At the annual meeting of the Horror Studies Scholarly Interest Group held in March as part of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Seattle, Johnny Walker was one of two new co-chairs elected to replace outgoing founding co-chairs Allison Whitney (Texas Tech) and Murray Leeder (Calgary).
From May 2019, Johnny will join the newly elected Ashley R. Smith (Northwestern), along with graduate student representative Sonia Lupher (Pittsburgh) and founding co-chair Adam Hart (Pittsburgh).
Steve has just returned from Kurja Polt Festival where he presented a research paper about the slasher film alongside fellow presenters Dr Jamie Sexton (Northumbria) and Dr Alison Peirse (Leeds). The event was organised and chaired by Dr Russ Hunter (Northumbria). Our thanks as always to Masa Pece and the Kurja Polt team for having us back. More information about the event (including abstracts for the papers) is available here
As part of the scholarly digital research network In Media Res, Associate Lecturer Tom Watson contributed to a contentious debate surrounding the labelling of contemporary horror cinema (or rather certain examples of horror). As part of a week-long debate (4th March - 8th March) alongside fellow horror scholars from the universities of Roehampton, Sheffield Hallam, Hertfordshire and Salford, Tom contributed a short article addressing the re-surfacing of art/ trash binaries facing the genre in the popular press (taking Lars Von Trier's recent serial killer narrative The House that Jack Built  as a reference point).
On 23rd March Steve Jones returned toOffscreen Festival in Brussels for the fourth time. This year, Steve participated in a conference based on Offscreen’s Death on Film theme. Steve interviewed David Kerekes about his groundbreaking book Killing for Culture, delivered a paper entitled “La Petite Mort: Sex and Death in Hardcore Horror”, and participated in a panel discussion with David, Dr Tina Kendall (Anglia Ruskin University), Dr Russ Hunter (Northumbria University), and festival guest of honour Jörg Buttgereit (director of Necromantik, Schramm, and Der Todesking). Thank you to the festival team, and to everyone who came to the event
On Tuesday 19th February, Sarah Kilburn-Wilson made her debut on ITV National News. Sarah graduated form Northumbria with a First Class BA (Hons) Journalism in 2015. She has been working with ITV in various capacities since 2015. Congratulations Sarah
Dr Steve Jones is part of a REF impact case study focusing on film festivals, which is led by Northumbria colleague Dr Russ Hunter. The project entails delivering our research in public spaces. Since 2015, Steve has presented multiple times at Offscreen Festival in Brussels, Abertoir Festival in Aberystwyth, and Kurja Polt Festival in Ljubljana. He has also introduced film screenings and has conducted masterclasses with actor Christina Lindberg and director Fabrice Du Welz.
Most recently, Steve delivered a lecture on the slasher film as part of the 13th annual Abertoir Film Festival.
In 2019, he will return to Brussels for the Offscreen Festival where he will deliver a lecture about death on film alongside Dr Johnny Walker.
Steve will also return to Kurja Polt, where he will deliver a talk on slasher cinema. As the main focus of the REF case study, the work with Kurja Polt also entails media interviews (for national television and radio).
It has also led to Steve’s work being translated into Slovenian for publication in Kino! Journal. To-date, Steve has two translated articles in Kino!
The Media group in the Faculty of Arts Design and Social Sciences is currently inviting applications for fully-funded doctoral studentships in the field of Sport, Media and Gender to join our PhD programme at Northumbria University through the AHRC Northern Bridge Consortium.
Project Title: New approaches to the study of representations of sportswomen and/or femininity in British sports media
Project Rationale and Description:
The development of rigorous, theoretically informed explanations of the meanings, effects and practices of the sports media’s construction of femininity has a long history dating back to the 1970s. However, there are contemporary challenges to our understanding of the role and influence of sports media in the representation of gendered identity, not least due to the recent scale and pace of technological change in the media such as, for example, the advent of social media as well as the emergence of new forms of femininity such as the “pretty and powerful” third wave female athlete. Both these phenomena have significantly altered the ways in which sports media representations of femininity are produced, disseminated and interpreted.
The aim of this project is to investigate the contemporary socio-cultural construction of female identity in the sports sector through the representations of female athletes and/or female non-athletes in the coverage of men’s sport. It can draw on inter-disciplinary conceptual approaches and theoretical tools (including, but not limited to, sociology, cultural studies, human geography and politics), and can encompass discussion of British print/broadcast/online sports media, so long as it has been created within the last decade (approximately).
The nature of this project is that it is open to a wide variety of approaches. Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
Enquiries can be made to Roger Domeneghetti (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The deadline for applications for October 2019 entry is 9 January 2019 (5pm) but it is important to make contact as soon as possible.
For further details and , please visit:
This article by Sarah Ralph and Sarah Winkler-Reid was originally published by The Conversation UK on 25 October 2018
There’s no denying that growing up as a girl has always been tricky. On top of the demands of school, family and friends, there are also myriad expectations about how girls should and shouldn’t be.
