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.


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


Diary – Week 2, October 14th to 18th

October 14th to 18th

Monday 14th FASS502 Introduction to the Library and Literature Searching. Held in the PC Lab, found some interesting references but also couldn’t find 2 Films I think might be of interest – is there no DVD collection?

Heard back from the Director of the Dukes, OK to talk to the Inclusive Film & Theatre Officer on their return Thursday 17th October to obtain permission to attend one of their screenings and to discuss filming at the venue. Update arranged a meeting with Gil the Inclusive Film & Theatre Officer for Friday 1st November at 10.30am – call to confirm next week.

Tuesday 15th FASS506: Designing, Undertaking and Surviving Doctoral Research. Interesting sessions the afternoon in particular with current PhD students who passed on their experiences. Feeling a bit more on track now.

Received a Certificate from the International Moving Image Film Festival awarding semi-finalist for my documentary Yayu and The Wimborne Folk Festival.

Arranged a meeting with Dr. Reilly Senior Lecturer in Health Research for early next month to discuss my research project and the production of a documentary film on Dementia and reconnecting to past memories of the Cinema.

Wednesday 16th FASS510: Qualitative Research Methods. Ethics came up in this session and I feel I must get on this sooner than expected, as approval will be needed. Fortunately this must be a well worn path as I am asking nothing out of the ordinary for a documentary filmmaker.

Writing and research

Started writing up some of the additional literary review research I have started on collective memory and added a few paragraphs on cinemagoing. In addition I looked again at the original PhD proposal to see where it can be updated, which apart from bringing forward the filming timetable I think is on track.

Archival Film

Started looking for archive film to include in my first film. There’s little if any specific to Lancaster that is post war so I will have to widen the net to include the whole of the United Kingdom. This seems to have worked as I have found several examples however they are not in the public domain but are in fact in a private collection for which a fee is required to remove the identifiers.

Weekly Diary – Welcome week +1

Weekly diary

Weekly diary – October 7th to 11th

After the happy chaos of welcome week this is the first week of Term.

Weekly diary of emails, setting up meetings and attending seminars.

Firstly the seminars on Qualitative Research Methods FASS510 my first introduction to the Research Training Program, which I will be attending over the next 10 weeks. Interestingly my research on Collective Memory featured in the QA session at the end of the seminar as an example of an area of research where there is no actual actor or material object to research.

My Research.

  • I’ve emailed the Dukes to see if I can get permission to attend the next Dementia friendly screening as an observer. (Update – had a email response and I will be discussing my project with the Inclusive Film & Theatre Officer and hopefully taking it further soon)
  • Emailed a lecturer in another faculty, specialising in Dementia Research for a meeting to discuss what sort of questions might be interesting to include in my interviews. (no answer so far – sending reminder)
  • Started reading and referencing the book,  ‘The Collective Memory Reader edited by Jeffery K. Olick. Verod Vinitzky. & Daniel Levey
  • Started reading An Everyday Magic Cinema and Cultural Memory by Annette Kuhn.
  • Reading for next weeks session. Qualitative Quality: Eight “Big-Tent” Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research by Sarah J. Tracy

Film Festivals

Just got the news that my documentary Yayu and The Wimborne Folk Festival just got a special mention at the Asia South East-Short Film Festival.

Special mention for Yayu and The Wimborne Folk Festival at the Asia South East Short Film Festival 2019


Location scouting 2

Walked around Lancaster City looking for interesting locations to film, talking to locals for ideas and generally getting a flavour of the city itself.

It’s Lancaster Music Festival this weekend and happened across one of the musicians in a cafe who I encouraged to play while I filmed him on my iPhone – The Hurdy Gurdy Man.