What will we do when we get there?

The politics and practice of broadcast archive release

Joe Smith & Kim Hammond
Open University

It is fair to anticipate continued large-scale release of broadcast archives in coming years. What work will people put these resources to? How will they add their own layers of meaning to the content and to what end? How will they share their creative work? What tools might they need or want – and are they the same as the tools they’re likely to get? We propose to run an interactive workshop which will explore these questions in relation to a specific body of archive content around the theme of environmental change. The workshop will inform the Earth in Vision project  (AHRC funded 2013-2016) that works with a sample of 50 hours of the BBC’s environmental archives drawn from across the last 50 years.

Releases of archive content have consequences for any field of contemporary history, but are of particular significance for the environmental field. Framings of environmental change issues have often been narrow and separated off from other areas of social and economic life. Archive and digital media developments could combine to allow for more imaginative future responses to environmental change issues. However there is a need for a self-critical and open consideration of the ‘digital ideologies’ embedded in the tools and practices that mediating institutions develop for users’ work with these enormous bodies of cultural content.

We plan to bring stills and short sections of transcripts to our interactive workshop in order to develop ideas about the range of possibilities, but also to map some of the hazards that lie in store. We will seek to capture the discussions and to use the workshop to directly inform the development of the project. i-Docs and the participants will be appropriately credited by on the project website and in any relevant publications.

View the full project summary here

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