In today’s world of multiple Film Studies courses, it is difficult to recall a time when there were none. However, in the 1960s, there were no recognised degree courses or the equivalent of GCSE courses. Just as today, right wing newspapers might regard Media Studies as a ‘soft’ option, so it was the case with Film Studies, which took some years to establish itself. Those who have studied Film Studies and Media Studies courses alongside more traditional subjects will testify that they are far from soft, and have always presented a rigorous – sometimes over-rigorous – challenge to the status quo. Much of the initiative for the study of film came, as usual, from the British Film Institute (BFI), in this case its Education Department and, in 1964, they published an account of the existing situation in their publication Film Teaching, which was intended to provide a base for further development. The contributors included Stuart Hall (then a lecturer in Liberal Studies and later Professor of Sociology at the Open University), and Alan Lovell (later lecturer in Media Studies at Staffordshire University). It is worth quoting a section of the introduction by Paddy Whannel and Peter Harcourt: “The kind of film teaching we are dealing with here is to be seen as part of a general cultural education. It is not designed as a professional or specialist education. This country still makes no major provision for training film makers: there is still no national film school ſit was founded in 1971. ed). Yet experience tells us that there is a connection between the films a country produces and the idea of cinema in the public mind Roughly speaking, it’s possible to regard the relationship of Film Studies to films as analogous to that of English Literature to writing novels, plays, and poetry and the History of Art to the practice of art and design. In fact, the teaching was founded in 1971. ed]. Yet experience tells us that there is a connection between the films a country produces and the idea of cinema ir the public mind.
Roughly speaking, it’s possible to regard the relationship of Film Studies to films as analogous to that of English Literature to writing novels. plays, and poetry and the History of Art to the practice of art and design. In fact, the teaching of film soon gained a foothold in the context of Art and Design education. It’s not without significance that one of the first developments came from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London on the initiative of its director, the painter Sir William Coldstream, who had worked on film for the GPO Film Unit and was Chair of the BFI Governors. It was at his suggestion and that of the then-director of the BFT James Quinn that British film director Thorold Dickinson (Queen of Spades, Next of Kin) was appointed its first film lecturer in 1960. He became the first Professor of Film Studies in the country in 1967. But the Slade School never taught first degree courses, and eventually focussed on postgraduate qualifications.
When national Art and Design courses were granted degree status as a result of the Coldstream report of 1960, Liberal Studies (now re-named Complementary Studies) became a compulsory part of the curriculum, opening up space for film, music, and creative writing as well as more conventional academic areas. Initially, film courses were based on BFI study units (a feature film, study extracts, and written materials that could be hired for 4-6 week periods), but colleges eventually developed their own programmes of work. At Stoke College of Art, which in the 1960s consisted of four branches: – Burslem, Longton, Stoke, Hanley – films were often screened in the evenings (mainly at Longton) pre Film Theatre days, at Longton ) – and in those Poly were well attended. These and the Study were followed by the use of BFI study units in formal courses and, eventually, at Stoke College of Art, consisted of four branches: – Burslem, Longton, Stoke, Hanley – films were often screened in the evenings (mainly at Longton ) – and in those pre-Film Theatre days, were well attended. These were followed by the use of BFI study units in formal courses and eventually, by independent study programmes. Not unnaturally, the early emphasis was on film as a visual art, with early courses (1966-70) featuring the work of Sergei Eisenstein, Luis Buñuel, and Jean Renoir. Later courses focussed on British, Italian, Japanese, and Swedish cinema. Directors discussed included Antonioni, Bergman, Kurosawa, Franju, Mizoguchi, and Ozu. The College Visitor in Complementary Studies was Elisabeth Lutyens, work was premiered at the College. She was also, the leading British composer, some of whose of course, a well known film composer specialising in horror films, among them Dr. Terrors House of Horrors (1965) and Theatre of Death (1967). With the formation of North Staffordshire Polytechnic (later Staffordshire Polytechnic – and Staffordshire University from 1992) from the colleges of technology in Stoke and Stafford and Stoke College of Art, Complementary Studies was amalgamated with History of Art and Design to form a new department. This led to an increased emphasis on the visual arts and hence on Film Studies as well. Courses were at this stage part of degree courses in Fine Art, Graphic Design and Three Dimensional Design. In 1976, a free standing degree course in History of Design and the Visual Arts was approved, allowing for the study of a number of special areas, of which Film was one. This was one of three Film Studies courses approved that year by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) – the other two being at Sheffield and Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnics (now Sheffield Hallam and Northumbria universities). In all three cases, Film Studies was studied in association with degrees in the History of Art and Design and based on departments that had originated in the former art colleges. These were the first degree level courses in Film in the country and preceded the intro-duction of the subject