Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Media and Communication

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Simon Popple

Deputy Head of School

0113 343 7607

Clothworkers' Building North, 1.07a

Office hours: My office hours are Wednesday 10-12 and by appointment

Senior Lecturer in Cinema

Biography

Following an MA by research in British Documentary Film and state sponsored commercial film at Leeds University (awarded in 1988) I worked as book buyer for Waterstones before undertaking a research assistantship at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now the National Media Museum). During this three year period (1991-1994) I worked on the development of institutional histories of cinema and photography within the Science Museum and developed exhibitions on early cinema. I was particularly focussed on the development of the role of technologies in the creation of cultural history and in the dominance of the institutional voice.
I was then invited to apply for a programme development role at Manchester Metropolitan University where I wrote and taught on the new BA Hons Film and Visual Media and began to develop my primary research interests in early cinema and photography. I developed teaching specialisms in film and photographic archives and established broad teaching links with the Northwest Film archive, Documentary Photography Archive the various Manchester Galleries. (1994-1999)
I then moved to the University of Teesside to help develop the plans for the new Northern Region Film and Television Archive where I became Managing Director as part of my duties. I also became Pro-Dean for Research and Enterprise. During this period I was also funded as CI on the AHRC/BFI Mitchell and Kenyon Project and established the journal Living Pictures which is now Early Popular Visual Culture (Taylor and Francis) and co-founded the Visual Delights Conference series in conjunction with the University of Sheffield.(1999- 2005)
I then moved to the Institute of Communications Studies at Leeds to develop teaching and research in photography and digital archives where I am now Deputy Head of Institute. Since my arrival at Leeds I have increasingly focussed on developing archival based research and have so far received funding as PI on two AHRC/BBC funded Knowledge Exchange project on the archive of the 1984/5 Miners’ Strike ( http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/research/research-projects/strike-stories/ ) and was recently awarded a major AHRC Connected Communities award for the Pararchive Project. (www.pararchive.com ). This project is primarily concerned with the creation of an open source publicly owned archive engagement platform developed by communities through Community Technology and Research Laboratories and exploring notions of open space and public value. All three projects seek to allow various publics to engage with traditionally closed or controlled institutional collections and to develop their own research capabilities and ongoing relationships with public institutions. We are working with the BBC and Science Museum as key project partners.
I am also currently engaged on other projects dealing with ideas of institutional representation and control which include being CoI on an AHRC Cultural Value Award on Digital Engagement with Culture, the WUN funded Film Policy and Soft Power Project, and the BA funded Representations of Contemporary Soldiering in Digital and Visual Cultures Project.
I have also worked on developing Impact having served as deputy head of Research and Impact in the Institute and at University level as deputy director of the Creative and Cultural Industries Exchange.
I have also written and launched a new MA in Cinema and Photography and developed specialisms in PhD supervision in digital archives and I am currently supervising two students in this field. I am particularly interested in this current proposal as it combines my ongoing interest in archival resources, the role they play in the creation of power and knowledge and more core research interests in early cinema and photography which is an area I am keen to further explore in relation to the development of medical and cultural documentation. (2005 to present)

Research Interests

I am currently lead investigator on the Pararchive project and have has become increasingly interested in the role that digital archives can play in terms of empowerment and capacity building within the communities they represent.  Over a number of projects I have explored the potential for using archival sources and structures as a basis for creative practice and digital storytelling. I am also interested in the potential for these activities to take place in ‘open space’ – beyond the context of the institution. I have worked with the BBC and AHRC on two previous projects dealing with the BBC’s archive of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike and worked with mining and police communities to examine how they could use the archive to make sense of their experiences and tell their stories in relation to these sources and representations. The second project resulted in the creation of public story films about the strike and formed the inspiration for the current Pararchive project.

My other interests include:

  • Early Cinema
  • British Cinema
  • European Cinema
  • Photography and popular visual cultures
  • Digital archives and cultural heritage

 

 

 

   

Responsibilities

Deputy Head ICS

Publications

Books

  • Popple SE; Macdonald I (2012) Digging The Seam: Creative Cultures of the Miners' Strike. Cambridge Scholars Press. [In preparation]

  • Popple S; Thornham H (2012) Content Cultures: Transformations of User Generated Content in Public Service Broadcasting. I.B.Tauris. [In preparation]

Journal Articles

  • Popple SE (2012) “From ‘Brother Boer’ to ‘Dirty Boers’: Colonizing the colonizers through the popular representations of the Boer in the British illustrated journal 1899–1902”, Journal of War & Culture Studies. 2012. Volume 5.Number 2: 137-156. [In preparation]

    The Anglo-Boer War marks a fascinating intersection between two colonial powers and the use of the press and associated news-carrying popular cultural forms as a means of shaping public opinion and demonizing Britain’s ‘enemy’. The publication of photographs in magazines and the popular press via the halftone process was a very recent development and coincided with a propaganda campaign to denigrate the Boers as an uncivilized and brutal colonial power and to legitimize benevolent British interest in the territories. This article examines the use of the press, photographic, cinematic and dramatic cultural forms within this context, as well as the constructed colonial identity of the Boers in relation to that of the British. A key focus is the racial stereotyping and the representation of the enemy as ‘other’, a perpetual feature of a range of news-orientated texts and evidenced by the coverage of stories that revealed the uncivilized nature of the Boers and positioned them both as colonial oppressor and colonial subject.

