Week 9, December 2nd to December 6th

The Bay Dementia Hub

Strike Action

No seminars this week due to UCU action

Literary Review

The accumulation of literary resources continues, sometimes I think I am building a library rather than conducting a review. At the moment the challenge is to input all my references and quotations into qualitative data analysis software. Unfortunately I still have to decide which option to choose, so I am repeating work by adding new data, to both Atlas.ti and NVivo, the same with the bibliography apps, Mendeley and Endnote, at some point I’ll have to commit to one or the other, or should I?

During my research, mainly online, I identified a good resource of information in the form of an eBook The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History (2019) and added a few others to the ever growing list of Journals and eBooks.

Biltereyst, D., Maltby, R., & Meers, P. (Eds.). (2019). The routledge companion to new cinema history. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Meeting at the Bay Dementia Hub

This is a monthly event held on the first Friday of each month alternating between a venue in Morecambe and Lancaster.

A place for people and their carers living with dementia can meet and get advice from a number of organisations.

Today I met with Penny who introduced me to Boris Segal who looks after the photography and video production for the dementia hub. Boris turned out to be a mine of information on local cinemas, many of which no longer exist.

I also met with a few people in the early stages of living with dementia who I generally asked about their cinema going experiences. One stood out, remembering a recent James Bond movie they had seen with the character Odd Job in it (Goldfinger 1964) and who they met at a function soon after.

Briefly met with the Mayor of Lancaster, David Whitaker a supporter of the Dementia Hub who expressed interest in my film proposal. I will keep in touch with David to discuss permissions to film in locations around Lancaster in the future. There are many interesting landmarks and buildings which I would like to feature in my films.

Touched base with Gil Graystone, Inclusive Film & Theatre Officer from the Dukes, she confirmed that she will also be at my meeting with Helen on the 16th December.

So, what did I achieve at this meeting?
◦ Identified a group of potential participants for my film
◦ Increased my Network of contacts
◦ Showed my face, which means while people do not know me, I am now a familiar face, and people who saw me interact with people they know and people who run the Dementia Hub (Soon to be renamed) will be easier to approach in the future.

Film Festival Update

My idea of creating a film festival for MAC Clinical Services has been passed upwards in the organisation for approval, which Penny thinks is likely to happen.

Watch this space for further updates.

Week 8, Nov 25th to 28th Nov – Atlas.ti and other things

Butterfly House Williamson Park Lancaster

Atlas.ti and other things

Strike Action

No seminars this week or next due to the UCU strike action, which is a shame as the FASS510 Interviewing in Qualitative Research – I & II would have been helpful as I will be conducting interviews for the documentary film. Fortunately, I will have the opportunity to take these again in the new year.

Atlas.ti and NVivo

So, for this week I concentrated on my reading and learning how to use the Qualitative Analysis applications, Atlas.ti and NVivo. I had already decided that I would most probably go with Atlas.ti but the more I use it the less it appeals. The user interface is not as friendly as I would like and the screen gets too busy with small text for me to view on a MacBook Pro’s 15” screen, so either I get a much larger screen to work on or consider using NVivo? NVivo seems to have a improved layout compared to Atlas.ti but I’m not sure if it is as powerful as Atlas.ti, this is going to be a work in progress for a while as I plan to run them together until a clear winner presents itself.

Supervisor meeting, 26th

Key points

1. Think about the style of your Documentary, will you be a participant?
2. Consider how using someone to act as the interviewer in the film, as they may become the most important part of the film and may influence how the film is produced.
3. Instead of using a go between (which is required by the venue) the best answer maybe to just become someone they know through attending several screenings a visitor who also makes films. Take time to get to know your subjects.
4. My synopsis for the 2nd film looks promising, maybe instead of a 2nd film it could find a place in the documentary so that the documentary has an experimental element to it.
5. Take the list of memory sequences in the experimental film and use these as questions in the documentary – ask people living with dementia about their dreams?
6. Look again at my proposal for funding and simplify it and make it more readable for people outside of the subject area. Explain (collective, cultural, new media) memory in simpler terms.
7. Reading list is progressing, and it is good that I am using a referencing software tool (Mendeley and Endnote).
8. Write short notes against your references to explain why it is important and why you have selected it.
9. Continue working and reading for the 2 set questions and think about how the written thesis and practical element will come together.
10. The competition details I received from is worth pursuing and would be a perfect opportunity for students.
11. Regarding the recent contact showing interest in having me make a film for an external charity, I will keep in contact with them and suggest my idea of creating a film festival and competition instead with the winner’s film as the film they could use for their charitable work.

