Centre for Media Research

I can say this with absolute certainty. I was there.

A slide show of Sue Morris, Greg McLaughlin and Stephen Baker’s exhibition at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, which ran from 4th March -23rd March 2014.

Regulating The Press – IMPRESS, an Independent Monitor For The Press?

Regulation of the press is an ongoing discussion in government, legal, academic and journalistic circles.

Press regulation will be the topic of discussion at a meeting organised by the Centre for Media Research and the School for Media Film and Journalism at the University of Ulster. The guest speaker will be Jonathan Heawood, Director of the IMPRESS Project.

The meeting will be on 8 May, 2014, 5.15pm for coffee, with discussion starting 5.30pm in The Boardroom, Room 82D23, at the University of Ulster campus, York Street, Belfast.

You are warmly invited to attend.

IMPRESS, in its own words, is “Developing plans for press regulation which is independent of politicians and press owners, affordable for small publishers and websites, and accountable to the public.”

Jonathan Heawood has been touring the UK, speaking to local publishers and interested university departments involved in journalism training, to explain IMPRESS and to seek support for it. He will be joined at the Belfast meeting by John Horgan, the press Ombudsman for the Republic of Ireland, who gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about how press regulation works in Ireland. Many UK publications also publish in RoI.

We very much hope you will be able to join us at this meeting and contribute to the discussion.

IMPRESS is keen to have as many local and regional voices involved in this project as possible.

Please contact Milne Rowntree to confirm that you are interested in coming to this event.

Refreshments will be served, so we need to confirm final numbers a week in advance, but, if you could let us know of your potential interest now, it will very much help our planning.

Professor Máire Messenger Davies PhD, FRSA, MBPsS


Centre for Media Research

University of Ulster


Working Class Politics in Northern Ireland

Queen’s University is hosting a panel discussion and open debate on ‘Working Class Politics in Northern Ireland’ on 12th March, 6pm inPeter Frogatt Centre, Room 02/018. The panel includes Stephen Baker from the Centre for Media Research, as well as Dr. Tony Novosel, (University of Pittsburgh), author of Northern Ireland’s lost opportunity: The Failed Promise of Political Loyalism; Tommy McKearney (Independent Workers Union), author of The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament; Prof. Graham Walker (Queens University Belfast), author of A History of the Ulster Unionist Party: Protest, Pragmatism and Pessimism.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions from the floor. The event is free and open to the public and anyone interested in attending is asked to  email Prof. John Barry at j.barry@qub.ac.uk to confirm attendance?

Postgraduate research opportunities at Centre for Media Research

The Centre for Media Research welcomes applications to pursue doctoral research in the following areas: film, television, photography, journalism, media production and interactive media arts. Members of staff have research expertise and can act as supervisors for work in many aspects of these broad areas. Staff have particular expertise in Irish film, television and popular culture; media and conflict/post-conflict; British film, television and popular culture; experimental film; photography and the mass media; cultural and political theory; gender and cultural representation; class and culture; animation; digital media, arts and games and media archives.

To apply go on-line here.

The Centre for Media research is located within the School of Media, Film and Journalism at the University of Ulster on the Coleraine campus.

I can say this with absolute certainty. I was there.


Snapshot 1 (24-02-2014 16-40)The controversial events of Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972, the miners’ strike of 1984 and the Hillsborough football stadium disaster 1989 are explored in an multimedia installation entitled, I can say this with absolute certainty. I was there.

The piece is the work of local artist, Sue Morris and the Centre for Media Research’s, Greg McLaughlin and Stephen Baker, and it explores the domestic consumption of eyewitness testimony and official propaganda. It situates this consumption in the everyday setting of the kitchen and alludes to the public/private oppositions and contradictions that the stated events provoked for those both directly involved and those who received information about the events in highly mediated contexts. The exhibition runs from 4 March – 23 March at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, with an opening Reception: 7pm, Thursday 6 March. 

Supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Councilof Northern Ireland

Bad news for refugees and asylum seekers

Journalists Alex Kane, Tim Brannigan, and Andrea Dymus will join Professor Greg Philo at the University of Ulster, Belfast, to talk about the media representation of refugees and asylum seekers.

The event, which takes place on Thursday 12 December in room 82C02-4, is part of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival and has been organise in partnership by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and the Centre for Media Research.

All welcome.

Bad news for minorities

The media representation of refugees and asylum seekers will be the subject of a talk given by Professor Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group as part of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival. Professor Philo has just co-authored a book on the subject, entitled Bad News for Refugees.

