. What can others bring to it.
Fun, creative & gets juices going. Much of the Church fairly joyless & hard work – how get some of this excitement across to congregations.
Preaching, etc.? What connects everyone in this room? Creativity – given by God. Whatever use of media (or any other role in the world) – do it well. Take more risks, leave space to fail!
So much creativity in the Christian community… Politics of the Church tends to lock a lot of that down – so how do we find ways of releasing that?
The media is not the Messiah or the Devil.
Find different platforms for your own creativity. All try – at least we’re going somewhere.
Take more risks…
Be honest about failure – breed confidence by honesty! When we get things wrong admit it & don’t try and involve the Holy Spirit as a justification!
Find a network of people you can trust & work with on collaborative projects.
Theology – so easy to get drawn into the mode of communication, and forget the theological basis for what you’re trying to achieve. Theological support or constraint you might have. Remember the WHY and the HOW through a theological lens. Paul – justification for missionary movement moving on out..
Bringing together media professionals & theologians v. important.
What kind of support/encouragement, etc. are you going to offer to those e.g. making radio programmes on Sunday morning – and what are you going to learn from them. Theology & technology – keep it together.
God is much bigger than our laptops & there are more questions that just how we interact with media. Every initiative needs to be critiqued through issue of justice. Work out strategically what’s important – accept compromises/balance, but keep asking questions.
New Media – give access to information, etc. for both developed/developing nations. Africa – never be cabled, but mobile phone – making a huge difference! What could you do that would serve the local community where you are? E.g. buying Wii for Friday night clubs, etc.
Do we need to take this on the road as a 2-3 day course? Can we identify those who are passionate and can lead this? General congregation can get involved, but identify those with particular passions.
How do we see God involved in this? Is media a gift (community, communication, being fully human in community)? Can be a gift that can be corrupted by us so need theological understanding. Similar questions between science/faith – until see science as a gift can’t deal with it theologically.
In our richness, how do we share in a way that isn’t patronising, but is liberating. JUSTICE issues… Divide between those who have access to free information, and those who only have access to advertised information.
Pray for those working in the media? If you hear them, pray for them – let them know you’re praying for them..
Individualism vs community nature of the gospel
Christian media vs Christians working in the media (Just say yes if asked to contribute. Sucks the talent out, and takes an “out” for mainstream media as “they have their own space” – mainstream – have to be GREAT to get it out there – so we should aim to be good enough to get on BBC1, rather than putting it on own channel; what about e.g. getting Delirious in the charts, what about e.g. Athlete – band happen to be Christians, but they’re not KNOWN as that. MAKE good TV (not necessarily “Christian” TV) – maybe you’ll get asked further questions, maybe you won’t. Do we have to know, do people have to wear a label?
How support those who we want to take on roles in the congregation – not “oh, the vicar does it”. Digitally enabled laity (those who are keen to use, enable them)
Where to start in applying it. What are they ALREADY communicating through notice board/their physical presence, the people in it, etc..
You are the light of the world, not you might be.
Use the right TOOL for the job.
New Media vs Old Media – midweek that seemed to be the way… now that divide also seems not to be there… Don’t be AFRAID, just experiment, take risks, think about the MESSAGE that you have. Sharing and more COLLABORATIVE seems to be more of the mood that’s coming out..
Is anyone concerned about ethics? 2 years ago lots of ethical debates, started with Richard & Judy (You Say We Pay) – viewers phone calls, but no one past first 10 minutes. Most of these programmes make their money from phone calls. Set off a big hoo-ha… and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6449919.stm
These edits must happen all the time, so why does it matter that it’s the Queen.
E.g. the whole of Big Brother – it tells the story you want..
Is it all mis-representation – e.g. Songs of Praise Easter Service filmed at Christmas?
Is it the celebration or the mediation?
Does it need e.g. “30 women in our survey”, do we need to sacrifice some entertainment for honesty?
Are we talking about levels of honesty?
Emma Watson’s boobs get bigger in the IMAX version of Harry Potter – is this any different from other models? Is the first image “real”? What assumptions are there about values about e.g. what makes people feel attractive, etc?
BNP included in local TV (material being produced nationally although includes local stories). Issues of freedom of speech? Basis as a local channel. Did they stop producing the tapes? Open access community channel – would monitor more closely? Where is the dividing line? Can’t show illegal but CAN be offensive.. e.g. local sermons can be offensive to some. Similar story: http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/forum/topics/revelation-tv-debate-nick
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6676345.stm This story? It’s right to deceive in who they are to get ‘the truth’. There are legally appointed bodies that could deal with this – e.g. Trading Standards – so why did the BBC not work with them?! Is the question different (can you break the law to find a story “in the public interest”) for journalists than others? Journalists may lose their lives in pursuing “the truth”.
Footballer, convicted of fraud, commits suicide in front of the group/cameras, etc. 30 minutes to air – would you air the story – with what audio/video. Convention is that we don’t show the moment of death, but it isn’t illegal. At what point do you cut the pictures or the sound? Usually using a reporter on sight – he’s just seen a man commit suicide – is he going to be calm? Pastoral issues for the staff… Why so many journalists are harsh – asking them to make sensitive decisions. Talking local press..
http://tweetphoto.com/29015976. Thought wouldn’t mention that she’d died – tell story by omission until knew more about the hostage situation – would ask for exclusive from the Police. What about other media (TV/radio/internet) likely to run the story – where does that leave you? “Our job is to tell the truth, and to tell something as fully as you can” – if divert – on a slippery slope…
Are there still good news stories in the papers, etc? Journalists are SO lazy it tends to get in…
When researcher asks you to sign a contract, it’s a “blood chit”.
How naïve are we?! Does Christianity inform us – we can’t agree, so what about journalists, many of whom have no Christian value. However have high values on ‘truth’ & entertainment!
Once understand the issues that people are dealing with, can communicate more effectively.
The group had a discussion about what was the SWOT for the Church of England, and therefore how can it engage best?
6-7 million go to church regularly in the UK, of which 1 million CofE.
There’s both an internal (staff & regular churchgoers) and an external audience (including those looking for weddings/funerals, non-churchgoers and the press). A very diverse audience, so it’s unlikely that people will agree with all.
Sky – 15 TV channels, 10 radio channels, promoting Christian media – more sophisticated – is big money
Caveat – I am not a huge fan of Christian only TV – think we need those skills in mainstream media, although with so many niche channels, I think there’s a place for these channels, but PLEASE don’t suck all the skilled Christians into a Christian-media-bubble-niche – those who watch those kind of TV – already “preaching to the converted”! I have also seen a number of people who watch only e.g. The God Channel and consume it uncritically – TV is produced by humans, and we need to critique as much as with everything else.
Advertising is key – have some mainstream audience, can be very targeted – especially with e.g. Spotify : http://www.spotify.com/uk ; webmail providers (browser history). Because of the internet – lots of media is converging – newspapers are only just getting involved with it. Masthead sponsorship have to watch before get to content.
Having to identify new funding models…
Development of hi-speed broadband = worst nightmare.
Are so many options for video – doesn’t take much to get the lighting right/2 cameras not 2 – so look to make a decent video rather than slapping it up! There’s many novelists, but there’s only one JK Rowling – put the effort in.
Games – big pressure on independents
God TV was ahead of the game…
Compression on TV through digital (including HD, clear on analogue TV) means, especially if move too fast, difficult to see.
Labour intensive & expensive to film
Satellite time & transponding – even MORE expensive!
How do channels such The God Channel survive in there?
Most Christian TV channels have ‘help fund us’ run across the base of programmes – helps confirm the idea that most Christians are money-grubbing.
Some invest time/money into producing their own content, etc.
What about e.g. Billy Graham always pointed people to local churches.
Here, UCB are the good guys – they will refer you to useful sources.
Most start in TV not to make money…
So what is an HONORABLE way to raise money for Christian TV? E.g. Church partnerships?
So SHOULD we even have Christian TV?
One of the impacts of American model – OFCOM has found there are certain things they can’t regulate as people will find other ways round them. So it’s becoming increasingly liberal, otherwise closing doors after horses have bolted! http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bcode/religion/
Some secular funding comes because they think there’s some interesting stories in there…
Is the brand the product or is the packaging?
What are we trying to “sell” and should the label/what’s inside in the tin match? Are we ‘selling’ – what words should we use? How do you see the word ‘sell’ – maybe you’re giving people something they want… at a cost (to someone)?
How can we be enterprising at our level? Seek God first and pray…
“Digital is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sick of seeing all this hi-def, hi-hi, super-hi… It just seems to be a trend. In reality we all want analogue experiences.” Kylie Minogue. Times 19/06/10.
There’s a relationship between “old” and “new” media – Twitter only works because you can link to greater understanding.
E.g. The Beatitudes – bit like Twitter without the bigger understanding.
“Which Media Do You Trust”. Photo (2 years ago) by The Newspaper Society
80.4% of British adults read a regional newspaper, rather than 61% who read a national newspaper – are these figures out of date?
