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“Dining with Jimmy” now live

May 3, 2015

Last Summer, I embarked on a project that brings my family, academic interests (cultural history), and hobbies (cooking and eating) together: re-creating the menus of James MacNeill Whistler together with my archaeologist wife and my mother-in-law, Margaret F. MacDonald, professor of Whistler Studies at the University of Glasgow.  Besides the chance to try and think through the life of a cosmopolitan artist and bon-vivant in 1870s London, it offers some interesting grounds for reflection on how we live and eat now – especially for me, another trans-Atlantic émigré.

It’s still a work in progress, but we offer it live here now:


Les Frontières de la Radio/ The Borders of Radio

April 20, 2015

Le colloque international “Les frontières de la radio” se tiendra les jeudi 4 et vendredi 5 juin 2015 à l’Université de Perpignan. Les universitaires et jeunes chercheurs, les professionnels de la radio, les artistes présenteront leurs travaux et réflexions à l’occasion de communications ou tables rondes. La diffusion de son sera possible et encouragée.  Le web magazine Syntone organisera une session d’écoute. Les rencontres donneront lieu à une publication destinée à prolonger les questions abordées et à mettre en avant des espaces de recherche scientifiques et artistiques novateurs.

The international conference will be held on Tuesday 4 and Friday 5 June 2015 at the University of Perpignan.  Academics researchers, radio professionals, artists will be asked to present their work and ideas in workshops or roundtables. Audio playout will be possible and encouraged to play sounds. The web magazine Syntone will organise a listening session. The meetings will result in a…

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Conference: Histories, Representations, Fictions – Media Archives as Sites of Memory and Recollection (Vienna)

March 1, 2015

Upcoming in May, the next conference of the German Broadcasting History Society …

45. Jahrestagung des Studienkreises Rundfunk und Geschichte in Kooperation mit der Zeitschrift Medienimpulse

“Geschichte(n), Repräsentationen, Fiktionen – Medienarchive als Gedächtnis und Erinnerungsorte”

7. und 8. Mai 2015 in Wien
Neuer Tagungsort: depot, Breitegasse 3, 1070 Wien []
Tagungsbeginn: 7. Mai 2015, 12:00 (vorher 9:30 Mitgliederversammlung Studienkreis Rundfunk und Geschichte)
Tagungsende: 8. Mai 2015, 17:00 (anschließend Buchpräsentation neue Reihe ‘Mediale Impulse – Beiträge zur Medienpädagogik’)

Die Anmeldung erfolgt über das Online-Formular und die Überweisung des entsprechenden Tagungsbeitrages.

Hier finden Sie das aktuelle Tagungsprogramm sowie Informationen zu
Hotels und zur Anreise.

Die Tagung wird finanziert mit Mitteln des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Frauen.

WATCH THIS SPACE: WREN workshop in Bournemouth 14-15 November

November 14, 2014

Women's Radio in Europe Network (WREN)

The WREN workshop is now underway!  Bournemouth’s Centre for Media History is hosting WREN workshop, where we are coming together to plot our next move.    In now-tradional WREN style, this began with an excellent curry:

IMG_3198 Kate Murphy gives dhosa instructions….

In addition to group discussions for future plans, Friday afternoon will feature an open panel discussion about the key issues we are seeking to address.

Friday 14 November 2014

14.00 – 15.30 in W240

(Screening Room, Weymouth House)

In Conversation with WREN

Women have played a key role in the general development of radio, both as listeners and producers, and still continue to play a vital role in the contemporary radio landscape.

Join our international panel for a discussion about WREN research and women’s contribution to radio.

Speakers confirmed include:

  • Maria Williams, Sound Women
  • Caroline Mitchell, Sunderland University
  • Nazan Haydari, Istanbul Bilgi University
  • Carolyn Birdsall, University of Amsterdam


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2nd TRE workshop coming up in Berlin

October 20, 2014

(re-posted from

In our second workshop, we will focus on „Aesthetics and Territoriality“, asking questions about how local/regional, national or transnational/European identities are expressed, mediated, transmitted and perceived through radio.
To what degree do radiophonic sound concepts follow characteristics of national cultures? How do they express territorial belonging or otherness? How are culturally specific auditive styles developed and maintained? To what extent limit transcultural styles, such as that of American commercial radio, the development of indigenous forms in Europe?

Public Day

The first workshop day is our Public Day, taking place in the glamorous old GDR radio premises at Nalepastraße. We invite everyone who is interested in aesthetic questions and issues of culture and territoriality in the fields of radio studies, sound studies and radio art.

