Arrived back on Wednesday, fastest drive so far about 4 hours 30 minutes to get to campus from Bournemouth, but still a long journey.
Started to write the outline for a critical film review, comparing the classic film Oscar winning film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and the Oscar winning film Still Alice (2017). The conceptualisation of memory and memory erasure using flashbacks to reconnect to lost memories.
Having written the outline I realised that flashbacks are a key tool in the filmmakers and writers toolbox and wondered how far I could explore this in films on memory loss and memory erasures. So my essay is now focused on films using flashbacks, the triggers and cinematic approaches directors use to initiate and represent past memories in the timelines.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.