Out of Frame: 1968 and the Media

On March 20 EUscreen and the FIAT/IFTA’s Media Studies Commission organized a joint seminar about ‘1968 in the Media’. The next day, we held EUscreen’s Network Meeting in the same venue. Thanks to our colleagues at Ina and the ISCC for hosting these two events and to all the speakers and attendees for their presence and contribution to two inspiring meetings.

Media Studies Seminar: 1968 in the Media

The Media Studies Seminar was devoted to the media coverage of different political and social events that took place in 1968 across the globe. The day was split in four panel sessions with different perspectives: Politics of Representation chaired by Lisa Kerrigan (British Film Institute), Researching 1968: Stories, Perspectives and Sources chaired by Dana Mustata (University of Groningen), Filming 1968 chaired by Andy O’Dwyer (University of Luxembourg) and Curating Histories chaired by Liam Wylie (RTÉ Archives).

After Gracia Ramirez (University of the Arts London) introduced us to U.S. Propaganda revolving around the Prague Spring, Todd M. Goehle from the State University of New York, discussed the news coverage and politics of West Germany’s Easter Weekend, 1968, in the wake of which the then media mogul Axel Springer played an important role in challenging the nation’s public television reporting, and opened the public argument for creating a commercial television alternative.

Chris Reynolds (Nottingham Trent University, UK) dove into his personal history as well as that of the media when trying to find an explanation for the absence of a Northern Ireland’s 1968 – reasons for which include the region’s perspective on the Civil Rights movement rather than the student protests in France and the dark period that followed soon after. James Jordan then zoomed in on internal discussions at the BBC’s onset of Olivier Todd’s ‘Europa’ documentary series from across the continent.

In the second panel, Berber Hagedoorn (University of Groningen, NL) discussed how scholars can use various tools and methods such as DIVE to study a ‘disruptive media event’ as the ones that co-spired in that year – which led to quite some discussions in the Q&A about when a news event becomes or is by its very nature disrupted. Richard Legay from the University of Luxembourg shared the sounds of excited news reporters from ‘peripheral radio stations’ (Radios Périferiques > outside of French territory) during the student protests in Paris. Filmmaker and researcher Mila Turajlic (SciencesPo, FR) showed a captivating couple of clips from the 1968 protests in the former Yugoslavia, where ex-Spanish Civil War volunteers serving on the administration were sent in to co-opt the protests – later ended by a joint traditional dance with professors, students and communist leaders… before the crackdown came, one month later. Montserrat Bailac and Montserrat Fortino showed the riveting difference between the innocence that the No-Do newsreels painted in the 1960s and the spirit of revolt Spanish filmmaker Elena Lumbreras painted. She filmed a poetic documentary about the country’s protests for Italy’s Cinecittá Luce, named after Antonio Machado’s line: El hoy es malo, pero el mañana es mío (Today is bad, but tomorrow will be mine). In the Q&A we discussed how much material of this epoch is still unearthed, as all the No-DO outtakes have been stored, yet aren’t currently available yet.

Søs Hoffman and Mette Charis Buchman from Danish broadcaster DR

In Session 3, Patricia Holland (Bournemouth University, UK) showed the Hornsey art School protests and Dominique Beaux, Jean-Baptiste Evette and Valérie Hyenveux Fodera from Films des Quatre Planètes talked about the film project they’d been working on for the past ten years. Their approach was to make eyewitnesses react on archive material from the protest strikes in 1968 in France. The result: a clash between memory and the stories told by the archive material – and sometimes shockingly laconic responses from elderly policemen to the violence inflicted. Shane O’Sullivan (Kingston University) showed what it brings if you go beyond the (archive’s) gatekeepers. He did so for his documentary ‘RFK must die’, which explores what happened the night Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968, and encountered how complicated it can be when trying to document the life of Ulrike Meinhof, whose legacy is contested by family members, historians, and former advocates alike.

The day was closed with a selection of archive stories. Mette Charis Buchman and Søs Hoffman from Danish broadcaster DR told how they tried to give a twist to the now well-known stories of 1968, for which the same images are used over and over again and tried to complement witnesses’ personal, sometimes mundane, memories of the period with what is in the archive. Agiati Bernadou (Europeana Research, GR) searched for traces of 1968 in the Europeana Collections and sent out a call for collaboration on a communal online exhibition on the topic. Martin Bouda (Czech Television, CZ) shared his curated selection on 1968 in Czechoslovakia – most of which can be seen on euscreen.eu, after which Montse Bailac closed the day with a surprise viewing of a pristine quality home movie from a Spanish business man filmed during the Prague Spring.

A selection of the symposium outcomes will be published in EUscreen’s open access VIEW Journal. More photos of the event are available on our Flickr page.

EUscreen Network Meeting

The next day, we gathered with members of the EUscreen network to sit down and talk strategy as well as the road ahead for the foundation. Eve-Marie Oesterlen gave the network participants a status update about the new partners, quality improvements and aggregation. Maja Wettmark and Mari Skarnes presented a case study on how their organisation – Norwegian broadcaster NRK – aggregated the wonderful Filmavisen newsreels and Fjernsynsteatret drama to Europeana.

Workshop Making Meaning

After an inspiring introduction by ARTE’s head of web productions Marianne Lévy-Leblond, we split up in groups to discuss Making Meaning: project ideas for online or offline curation around the topic of the seminar: 1968. The workshop was led by producers Gerda Jansen Hendriks (NTR), Jean-Baptiste Evette & Dominique Beaux and Søs Hoffman (DR).

Aubéry Escande gave everyone a status update about Europeana. And we ended the meeting with the a festive screening of popular of EUscreen materials and of our newest and prospective network members : Albanian Film Archives (AQSHF), Centre Nationale de l’Audiovisuel (CNA, Luxembourg), Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) Spanish broadcaster RTVE.

More photos of the event can be found on our Flickr page.

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