Girls today are frequently depicted as depressed, prematurely sexualised and victims of social media. But our research has found them to be eloquent, critical and supportive, loving friends within their peer groups.
Of course, while growing up can be difficult for all girls, it can be harder for some than others. Research by development and humanitarian organisation Plan International shows there is a stark geographical divide in the experiences of girls growing up in the UK today. Girls living in inner-city areas of the north of England have to overcome the greatest barriers. This is based on the organisation’s mapping of key data indicators, which include life expectancy, reproductive health and educational outcomes.
A more recent report by the Children’s Commissioner also found social and economic inequalities associated with growing up in the north. The findings show the north-east has the best primary schools in the country, yet the region has the lowest adult employment rate.
But importantly, the report also highlighted the fierce pride that young people feel for where they live and being northern.
Speak for yourself
The project allowed girls to share their thoughts and feeling on what it’s like growing up in the world today. Delphi Ross, Author provided
Both of our previous research projects have found girls to be critical and reflective. They think about their lives, how they are represented, and how things could potentially be different. However, a pessimistic and ominous tone still pervades in media representations of teenage girls.
Concern over young women’s lives is a recurrent theme in the media, in public debate and among policymakers, but it is not very often that we hear from girls themselves. So with this in mind, and drawing on our previous research studies, we launched the Girl-Kind North East project.
The project, held annually, involves a series of workshops in schools which start with a simple question: what are the challenges and opportunities of growing up as a girl in the north-east of England? We then work with girls to help them decide what they want people to know, and how they want to represent it. The things they create and make are showcased at a celebration event to mark International Day of the Girl.
Being a girl
Girl-Kind was developed as a response to the current negative representation of girls in mainstream media and more generally the problem centred focus of projects working with girls that assume from the outset what “issues” girls face, without asking them first. As researchers based in the northern city of Newcastle, it made sense to focus on our region.
Conversations with the girls during the workshops also addressed their experiences of living in the north east and their consciousness of how the region is perceived by the rest of the UK. They spoke about the assumptions that are made and the stereotypes that persist in media representations, which contrast with the great pride they have for the north east and what it has to offer.
At the Girl-Kind event, all of the creative projects showcased were the girls’ own ideas – drawn from their own experiences. Girls in white t-shirts were braced against an audience invited to throw paint bombs at them. This symbolised the insults often flung at them, but also their ability to stand strong against them. A series of photographs of lone young women on deserted streets at night, portrayed a reclaiming of these “dangerous” spaces as their own.
The following poem – written by a participant – was read to the gathered audience:
I am clearly not an object please don’t treat me like one
I am a human and therefore I am no different to you
And I don’t need you to carry my books to a lesson because in your eyes girls are weak I am more than capable to do a certain task
I am a girl clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear for the future
I am girl
Excerpt from poem by Lucy age 12 from Redcar
Hidden around the venue, a host of brightly coloured envelopes and little glass bottles were found by visitors, addressed “to the stranger who finds this” the messages inside let them know: “you are loved”, “you are beautiful”, and to “be you, you’re amazing”.
These are just a small selection of ways in which these young women chose to represent their thoughts, feelings and experiences. They conveyed the mundane violence of being a girl, but also their ability to articulate these injustices and the language of strength and care with which they respond.
Fundamentally, Girl-Kind is not about trying to change girls or somehow solve their “problems”, it’s about encouraging them to value themselves for who they are and where they’re from. And supporting them by offering a dedicated platform to share with the public their idiosyncratic, brilliant selves.
We’ve been regularly reminded during the course of the project that each girl is distinctive, whether they are funny, savvy, thoughtful or sensitive. And in this way, our project makes it clear that just because people show up in statistics, this does not define who they are.
‘You are loved’: the message the girls wanted to send to the audience. Delphi Ross, Author provided
On Friday 4 May, Northumbria's Media and Film & Television subject groups hosted their second annual workshop for PhD students and Early Career Researchers. Organised by Dr Johnny Walker (with programming assistance from Dr Steve Jones and Erin Wiegand), and entitled Horror, Cult and Exploitation Media II, the workshop comprised ten papers from scholars at different stages of their research, in addition to a presentation on academic publishing from James Campbell of Intellect Books.
As the event's official web page (designed by Erin Wiegand) makes clear, issues under discussion were highly diverse (from interventions into media history and industry studies to cultural theory), speaking both to the field's variety and, perhaps most crucially, its present buoyancy within academia.
Find some photos from the event, below.
Until next year...
Some of the delegates and panel members at the end of a successful day! (L-R: Adam Herron, Valeria Villegas Lindvall, Jonathan Mack, Tom May, Erin Wiegand, Thomas Joseph Watson, Kevin Bickerdike, Steve Jones, Russ Hunter, Sarah Ralph, Joshua Schulze, Johnny Walker, Gary Jenkins, Jamie Sexton, Ami Nisa, Laura Sedgwick, Britt Rhuart, Tristan Thompson)