New Media: The Power of Localism. Clay Shirky “Here Comes Everybody”.
The Potential & The Fear
News-What is It?
Is it everything? Do people want to read about cereal?
Something that’s new?
Not defined by the audience?
Events (something happens, e.g. 9/11) – in big stories may be all we hear about = “hard news”
Response (e.g. “The Today Programme”) – respond on behalf of community to what was hard news earlier (e.g. Cumbria shootings)
Piggy Back (commenting on comments, responding to response, especially fills a “slow news day”) – in many ways this is what we understand by blogs.
Within full nuances, complex, hour’s lecture – it makes sense, but who actually reads the whole story…
C of E = a voluntary organisation, not a company. Term “Broad Church” comes from here. So can say “Don’t talk to Press without talking to your Comms Office”, but doesn’t work that way – but each vicar needs to think “does this empower the Kingdom”.
Assumption that this story is a bad thing… just because it got hot… Get 2 lots of coverage by putting out a statement & then the retraction.
A Priestly Parable?
What can we learn from Fr Tim Jones?
Possible to use media effectively in highlighting issues of faith –esp prophetic
Good relationships can/do exist – usually in the form of individuals continuing relationship
The adrenaline of ’15 minutes’ in 24/7 media world can be addictive (the first story was good, the 2nd a mistake)
Not all publicity is good publicity.
A Priestly Parable?
What can we learn from Fr Tim Jones?
Possible to use media effectively in highlighting issues of faith –esp prophetic
Good relationships can/do exist – usually in the form of individuals continuing relationship
The groups divided into 3 tables, with around 4-5 papers per table. The prompts below were divided amongst the tables. Delegates were asked to return to the newspaper(s) and look for a story which fits the prompt: interpretation of the prompt is up to you; feel free to discuss; decide how you pray about it. After praying stories are posted on the wall for all groups to see.
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number-living things both large and small. (Psalm 104:24-25)
John 17:15: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one
A story to do with “Social Media” (positive or negative)
A story that relates to Social Activism (positive or negative)
A positive message to take from a story that is presented negatively
A ‘global’ story
Mark 14:38: Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
A ‘local’ story
For a story of ‘hope’
Evidence of God’s blessing
A situation that looks as though it is ‘beyond hope’
Matthew 5:44: But I tell you: Loveyourenemies and pray for those who persecute you
Find an image that really ‘speaks’
A story that relates to a friend
Numbers 25:12: Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him.
A date in history that has modern day resonance
A story related to “being creative”
Genesis 4:9: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
What’s on the front page of the paper doesn’t necessarily have to form the front page of the church agenda.
Do we use national/local news as the focus (sometimes)? Does preaching help the congregation understand the news differently?
16% say yes, isn’t that a shockingly low number?
What are the pastoral and prophetic modes of preaching?
Pastoral preaching – around empathy/arouse compassion; a resonation with life experience for the hearer. See God in a situation, cry out in lament/not tidy & closed down as have to join in the pain where God doesn’t seem obvious – return to hope in God on the basis of past faithfulness.
Where does the power lie in this preaching? Who has been left nameless – Prophetic preaching, takes risks as it looks to uncover that.
Key features of the imagination.
Inventive (Story-telling relies on a vicarious retelling of other’s experiences. E.g. May have no experience of redundancy after a lifetime in the steelworks – would be patronising to say that you did understand, but can imagine – how far?)
Speculative (Intentional alternative – either/or; not an optional extra for ‘arty types’ – shape the content, otherwise naïve platitudes… )
Preaching without imagination is just dull & they should be shot! Otherwise is less evocative, otherwise the hearers are left with “so what” questions?
In what sense id preaching imaginative vocation?
Rummage in the experience we’re talking about, find the living/breathing text that we’re talking into – from both texts (news story, congregation, Bible)
Pray, study & discuss – do we put as much effort into trying to “sit inside” news stories as we do inside the Biblical text? It’s in the interplay that the meaning comes alive. Preacher’s job is to “arc the spark” – otherwise reductionist/closed, church-to-church. Should be dramatic, artistic, open, daring & liberated! Have a life after the sermon – provoke conscience, etc.
What can we learn from Atticus and Ignatius in terms of how preaching might deal with news imaginatively?b
Atticus stepping into people’s lives, and Ignatius into the Gospels.
Read in different accounts, reading editorials, understanding the surrounding.
What’s the link between the 2, and where is God in this situation, or is there a sense of God’s absence?
[Cockermouth – heard stories, family connection, reflected on who’s where]
See themes start to draw out that you can start to see the links to the Bible
Is this traditional teaching/preaching?
What about not starting from the Lexionary, but from a news story which inspires a sermon?
The difficult descriptions – do we run away from them?
How do we join with secular agencies to bring hope to e.g. Niger?
Imagine, pray and act!
Is this problematic, starting in the scriptures & not leaving – so how does that speak to us. Why are people not starting from news/film, etc.
Is God revealed in the world at all?
What about the situations in which God’s absence is palpable?
Shouldn’t we always begin with the scriptures because God is uniquely revealed here? Are the questions that we ask the scriptures limiting the Biblical text, but that assumes that God isn’t with us as we work for him. Are the Scriptures sitting hermetically sealed until we open them – living words that God can use.
“Bible in one hand and newspaper in the other” – is that possible? Indicates that the news can be seen through a Biblical lens, etc.
Be careful about what we label as grace… Lament – name pain, etc. in the world.
What are the objections to this approach to preaching?
What is the starting point for preaching, does it indicate that it’s last minute?
Biblical Literacy and The Media @pmphillips #medialit
Biblical Literacy Survey
Remember ‘accommodation theory’ – how do you understand what the church feels about preaching? (http://www.dur.ac.uk/codec/blog/). Protecting from “reputational damage”. Take the results… talking to “the experts” about what needs to change… but need to talk to the “activators” – those who are actually in the pew – rather than the professional body which tends to talk about “we’re doing great thanks”.
Encourage & lead… not about what may look good – remember that you are doing it for those in the pews/the audience NOT the person pushing. See Mary, Queen of Shops – create something that emphasises the client-side… (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007mwv9)
Are those videos (Rob Bell, etc.) what the church thinks wants to work. Great debate… just because I don’t like it, does that mean it’s not a great piece of communication?
Biblical Literacy Survey
Levels of Biblical Literacy have never been so low…
Why have so little Biblical training when training as ordinands? Why are you not ‘steeped’ in the Bible before going out…
Surveyed 1000 people in 9 different centres around England/Wales.
75% of people have access to a Bible (35% modern versions, many have multiple)
31% said it was significant (22% under 45)
18% read it in the last week (11% under 45) [11 million, population of London]
4% non-churchgoers read it last week.
People don’t engage with the Bible
People don’t know their Bible
85% u45 have no knowledge of Abraham
62% no knowledge about the Good Samaritan (although this is a phrase used in our language, only asking for A FACT)
60% no knowledge about the Prodigal Son
96% knew nothing about the madman at the graves.
Fairfax Report in the States – don’t learn Bible earlier, difficult to understand later.
If you don’t know your Bible, will be culturally and socially deficit.
Richard Dawkins says if you don’t know your Bible you have a cultural deficit.
Bible Society: Toxic rule book, it’s “not for normal people”, it’s for Holy Joes, good people, makes no sense for today, full of horrors.
Press very interested in the findings, Media Offices, BBC Press Releases, used personal contacts & used Twitter. Phones read hot, and requests for copy are still ongoing.
Hashtag, Twitterfall, etc.
Preaching Survey; “View from the Pew”
Massive press interest
Tiny survey, 16 churches, not claiming to be representative.
Got picked up on p4 of the Times by Ruth Gledhill, and from there got picked up by many other hotspots.
Hodder’s GLO http://bibleglo.com/ (comment, not theologically deep enough? Kids, don’t go here, but open the Bible… interesting, unexpected, do kids prefer to open eyes & have imagination). Is it ahead of its time, are we waiting for Tablet PCs, which is where everyone is going…
Video “I am Second” – hugely popular in the States (with all in the States – many stars putting their faith up): http://iamsecond.com/. Like Rob Bell, one person, and WORDS. How can we express the Christian message better in pictures? I have a slight problem in that as soon as I hear American accents talking about God, I dohttp://drbexl.co.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=1674&action=edit&message=1n’t know if it’s for me (that seems like a terrible thing to say, but…)
Is new media word based? Cross-platform?
The “word” is at the centre of the Gospel – they can communicate effectively so why are we so desiring to get rid of them?
Words are great, but VIDEO is not the space to use WORDS… real power of videos is in telling a story/visually
As we move towards video calling, is that true? Embodiment is important?
“I am Second” = reverse celebrity culture. Props from Ikea (simplicity), why the dark location? The community around ‘I am Second’ online, including local groups. Many American youth stars, and many young people engaging strongly. What about ‘I am Last’?