The event is organised by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and the Centre for Media Research and takes place on Thursday 12 December t University of Ulster Belfast Campus

Professor Philo’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion with practitioners and journalists.

Trauma Film Screenings at University of Ulster

TRAUMA Movie Screenings

Trauma is a free film reading group based at the University of Ulster in Coleraine. We screen films every Thursday during term time, with each season lasting three weeks. These themed seasons generally deal with films which are extreme in filmic practice, theory or content, all constructed and delivered by people who attend regularly. Each screening consists of a ten to fifteen minute introduction, followed by the film and then a group trip down to the Senior Common Room (SCR) bar for a few drinks and a discussion about the film. Screenings start at 7pm and are usually held in LT1 (South Building). Everyone is welcome and admission is FREE.

So, welcome to Trauma film screenings at the University of Ulster, showcasing films from around the world that offer a vibrant alternative to the boring daily diet of mainstream multiplex fodder. Although we are launching Trauma with some fairly mainstream content, we aim to choose films that explore strange ideas in radical new forms, films that push at the boundaries of realism, comedy, satire, and horror. In the first five seasons, you will find films from Canada, Finland, France, the United States and the UK. made by directors with a unique and distinctive style, following few rules, but their own.

Today, films that are extreme in filmic practice, theory or content have become widely available. At present, our censors consider that, in most cases, adults should be able to choose for themselves what they watch, changing their primary focus from censorship to classification. Yet censorship still remains in the form of exhibition and distribution, with films that exist outside the mainstream being increasingly marginalised and silenced by the rise of multiplexes. More and more screens are showing fewer and fewer films.

We don’t have an independent cinema here in the North coast of Northern Ireland, yes; we have access to digital 3D, bucket-sized drinks, and 10 simultaneous showings of the new Twilight film at the local Movie House, but an arty Polish abortion drama, for example, would likely be off limits. So, we present you with a wide, wild, and wonderful world of films, available to anyone willing to venture beyond the mainstream.

Trauma film screenings on the Coleraine campus will constitute an important outlet for students and faculty interested in cinema, whilst fostering the study of film. The club will provide a further framework within the Centre of Media Research for viewing and discussing films, for developing theories and for making films. Indeed, it is hoped that Trauma will promote the appreciation of the art of film and re-emphasise the social dimension of film in culture.

Keep an eye on the Centre of Media Research blog for the latest Trauma seasons. You may love some of the films, you may hate some, but none of them will leave you unmoved.

The Project

In an important contribution to the debate about Media Studies, Dr David E. Butler argues that contemporary Media Studies needs to deliver a critical practice curriculum that should combine history and analysis of the media; contextual understanding of technological, economic and cultural developments; and a mastery of craft-discipline and production.

I: Introduction ‘Should you consider this Utopian, then I ask you to reflect on the reasons why it is Utopian.’ – Brecht, 1932 Speaking-up for a sharpened focus on what was once fondly referred to as ‘the Project’ of Media Studies – i.e., to show things as they really are – the aim of this discussion paper is to consider the future of media curricula in respect of trends in the broader sector of arts, humanities and social science education in UKHE, in particular with reference to changing forces and relations in the economy and society. To my mind, the educational priority has to be to ensure delivery of a critical practice curriculum designed to produce makers of things (2D, 3D, 2D2), trained and qualified to a professional standard in the application of hand skills, critical skills and contextual skills.

To read more click the following link: The Project


About David E. Butler

David E. Butler was Associate Dean in Art, Media & Design at London Met until the summer of 2012. Since then he has been operating as a consultant on projects including the development of a degree in Criminology, Psychology & Social Justice, validated by University of Sussex, and auditing the Creative Industries portfolio at UWE. Prior to London Met he was for eight years Principal Lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at UEL and before that taught for ten years at UUC. David also completed under and postgraduate studies at Coleraine – DPhil published as The Trouble with Reporting Northern Ireland (1995). While at UUC his commitments latterly included teaching at Maze prison.




This blog post started with a promise to Scott Stulen from the Walker Art Centre in the Residents Bar at the Da’Vinci Hotel, Derry at 4AM on the 12th September to try and write about practices that I, and separately he, have been working on. Scott was in Derry for Culture Tech Festival to present the Internet Cat Video Festival and talk on the opening plenary of the festival conference; “The Culture of Technology”. We discussed the similarities and differences between the Internet Cat Video Festival and the /v/IRAL /v/IDEO /d/ISCO that I was presenting at the festival. I would like to write some of the reflections we had on our curatorial practices down to give context to what often seems like videos from the Internet playing in a nightclub or an Art Centre. I can only write about my project and our conversations.