Some interesting ideas came out of this weeks supervisor meeting, one of the best and the more I think about the more I like the idea is to try and incorporate my idea for the standalone experimental film into the documentary film. This would be unexpected and would add an interesting new way of looking at the documentary film format. Of course, I can always edit several versions so there could be films with and without the experimental film footage but as I said the more, I think about this the more attractive it seems.

Research and Reflection

Week 7, 18th November to November 22nd

FASS510 Engaging Data: Document Analysis +QR Analysis Final few weeks of the module in Qualitative data analysis. This seminar summarises a lot of what we were introduced to in the preceding seminars. I’ve been cherry picking what I think would be relevant to my projects, but I know think I should progress the project a little further before making actual decisions for example, induction or deduction?

Referencing software, Endnote or Mendeley? luckily I have access to both at Lancaster University so I have installed them both and integrated them into Word. I’ve been using them both simultaneously and think Endnote is the more powerful bu Mendeley is the most user friendly. I think at this time that I personally prefer Mendeley  and will use this going forward. However I’m not going to uninstall Endnote yet as it has a very useful search function and you can export citations directly from Onesearch. Mendeley also has a good search and you can add a export to Mendeley plugin to Opera and Chrome Browsers.

Documentary Film Pre-production: I have arranged to meet a professional actor to front my film, acting as the interviewer with  the people living with dementia screenings. I’m happy to pay a professional actor even though my budget is very small, but maybe I will consider running a campaign to raise funds for the film.

Research and Reflection

research and reflection

It’s been 7 weeks since I started my PhD at Lancaster University so I thought it was time to write something other than the weekly diary and transcripts from meetings and the odd few thousand words on film theory.

Research and Reflection (7 weeks in)

Those weeks have passed quickly and lots of things have happened. I have brought forward the research for the documentary (see here) and have spoken to a  number of groups and people that I think would be ideal participants in the film. The other good news is that I have had a lot of interest and now have a green light to go to the next stage, that is filming, with a number of caveats. Time is always an issue on one hand I am wishing time away so that I can get on with the filming while trying to slow things down so that I can concentrate on the literary review and getting up to speed with some of the software I will be using.

Endnote: This is my first time using this particular program to create a bibliography, up to now I’ve always done this manually from my notes, but I felt now was the time to embrace this technology as the thesis will be a much more substantial document to anything that I have written before. I’ve just spent a few minutes watching some online tutorials and importing my first pdf documents. On reflection I should have used this software before, as this also helps with searching and locating relevant literary sources for my research, which is something I really wasn’t aware of before.

Atlas.ti I’ve also looked at and had a one to one tutorial on the Qualitative Analysis application Atlas.ti, it is a very powerful software tool but I do have a few reservations about committing to using this. I’m worried about how much time this will eat up when adding the data to it and I am uncertain of how useful the data analysis would be over just doing it myself manually. I think I am more confused about this software now than I was before doing the training, it seemed like a no brainer until I realised how much time this could take up.

Research Question: If you’ve followed my weekly diary you’ll know that after a few meeting now with my supervisors there has been a change in direction/focus for my research. Just this week I have dropped the original research question and formed another that seems to be a better fit with the new direction of my research, but I suspect this to remain fluid for some time.

Literary Review: My goto book ‘An Everyday Magic, Cinema and Cultural Memory by Annette Kuhn is central to my research. I’ve read chapters 1 – Cinema Memory as Cultural Memory, Chapter 2 –  The Scenes of Memory and Chapter 5 – Growing up with Cinema. I can see how my film could be made to become an updated version of this book and it has certainly influenced my change in focus for my research and my plans for the film.

