Now Showing: Film and Broadcasting in the College of Arts

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Govan in 1757, looking south across the Clyde from Partick. The Doomster Hill is on the left, with the cottages of Water Row in the centre and the parish church on the right. (
Govan in 1757, looking south across the Clyde from Partick. The Doomster Hill is on the left, with the cottages of Water Row in the centre and the parish church on the right. (

by Jennifer Hilder (PhD Intern)

The Film and Broadcasting theme is one that we all might think we already understand. But what might surprise you is the range of ways the College of Arts supports and develops this theme, not just through Film and Television studies. Thanks to a growing popular interest in historical and archaeological subjects over the last decade or more, there are also big opportunities for subjects like history and archaeology, within the College of Arts, to use film and television as platforms for disseminating their research.

One such project is ‘Locating Bannockburn’, which will be broadcast in Spring 2014 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Archaeologists from the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology have teamed up with the BBC to solve the mystery of where the battle took place. This includes Dr Tony Pollard, who has already enjoyed several television appearances starting with the 2003 series ‘Two Men in a Trench’, and spoke passionately about his experiences at Industry Day.

Dr David Archibald, the theme lead for Film and Broadcasting, also spoke at Industry Day about his upcoming documentary on Doomster Hill in Govan, the sacred space of the Kings of Strathclyde. An experimental programme that is also interdisciplinary as it merges academic and personal views by incorporating the archaeological findings of Professor Stephen Driscoll as well as David’s own anecdotes about living in Govan.

Of course, working with film and broadcasting is not just about making films or television programmes, it can also be researching the nature of broadcasting itself. One PhD student was able to carry out an ethnographic study within the Children’s Department of BBC Scotland. The study is now used to inform debates about the quality of the ‘public service broadcasting’ that the BBC provides. Professor Philip Schlesinger is also the chair of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee Scotland, using his expertise in the ‘creative economy’ to advise Ofcom and engage with stakeholders in Scotland.

Many of us in Glasgow will also be aware of the Glasgow Film Theatre and the prestigious Glasgow Film Festival that runs there every year, and academics from the College of Arts have a long-standing collaborative involvement with those events that enliven Glasgow’s cinema scene. Dr Lizelle Bisschoff is also responsible for the expanding festival programme of Africa in Motion, reaching audiences of around 20,000 and providing a packed schedule of public events. The International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival is also curated and co-ordinated by members (and former members) of the college.

The college is, physically and metaphorically, right at the heart of Scotland’s film and broadcasting industry in Glasgow. Both current students and graduate take advantage of this as part of the mutually beneficial relationship.

The College of Arts: coming soon (again) to a screen near you.

Post Author: Nicole Cassie

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