For me it is important to understand the form the project takes, it’s starting points and what exists in the space when the project is “performed” or “enacted”.

The Website: The project uses a Tumblr Blog to aggregate content from the public, this mean that new videos or tracks can be suggested by visitors to the site and the content and playlist updates regularly. For me, it is important that the Tumblr is used as the brand, and format of Tumblr has become synonymous with throw away internet culture, fan art, memes, porn, and teenage scrapbooking. It would be easier to use other tools, and give both more control over the process and the aesthetic, but the Tumblr is important to the ethos of the project as a whole. It would also be easy to remove for instance the .tumblr suffix to the URL, hiding or masking the Tumblr origins of the system but it is important to retain links between the project and the cultures of “Tumbling”. This site is more that an archive, crowdsourcing mechanism or advertising mechanism. The Tumblr in its form is part of the structure of the work and part of the process of producing.


The Club: The project has run a couple of times and is still developing. At present the work plays on a big screen which fills the stage, and the sound blares out across the club PA system. The mix is a back to back mix, lasting roughly 2 hours, of music based “viral video” taken largely from Youtube. As a bench mark figure I usually take over a million hits, and I usually use external sources such as Unruly or Buzzfeed to confirm reach and “cultural penetration”. There is no DJ booth, only the screen, the dance floor and the club, which is important to me in terms of the emphasis on the video content and also that the project is not authored or collaged from a visible place (this often leads to “can you play NUMA NUMA that’s my favourite”.

All of the mix is preauthored, and premixed, the project is not a VJ or DJ project or set, and is not a demonstration of the craft and skill of beat synch and track transition, but instead hopes to focus on something different. I have tried to strip the project back and make it as simple as possible to produce and interpret. I have worked on a number of Club Nights and have DJ’d (not very well) on a number of occasions but this process, project and experience is supposed to be something different both for me and the audience.
For me, it is an experiment, I am interested in what happens when the videos are taken out of their context and given a new purpose. The videos are often music parodies, and as such use the same temp, structure, beat and melody as the original tracks with often altered lyrics. There are obvious exceptions to this such as the work of groups like Auto-Tune The News, Lonely Planet and a lot of the news remix work I use in the mix. I am interested with this project, not in how the videos fit together but how they work within the club. What does this music do in the club, how do people dance to it, is it still funny.
Often these videos are designed and produced to consume singularly at your office desk over a cup of coffee, on a bus over wifi, or through social media sites and our relationship to the text is on an individual basis. These are then shared (so I can claim some cultural capital) but they are often experienced not as a group. I am interested in situations and occurrences which unfold both on the dance floor and around the tables when these are videos are played out in a new context with a group viewing. For instance, the work of parody artist Baracka Flacka Flames and his video Head of State based on the track Hard in The Paint by Waka Flocka with its crude parodies of race and gang life, depicting President Obama as a “one hood ass nigga” features in both mixes of the project. The depictions in the video seem different when the video plays out on a large projection screen and 2, 60 inch plasma screens in the club, the joke becomes lost in the club and the video and track becomes something different, maybe closer to the media it is parodying but it in the recontextualising of the video it both loses and gains something when it enters the new setting. This is one example of a track that is used but for me it is about seeing how the audiences and media change as the media is recontextualised, reconfigured and remixed. This work rarely makes it to other reconfigarings of the internet viral video such as RudeTube, or Clipaholics, and in some instances such as Dramatic Look Gopher is already appropriated, remix and reused content.

When chatting to Scott Stulen we ruminated on the similarities and differences between our approaches on some of the same topics and the future of both project. We discussed the “internet offline” and how internet videos operate in different spaces (given that a large majority of views on Youtube Videos come from Embeds in other sites which gives them new contexts and configurations). We discussed remix, video collage and bricolages but after all musings maybe /v/IRAL /v/IDEO /d/ISCO is a party but I am currently working on a paper to formalise some of these musing and make some situated claims about reconfigured, recontextualised and remixed videos, balancing context and situe to content and audience to submit to ROFLCon this year.
For more on the project the is a project Tumblr  and the original mix is available online on Vimeo  and there was also an unperformed mix in the form of a playlist made for the last American Election based on Henry Jenkins work on Remix as a way to understand the political in America.