Report from Portugal

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Following on the format of EMHIS V in Häckeberga, Sweden, EMHIS VI brought network members together to review works in progress, which in turn stimulated further discussions on entanglement, plans for publication of this research, and the future of EMHIS. In addition, two guest speakers, Dr Nelson Ribiero and Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, joined the discussions, and were subsequently invited to join EMHIS. The venue for the forum, the Pousada Hotel in Cascais, Portugal, provided a stimulating environment, along with lovely views. Based in a former fort with spectacular views of the coastline, the hotel and its attentive staff helped all feel welcome.

In addition to discussing papers by members Johan Jarlbrink, Katy Homden, Kerstin Stutterheim, and Hugh Chignell and Kate Terkanian, the two invited speakers presented fascinating talks. On Wednesday, Dr Nelson Ribiero discussed Portugese Radio, both from the policy perspective during the years of the Salazar dictatorship, and from the establishment of a successful private network in Mozambique, Clube Mozambique. Although initially suggesting that this research was neither transnational nor transmedial, the content of the discussion clearly demonstrated the transnational strain of Clube Mozambique with its commercial English-language channel popular in South Africa, and its establishment of programming in native languages. The talk also highlighted how the network in Mozambique, although privately run, received state license fees to finance the non-commercial Portuguese programming. Dr Ribiero was able to join the group for both days of the forum, and his participation was greatly appreciated.

Our second guest speaker, Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, joined EMHIS in Portugal on her way to a visit with Hans-Ulrich Wagner at the Hans-Bredow-Institute. As the director of the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, Dr Griffen-Foley has established a link with the Hans-Bredow-Institute which included a recent extended visit to Australia by Dr Wagner. In addition to highlighting the work and research activities of the Centre for Media History at Macquarie, Dr Griffen-Foley provided an overview of her research activity by detailing several different projects that demonstrate the entangled nature of her research. First she discussed her research on Australian journalists working in London on Fleet Street, and the long-standing journalistic connections between the two countries. The development of commercial radio in Australia was also examined, especially in terms of how Australian broadcasting blended both British public service and American commercial methods. Building on these comparisons, Dr Griffen-Foley demonstrated how the Fireside Chats of US President Franklin Roosevelt, as well as the broadcasting efforts of his wife Eleanor, provided a successful model for Australian politicians.

The hotel provided delicious meals in the Taberna da Praça, offering stiff competition to those at Häckeberga. Due to the gorgeous weather and the long days, we were able to enjoy the spectacular coastline and catch more than enough sunshine. Many of the museums were open until well into the evening, and some EMHIS members were also able to spend a free hour wandering around the colourful streets of Cascais. A replica 18th Century Russian frigate, the Shtandart, even sailed into the marina on its way to Rochefort in France. EMHIS VII is scheduled for 29 November to 2 December in Bournemouth. Although we’re not expecting warm, sunny beaches or Russian frigates, there is bound to be fruitful collaboration and a convivial atmosphere.

/Kate

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Coming up: EMHIS Forum VI in Lisbon, May 24–27

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Now is the month of maying! The Lund and Hamburg sections of EMHIS are jointly setting up the last preparations for EMHIS Forum VI. This time our conference will for the first time take place outside our three countries, in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 24–27. We will seize the opportunity to again place a direct focus on transnational connections in media history. Specially invited keynote speakers are Dr Nelson Ribeiro, Universidade Católica Portugesa, and Prof Bridget Griffen-Foley, Macquarie University, Australia.

Update: programme available here

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Special issue of Media history on transnational broadcasting

Revisiting transnational broadcasting: The BBC’s foreign-language services during the Second World War. Special Issue of Media History 21,4 (2015), guest edited by Nelson Ribeiro and EMHIS member Stephanie Seul.

This Special Issue re-considers the history of the BBC foreign-language services prior to, and during, the Second World War. The communication between the British government and foreign publics by way of mass media constituted a fundamental, if often ignored, aspect of Britain’s international relations. From the 1930s onwards, trans-border broadcasting became a major element in the conduct of Whitehall’s diplomacy, and the BBC played a major role in furthering Britain’s diplomatic, strategic and economic interests in times of rising international tension and conflict.