Memory in Film: I’ve watched a number of films recently. The BBC Documentary ‘The Lost Worlds of Mitchell and Kenyon’ by Dan Cruickshank, amazing footage of Edwardian life in the local area. American Graffiti (1973) by George Lucas, supposedly influenced by his own childhood, the end titles seemingly reinforcing that by saying what the film characters are doing now (1970s) but this is a well known filmmakers trick, as used in the film Fargo (This is a real story). BTW I noticed the yellow car had the licence plate TH138 a reference to THX1138 (1971) perhaps? a film also by George Lucas. So what did I gain from this? it’s a 70s film influenced by George Lucas’s memories of the 1950s.

I have also put into practice some of what I learn’t on the writing a thesis course (see diary entry) and switched to reading online journals and articles to research what is the most current thinking in my subject. It’s interesting to note that the bibliographies of these articles reference the same books that I have identified along with some of the journals that I wasn’t aware of. What this means is that I have a growing literary resource to research and most importantly I’m not reinventing the wheel, which also came up in this weeks Qualitative Research seminar. I’m mindful that I should be wary and confirm the quality of the data/information that I plan to research.

The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon

Notes from watching the first chapter Life and Times

The lost films (in the 1920’s) of Mitchell and Kenyon was discovered in the basement of a Blackburn shop by some builders who contacted a local film enthusiast (Peter Warden) before deciding to throw them away or not. 2 large metal containers of 850 silver nitrate film reels, which were transferred to the BFI (Berkhamsted) for restoration. Each minute of film consisting of 960 frames restored over the following 3 years, 800 films in all.

Mitchell and Kenyon

Mitchell was a photographer and Kenyon a maker of penny arcade machines jointly founded the firm, which became Norden Films and forayed into short dramas.

These films while not essentially documentaries are records of life in Edwardian Britain. This was a purely commercial endeavour with the films marketed direct to the public by people wearing sandwich boards with details of the weeks lates film. Essentially people were attracted to see themselves on film.

AT the time editing didn’t exist and there was no camera movement so the films were one long continuous shot without zoom and using the same angle so they had to be creative with the mounting of the camera for example on the top deck of a Tram.

There were no Cinemas and so their films were screened in the local halls or at the fairground in tents. They were prolific and visited many locations including Northern Ireland.

Peter Worden (1938-2013)

When the collection, consisting of hundreds of films of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, was discovered in a basement in 1994, it was Peter who was its initial and tireless custodian and conservator. In 2000, he donated the collection to the nation and it entered the vaults of the BFI National Archive. What followed was a huge preservation, restoration and research project in collaboration between the BFI and the University of Sheffield.

Anon, Peter Worden (1938-2013). British Film Institute. Available at: https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/peter-worden-1938-2013 [Accessed November 17, 2019].

Week 6, November 11th to November 15th

Monday – worked on my funding application for year 2 and 3 based on todays seminar on funding for post graduate study. It’s a long process but managed to have a draft application by the end of the day.

Tuesday 12th Supervisor meeting: Focus is shifting a little away from collective memory and into the richer subject area of Cinema Memory, which was already becoming an area of interest for my research and films. Action points: continue with reading and research on film and memory and how films represent memory.

Submitted my funding application.

FASS510 Using Computer Software for Qualitative Data Analysis: Interesting seminar looking at the computer software available for research. I’ve decided to use Atlas.ti for my qualitative analysis. Sp when time allows I’ll spend time getting my notes in order and start adding them to Atlas.ti, although I have made a note of the warnings and will spend some time organising my work and codes before committing to data entry. But I am also a bit wary of the amount of time this will occupy that could be used elsewhere..

Wednesday – Dementia Hub: I contacted them earlier in the week just to see if I could come along to their next meeting (1st Friday of the month) just to get a feel of what goes on and whether there is any interest in and to my documentary. Had a reply and an invite to come along to the next meeting at Lancaster Town Hall.

Thursday – Spent many hours transcribing the supervisor meetings and reading through what we discussed. (3,500 words) A few points came up that offered the opportunity to make a film using a format and design that I had been thinking of making for many years now. Developed an outline and synopsis of the film, which while challenging to make would perfectly represent  a form of memory in an interesting and informative way. Details to follow soon.