Rob Bell & I am Second are polarising what we’re thinking… so if we, who are interested in media are, what about those who are just in the churches.
Communicate appropriately – e.g. shouldn’t communicate in Welsh… Feel excluded (and maybe slightly amused)… huge mythology in Aberystwyth – the Welsh speak Welsh as soon as the English are nearby.
Know your audience and you can start to accommodate yourself to them – not JUST words! (Is that what Rob Bell is trying to do – speak the language of the American people – looks like a Mac advert?). What about De Montfort advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q67EKPLpi2M.
When Paul goes to Greek city – always taking feet off the evangelistic pedal!!
World doesn’t see a difference between nature & practice.
Don’t be whipping people up with emotion, but see what God is already doing in their lives.
ACCOMMODATE to the world in which you live… rather than trying to protect ourselves in a Christian bubble… Get no sense from Rev Plumpton, as to how he actually has a relationship with the community. How compromise that identity in presenting self in media?
The Stolen Broadcast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl0oXmhTynw): Left open ended, want to ask questions… no fixed meaning (some don’t like this… because they don’t get it)… makes you think! So busy FOR God, not time WITH God… ?!
I Love Elvis: A bit like Asterix, can be read on different levels. Can enjoy with no overtones, but if ‘reading’ with some Christian understanding can see the underlying meaning. Good animation scriptwriting. [End caption would be ‘out of broadcast’…] Images tie up and really tell the same story (as you would see with the news), which is what Nooma/Resurrection didn’t do yesterday with Rob Bell. Interesting – comment from @fleming77 on Twitter: “we all grow out of Elvis one day”. Did this video miss the exciting point where there IS an opportunity to become Elvis’s?! A good modern parable, but has it been pushed too far? Nice scriptwriting by KOReUK, & animation by: http://www.ilovepinatas.com/
Concern? Jesus didn’t say “let’s tell a story… and then let’s have a discussion about it”. Usually he just told a story… Can just watch and then go to the pub? Or should they provide the discussion starters?
Not just to agree/reinforce, but to teach people something, to give NEW messages/information. What hurdles are you asking people to cross at the beginning of the gospels?
Paul goes out of his way to detextualise, to make it simple…
Does the medium need to dictate what the message is or be totally immersed in it?
At the end: What IS the message that you want to get across… and then choose the appropriate medium that you want to do that…
Buy the newspaper/space on it & put the information on it.
The News Agenda = “truth”
Topical “It’s happening NOW”
Relevant “Relevant to the location, does it matter to the location”
Unusual “Is it out of the ordinary?” 50,000 Christians in Wembley Stadium worshipping – that’s what Christians always do – but if they all give away their possessions.”
Tension “Has to be some drama/sense of drama/what happens next?”
Human “Only really care about what happens to us. The oil story – not about the oil, but about how it affects people.”
What makes news?
Michael Jackson spotted in London (but we thought he was dead – is he?)
Swine flu arrives in UK (will it affect those we know)
Amy Winehouse arrested for drug abuse (not unusual, but celebrity)
Obscure Durham band releases new album (new to friends/those in Durham – its not national news, but of interest to others).
David Cameron does deal with Taliban (important nationally)
Who’s interested in reading/publishing that news? Who has a stake in it?
Stages in the news cycle
Finding the news
Gathering the news
Writing the news
Editing the news
Ordering the news (newsworthiness or audience?)
Publishing the news
News cycle can repeat within one particular story – e.g. the BP oil spill – new angles are developed to keep it in the news.
Can be weekly, daily.. and now with online, it’s pretty much continuous.
For papers – 12 hours from print to read, in the meantime, many of those people will have seen more up-to-date news online or TV – how do they respond to this? Move from common news to other stories, or “anticipate”.
Investigative Journalism (goes out and discovers – many see this as normal, but it’s a very small %age)
Creative Journalism (10 stories a day for a small paper – wait for stories delivered to you, e.g. press releases, if not that – e.g. see a pothole, ring one councillor, then the other – and create a new story)
Churnalism – re-use other news outlets (newspapers, etc.).
Press agencies. Collect but don’t publish – sell it to others.
The lower ones are more productive than the others.
Cardiff Uni Dept of Journalism
60% wholly or mainly wire copy or PR material
20% had elements of this that had been added to
8% from unidentifiable sources
12% generated by reporters.
In the public interest?
Who’s wagging the tail?
Less & less clear – what is a journalist? Journalistic privilege –e.g. required not to give source? E.g. BBC will only publish a news story if Press Association or x 2 sources. Sky will only use one source – so get news out before the BBC, but have to retract afterwards.
Talking about Paul Hucker: http://ow.ly/218I5#medialit – same story had run in 2002, but the story went global very quickly. Simon Burgess & Paul Hucker had run similar stories e.g. Halloween, etc..
President Reuven Frank “News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising.”
American News – particularly – need to get their sources right. What impact did 9/11 have on the way stories are told?
Newspapers seen as ‘giving the wide view’ – one of the complaints is that new media – we are too niched and stick to one area – how pre-mediated is this. With Twitter, etc. can self-correct very fast?!
What is the interviewer trying to do?
Trying to get him to say something controversial
Being provocative – not just newsworthy, has to be entertaining (stop people switching off/get his contract renewed).
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Needs tension, passion, contradiction.
Who has the power? Are they on the make?
Is this person telling the truth? What are they trying to hide?
What is the interviewee trying to do?
Trying to get his point across if interviewer lets him
Is there going to be more than one interviewer/interviewee?
How long is it going to be?
Is it recorded or is it live? Don’t say anything unless you’re happy to have it broadcast (no control over editing, so be in control of the interview). Live is always better.
Takes so long to be interviewed as tape is cheap, getting the crew there in the first place is expensive – so takes 1 hour’s tape, even if only using 60 seconds. Prepare before you go on. If you’re not happy with something and ask them not to use it, that’s when they become interested and think that’s the best bit to use.
What questions are you thinking of asking? No guarantee that’s what they’ll ask.
When are you going to do it? Are you available? Guarantee inconvenient time so make yourself available. E.g hard to get Christian vicar to say “the Resurrection happened” as had to preach to own congregations – but the radio congregation = 0.5 million…
Who are THEY? Is this freelance, is it for a particular organisation? What media format is it for?
Is it on the phone? On the studio?
Ask for a copy afterwards. Tony Benn records his own interview.
Be part of the public conversation – which isn’t happening IN the churches.
I’ll ring you back in 10 minutes (not tomorrow!) Take time to prepare, or institutions: Consult your Comms Officer (they usually have an overview)… unless you feel that you want to be a ‘martyr’ for a different cause – but remember you can only be a martyr once.
What is YOUR focus? What do you want to say? Never mind what they’re asking you.. Phone a friend and see how it sounds.
Is this ethical? Archbishop of Canterbury would ask is it ethical for the media to set the agenda?
We assume that ‘the media’ ask ‘the right questions’ – the media told us that.
Are there some who should never say yes? Can you pass them onto someone else who could ‘speak better’, don’t leave it hanging! Remember you’re talking to a general audience – you are the expert.
Most people say NO which leaves the airwaves bereft of Christian voices.
Why is “no comment” such a bad idea? We have been given a gift of communication from God – we are co-creators – so it’s our BUSINESS to communicate with the world – so why would you ever say “no comment”.
E.g. Red Cross – why is she not talking about WHAT the Red Cross DOES? This is not about Christmas Trees in shops, it’s about aid to the poorest people… he might not like it, but… !
What is your default message? Best way to kill a bad news story is with a good news story.
Listen to the programme (what speed do they talk at?)
Get the facts before you get there.. what the story is about & what you want to say. Take your facts and turn them into “pictures”. Radio: double-decker bus, the football pitch or Wales!
Decide what you want to say before you get there – do you want to sound passionate or?
What are the bear traps to look out for in the questions?
Be yourself on air, SMILE – as it comes across on the radio (need about 15% more than in real life). 2 people meeting each other. Not your title/expertise that are important, it’s your personality/personal experience that counts. People will listen to the person who has BEEN THERE.
Respect the listener (radio – people usually listen individually) – it’s you and them.
Get your main message in FIRST. Don’t wait for the conversation to work round to it. If you want to give the impression that you’re a friendly, jolly vicar… or a web address – get it in!
PRACTICAL SESSION: Prepare for Interview
Do miracles happen?
Why does church attendance keep on falling?
Is it OK if your vicar is gay?
If it’s a story that’s your own experience – so can’t be contradicted, and once you’ve started a story how do you get stopped?
Beware of Jargon, sound inclusive.
Can you win by personality, rather than by argument?
Energy & conflict…
Don’t necessarily need to be liked, but need to keep people listening.
Record = audience share of those watching anything at all
Appreciation index – how much people like the programme.
Make you laugh/relax
Fascination for people’s lives/stories (especially “success” – e.g. Susan Boyle)
20th November BBC News – Cumbria Floods. Question Time = Nick Griffin
What is the impact of digital?
