I had the chance to attend, along members of the network, the EMHIS Forum VIII at Gregynog Hall, in Wales, on 14-16 May 2019. The event, organised by Jamie Medhurst (Aberystwyth University) in collaboration with the EMHIS coordinator Marie Cronqvist (Lund University), saw media scholars from many countries gathering in the gorgeous mansion (and its friendly ghost), whether they have been working with EMHIS for a long time or were, like me, newcomers. It has been a true pleasure, as a young researcher, to attend this event, as I have been following closely its activities for a while.
The theme of this Forum was ‘challenges’ and our keynote speaker, Alec Badenoch (Utrecht/Amsterdam), offered a fantastic talk based on his own experience with digital projects, entitled ‘Breakfast at Milliways: a hitchhiker’s reflections on digital projects and the art of the (im)possible’. I think it is safe to say that this keynote was widely enjoyed by the audience, and that it lead to many discussions throughout the event. On the last day of the event, all members discussed their own uses of digital sources, tools and databases. As each of us relies on them differently, this ‘roundtable’ was ideal to share resources and useful links.
The Forum was also an opportunity for the participants to exchange about their own challenges, by bringing to the table a problem they were facing in their work. Problems linked to funding, methodology, or even to a specific source, were all discussed openly. This was, in my opinion, an excellent idea, as it provided support and enriching exchanges for everyone. As a PhD student, it was nice to talk about the problematic source I have been working on, but was not sure how to integrate into my thesis. Moreover, being able to discuss issues on an equal footing with more experienced historians was rather enriching.
Another positive aspect of the event was the wonderful location. Gregynog Hall is a gorgeous building, located in the breathtaking Welsh countryside, which provided the perfect setting for an event favouring networking and exchanges for media historians. I truly appreciated the experience and I am glad to have seen familiar faces from last year’s Summer School on Radio History, as well as many new ones. Hopefully, I will have to attend many more of these events in the future.
Richard Legay, C²DH, University of Luxembourg