We will start with two introductory talks from the ranks of TRE. In their Individual Projects, Jacob Kreutzfeldt/Heidi Svømmekjær and Golo Föllmer concentrate on the intersections between radiophonic sound concepts and feelings of belonging evoked by radio. Their talks discuss historical and systematic perspectives on the relation between aesthetics and territoriality within radio research. Focussing on historical examples, Jacob Kreutzfeldt and Heidi Svømmekjær will talk about „The Sound of Brotherhood in the Radiophonis North“, giving us an idea how transnational cooperation in early radio programming was thought, and possibly succeeded in building bonds between publics of different nation states. Switching to an empirical approach on present day radio,Golo Föllmer, together with a group of Master students from University of Halle, will discuss the role of sound concepts in „Transnational Standards, National Identities and International Morning Shows“ on a recently recorded corpus of heavily formatted radio programmes from all around the world.

The second slot focuses on radio drama and radio feature as the two fields in radio production best researched regarding their aesthetics. Discussing the respective histories of British and German traditions, the British academic, writer and broadcaster David Hendy and the German radio drama reviewer and co-founder of the „Berliner Hörspiel Festival“ Jochen Meißner will lead a dialogue about »Radiophonies of Art, Place and Time«.

As the last theoretical contribution of the day, in her keynote „Accented Radio“ Katie Moylan will explain issues of marking national, social and cultural territories by means of details in speech styles.

To finish off this day, we are proud to present a performance programme of a special kind: right between radio art and radio research. „Formal Radio – reloaded“ will first present the original “Formal Radio”, produced in 1999 by Christian Berner and Frank Schültge, as ‘historical’ example of the ‘destillation’ of radiophonic sound concepts in a humorous and sound-sensitive way. „Formal Radio Extra Cheese“ is their own remake, commissioned by TRE, using material of radio stations from all over the world. It is finally, let´s say, commented by Gívan Béla performing a software system on the same audio material as used by Berner and Schültge in „Re-Rodia – mini cut-up procedures for automatic radio listener“, another commission by TRE.

For hints how to find us there please check the flyer.

Internal Days/Research-Time

The two remaining days will be exclusive for TRE members and especially invited researchers and practitioners. These two days take place at Finnland Institut Berlin.

Friday will be dedicated to discussing different theoretical tools for systematic analysis on a wide spectrum of audio examples of radiophonic sound concepts. Finn Markwardt , experienced sound designer and teacher, will give insight into aspects of ‘Identity Management’ and ‘Broadcast Flow Design’ from his hands-on production experience. As theoretical counterpart, the hosts will sketch ‘auditory grammar’ and ‘auditory rhetoric’ as potential frameworks for systematic analysis. Subsequently, the best part of the day will be dedicated to discussing in small groups the possibilities of practice-based and theoretical approaches to a range of prepared as well as brought-in examples of radio.

Saturday is reserved for discussions about the best ways of publishing and spreading results from TRE and the partners involved, amongst others in the Open Knowledge Base, the TRE Exhibition and the book publication scheduled for 2016.

October 23rd (starting 12:30) to October 25th (ending 14:00)

Public Day: Studio P4, Nalepastr. 18-50, Berlin
Thursday October 23rd, 12:30 – 22:00

Internal Days: Finnland Institut, Georgenstr. 24, 10117 Berlin
Friday October 24th, 10:00 – 18:00, afterwards dinner
Saturday October 25th, 10:00 – 14:00

Floating Bodies, or the Value of the Humanities

October 17, 2014

Recently I had the great delight of attending my first meeting of the honours programme in the Humanities here in Utrecht.  In the second semester, I will be teaching the course in ‘surverying the landscape’ of media and cultural studies.  It’s an exciting programme to be part of, especially having seen the kinds of projects the students have done, including  “Outlawed” ,a  documentary on asylum seekers held in legal limbo in the Netherlands.

One of the recurring themes of the programme is the value of the humanities.  The students themselves were puzzling over this – one asked about whether their programme should feature more ‘practical’ orientation.   Ironically, the same day I was attending the meeting of the honours college, there was a debut of a documentary on the value of the humanities (some of it is in Dutch, but most is in English).  It’s worth watching: smart people like Rosi Braidotti and Wendy Brown talking very good sense, plus you get some glimpses of the beautiful loactions I get to haunt in Utrecht (as well as a lecture hall, where I sometimes teach).