In annual survey – events, especially entertainment events, at the top – ITV do more of these.
Lots of murder mystery/whodunit.
Not much that’s obviously children’s programming – if they are, they’re watching adult TV. (Has been declining for 30 years, rising with girls watching Hollyoaks/Eastenders).
How many people watching TV in total in any one time? Unknown
Most watch 2 hours 40 mins per day.
WHY do people watch TV – engage, escape/not on their own, inform, etc. Defining ‘normative’ behaviours? Idleness? Soap = magnified/distorted version of life? But the normality of what they’re doing/wearing/listening to, etc.
Equation – media influence the culture or culture creates the media?
Difference of American/British soaps? Teenagers repeat what they see on the soaps, etc. – extremist religion, etc.
Why do Christians watch TV? Our previous survey indicated that Christians watch less TV than the general population. Don’t think this is true – watch same/react same way. Only difference – those in Christian leadership watch less & complain about it more. Worrying – if we’re not integrating it into our Christian discipleship.
To learn about God, as God reveals himself in the world. As an art form, allows us to see God – tell our story – that is part of God’s story. A theology of communication. Encourage and value Christian creativity/artists, including programme makers, but also challenging them to tell the trust about God, and what is the media telling us about God, ourselves and the world. Media = a mirror to the culture – but a fairground mirror.
To understand the culture – a theology of mission. Presents us with a digested view of reality. Tells us what kind of behaviour is good/valued, etc. People assess the importance of world events in relation to TV appearances on the media… or reference Hollyoaks/Neighbours, etc. – won’t necessarily copy the behaviour there, but it’s a reference point. Even those who don’t see TV understand the cultural references to it.
The Church now provides the liturgical calendar for the year – frames the year as the church calendar used to.
To be effective in mission need to understand not only what you believe, but how others believe!
To take time out. Have mind distracted. Frank Lloyd-Wright “Chewing Gum for the Eyes” – Theology of Entertainment – God takes joy in our leisure, etc. God created rest – it’s legitimate. Pollard wants us to watch with our guards aware…
To indulge our fantasies – including monetary fantasies or BabeStation!
Advice for a Christian getting a TV for the first time…
Buy a decent TV!
With a TV – it’s all online, so why do you want a TV?
Community viewing via Twitter, etc..
Be critical – reflect on things
Watch it with your kids
Are there any decent Christian characters on TV?
Be aware for #watercooler conversation
Danger: think it’s real life “I saw it on TV, so it must be true”
8 October 1961, Andrew Graystone & Songs of Praise were born at the same time.
Accidental ended up in TV. Wanted a job in the North-West. TV researcher “how hard can that be?”.
A real shock from theology to the BBC. Long hours, lots of travel. All the numbers are big (budgets, audiences, etc.) whereas church all the numbers were small. Put Charlotte Church on TV at 12. Spent 1.5 days with Stephen Hawking talking about God, etc… Chaotic industry. Wants those who work in churches to understand more.
10 things that TV has taught Andrew Graystone
TV is made by ordinary people, including the “celebrities” on screen. (Avg age BBC employee – 27, most on v short contracts/insecure, powerful cultural influences held by the young, e.g. marriage not held in high regard on TV as many of those had not much or poor experiences. )
TV is powerful. E.g. When Delia Smith used a brand of frying pan sold out the next day; Jamie Oliver using real vanilla – those in African villages were killing each other for that; Princess Diana’s funeral still the most watched; Baywatch still biggest global programme; Only Fools & Horses sold to Nepal)
TV has a major impact on children. Majority have TVs in their bedroom including 1/3 pre-school age. 50% of under 2 year olds watch 3 hours a day – because neighbourhood is “unsafe” – so TV a ‘safe environment’.
Older people watch more TV than younger people. About 5 hours per day, more than national average (2 hours 40 per day). So if average viewer is 56… producer = 27?! Making TV for our parents.
TV doesn’t always tell the truth. “Stars in Their Eyes”… (come in with their “ordinary clothes” (just bought by Wardrobe!), 3 seconds later through the door (transformed)… first bit = Tuesday, re-record Thursday (different audience, but the smoke = a trick!). We’re sophisticated in grammar on TV so we can spot/forgive it. Have to turn 40 hours of filming, turn it into a 59 minute programmes – could have told ANY NUMBER of stories that would have worked for the audience – making choices – not trying to record 1 hour of events! Had chosen the “random” people to be good characters. The integrity of the programme maker is REALLY important. Those who are watching it’s important not to just watch uncritically. Whilst editing – could have got some juicy stuff re: Melvyn Bragg – could get some good coverage in the news, etc. but decided not relevant to who he is, so left it out. Glenn Hoddle – actively asked to leave out ‘believe in reincarnation’ – should you leave it in or out? Real dilemmas faced whenever in the edit suite – put it in because it was clear that he believed in it – important to tell the truth.
Audiences are all-important. All programmes are commissioned to the audience (not just ‘a great idea’ – guidelines ,e.g. want 1.5 million/female/over 50 audience, find a programme that will give me that). If more people watched = great, if less = have an ‘inquest’. More proactive than you think… Don’t assume that the first priority is to tell the truth – it’s to entertain. (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/724175/Ant-and-Dec-Saturday-Night-Takeway-Jiggy-bank.html) – why were they not sent to the tower – people were entertained so they voted. In purely commercial TV – it’s about selling the advertising. BBC as a PBS – not purely commercially driven.
TV is competitive. (800 people applied for his job, 799 were still waiting!). For every slot on TV there are 100 ideas submitted.
TV is changing very fast. Digital has transformed everything in TV… we’re only at the start. In 5 years look VERY different
All TV is trying to sell you something. Children watch 18000 TV adverts per year. They are not public service announcements.
TV creates the framework for our culture/lives. What do we do with it?
Is all TV the same? What difference has digitisation made (e.g. being able to watch at any time?). What about access to e.g. God Channel, Al Jazeera. Hole in the Wall – sold to many countries. What about massive brands -e.g. “X –Got-Talent” – many voices round the edge (digitally), but the central homogonisation!
Mass Culture – YouTube, etc. Will see more of the ‘Rage Against the Machine’ type thing… Will people get bored with Simon Cowell? Yes, but they’ll be another one waiting in the wings… YouTube – very “normalness” – we’d never escape from that.
Rage Against the Machine – originally written as a protest song, but became a piece of consumerism – difficult to break out of the circle.
Analysing world view of culture (crude tool)
Watch a programme on TV
Surface: describe what you’re seeing there.
Can then identify the values of that culture/programme – what is approved/disapproved of? What is rewarded/encouraged?
What are the core beliefs driving that culture/programme.
Example: The Weakest Link…
Dark, brooding, colours, etc.
Coming first is valued, being fast enough, rewarded by money, it’s OK to be rude to people, etc. Is a competitive environment.
Essentially Darwinist – the survival of the fittest – adapt to an environment? Or is it survival of the luckiest? Dishonesty is built into it – I can’t own to being the weakest link. Usually the Godlike figure is the production community – e.g. The Dealer on ‘Deal or No Deal’.
Example: Deal or No Deal
Noel Edmonds – has-been celebrity. Money, boxes, old-fashioned telephone, banker. No skill required. Randomly distributed boxes. Audience (interactive). Sense of community.
Values: Approved of: Risk, Community ‘we want the best for each person’ – the banker is the enemy. Wants to give as little money away as possible. Noel Edmunds = “a priest”. Language has a religion around it.. “positive thinking = it’ll be a blue”. Liturgy – do you have a pattern or not? Chanting together?! Audience are called ‘pilgrims’. People give reasons for why which numbers, although it’s completely random… Re-edited to give a ‘superstitious’ choice. Rituals about the ‘newbies’.
Core Beliefs: Noel Edmonds believes in Cosmic Ordering. More money you have = the better your life will be “life-changing amount”. Positive community. Gambling is OK. You can change “what’s in the box”. Negotiation access – have limited power to make decisions – but in the end not fundamentally in control.
Superficially similar programmes, but have very different formats.
Important we begin to try and understand what is driving the TV programme.
God is a communicating God “In the beginning was the word”. God is extravagant in communication – he’s not a silent God who has to be tempted into communicating with people.
Nature of God as a communicating God = fundamental.
God communicates in context – there’s a particularity. Quite often Christians get this wrong, and preach into the wrong context. [The Fast Show]
The nature of Jesus comes alive as you’re hearing it in your own language – connecting appropriately in the right context.
God speaks within the language – why so much Bible translation.
God Communicates in Word & Deed
He doesn’t simply dictate verbal writings – God – the word becomes flesh. The ways he communicates is varied in so many ways.
Incarnation is visible and vulnerable. Visible and not always in control. What is said in the pulpit has to be lived in our actions.
God communicates in self giving love
God became flesh in the world – the world that is negative to him.