in more traditional universities such as Warwick and East Anglia. It is worth noting that, in the case of Stoke-on- Trent, this occurred two years after the foundation of the Film Theatre, and that the opportunity for students to see a wide range of contemporary cinema at the Film Theatre was considered an important provision. In those pre-modular days, courses only allowed for limited student choice and – since they were not primarily dependent on student experience – were linked to developments in the History of Art and Design. The fundamental core course comprised studies of Film Analysis and Film Theory, Soviet Cinema, German Expressionism, British Cinema, Genre and Authorship (usually Film Noir and Hitchcock a comparative study of the French and Czechoslovak New Waves, and what was then in the known as Third World Cinema. Staffing levels rarely rose to more than two, sometimes part time, but early staff included Richard Dyer (visiting lecturer, now Professor of Film at King’s College, London), Richard uni- Maltby (now Professor of Film at Flinders It is University), Stephen Crofts (later at University of Auckland), Geoffrey Crook (later at Central School of Arts and Crafts), Simon Field (later director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival and independent film producer), Masha Enzensberger (expert on Russian cinema), and Margaret Montgomerie (now at De Montfort only University). Alongside the development of academic lent courses in Film Studies, John Jordan was developing an innovative programme of work in Audio-Visual Communication in the Department of Design. Early collaborators included the two film fellows co-funded by the Polytechnic and West Midlands Arts, Roger Lambert and Roger Moore. He was later joined by Murray Carden and John Holden.
It was assumed that practical courses were incomplete without the academic and vice versa. The practical element for students specialising in Film Studies thus led to them being taught by now well known figures such as the documentary maker Kim Longinotto and the artist/filmmaker Nina Danino. In the late 1980s, Mel Hill, who broadcast regularly for Radio Stoke and had worked on a number of documentary programmes for national radio, joined the department. He proposed the development of the study of Radio as a degree level subject. After wide consultation with the relevant industries, this led, in 1990, to the establishment of a degree level course in Film, Television, and Radio Studies. After establishing one of the first three degree level courses in Film Studies, Staffordshire Polytechnic thus also became the first to establish Radio Studies. Inaugurated in the History of Art and Design department, whose head was Flavia Swann, responsibility for Film and Media Studies was transferred to the Division of Literary, Cultural, and Media Studies in 1992, coinciding with the creation of Staffordshire University. As noted, the course in Film, Television, and Radio Studies was established after extensive consultation with the broadcasting (television and radio) industries and a number of needs were identified. Existing practical courses were seen to be lacking in intellectual and historical perspective while academic courses lacked “a sense of reality”. The overriding need, according to one respondent, was for a sense of history and perspective, curiosity (open minds), and an ability to research and articulate ideas. The ideal recruits would have a good grasp of theory and critical skills, but these would also be tested in reality. “World awareness” would also become increasingly important. The initial Film, Television, and Radio Studies course was constructed by Peter Hames, Margaret Montgomerie, and Mel Hill and ran in its original form from 1990-95. The courses comprised an integrated core course in the History of Film, Television and Radio together with courses in Mass Media Institutions, and Formal and Critical Analysis. While not intended as a technical qualification, the course also provided for courses in writing for the media, studio and production projects, and the opportunity for placements. The final year offered specialisation in British Popular Film and Broadcast Drama, Politics, Film and the Media in East-Central Europe, and Culture, Imperialism, and the Developing World. Here there was a quite specific attempt to move beyond the English language media to provide an international perspective. In the context of membership of the European Union and the fall of the Soviet system in 1989, this was seen as likely to be of increasing relevance. The staffing base increased from its initial 2.5 level at the rate of approximately two per year until all three years were operational. New staff included Lez Cooke (currently at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Film Theatre programmer from 2002–2005), Ulrike Sieglohr (currently Research Fellow at Staffordshire University), Peter Krämer (currently at the University of East Anglia), Alan Lovell (former Assistant Head of the BFI Education Department), and Martin Shingler (now at University of Sunderland). Ray Johnson and Christine Gledhill joined the team from the Department of Modern Studies, which had been sh based in Stafford. Ray Johnson brought his expertise to the courses in screenwriting and filmmaking. Christine Gledhill, formerly with ig the BFI Education department and a pioneer in the fields of melodrama and women’s cinema, joined the university in 1991 and became Professor of Cinema Studies in 1996. Part time ad staff included Ewa Mazierska (currently Professor of Film at the University of Central Lancashire). With the establishment of the modular degree system, most of the original courses survived (sometimes renamed or sub-divided) with the addition of a number of new modules based on staff expertise. There was more emphasis on the development of the American industry ike together with modules on Stars, Women’s Cinema, and increased specialisation – with new degree pathways’ in Film Studies and Media Studies vell from 1994 onward.
