Spring 2014 Friends Lecture Series

Documenting Modernity: Fashion, Film and Image in America & Europe, 1920 - 1945:

An 'Untapped Goldmine for the Dress Historian': Amateur Film as Visual Heritage and Assessing the Excavation Potential

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

17.30 - 18.45, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Photo of two women in 1929 looking through camera lenses to take images
Club members, c. 1929. Photo courtesy Doug Collender, Film Club librarian, Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers' Association.

Speaker(s): Dr Heather Norris Nicholson (Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Visual and Oral History Research, University of Huddersfield; and Andrew W Mellon Foundation /Research Forum Mellon MA Visiting Scholar, The Courtauld)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Rebecca Arnold

The British introduction of lightweight cine equipment in the early 1920s prompted the rise of recreational or amateur filmmaking. Once beloved by their makers but often despised by others obliged to watch them, home-movies and other forms of amateur film are now recognised within many archive circles as valuable components of twentieth-century visual heritage. Digital access, widening scholarship and reworking on broadcast media have given fresh value to amateur footage and its apparent visual emphasis upon everyday life and ordinary people. Starting from a quote by Lou Taylor, The Study of Dress History (2002, p. 180), this talk explores how non-professional film footage enables us to look beyond its everyday characteristics and consider how in its shaping of visual memories and meanings about self and society, amateur visual practice may contribute to the study of dress history.

Heather Norris Nicholson is the Andrew W Mellon Foundation / Research Forum Visiting Professor on the Mellon Foundation MA Special Option (2013-14) Documenting Fashion: Modernity, Film and Image in Europe and America, 1920-1945, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Visual and Oral History Research at the University of Huddersfield. She has published extensively on different aspects of amateur film interpretation, including Amateur Film: meaning and practice, 1927-77 (Manchester University Press, 2012). She is co-writing a book on British amateur women film makers' visual practice during the twentieth century.

The Spring 2014 Friends Lecture Series is prompted by the range of visual materials explored in the Andrew W Mellon Foundation MA Documenting Fashion: Modernity, Film and Image in Europe and America, 1920-45 led by Dr Rebecca Arnold and Dr Heather Norris Nicholson. As such it brings together leading scholars in the fields of dress and film studies to consider the ways fashion, non-fiction film and documentary images can reveal new ways to understand dress, style and visual culture.

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