There is a cost to authentic Christian communication. May have to suffer/mocked. God doesn’t come to condemn the world, but to live it. There is a view that we are about an ethical condemnation of the world… We’re safe here, isn’t that terrible over there..
God comes into the world with all its limitations and works with it.
This week – affirmations of what is good within the media. Christian church often hesitant and demonised.
Shannon & Weaver – how communication happens. Sender/receiver model Message, thought about – how does message go from sender to receiver? What channel, what noise is in the channel? Feedback is going on. Have to code the message & decode it. Communication as a power relationship from sender to receiver.
Quentin Schultze – “co-producers of culture”.
God gives us the gift of communication and we’re not just passive receivers.
Heard of Twitter? People moan “about what people had for breakfast”, but Stephen Fry – it’s called Twitter, not Erudite Thoughts… and in many ways is a relationship building tool… and how often will you meet with someone (in person) and dive into e.g. The Theory of Relativity without catching up a bit first… that’s how I use Twitter!
Now. Not going ONTO Twitter itself – it’s the concept/information rather than the mechanics we’re interested in today, instead, we’re using that indispensible tool – “pen & paper”… What we produce in our version of Twitter will be available on the walls so that we can remind ourselves who people are!
So – you will get to work with 5 other people, against a timer – I have an example of mine, which I filled in in around 10 minutes! Twitter is not always about thinking in great depth about what you write, but about ‘going with the moment’. The document.
Username (the name you’d like to be known as this week)
Bio (160 characters only, what words can sum you up)
All tweets = 140 characters (the dashes have been counted out!)
#whyruhere: why are you on this course?
#mediaexperience: are you a newbie or lots of experience
#christianjourney: can you sum it up or give us one highlight?
#daftfact: something which will help us remember you
So, timing? We have 40 minutes for this session, and want time to look and chat at the end… so it’s “quick & dirty” thoughts as my South African friend says! Work in pairs, as the timer goes, move onto someone else – and work together.
Place images on the wall and make available throughout the course.
Twittering @ #MediaLit: Instructions
Not getting to “The Digital Revolution” til Thursday, but those of you familiar, please do engage. Social Media for the Scared coming up as our ice-breaker!
Heard of Twitter? People moan “about what people had for breakfast”, but Stephen Fry – it’s called Twitter, not Erudite Thoughts… and in many ways is a relationship building tool… and how often will you meet with someone and dive into e.g. The Theory of Relativity without catching up a bit first… that’s how I use Twitter!
Now. Not going ONTO Twitter itself – it’s the concept/information rather than the mechanics we’re interested in today, instead, we’re using that indispensible tool – “pen & paper”… What we produce in our version of Twitter will be available on the walls so that we can remind ourselves who people are!
So – you will get to work with 5 other people, against a timer – I have an example of mine, which I filled in in around 10 minutes! Twitter is not always about thinking in great depth about what you write, but about ‘going with the moment’.
·Username (the name you’d like to be known as this week)
·Bio (160 characters only, what words can sum you up)
·All tweets = 140 characters (the dashes have been counted out!)
o#whyruhere: why are you on this course?
o#mediaexperience: are you a newbie or lots of experience
o#christianjourney: can you sum it up or give us one highlight?
o#daftfact: something which will help us remember you
So, timing? We have 40 minutes for this session, and want time to look and chat at the end… so it’s “quick & dirty” thoughts as my South African friend says! Work in pairs, as the timer goes, move onto someone else – and work together.
For the last 3 days I have been at Swanwick in Derbyshire, at the Church and Media Conference (my third time there!)… and I’m starting to create some blog entries on Digital Fingerprint, so check out the tag #cmn10!
Are you wondering what to do on Sunday 13th June 2010?! Wonder no more. The event ‘Open Farm Sunday‘, run by ‘Linking the Environment and Farming‘, has been running since 2006. Farmers who are enthusiastic about ensuring that their farming practices are the best for the environment open their farms to the public for a free day out. What’s available on each farm varies, but my brother, who has been running an event on his farm since 2007, has brought in other farmers so the widest range of animals can be seen, including bulls, sheep, chicken, calves, cows being milked… along with tractor rides around the fields, and food such a a hog roast (very tasty!)… read my niece’s ‘Press Pack’ report from 2009 (and the farm experiments with Facebook for 2010).
The ‘Christians and Candidates 2010’ initiative is hosting a special event THIS MONDAY (26th April) at Westminster at which a panel including senior representatives of the bigger political parties will answer questions from Christians like you about issues of concern.
During the evening members of the panel will be asked whether they and the parties that they represent will take the pledge to ‘respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold and express Christian beliefs and act according to Christian conscience’ as described on the Westminster 2010 declaration website.
It would be a wonderful testimony to the fact that Christians care deeply about our society and its future, if the auditorium (which seats 1000 people) were packed out – even at this short notice.
So, please support this important event, if you possibly can – and encourage other Christians to do the same.
THIS MONDAY – 26th April – 7pm (doors open 6.15pm)
Emmanuel Centre, 9 – 23 Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW
Advance registration is recommended but not required.
Questions need to be submitted in advance.
For more information, to register, to submit a question and to download a poster to display at church this Sunday, please visit: www.christiansandcandidates.org
Details of local events and resources for engaging with the election are also available at the website.
I’ve always fancied doing this, anyone want to go in a team with me? I’m not the fastest of walkers…
Hampshire’s residents, groups and businesses are being asked to put their best foot forward this spring to help raise funds for the homeless charities in Winchester.
The Rotary Club of Winchester is holding a “Winchester Walk for the Homeless – Beating the Bounds” event on Sunday 9th May in an effort to raise £50,000 for Winchester’s homeless charities, Trinity Winchester, Winchester Churches Nightshelter and Keystone.
Individuals, families, schools and businesses are invited to join in one of three picturesque walks around the Winchester area. Starting from the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, walkers will take in the sights from the Itchen River to the Worthies and back again via well loved historical places and wonderful views.
Michelle Gardner, Chief Executive, Trinity Winchester says: “Traditionally, residents of a parish walked the boundary to share knowledge about where the borders lay, and to pray for protection and blessing of the land. Now many parishes continue this ‘Beating the Bounds’ tradition to strengthen the community and we hope to bring the Winchester community together whilst raising funds for those less fortunate who live within it.”
Walkers are invited to choose a 12-mile trek, a 5-mile stride or a 1.5-mile family-friendly stroll, and to raise sponsorship money for their efforts. All monies raised will go straight to the charities concerned. Parties will set off between 9am and 12 midday on Sunday 9th May with a guide map and instructions, and all the routes will be signed and marshalled. A finish-line party will be held in the Cathedral grounds during the afternoon from 12 midday until 3.30pm, with refreshments, games, army band and children’s entertainments.
Registration is easy online and costs just £10 per person (or £20 for a group of up to five people) at www.winchesterwalk.co.uk.
Michelle Gardner continues: “This is a fantastic opportunity to raise vital funds for people in Winchester who often go un-noticed and un-appreciated, whilst learning about the area in which we live. Winchester has some stunning scenery and architecture, and this will be a great chance to explore the city and meet new people. We hope clubs, sports teams and local businesses will join residents in helping support those around us get back on their feet.”
Read the official blog from the event, and listen to the podcast…
Here’s my rough notes from the evening, notebook coming into play
Background of PR. Big Breakfast Work Experience, 3 years, 1 year blagging prizes. Moved to make TV programmes ? Endemol (Changing Rooms/Ready Steady Cook). London TV, BBC.
Aged 42, set up platform to help connect experts with TV programmes, can showcase selves to TV/industry… and journalists to find experts… Can’t get an agent until already known… TV already looking for the next big thing/twist/person…
UK leader in factual programming – watch/entertained, go away knowing something… TV Gold = formatted factual show, can recycle with different content year in year out. Everyone loves it – audiences know what they get, get professionals in. Experts, 3 minutes, breakfast shows, etc. Succinct. Experts – authority, credibility, passion to a show! Cross-section of people – those who challenge us/make us question how we think/entertain us/love to hate.
Meets with producers weekly to help hook up with … long & varied, especially gardening, property, cookery, new business, etc… TV helps raise your profile… Media Profile, sales of books, etc… If you’ve got it, flaunt it…
What makes a good TV expert?
Knowledge & Expertise – know their stuff (related background, almost any subject can works)
Passion (different forms, may not be TV personality)
Attitude (think Gordon Ramsey… engages – like or hate!)
Experts with access/projects working on (your clients/your world that TV researcher/producer won’t have access to – things that are everyday in your life, can make a producer excited, e.g. follow something being set up/a journey); friends with someone ‘in the know’ can give good access…
**** Change education from inside***
Entertain, Inspire, Inform… in that order!!!
Never go in saying you have a book to sell – if it’s part of the package it’s OK. Think what makes you special… same as if you’re launching a business/a product. Need that extra something that a researcher thinks will make it work…
Production Company – needs to pitch to a broadcaster, what is going to make a viewer want to watch you…
Top Ten: What Next?