Contributions of EMHIS members to the special issue:

Seul, Stephanie, and Nelson Ribeiro: Revisiting transnational broadcasting: The BBC’s foreign-language services during the Second World War. In: Media History 21,4 (2015), pp. 365-77.

Seul, Stephanie: “Plain, unvarnished news”? The BBC German Service and British propaganda directed at Nazi Germany, 1938-1940. In: Media History 21,4 (2015), pp. 378-96.

Wagner, Hans-Ulrich: Repatriated Germans and “British Spirit”: The transfer of public service broadcasting to northern post-war Germany (1945–1950). In: Media History 21,4 (2015), pp. 443-58

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Moose meatloaf anyone?

10th – 13th November, Häckeberga Slott (Lund), Sweden

We were fortunate to find ourselves in the picturesque settings provided by the Häckeberga Slott, where the fifth forum of the Entangled Media Histories’ research and teaching network was being staged in November. Marie and Patrik as the primary organisers of the EMHIS V forum aimed to create a highly inclusive environment for these discussions, creating a platform for all participants to become engaged in very interesting debates.

On one level, this being the fifth meeting of our group, there is a sense of the familiar, as colleagues from around Europe link up to continue their collaboration through the EMHIS network. However, having started as a network consisting of delegates from Lund, Hamburg and Bournemouth, the ripples of academic life have radiated further, as we have been fortunate to welcome some new members into our network. Furthermore, some of our colleagues who were past members of academic communities at the aforementioned universities now travelled from pastures new, beyond the original 3 “founding” locations. In short, it would be more accurate to say that we arrived at Häckeberga Slott from Bournemouth, Hamburg and Lund, as well as from Bremen, Karlstad, München, Tampere and Umeå. How is that for entanglement?

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But enough of the pedantries, we came together to discuss research progress within a variety of contexts from either Swedish, German or British frames of reference or from the perspective of their corresponding transnational combinations. So far, so familiar. In addition to some “business matters” which included an update on conference activities, feedback on the ECREA handbook, the STINT interim summary as well as the comprehensive EMHIS report, nineteen participants had gathered to discuss twelve paper submissions on research work in progress. But – our wonderful colleagues from Lund who were organising this meeting had the idea to shake things up a bit. A new approach this time meant that every participant was nominated in advance to be one of a pair of lead commentators for the discussion of each particular submission. This resulted in a stimulating debate, with the introductory observations of the lead commentators starting off the discussion, which in turn invited further engagement from all participants. The process of chairing the 8 separate sessions was also delegated to several different members of the group. This devolved format resulted in a very engaging and inclusive forum, as every participant was in effect “activated” by the nature of this framework. It also meant that every paper received a comparable degree of attention, resulting in some truly interesting debates around potential focus and further concepts. Although this structure was on one level quite demanding — no napping at EMHIS V! — this format was also a great democratising leveller and the organisers are to be congratulated on this approach.

Equally high praise though must go to the choice of venue. All the organisational aspects around travelling to and from the location were timed to perfection. The accommodation was extremely comfortable, as well as being relaxed & welcoming. And then there was the food. Two words: Pear Crumble. Oh my. I will also remember the earnest efforts by all staff at Häckeberga Slott to ensure guests were fully appraised of every aspect of their culinary capers. There was great pride in evidence as staff summarised the particulars of locally sourced ingredients, and it was game on for delicious nosh of all gastronomic denominations. Moose meatloaf anyone? Count me in. I am buying a rifle and moving to Häckeberga.

//Maike

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Stephanie Seul new member of the network

IMG_8886 - KopieStephanie Seul is a Lecturer in Media History at the Department of Cultural Studies (FB 9) of the University of Bremen, and a senior researcher at Deutsche Presseforschung, a research institute for press and media history. She was trained as a historian at the Universities of Munich and Cambridge (UK) and earned a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) with a thesis on Chamberlain’s appeasement policy and the British propaganda campaign directed at the German public. Her research focuses broadly on the history of transnational media and communication in the era of the two world wars, on the representation of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in the media; on the history of the BBC and British propaganda; on the German-Jewish press, and on female war correspondents during the First World War.