While research and creative work was always promoted at Stoke-on-Trent College of Art and within the Art and Design Faculty of Staffordshire Polytechnic, resources remained limited until the creation of the university. The first book published in the Film Studies area was The Czechoslovak New Wave (Peter Hames), published by the University of California Press in 1985. This was published in a second edition in 2005 by Wallflower Press and Columbia University Press, with a Czech translation in 2008 and a Polish translation in 2011. During his time at Staffordshire University, Simon Field co-edited and published two special issues of the independent film magazine Afterimage – Animating the Fantastic’ (1987), highlighting the work of the Quay Brothers, Jan Švankmajer, Walerian Borowczyk, and other animators, and an issue on the work of Derek Jarman (1985). He also co-wrote and produced two Channel Four documentaries together with Keith Griffiths – Robert Breer: The Five and Dime Animator (1985) and New York Framed (1988). After the formation of the university, research was placed on a firmer foundation with staff able to teach, research, and develop specialist il interests. Lez Cooke, who specialised in British Film and Television Drama, wrote his book British TV Drama (BFI, 2003), while at Staffordshire University, and followed this with Troy Kennedy Martin (Manchester University Press, 2007). Ulrike Sieglohr edited her collection on the representation of women in German cinema, Heroines Without Heroes (Cassell, 2000) while Alan Lovell co-edited Screen Acting (with Peter Krämer, Routledge, 1999). Christine Gledhill’s books included Nationalising Femininity (co-edited with Gillian Swanson, Manchester University Press, 1996), Reinventing Film Studies (co-edited with Linda Williams, Arnold, 2000), and a pioneering study of the early years of British cinema Reframing British Cinema: Between ed Restraint and Passion (BFI, 2003). Other work to be produced has included: The Cinema of Jan Švankmajer (edited by Peter Hames, Flicks / Praeger, 1995, Wallflower/ b Columbia, 2008), On Air: Methods and Meanings U in Radio (Martin Shingler and Cindy Wieringa, Arnold, 1998), Deleuze and Cinema: The Aesthetics of Sensation (Barbara Kennedy, Edinburgh University Press, 2000), Film Music: Critical E Approaches (edited by Kevin Donnelly, Bloomsbury, 2001), The Cinema of Central Europe (edited by Peter Hames, Wallflower/ C С Columbia, 2004), Making Films in Contemporary Se Hollywood (edited by Alan Lovell and Gian Luca Sergi, Hodder Arnold, 2005), Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition (Peter R Hames, Edinburgh University Press, 2009), T Cinema Entertainment (edited by Alan Lovell P and Gian Luca Sergi, Open University, 2009), A Best of Slovak Film 1921-91 (Peter Hames, Slovak R Film Institute, 2013), Cinemas in Transition in Fi ca ar Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 (edited by Catherine Portuges and Peter Hames, Temple University Press, 2013) and, most recently, study of German Star Hanna Schygulla (Ulrike Sieglohr, BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
One should also mention the work of Professor Ellis Cashmore, Professor of Culture, Media and Sport, whose related publications include The Black Culture Industry (Routledge, 1997), Celebrity Culture (Routledge, 2006_, and Martin Scorcese’s America (Polity, 2009). During his time at the university, Mel Hill continued to make documentary series for BBC radio including Essays on Popular Music (1989), The Big White Chiefs (1990), Bix’s Gift (1991), Pop Goes the Jazz Star (1992), Am I Doing Alright> (1993), and Norman’s Conquest (1994).