Watch, Think, Read, Understand TV (Broadcast Magazine – what is happening/being commissioned, etc.; Tvmole.com – all programmes – greenlit)
TV Researchers – are scanners – will be looking everywhere for talent, including blogs, TV, etc. Become an authority by writing a book… (could become a consultant on the programme?)
Give presentations at consumer fairs, etc. – whatever is related to your expertise – researcher may be there…
Google – come as high up as you can be in the searches… Keywords from USP – keep USP succinct
Make the news… e.g. via YouTube…
Be in the news. Chase up PR to get quoted in articles, get features written about you… On the radio? Phone in because you never know who’s listening… If they like you, may get you back for something else…
Join relevant associations. Let them know that you want to be on the list of TV experts… **** History and Policy***. University list of experts…
If young enough, long hours, no money, join production company as researcher, etc. as Kate Humble did… The Time is Right/luckiness… e.g. Jamie Oliver – be proactive! Look for the Series Producer for the end credits… let them know you exist & keep it short! Don’t call – send an email, as they’ll be thinking about something else…
The Back Door – expertise, show on TV with relevance… e.g. Come Dine With Me, if come across well, they then think, maybe we can use for something else… what else are they passionate about!
Join FindaTVexpert.com (discount voucher). Other roles within the show, not just on screen… Alternate weeks sends details of new experts to TV companies. Form of screentested. May not go anywhere, for many reasons, other than your own talent…
Hunt on Google for ‘contributors’ for a show… Who do you contact… ? Watch show, find out who its made by, find name of the Exec producer. Everyone’s freelance, so everyone else will probably have gone…
What about pitching your own format for an idea? It’s tricky – hard to have an idea no one had’s before… A lot of production companies (some say accept ideas) want to be the creators/owners of the idea and profit from it, otherwise it gets a bit difficult to say who it belongs to. Tended not to open emails that said “This is my idea”… Tend to have had the idea before, or triggers off an idea for something different… then whose idea is it!
Once get known for e.g. Jamie Oliver, for cooking – then can try out his other ideas such as School Dinners, etc… What IS different – something new setting up. Make it yourself & put it on YouTube (e.g. Make Up Tips, ended up on TV)
How do you entitle the email if you’re trying to attract TV – find someone who knows someone in TV. Getting on TV isn’t easy… thousands of other people with ideas/up against! Who Wants to Be a Millionaire turned down for YEARS… can all be a question of timing!!! Networking is key.
Specialist factual genre – science, history, factual, etc… that’s different!!! *** PhD thesis on posters BEFORE a book?*** ***Church and Media Network*** make more of those contacts!
What about regional/foreign accents… local accents are quite in!! Depends on the programme – sometimes it works!!
Posters: September Films: “The Power of the Poster”; “History in Pictures” WW2 memorabilia. More interest in that than doing the cartoon angle.. Series of 6 through images.. tell history through these iconic images… “Your Country Needs You”, “Keep Calm and Carry On” – what else is HUGE…
TV = visual – watch the coaching process – wouldn’t work on TV! People love transformation, has to happen quickly… 30 seconds…
Findadate – Ben – make the news – YouTube, Twitter #findmeadate, then you’ll be on This Morning…
Philip – wants to destroy the school system!! Find some unusual schools – the wackier the better so far as schools are concerned! Makeover – school turnaround (no?), need a result, compare something with something! Need to film in 3-6 months! Over half-hour slots… Kids in Charge – set up a school… Know what’s in the news – can you tie it into everything that going on… …
I was at Lake Taupo (North Island, New Zealand). It was a nice day, several others were doing it, so – despite the cost (about £200 for dive, video/photos, 2 x t-shirts), decided to go for it with Taupo Tandem Skydiving. There were options of 9,000, 12,000 and 15,000 feet. If I’m only going to do this once then let’s go for 15,000 feet, and let’s get filmed doing it! As it was a nice day, we could see both ends of the North Island… or I’m sure my jump-buddy could… I forgot to look up… I was too busy screaming for the first 15 seconds, by which time we were probably at the 12,000 feet height!
I DID IT, I DID IT… in about 8 and half hours, which we didn’t think was bad as we had to stop/queue a couple of times, and sheer volume of people made it difficult to move any quicker! I really didn’t realise quite what a big challenge this would be until I started training for it, but I kept going (despite the move to Manchester), and sponsorship was a great incentive. I didn’t expect there to be QUITE so much pain afterwards, but it’s slowly improving (written Tuesday after!).
On May 21st 2006, I ran my first long-distance timed-event, the BUPA Manchester Great Run, in typical Mancunian weather (rain!). When I signed up for the event in January, I’d never run more than 2k, and that was all on the treadmill, but I thought I’d treat myself on the first anniversary of coming to Manchester (yes, I moved up 21st May 2005)! I aimed to complete it in under 1.5 hours…
Used to think this film was a hoot, so this 4 mile race, on behalf of Barnardos, caught my eye.
After my chest infection (started in Rome on the Europe Tour, June 2008 – well, at least it was somewhere exotic), my fitness has deteriorated massively, so in November I was prescribed “exercise” (I asked if it was possible, give me that little push back to the gym that I used to love going to!), so I have been making it down twice a week, excepting skiing/cold/snowbound over the last 3 weeks. Back in today (I walked, my car is snowed in again!), met with GP-Referral lovely Lydia, and said I’d been trying to run again, but that about 1.5 minutes was my limit… so she ‘prescribed’ trying a slower speed (7.5, rather than 9.5, I used to get up to 11.5) for 2 mins, then walk for 1-2 – and with that I managed 6 minutes + the intervals, and then decided I needed a target to aim for! Karen gave me this book for my birthday last year, as she knows I have run before (and we did the Moonwalk together) and once I’m out there, find it really helps my mindset!
So, there we are, 2nd May 2010, I shall be running 4 miles around London dressed as a nun (so that’s going to be an early start for me too!) – apparently Barnardos are likely to be in touch re-fund-raising, but I’d love your encouragement
Tonight, for a little bit of time out from the everyday attachment to my computer, I went to NWCC‘s annual pantomime, written, directed and front-performed by David Simpkin (currently studying at the University of Winchester for an MPhil/PhD entitled “‘An analysis of the ways in which amateur pantomime in performance relates to the community for which it is performed, with particular emphasis on the ways in which the creative and rehearsal process affect the intended outcome’”, whilst also managing the University bookshop). First night tonight, always (un)officially billed as “the final rehearsal”, so the bargain price of £1! Lots of in-jokes, community jokes, running jokes, sing-songs, things going a bit wrong, and everyone generally having an AWESOME and hilarious time… much laughter in the room (not always at the right time according to Neil!)…
So, here we are, introduced to “The Three Musketeers: All for One and One for All”
Need a close-up shot of David!
Packed house: interval
“Bee” tries to “sneak out” with the “nefarious por-poises”…
Yes, I was organised this year, I have purchased my ticket for Greenbelt before the 20% discount expires on 30th November! £77 for 3 nights of camping (4 if you really want, just remember the jumpers in case it’s as cold as 2009), and loads of speakers, art, events, and all sorts. I really enjoyed myself this year, so I was determined that I was going to go for 2010 (27—30 August 2010, Cheltenham Racecourse), although I’ll probably focus more on the experiential side (even more so than this year) as you can buy MOST (not all) talks after the event. I especially loved the 2 sessions I did at Grenhaus – the Greenbelt School of Art – and I know I missed some classic Greenbelt moments, so guess need to find the time before the event if I’m to make the most of it…
2010: The Art of Looking Sideways (I always love the themes, always so cryptic, and people make interesting links around the ideas…)
Glad to see that some of my friends are already signed up for the Facebook Group: “Going to Greenbelt 2010″ (unofficial, but quite handy!) – give me a “hi” comment if you’re coming…, and wonder if they’ll have invented a manual charger for the 3GS iPhone for this year, as the app was awesome, but a pain every time the battery ran out!
Just for a change, I decided I’d go to a conference of a weekend… however, this time the conference WAS different. It was outside my area of academic expertise, and related to a novelist who I have read and re-read since I was around 10 (I’d read most “kids books” by that time, although I have to say Pride and Prejudice was maybe a step too far, and I’ve still never read it properly!). Georgette Heyer, however, is a great read! Her books are easy reading without being mush, well-researched historically, and bring the time (or at least one perspective of it) truly alive! The conference was fully sold out, with, I’m thinking 75 women and 5 men! A point that came up in the conference was that at the time Heyer was written, she was widely read by both men and women, including many well respected men (and her Infamous Army was a set text at Sandhurst for many years, and most MPs/those in the legal profession read her novels), but when the cover designs became more “bodice ripper” in style in the 1970s, the emphasis had changed from historical fiction to romance fiction, with an accompanying number of sneers at her writing! It was great to see so many academics talking about Heyer, for many of whom she is NOT their main source of research, but a side-interest, which I suspect contributed to the atmosphere and passionate interest in the conference, without getting bogged down in the minutiae of research, as can happen at many academic conferences!
