The Midlands Television Research Group (MTVRG) has been meeting since 1995 and is based in the Department of Film and Television Studies at Warwick. The group was founded by Charlotte Brunsdon and Jason Jacobs at Warwick, Ann Gray (then of Birmingham University), and Tim O’Sullivan (De Montfort University, Leicester), and an account of its early days can be found in Screen (Midlands Television Research Group, ‘Midlands Television Research Group’ Screen 40.1 (Spring 1999): 88-91.). The group usually meets at least once a term for a mixed session which will include discussion of reading and viewing, maybe an early version of a research paper, and reports and conference news. Its aim continues to be the provision of a relaxed environment in which television scholars can exchange news and views about television research and help each other to keep up to date about new work on the medium. Group members usually include Phd students at Warwick working on television topics, and currently also includes members from De Montfort University , University of Lincoln, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Hull and University of Central England. Former group members have been initiated similar groups elsewhere: there is a Northern Television Research Group based in Leeds and Hull, a Southern Broadcasting History Group based in Royal Holloway, Bournemouth and Reading, and one based at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Projects have included analyses of lifestyle programming on British television and a response to Cinema Journal’s anatomy of television studies in the 21st century, as well as a series of day events (see archive below). Current research projects by group members include the Lincoln ‘History on Television’ project [ http://tvhistory.lincoln.ac.uk – Principal Investigator, Ann Gray ], and the Warwick/ De Montfort ‘A History of Television for Women in Britain, 1947-89' project [Principal Investigators Rachel Moseley, Helen Wheatley and Helen Wood].
Events organised by MTVRG
Television, the Archive and the Document: May 22 2008
Inspired by Lynn Spigel’s visit to the University of Warwick, the Midlands Television Research Group and the HRC at the University of Warwick hosted this day event. It was structured around short contributions from invited speakers who drew on their own research to address some of the following questions:
- what are the documents to which television scholars should address themselves in the understanding of the medium?
- How might we best approach the vast and increasing archive of the everyday to which television contributes?
- To what extent are digital technologies transforming understandings of memory and the archive?
- How is television itself using its own archives?
- What is now ‘the document’ and ‘the documentary’ in broadcast media?
Speakers and respondents included: Stella Bruzzi, John Caughie, John Corner, Ann Gray, Amy Holdsworth, Su Holmes, Cathy Johnson, Paul Kerr, Tim O’Sullivan, Lynn Spigel, Rob Turnock.
Making and Remaking Television Classics: A One-Day Symposium: March 20 2009
The Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick and the Midlands Television Research Group, in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the journal Screen (and with the support of BFI Publishing), hosted a one-day symposium about the notion of the ‘television classic’. The aim of this event was to open up the broad question ‘what is a television classic?’ and the day featured both papers and shorter clip-based presentations from a variety of invited speakers. Significant discussion time was built into the day, to encourage wide-ranging discussion on a subject, which is, though now central to much academic publishing in the field, in need of serious interrogation. As publishing (and thus research) on television moves increasingly towards volumes on single programmes, the relationship between television research, teaching and publishing gains ever greater significance. The event raised questions such as: how useful is the notion of a ‘television classic’ for thinking about television? Why might we wish to refuse or argue against the notion of a ‘classic’? What does and does not make a ‘television classic’? How does the term ‘classic television’ function in research, teaching and the wider culture, including academic publishing?
Speakers: Kim Akass, Rebecca Barden, Janet McCabe, John Caughie, John Corner, Lez Cooke, Glyn Davies, Christine Geraghty, Jason Jacobs, Sarita Malik, Robin Nelson, Helen Piper.
See ‘Reflecting on ‘Classic Television’: Making and Remaking Television Classics’ A reflection on the day by Rachel Moseley and Karen Lury: http://www.criticalstudiesintelevision.com/index.php?siid=10604 and Matt Crowder’s conference report for Scope: http://www.scope.nottingham.ac.uk/confreport.php?issue=14&id=1133
Current Group members: Hannah Andrews (University of Warwick), Charlotte Brunsdon (University of Warwick), Hazel Collie (De Montfort University), Greg Frame (University of Warwick), Ann Gray (University of Lincoln), Mary Irwin (University of Warwick), Paul Long (Birmingham City University), Rachel Moseley (University of Warwick), Jo Oldham (University of Warwick), Charlotte Stevens (University of Warwick), Tim O'Sullivan (De Montfort University), Lauren Thompson (University of Warwick), Rick Wallace (University of Warwick), Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick), Helen Wood (De Montfort University)