Recent publications include ‘A female war correspondent on the Italian front, 1915-1917: The Austrian travel journalist and photographer Alice Schalek.’ In: Journal of Modern Italian Studies (forthcoming 2016); Revisiting transnational broadcasting: The BBC’s foreign-language services during the Second World War. Special Issue of Media History 21,4 (2015), guest edited together with Nelson Ribeiro; ‘“Plain, unvarnished news”? The BBC German Service and British propaganda directed at Nazi Germany, 1938-1940.’ In: Media History 21,4 (2015); ‘Transnational Press Discourses on German Antisemitism during the Weimar Republic: The Riots in Berlin’s Scheunenviertel, 1923.’ In: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 59 (2014); ‘“Herr Hitler’s Nazis Hear an Echo of World Opinion”. British and American press responses to Nazi anti-Semitism, September 1930 – April 1933.’ In: Politics, Religion & Ideology 14,3 (2013).

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Forum 5 at Häckeberga castle

Next week the fifth EMHIS forum will take place at Häckeberga castle, just outside Lund. The focus this time is to give feedback on texts from the various  research projects that is in the making. Click here for a detailed programme.

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Video: Hans-Ulrich Wagner “Media after 1945: Continuities and New Beginnings”

Hans-Ulrich Wagner, head of the Centre for Media History in Hamburg and Senior Researcher at the Hans-Bredow-Institute in Hamburg, talks about the joint work on a handbook chapter and clarifies the concept of entanglement in media history.

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Video: Tony Stoller “Broadcasting the Berlin Wall concert, December 1989”

Tony Stoller, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Media History at Bournemouth University, gives insight into his post-doc research idea about the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall on classical music radio.

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Bridging the boundaries of Venice

No less than six of us EMHIS scholars were eager to attend the ECREA Communication History conference in Venice, Italy, on Sept 16–18th. The overall theme of the conference was ”Bridges and Boundaries” and the site was the Warwick University’s seat in Palazzo Pesaro Papafava. The organizers’ aim was to foster interdisciplinary dialogue around the history of communication, media, networks and technologies, to explore the bridges and boundaries between different fields of research, and to encourage the participants to exchange ideas about how communication history is being done, but also how it might be done in the future.

kyrkaThe innovative and non-traditional format of the conference was centered around very short 5-minute presentations focusing on theories, concepts and sources, which left plenty of room for extended round table discussions. Especially interesting – but also challenging – was the ambition to find the bridge between the work of early modern scholars with research of the digital environment and the group of phenomena we call ”new media”.

At the conference, EMHIS was represented by Marie Cronqvist, Hugh Chignell, Maike Helmers, Johan Jarlbrink and Hans-Ulrich Wagner. The EMHIS presentation on Wednesday morning, under the panel ”Theories and Models”, was held by Hans-Ulrich, who developed his intervention around the three concepts of EMHIS: entanglement, media, and histories. We all had a wonderful stay in Venice, taking the gondola to work every morning, socializing with each other and with scholars from all over the world, meeting dear old and exciting new friends. And yes, the food and drinks were okay too…

arkivOn Saturday, as I lingered on in Venice in order to catch the latest possible flight back that day, I had the opportunity to visit the city archive. I joined a small group of scholars particularly interested in the very impressive digitization project they are working with there. The ambitious project, called the Venice Time Machine (read more about it here and in an inspiring TED talk by Frederic Kaplan in which he speaks about his idea to construct ”a Google Map or Facebook of the past”), is carried out by the Digital Humanities Laboratory at École Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne in cooperation with the University Ca’Foscari of Venice. The magnificent aim is to build a multidimensional model of Venice covering more than 1000 years of city evolution by reconstructing a large open access database to be used for research and teaching – and they seem to be well on their way!

/Marie

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Video: Christoph Hilgert “Die unerhörte Generation”

Christoph Hilgert from Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and research fellow at the Hans-Bredow-Institute in Hamburg explains his PhD project about the BBC’s and West-German radios’ debates about young people as well as their programmes for young listeners between 1945 and 1963. Lately his work has been published with Wallstein and is now available for purchase.

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