Saturday, 17 December 2011

VHS sampling, VHS nasties...

Our thanks to Dr Andrew Burke for his fantastic talk "The Sound of Straight-to-Video: VHS Head's Trademark Ribbons of Gold".

Our next session is scheduled for 18 January - Mary Oliver on "Practice as Research" and Dr Xavier Mendik (familiar from our Extremities conference of a couple of months back), presenting and discussing his new documentary: "Reclaiming 'Cannibal Holocaust'".

Salford's Prof George McKay's Book of the Year!

George's new book Radical Gardening is getting a host of mentions in end-of-year round-ups of best books (including The Guardian and The Independent, copied below).

All reviews via his blog.

Independent On Sunday
If you thought gardening was a tame and rather bourgeois pursuit, here is a book to make you think again. George McKay traces the ways in which gardening and the garden have been, and remain, central to radical politics, from the Hyde Park riots of the 1860s, through the social utopianism of the garden city movement, the progressive left-wing and reactionary right-wing versions of organic gardening, foreign plants and the politics of immigration, peace gardens, gay gardens, counter-cultural gardens of the 1960s, and up to the ‘guerrilla gardening’ on urban wasteland today. A fascinating and erudite history that made me want to go and cultivate my garden. (Brandon Robshaw, Books of the Year, ‘Vegetable plots, ad the red roots of a green revolution’, 11 December)

The Guardian
This unusual book looks at the role the garden plays in politics and revolution. George McKay is an academic who specialises in the study of counterculture, and he has turned his gaze on gardening. As well as the more obvious and leftwing, such as environmentalism and garden cities, McKay writes about the affinity the Nazis felt with organic movement. Uncomfortable in places, but hugely thought-provoking. (Lia Leendertz, Weekend magazine, ‘When the garden sleeps’ [Christmas books article], 10 December 2011)

Friday, 9 December 2011

MMP Grad Programme talks, Weds 14 Dec

Internal speaker: Dr Yu-Wei Lin

Technofeminism and Media Technologies
Following up my introductory talk on technofeminism last academic year, this talk will provide not only a more advanced view on technofeminism and other related theories around feminist technoscience studies, but also my own experience of adopting this analytical approach for the research on women in Free/Open Source Software communities and gendered participatory cultures in an age of media convergence.

External Speaker: Dr Andrew Burke

Andrew Burke is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Winnipeg where he teaches critical theory and cultural studies. His current project is on the representation of memory and modernity in contemporary British cinema.

The Sound of Straight-to-Video:

VHS Head’s Trademark Ribbons of Gold

Comprised primarily of samples drawn from a collection of 80s videocassettes layered over frenetic and fractured beats, the music of VHS Head points to the way in which memory and technology intersect. Occupying the space where glitchy electronica meets hypnogogic pop, the tracks on VHS Head’s debut album Trademark Ribbons of Gold trace a trajectory from the VCR to the mp3. The analogue remnants of the recent past are digitally reprocessed and reconfigured in a way that amplifies their force and menace. The work of VHS Head does not simply represent another example of the contemporary enthusiasm for dead media and obsolete technologies, but also serves as a model for how the recent past resides in the present day: as a discontinuous and disorienting barrage of fragments that continue to haunt and unsettle the present. Drawing on memory studies and thing theory, this paper examines the uncanny as it is embodied in the ungainly material form of the videocassette and let loose through the music of VHS Head.

followed by our Christmas Social!

Times for All Sessions:
3.10 – 4pm:     Internal Speaker
4.15 - 5.15:      External Speaker

All sessions: second floor lecture theatre, Adelphi House
Building 3 on page 3 of this map:
(NB: Not Adelphi Building, and beware of Google Maps that confuses the two).
If you need parking, please let Ben Halligan know ahead of time:

Seasonal Miriad Social and Networking event

Salford PGRs invited to MIRIAD’s networking event, which is taking place at The Salutation, on Thursday 15th December 2011. Directions here and

Thursday, 8 December 2011


video here: a behind-the-scenes film of the Believe event, produced by University of Salford students. Andrea Marcaccio and Nikola Brunelli, Erasmus students on the MA Creative Technology course, have captured and packaged preparations being made in the Digital Performance Lab for last month's popular event. The Believe event was a huge success with nearly 3000 visitors attending as the university invited the public to come and see our new MediaCityUK home.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

MediaCity Christmas Party!!

 See the full line up and book your free ticket at

Postgrad Enterprise

For the first time ever the University of Salford has collaborated with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to jointly host an event aimed at Postgraduates from all three Universities . The focus of the event will be on how to be entrepreneurial and/or intrapreneurial in your research, studies or whether you choose employment or self employment.

The event will be held on Monday 23rd January 2012 at Salford University, Media City.

During the course of the day, there will be keynote speakers, postgraduate and Alumni entrepreneurs as well as local entrepreneurs and business representatives.

This is a great opportunity to find out what is happening in the labour market, to network with peers from the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and to gain some practical tips and advice on future career prospects.

Each University has been allocated 50 places, therefore it is imperative that people book early to avoid disappointment. Please find attached the promotional poster and full details can also be found on our website

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Prof David Sanjek (1952-2011)

Many of you will have heard the terrible news that our dear friend and esteemed colleague Prof Dave Sanjek passed away a few days ago on the journey back from New York to Manchester, where he was engaged in expert committee work for the Library of Congress.

(Dave hosting the Tony Palmer masterclass in 2010)

This was so unexpected - in the last fews week he was about town, as usual, for films (The Black Power Mix Tape, which he found incredibly moving since the times and places were his own), for live music (The Fall, where he was more enthused by the rhythm section than the singer), for theatre (One Man, Two Guvnors, on which he and I agreed to differ!), for food (we were gradually winning him around to Zouk, but he held fast to Red Chilli too) and for general conversation (I picked his brains Friday gone on the subject of 1970s late night New York cable television screenings of horror films for a piece I was writing - he was, as always, encyclopedic and with an enthusiasm that swept you along as well). As you'll see from the picture further down this blog, he was hosting a Graduate Programme talk only a couple of weeks ago.

Recently completed chapters concerned Captain Beefheart, the Medicine Ball Caravan and Wildman Fisher, and recent conferences he convened included Sights and Sounds: Interrogating the Music Documentary, a Northern Soul event, and a symposium on music and copyright.

Dave's passing is a great loss to us and to the wider community, and to anyone who has ever enjoyed his company, his writing, his teaching, and his friendship.

--- Benjamin Halligan  

Facebook Memorial page here

Some of Dave's recent writing, on the films Johnny Guitar
and My Man Godfrey for Senses of Cinema.