  • Popple SE (2010) “'Fresh From the Front': Performance, war news and popular culture during the Boer war”, Early Popular Visual Culture. Issue 4. Volume 8.Issue 4: 401-418.

  • Popple SE (2005) “Indecent Exposures: Photography, vice and the moral dilemma in Victorian Britain”, Early Popular Visual Culture. 3.2: 113-134.

Chapters

  • Popple SE (2013) “The New Golden Age?: Using UGC to develop the Public Digital Space”, In: Popple S; Thornahm H (eds.) Content Cultures: Transformations of User Generated Content in Public Service Broadcasting. UK: I.B.Tauris. [In preparation]

    This chapter looks explicitly at the consequences of two Knowledge Transfer projects funded by the AHRC/BBC and examines the BBC’s development of User Generated Content (UGC) activities as a means of opening up their collections and the need to establish genuine democratic credentials through their current involvement in the Digital Public Space project. It offers a reading of the role of UGC within the BBC and suggests that through understanding and identifying different types of UGC activity organisations can target and engage new audiences in democratic exchanges.

  • Popple SE; Bailey M (2011) “The 1984/85 Miners' Strike: Re-claiming Cultural Heritage”, In: Smith L; Shackel P; Cambell G (eds.) Heritage, Labour and the Working Classes.

    This chapter examines the ownership of cultural heritage of the strike and uses the two projects as a case study to understand how communities can use archival sources to construct their own histories.

  • Popple SE (2011) “‘It’s Not Really Our Content’: Archiving Media History in the Digital Age”, In: Park DW; Jankowski N; Jones S (eds.) The Long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and Newness Contextualized. Digital Formations. New York: Peter Lang. 317-332

    This article is concerned with issues relating to processes of institutional ownership of digital archives and the moves towards more open and democratic models. It uses the BBC archives as a major case study.

  • Popple SE (2005) “'Startling, Realistic, Pathetic': The Mitchell and Kenyon 'Boer War' Films”, In: Toulmin V; Popple S; Russell P (eds.) The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon: Edwardian Britain on Film. British Film Institute. 150-157

  • Popple SE (2002) “'But the Khaki-coloured Camera is the Latest Thing'- The Boer War Cinema and Visual Culture in Britain”, In: Higson A (eds.) Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain 1896 - 1930. University of Exeter Press. 13-27

  • Popple SE (2001) “'The Happiest Dexterity': Sambourne and the art of the political cartoon”, In: Simon R (eds.) Public Artist, Private Passions: The World of Edward Linley Sambourne. The British Art Journal. 36-42

Research Projects & Grants

Since my arrival at Leeds I have increasingly focussed on developing archival based research and have so far received funding as PI on two AHRC/BBC funded Knowledge Exchange project on the archive of the 1984/5 Miners’ Strike ( http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/research/research-projects/strike-stories/ ) and was recently awarded a major AHRC Connected Communities award for the Pararchive Project. (www.pararchive.com ). This project is primarily concerned with the creation of an open source publicly owned archive engagement platform developed by communities through Community Technology and Research Laboratories and exploring notions of open space and public value. All three projects seek to allow various publics to engage with traditionally closed or controlled institutional collections and to develop their own research capabilities and ongoing relationships with public institutions. We are working with the BBC and Science Museum as key project partners.
I am also currently engaged on other projects dealing with ideas of institutional representation and control which include being CoI on an AHRC Cultural Value Award on Digital Engagement with Culture, the WUN funded Film Policy and Soft Power Project, and the BA funded Representations of Contemporary Soldiering in Digital and Visual Cultures Project.

 

 

CoI on the  AHRC/BFI Mitchell and Kenyon Project

AHRC/BBC Fusion Follow-On Grant 2008.

AHRC/BBC Open Archive Project – The Miners’ Strike: A Case Study in Regional Content.
2007

External Appointments

Founder and joint editor of the journal Early Popular Visual Culture (Routledge)

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

 

I am currently supervising four PhD students in subjects ranging from Digital archives to Women’s Video practice, a history of the  Fulbright programme and the Development of American Public Diplomacy.

© Copyright Leeds 2014