Friday – Received email confirmation that filming at the Dukes would be possible with a small caveat in that I will need to use someone familiar to the audience to act as a go between, which was something I was thinking of myself. Of course there is a small cost to this but I should be able to arrange suitable payment for their time.

Watched the first episode of the BBC Documentary, The lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon by Dan Cruickshank in collaboration with the BFI. See my Journal entry for notes on the 1st episode.

Week 5, November 4th to November 8th

Cinema and Memory

Documentary Film: pre-production

Film production meeting with potential professional advisors on current dementia research for people living with dementia. Very positive meeting with Dr Siobhan Reilly at Lancaster University who expressed interest in my film project and agreeing to appear as an expert in my documentary film. We also discussed other potential experts who would also be willing to appear in the film.

FASS510: Qualitative Research Methods: Focus Groups. Interestingly I picked up on using existing groups to adapt as focus groups. In my case this would mean joining in with dementia specific groups and conducting interviews very much as you would in a focus group as the mediator each question moving the discussion on and of course making sure that it stays on tracks and no one hogs the discussion.

Literary Review progress

Made some good progress on the Literary review, identified a key book and this has opened the door to further research. Also discovered that a book I thought would be very insightful turned out to be the opposite as I had already identified the key concepts and the rest of the book just reinforced this concept.

Key theory? Cinema and Memory Annette Kuhn?

The journey begins where personal and collective memory meet in stories about cinema and cinemagoing and about what these meant, and still mean, in the lives of the first movie-made generation – those men and women who grew up in the 1930s, when ‘going to the pictures’ was Britain’s favourite spare-time activity. (Kuhn: 1)

For the majority going to the pictures is remembered as being less about films and stars than about daily and weekly routine neighbourhood comings and goings and organising spare time. Cinemagoing is remembered, that is, as part of the fabric of daily life, and 1930 Cinema­goers paint a Iively picture of cinema’s role in their young lives. But if everyone has something to say about how they grew up with cinema, they all have different stories to tell and different ways of telling them. (Kuhn: 100)

Diary – Week 4, October 28th to 1st November

FASS508 Quantitive Data the second session introduction to quantitate data research. It was useful to reacquaint myself with this research methodology but I cannot see this approach fitting into my research methods so I probably will not go on to do the more in depth courses in the next term.

FASS510 Generating data: Fieldwork, Ethnography and Participant Observation. Much more like it, this is exactly what I was looking for. Picked up some useful tips for my own documentary and research methods and while some appear to push hard up against Ethics they din’t break them. For the fieldwork instead of taking written notes I took photos as these could be analysed in greater depth after returning back from the field, got a thumbs up for doing this.

2nd Supervisor meeting.

The challenge has been set, in fact I have a 2 phase approach to my literary review now, with the aim of significantly deepening my knowledge of film theory albeit that specifically related to the portrayal of memory in film.

Phase One

How have film theorists conceptualised the relationship between memory and cinema?

  • Which are the key publications on this area?
  • Who are the key theorists, and what specialisms or disciplinary fields are they situated within?
  • What are their principal arguments?
  • In what respects are these theories contadictory, limited or problematit?

Phase Two

How have filmmakers conceptualised (or visualised) the relationship between memory and cinema?

  • Which are the key films on this topic?
  • What are their principal arguments/narratives, and which genres, traditions or contexts are they situated within?
  • What are they situated within?
  • What are their characteristic formal and stylistic features?
  • In what respects are these films contradictory, limited or problematic?

Documentary Film Production Meeting: Attended a meeting with Gil Graystone, Inclusive Film & Theatre Officer at the Dukes in Lancaster. Discussed my documentary project and how we might partner together to make a film on the Dementia friendly screenings they hold as part of the ‘Life more ordinary” project. She will discus my film proposal with the Theatres Director in the next few days to see if filming is possible and fits in with the Dukes schedules.

 

7 minute free writing exercise

In todays seminar we conducted a free writing exercise, which I found particularly useful for collecting my thoughts on a couple of subjects. One example was of how to write a first draft chapter from your notes.

Using the same techniques I decided to set myself the task of in just 7 minutes describing what my PhD is about, without referencing my notes or any other materials – this is the result.

7-minute free writing exercise.

What is your PhD about?