In thinking about this, however, my mind has been on a different film, the one we selected as the winner of the Film Prize of the City of Utrecht: Floating Bodies (Waterlijken)  (Nelleke Koop, Self-made Films, 2014). As the title of the film suggests, it is about corpses that are found in the water, or, more accurately, it is about the people who are in charge of dealing with them and the work they do.   Through visuals of the work of police, coroners, technicians, orderlies, as well as interviews, it follows the process by which a corpse becames an object of study, and then once more a human being.  You see the skills that civil sevants put in to their work, also about the support systems in place if it becomes too much for them.  And apparently, sometimes it does.  You also see little things, like the care they take in making the body presentable for the relatives.  Surprisingly, perhaps, it is a beautiful film, though as with many beautiful films, I am in no rush to see it again.   It avoids making a spectacle of the bodies, but neither does it leave many illusions about the nature of the phenomenon.

Too often, there still seems to be a view of humanities as a floating body: detached, loose, overly concerned with dead and past things, no longer entirely of this world.  Its value, or even its nature, is fundamentally uncertain. A film like Floating Bodies actually offers us two other views of the value of the humanities. One is that of the film-maker, who by a series of expressive techniques (for which we in media and cultural studies have developed a range of analytical tools and ways of thinking about) is able to explore the values, cares and meanings that go into the work of the state.  It holds them to the light, and explores the fundamental questions, including (as Rosi Braidotti also mentions) what it actually means to be human,  why some things are better heard described than seen, who takes on such work, and why.

But I think even more importantly, there are the values that emerge from the civil servants that the film shows.  The work they do falls under biology, medicine, law.  But the reason they do their jobs is because this society thinks it’s important that human bodies are not left in the water.  We need to identify those bodies, we need to know what broke them, what relationships they had, and how those relations can be repaired (presenting them to their relatives with dignity: reassembled into human-ness).  This may be a civil service, but it is also a human ritual that exists because we need it to.  The value of this work cannot be measured in economic terms, or at least not effectively.  Its public value is self-evident.  Somebody needs to do this work.

We, as a society, are served by having people who do this work well. And for that, as a society, we need the humanities.  A robust ability to recognize, analyse, explore and question the meanings and values of human endeavour are part of the skillset of a healthy society. For that, we need training grounds – universities. They are not the only training grounds, to be sure, but they are purpose-built and have centuries of experience.  The skills we teach are practical skills for a wide range of professions.  Robust material support for that endeavour has self-evident public value.

Somebody needs to do this work.

To put this plainly: The practical value of the humanities lies in exploring and understanding the human value of practices. As such, the answer to the question of the economic value of the humanities should never be given in numbers: it is that somebody has to question the human value of economics.

Jahrestagung 2015: Geschichte(n), Repräsentationen, Fiktionen – Medienarchive als Gedächtnis- und Erinnerungsorte

October 13, 2014

Die kommende Jahrestagung des Studienkreises Rundfunk und Geschichte wird am 7.und 8 Mai 2015 in Wien stattfinden. In Kooperation mit dem Filmarchiv Austria (Thomas Ballhausen) und der Zeitschrift Medienimpulse (Alessandro Barberi) koordiniert Sascha Trültzsch-Wijnen vom Studienkreis Rundfunk und Geschichte derzeit die Vorbereitungen zur Tagung. Ein Call for Papers wird im Oktober veröffentlicht. Im Fokus soll das Spannungsverhältnis von Medialität, Historizität und Öffentlichkeit stehen, welches an Medienarchiven und deren Verantwortung im Umgang mit Archivalien besonders deutlich wird. Thematisch sind folgende Bereiche von Interesse: Mediale Umbrüche in der Erzählung von Geschichte, Archive als Fundgruben politischer Utopien und Dystopien, Medianarchive als Speicher- und Erinnerungsorte, Fiktionalisierung historischer Stoffe als mediales und didaktisches Konzept zur Geschichtsvermittlung. Zusätzlich wird es einen Schwerpunkt zu medienpädagogischen Aspekten hinsichtlich der Relevanz, Zugänglichkeit und Verwendung archivarischen Materials sowie zur zunehmenden Fiktionalisierung von Geschichte geben. Wie schon 2014 wird auch 2015 ein Jahr sein, welches kulturell und medial durch die Jubiläen historischer Ereignisse geprägt sein wird. So werden das Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges, das 60-jährige Bestehen des Staatsvertrages in Österreich oder 25 Jahre Deutsche Einheit Schwerpunkte des historischen Gedenkens sein, die auch in den Beiträgen der Tagung ihren Niederschlag finden sollen.

Den Call for Papers gibt es hier: CfP Tagung 2015 Wien

Termin: 7.-8. Mai 2015
Ort: Studienzentrum/ Filmarchiv Austria, Obere Augartenstraße 1, Wien