Jennifer Kloester Jennifer, who has been studying Georgette Heyer for 10 years (why did I never think that Heyer would be a suitable topic for a PhD, ah well, still love my posters!), had flown in from Melbourne for the conference. Excitingly, she has a new biography of Heyer with the publishers, and gave us a few tastes from it. Jane Aitken Hodge has provided the standard biography for many for years, but Kloester has had access to many more private papers, and other archival materials, and will be able to provide a more rounded study. Interesting to see how widely read Heyer is, especially in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – the cultural references clearly travel! At the end of the conference Jennifer gave us an insight into life post the publication of “Penhallow” (which had followed an Infamous Army and The Spanish Bride), for which Heyer expected to receive great critical acclaim in 1942, but instead received it for “Friday’s Child“, and afterwards wrote only Regency texts, as these were clearly what sold (Heyer loved writing what she perceived as the more biographical history, but tax burdens often forced her to focus on what sold). Jennifer gave us a great selection of information, but we’ll have to wait for her biography of Heyer to read it all! If you want to get the closest to inside Heyer’s head, the best read is suggested as Helen (which I’m now reading!).
Jay Dixon Jay Dixon, who used to work for Mills & Boon, has had a longstanding interest in Heyer, and conducted tours of Heyer spaces and places in London in 2002, the 100th anniversary of Heyer’s birth. Dixon gave us an overview of the description of place in Heyer’s novels, particularly of the South. In many cases the descriptions of geography are not long, but Heyer was able to sum a sense of Sussex in one sentence in a meaningful way. She reserved the levels of detail for stately homes, not even going into great detail for London. Freddy/Kitty carrying out a 2-day tour of London, with interesting rationales of why/why not to visit specific areas, but otherwise London descriptions are limited to a few particular spaces such as Almack’s, Rotten Row, St Jame’s Street, etc… essentially London is Mayfair, reduced to the status of a ‘village’, offering a social not a geographical space, where the ‘upper 500′ meet to do business. The country is idealised (feminine), whilst the city is seen as a noisy and disorientating space (masculine). London is offered as the centre of male power, where they have the freedom of the streets (women can’t go out without a maid), whilst Bath is an area where women can dominate, and live independently in a way they can’t in London. Heyer spent more energy on giving detail on clothes and the interior as she strove to conjure up a sense of period, whereas places change little… and the social spaces gave Heyer the space to be herself – psychologically.
Laura Vivanco Laura is writing up amazingly detailed notes on the conference, which makes me feel less worried about writing so much here, as you can read more here! Laura’s starting point was that Heyer is often viewed as good escapism (suitable for reading in bed with the flu, with which I concur!), but that there is also a deeper level: Heyer has a number of estimable characters (often in the guise of governesses), who have a tendency towards intelligence and humour, which gives weight to the opinions that they have – and Heyer’s writings themselves are always well-written. It is clear from a number of characters that Heyer promotes education (for boys AND girls), and that upbringing is seen as important. Standen notes “how will you know the right way if you’ve never been taught it”, and Tiffany and Laurie were both “ruined by indulgence”. Ancilla Trent, that most estimable of governesses, see it as her duty to TEACH, she may use unorthodox methods, but her concern is that her charge will learn (a process I aim for in my teaching). The education that Heyer offers is subtle, as the didactic elements are below a humorous surface layer, so would appeal to those (such as Tiffany) who wouldn’t read such material in obvious moral homilies, as Deborah Lutz indicates – offers a moral way of living. Vivanco noted that Heyer rarely uses dates within her text, but that all texts DO have a clear sense of period, which can usually be established by a study of the dates of battles/existence of Royalty.
P.S. If you’re wondering what didactic is: “morally instructive” seems a good description!
Sam Rayner Sam Rayner, a specialist in publishing, gave us a fascinating insight into the changing covers of Heyer’s works (they’ve never been out of print since 1921), and how those changing covers have changed the way in which Heyer is received/read. The poster for the conference (above) was taken from “Cousin Kate”, one of Arrow’s most recently re-published works of Heyer’s Regency texts: all images from the series are taken from 18th/19th Century pictures, so as to give Heyer a “brand”. Heyer’s paperback works have always been published in A size, but for the most recent editions, a B Format has been used – a little larger (consequently a little more expensive, unfortunately!). Rayner’s favourite designs are the Pan covers of the 1960s, a kind of “cameo” design, but illustrated how the variety of designs have changed the fortunes of Heyer – for example a series of eau de nil hardbacks produced for libraries had a distinctive look, weren’t over-feminine, and don’t overstate the romance, and thus had a wide readership. A later series of paperbacks produced by Pan had very lurid covers influenced by Hollywood, and marketed at the lowest common denominator, appealing to “Adventure! Excitement! Romance”!, which also suffered from poor reverse cover blurbs (Heyer had generally written her own for the hardbacks), and Heyer had a particular distaste for “An Infamous Army”. Pan soon reworked the covers, introducing the ‘cameo’ designs, slightly less lurid, and with re-written back cover blurb. It’s generally clear which era the texts have been produced in, as e.g. those in the 1960s/70s have a distinctive look from that era, particularly noticeable in the hairstyles. After a series of other covers, in the 1970s a whole new look was given to the collection – and as books are very much judged by their covers, it was disappointing to see how insipid and chocolate boxy the designs were, stressing ladylike stories – attracting very much the wrong kind of reader (who Rayner indicated would have got slightly more than they bargained for – not your usual mush, but witty, well-written text). In 1991 Arrow took over and reproduced the series, reusing the cameo idea, with a refocus upon the architecture of the time, and giving a sense of the story – whilst adding a touch of class with gold lettering. In 2004-5, Arrow republished in the B-Format, with a more literary feel to the designs, a tactic which has been so successful that many other authors (Stephanie Laurens, Julia Quinn, etc.) have also capitalised with similar designs. The first print run had a number of errors in the text, which were then re-edited – and with current print methods it is possible to keep tinkering with the designs and adjusting any errors in the text.
P.S. This is a paper I would like to follow up. I’ve had on my to-do list for quite some time that I’d like to investigate why Heyer has remained popular for so long, and visual culture is a real fascination for me.
Mary Joannou Joannu was coming to Heyer from a background of interest in Austen (wheareas I’m just starting to get interested in Austen after that failed tangle with Pride and Prejudice – I’ve seen all the videos, visited “Pemberley” near Manchester, visited Austen’s house in Chawton twice, seen Austen’s tomb/house where she died in Winchester – as I live there!). Austen had an intense moral preoccupation, but don’t forget that she was also comic, light-hearted and ironic – and as Mary said – not difficult to read, but playful! Heyer’s characters, however dangerous the situation, gives a quick-witted response. Heyer was writing throughout the depression, the 1930s, World War II, and writing for those who were living close to war/revolution. Heyer was also writing at a time when things were moving on from the seriousness of the Victorians, and there was a growth of the “middlebrow” during this period. Both Austen and Heyer were writing intellectual comedy, writing about tight/stable worlds where there were rules to be learnt. Heyer’s works are rarely dated, but include a number of events on which the stories can clearly be hung – generally stories which involve a number of events en route to marriage – but are those references to history any more than decorative? The clergymen in each Austen novel offer the underpinning morals of society, a role they rarely undertake in Heyer, who’s more interested in presenting style, fashion, prejudices and manners. Friday’s Child, written at a time of austerity, in particular takes delight in focusing on excess. Austen was interested in discourse, rather than the actual events, whilst for Heyer the events help offer a sense of period. We must remember that these are literary texts – TEXTS, not history – an artefact that plays games with history. Heyer could take as her blueprint Darcy/Elizabeth, who looked for an equality in marriage (rather than a financial transaction as many were in the 19th Century).
Pre-Lunch Discussion Why had Heyer’s books not been made into films? Kloester noted that this was something that Heyer had always wanted, and both These Old Shades and The Grand Sophy are currently held on option by studios in the USA. All the others texts are held on option for TV series, and no one else can make them until those options expire! Apparently the BBC thinks that all Heyer novels finish the same way, and therefore a series should be done as Cranford! Kloester plans to write a screenplay for one of them! Meantime, here’s The Reluctant Widow (Heyer hated it!)