My PhD investigates the relationship between collective memory and the memories of people going to the cinema. In particular I am looking at the relationship between dementia patients and their experience of visiting the cinema. Why dementia sufferers? Because they by definition, because of their short-term memory loss live in the past and their memories of going to the cinema are also in the past. To cater for this there are cinemas across the UK that offer special film screenings specifically for the experience of dementia sufferers. The films screened are from a previous era but to a dementia patient they believe it is in the current time and so they experience it in this way. In addition, there is an article that mentions that dementia sufferers experience something positive when exposed to sound and light which of course is what we all experience when we attend the cinema as the cinema is a sound and light experience. With this in mind it will be useful to consider whether the film shown is relevant or whether it is just the experience of the sound and light coming from the screen that engages the audience. Coming back to the collective memory it is important to consider how people remember the cinema going experience, do they experience it as individuals or is it a collective memory experience?

The guidelines to this exercise are to write continuously without concerns for grammar, punctuation or spelling. In this example I have retrospectively corrected some spelling and punctuation but I haven’t added or deleted any words, so what you see is effectively what I wrote in 7 minutes.

How does this help? well I think most of what I have written is how I subconsciously feel about my PhD and recently acquired knowledge, however to be really useful I would need to go through the text and add citations particularly regarding the sound and light reference as that came directly from a recent newspaper article.

Diary – Week 3, October 21st to 25th Literary Review

Literary Review

October 21st to 25th

Untangling Alzheimer’s – watched this short documentary (2013) by Roberto Verdecchia. Discovered that Alzheimer’s sufferers in addition to short term memory loss also experience impaired vision and hearing with some experiencing pain in extremities. There was indications in the film that diet, and whether you are a diabetes sufferer may be factors in getting Alzheimer’s due to insulin being blocked to the brain. Another finding revealed in the documentary was of electrical stimulation to the brain can alleviate the condition and may improve the condition. These are points that I can explore in my film with health professionals, although these are experimental and so be unknown here in the UK.

Regarding the documentary itself I didn’t feel it had a planned flow as it appeared to divert from subject to subject and return back to a story later in the timeline although there was this good link back to a family member a sufferer of Alzheimer’s throughout the film and I would of liked to have seen more of this because of the emotional response it invoked surprisingly in myself.

FASS508 seminar and workshops on Quantitive data analysis and collection, which I decided to attend to see how this type of approach may work with my project but it does seem to be inappropriate and Qualitative research approach  seems to be a better fit.

Literary Review

FASS510 Literature Review and Qualitative Research. I felt this was where the QR and Literature Review started to come together, while still more relevant for non practice based PhD’s I did take on board much that was relevant in order to start to put together an action plan of not only where to start but some idea of what I want to achieve . At the same time I realised how much work this was going to be but at the same time it’s a subject of real interest so while a challenge hopefully an enjoyable one. But the idea that the typical PhD thesis may have a Bibliography in excess of 300 entries (300 Books, Journals etc.) shows how much reading is required. Caveat, of course the time spent reading each varies with importance and relevance some books essential reading you could spend a few weeks to read but some journals may have only a few relevant paragraphs so only a few hours spent on these.

FASS516 1&2 this was a double session today on Thesis Writing for 1st year PhD students. Lots to take in for these sessions and while the content seems to be most relevant to non practice based PhD’s there was still a lot of useful information to take away from this particularly on the Literary Review. Looking forward to tomorrows double session. The group workshops were of particular assistance imparting an excellent range of ideas and discussing my project with other practice students is helpful as is sharing experiences as I can believe the PhD could easily become a lonely path without shared experiences.  Some PhD’s seemingly shut themselves away in their rooms, appearing to work constantly on their Literary Review and project, without embracing the extra curriculum benefits of being a student.

FASS516 3 & 4 this was a double session today on Thesis Writing for 1st year PhD students. This is session 3 and 4 and they follow on directly from the previous sessions. Today we looked at PhD thesis examples and analysed the writing and perceived audiences for each thesis across different faculties. We also conducted a variety of exercise in particular free writing exercises, which found particularly useful. I set myself a similar exercise after the seminars to see if this could help to describe my PhD to a general public audience. Use the link to view.

7 minute free writing exercise