Kerstin Frank How was a talk on “the thermodynamics of Georgette Heyer” going to make sense?! Frank was discussing that at that time (and I guess still now), that cold was associated with the absence of motion, and a staticness, but as stories started to get moving, the story would “warm up”. Within such a polite society, warm feelings (such as those evinced by Arabella) were frowned upon. Society had a fascination for scandals - concerned very much with outward looks. The advantages of wealth/privilege allow a concern with clothing, as there’s no real issues to concern the participants… boredom has a large part to play in Heyer’s society (how many yawns!). Many characters despise fashion, but become fashionable simply by despising it. The hero is often seen as lazy, sleepy, drawling, etc. and props such as the quizzing glass often heighten this effect of coldness! It’s a static social dance in which the different personalities start to clash – causing the story to warm up. The coldness is often revealed to cover up pain, which has been stirred up by events. There’s a shared understanding of folly in society, which is constructed upon artificial/arbitrary lines. There’s a restricted space for challenging these constructs – and always tends to be within the private not the public sphere. Characters always want a marriage of love, rather than a marriage of convenience (largely unthinkable in those times) – but in the end they never have to choose as “blood will always out” – and they are discovered to have ‘appropriate’ family which allows the marraige to go ahead. Heyer is redeemed from romantic clichés through the scope of variations on a theme, and also by the constant self-parody/irony.
Catherine Johns Catherine (an archaeologist) started this talk by indicating that the obvious can easily be overlooked – their opinions can’t expect to be the same as our own, and changes have happened extensively post-WW2, by which time Heyer’s opinions were largely formed. We read the novels/Regency period through a double-filter: through our time, and through the time that Heyer wrote them. To understand the time itself more closely, you need to read the contemporary novels (which Heyer had suppressed, but are still available as reprints from the USA). Heyer’s detective stories were variable in quality – giving her own perceptions of the time, especially Duplicate Death (1951) – when Heyer was particularly concerned with issues of extensive taxation. Heyer used national stereotyping extensively – her novels were largely comedies, and this was an accepted comedic device. She was making fun of a class system to which she fully subscribed - and often (as in the end of The Grand Sophy) was not being ironic, but was (modern parlance!) laughing out loud! The social stratification at the time that Heyer was writing (and about which she was writing) was far more visible at those times than it is now – and her definitions of hierarchy does not necessarily indicate the same thing as values – as a writer she is often consciously mocking assumptions. It’s an observation, rather than value judgements – we don’t like to admit an awareness of class/race and swath our conversations about that in euphemisms, but in Heyer’s time, there was more openness about this. Johns talked a lot about animal breeding, and the influence of the nature/nurture debate upon the way that Heyer would have been writing – when talking about a thoroughbred and a carthorse, neither was seen as better, but each as more suited to their role – as Heyer would have perceived – the Earl was not better than a ploughman, but more suited to his role, with an “innate sense of breeding” – and we can see this come out in the storyline of These Old Shades when genetics will out!
Sarah Anne Brown Drawing upon the work of Eve Kosofsky Segwick, Brown indicated that for many at the time of Heyer’s writing/what she was writing about, men (in particular) were encouraged to have good male friendships (think boarding school), but that the homoerotic was to be discouraged – and there were worries that men would fall prey to homosexual desires. The womanly woman was able to live with a woman, and Brown drew upon Lady of Quality to indicate a fear of lesbianism indicated in Heyer’s novels, particularly the relationship between Annis (an independent woman), and Amabel ( her “lovely” mother-in law), and Lucilla (who becomes Annis’s charge, and whose hair is decorated “a la Sappho“)… where the implication is that Annis is going to be a bad influence. Those fears disappear as Annis’s friendship with Oliver (a marked rake) grows.
K. Elizabeth Spillman Spillman wrote an MA thesis at Bangor on Heyer/Austen, and started her talk with a an idea that disguise, meant to conceal, can also reveal. Gender is performative (see Judith Butler). Heyer deals with disguise in many different ways, but there are three novels in which she particularly draws upon cross-dressing: These Old Shades, The Masqueraders and The Corinthian. Gender is a personification, signifying the real? In These Old Shade, does Leonie see herself as male of female (having been a “boy” for many years) – is it a part of her identity or is she dressing up? When Leon becomes Leonie, is she returning to her “natural gender” – she has fears about becoming a girl – and still continues as her male self in many way – and when she is kidnapped, managed to save herself by acting as a boy – leaving a question as to whether she would have been capable of this if she’d been raised as a girl. Much of the novel is concerned with instructing Leonie on how to “become a female” – so a clearly defined role. In The Masqueraders, those playing there part exhibit resignation not hate for their roles, and the first person in both novels to pierce the disguise is the future partner – Anthony has “an odd liking for her” (and therefore she can’t be a man, must be a woman!). In The Talisman Ring there’s also a small taste of cross-dressing – where the role is played to the hilt, but is not a central storyline. The Corinthian offers more comedy than melodrama, where there’s a breach of heteronormativity – more of an adventurous romance, and a comedy of manners (at which Heyer was very strong!). Debs Grantham in Faro’s Daughter can’t get back at Max as a “male”, so has to devise other strategisms – she’s used to more ‘unladylike behaviours’ (independence/initiative) – so in getting back, she’s not contravening normality by mimicking maleness!
Post-Conference Discussion No one was quite ready to go at the end of the conference, so the discussion continued for a big longer!
Heyer was unusual for her time – she was married. 9/10 women in some classes didn’t marry in that era because of the shortage of men who didn’t return from the First World War – the Officer Class was disproportionately hit, and many women needed to “marry down” if they desired to marry (check out Virginia Nicholson “Singled Out”).
Bath was no longer so fashionable by the later Regency period, so it was more acceptable for women to live alone there. Particular novelists are associated with particular areas (e.g. Dickens, London; Austen, Bath)
Detective novels were quite ‘boyish’, and fitted in with quite a number of school stories. The 1920s was the ‘androgynous decade’. In girlhood, many girls tried to be as like a boy as possible!
What was the fascination with grey eyes? Her father had them? Coolness? Medieval historical convention: “Gris” meant sparkling/twinking – been mistranslated and therefore become a typical stylistic tool for novelists.
Heyer has deliberately not described too closely, so that her readers can imagine.
The men in the audience tended to have picked up the novels from their mother’s shelves, although a couple of women indicated that it was their father’s who had inspired them with interest. Heyer is seen as a great writer, understanding the male psyche, and often appeals to science fiction readers.
Georgette Heyer had very few close women friends, whilst Jane Austen had lots – can see in both writings!
The conference finished with this great link:
Boris Books (including genuine fashion plates, and Georgette Heyer in a number of editions)
Middlebrow Network (an AHRC network based at the University of Strathclyde, investigating the term “middlebrow”): “The B.B.C. claim to have discovered a new type, the ‘middlebrow’. It consists of people who are hoping that some day they will get used to the stuff they ought to like.” Punch, 23 December 1925.
This weekend I went on a “Beyond Chocolate” weekend in London, and despite being late to both sessions, I got a huge amount out of it. Saturday was a “Healthy Eating” session, and Sunday was a “Body Confidence” session, which was particularly challenging! I’d ummed and arred about attending the course, as although the course seemed good value (and I’d read the book), it was a lot of money. I decided to go for it, and had a very interesting and challenging 2 days… most of which I’m still digesting (mentally, although my stomach is enjoying savouring Green & Black’s chocolate ice cream with a bit of cream on top – usually I’d just eat the whole tub, but I had about 1/3, and so yes, there’s still plenty to look forward to!). I’d already pretty much decided I was going back to River Park, so I signed up to that today too – be mostly looking to go to classes, the treadmill is just so DULL – so much to see outside, why would I want to stand on a machine – but classes, however, good social time!
Are you unhappy with your body but fed up with constant dieting? Would you like to lose weight without depriving yourself of the food you love? Beyond Chocolate is a radically different approach to weight loss. Serial dieters for years, Sophie and Audrey Boss finally overcame their weight problems when they discovered the key to success: break free from the diet mentality and learn how to listen to your body so that you can make food choices that really work for you. This book sets out a new, liberating approach to establishing a healthy and satisfying relationship with food, and a positive body image. Based on extensive research and workshops for women with weight issues, Beyond Chocolate will help you to:
Eat whatever you want without feeling guilty
Lose weight and not worry that you’ll put it back on
Sophie and Audrey Boss are sisters in their 30s * Following years of struggling with their weight until they uncovered a permanent solution, they founded a support group called Beyond Chocolate. They are passionate about their message and have experience of working with women of all ages and backgrounds * Sophie is training to be a counsellor * Sophie and Audrey are based in north London, UK
Beyond Chocolate YouTube Channel. Sophie on Twitter.
Very much looking forward to seeing how this is all going to be integrated in the new site which is launching in the next couple of weeks, and seeing how Audrey develops Kitchen Fairy!
“A small crowd gathering in an old bookshop, gathering around an idea, spilling onto the streets, albeit in genteel, Winchester fashion, quietly determined, perhaps, to connect, and to make a difference.
Quietly determined to whisper conspiratorially that there must be more to life than slavishly serving money or massaging ego;
Quietly determined to stop sleep-walking through life, and start waking up to the moments of clarity, to the gifts of epiphany, to the glimpses of magic we are all presented with every day, if we did but realise them.
Quietly resolved, perhaps, to try living as if less really is more.
As if you’ve got to lose yourself to find yourself.
As if you’ve got to die, somehow, in order to truly live.”