Audiovisual Cultures episode 101 – Subversive Spanish Cinema and Language with Dr Fiona Noble automated transcript

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they say Saudi official cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and media join me your host Paula player and the researchers practitioners and enthusiasts I made along the way see our website at audio visual culture so wordpress dot com and other links in the show notes for more information four nine enjoy the show hi folks how you tan Hey it's Paul here just a quick note before this episode begins the sign quality isn't brilliance on my hands and I've been having some issues with my microphone to breeding %HESITATION what it is some hope and I've got it sorted tight noisy but there are some episodes coming up that just aren't really the best quality so I'm really really sorry by thoughts as a Sam trying to figure out I think it's got something to do with my EKG and if that means anything to you being turned up too much and I probably thought it was lower than it was and I have the microphone a bit too close to my mice so I think that's what's caused it and I think I was playing around with it because the feed back through my head phones stopped working and I've been a bit to sort it's when I've been wearing headphones because it's supposed to feed back my own voice so I don't sign muffled to myself and not has been really quiet lately and I thought it was broken but it sucks he just really quiet I don't know what it is I'm still struggling with the sign levels on my computer and stuff signs been weird and computer for awhile so when I turn the volume up I can hear myself but then if I'm speaking to somebody else they are really super noise and I can't take it was highlighted as sue him yeah it's complicated I'll keep playing around with it and hopefully future episodes will be an improvement but this episode and the next one they're not great because of this issue so I'm hoping I've got it sorted it's noisy and it will be a bit more pleasant to listen to after days so thanks for bearing with me and my amateur are recording audios as ever psyche right enjoy the absolute all right hello hi is it going Eugene gente another or do you base your cultures the podcast that explores the fascinating areas and creative practice and person humanities research which is important right I'm calling and I am absolutely thrilled to be joined by my very dear friends doctor if you're not hello and we're going to talk about her research and contemporary Spanish cinema minds maybe she other areas as well let's see how you get on stay very warm welcomes you feel thank you so much for joining me thank you Paula it's a pleasure to be with you yeah so like again like dying back together a little just to I know we're maybe missing a few other key players but you're starting so some of you may or may not know CNN and I became friends when I had a short stint in operating way way back in twenty thirteen long time ago because not each other we're getting a little definitely you know I'm so glad to have you and show that night this is very important past experience has way way back and started this podcast because I think you might actually be one of the reasons why this all costs even exists and that's certainly why it has been a member of the house and I remember this is like may my memory is broken in many ways but I remember this distinctly years ago and I had a conversation and Aberdeen the sinking straight well it's not really just from study start where scholars cells are teachers are it's already in Seychelles studies socks one of the reasons why one of the things that has led me paying more attention to that or do you bet on socks so you're integral to this podcast it's a great time each option here all about so nice I remember that conversation see because it's something that that I do really been thinking about it kind of post PhD and post kind of fitting into a specific place in the university and then thinking about your research and where that was going on yeah for me I'm always trying to emphasize the fact that it's not just kind of visual culture because that's the environment that we came out of an opportunity really that was the key term I think that was circulating about tying the actually you know thinking about cultures Pluto and then also thinking of buying yeah the fact is not just special you know with stock audio dimension as well which is really really important and quite often get forgotten about I think that's really lovely that Sam this podcast or at least the name of the podcast have germinated from the conversation way back when in Sydney and I spent on it returning journey stretching out my own knowledge is already as well this is going to come right actually right on the package and one eight eight yesterday we send audio drama producer on weekends really super nerdy stuff about you know pounding and sanity what signs and it still cost I can't wait for that was the year should be hostile but anyway really really generated by journey clock that's not what we're talking about eight you are somewhat of an axe first I would think it's safe to say and contemporary Spanish cinema magic published three fantastic important batch cults first it Spanish sentiment the politics of performance knowledge publishes plans free and twenty translate I think for our listeners to help them get to know you have the %HESITATION but would you be happy to give us maybe a better democracy your research yeah course yeah I was he said my E. eighty out of expertise is contemporary Spanish cinema although that is broadening ites in current research to think it bites audio visual cultures more broadly so not just in a mob thinking of buying television which I mean where do we even pick television that's perhaps another conversation we can have you know Netflix CD's so I am kind of starting to think more broadly up bites the objects my research is not necessarily just kind of cinema in the conventional sense but that certainly we are my E. OB expertise lies I did my PhD in twenty fifteen or finished in twenty fifteen at the university of Aberdeen and dot forecast body specifically on city key figures in content despondent Cinemark and what I'm seeing contemporary in the context of the peach tea that was kind of poll seventy five eve so post death Frankel islands you know up to the present day are up to date twenty ten certainly with the PhD research more recently it ready search is focused on much more contemporary works you looking out Spanish cinema since the crisis and the economic crisis in two thousand seven thousand eight am I also kind of Netflix pretty CD's as well this thesis looked at children performers and immigrants so thinking about a specific identity positions on high with the was a representative do you sell them in the case that the SS the book is sort of %HESITATION or the thesis rather was a jumping off point for the peak in the sense that performance is one of the categories I looked up in the thesis and it became the main focus of the monograph the actually it involves a lot of new research it's not just kind of a revision off the thesis the deal so the biggest body focused on performance and performers in contempt responded cinema and it looks at the relationship between performance and politics in particular so not just kind of party the text but also the political in other shapes and forms I guess it feels quite strange talking about the big Canary because it in a lot of ways it feels like that's the past and it's quite strange when you don't use all this work into something and then you almost don't even remember for you to it for that because you've moved on and you're thinking about new projects the picture was it came out last year islands it's available Wednesday and it looks out VDS he spotted she films from the content to peers that are some that go back to the capustan competed as well but most of them are killing more recent films I'm quite well known sounds quite canonical films if you want to use that term so the likes of almost all of our is a key figure in the picture if I remember rightly I think there's one of his films in each chapter because performance is such a key theme in his work and I think you could probably write a whole monograph of art performance in an almost over his work I also look at films like I can have a so the Spanish black and whites retelling of Snow White and it's a silent are content to silent film as well which is interesting when we're talking about sirens and style that features in contempt a phone or conceptual division cultures I guess moving forward because I think you know right where my research is going I've got you on going projects at the minute so are you have a big project on the work often on the only one that I know what he's a key you can simply Spanish filmmaker and he's also been working recently in English language filmmaking then I've also got a project on gender and signed so coming back to our conversation about audio visual cultures and the kind of aural dimension of visual cultures it's very much in preliminary stages of research but you know it's also kind of looking at gender islands representations of signs both the sonic dimension goals the visual representation of science as well sorry I feel like I was a really rom believe responsibly didn't really give an overview of what I'm about asshole I sang on the screen people always treated us right and I have to remind them you're on a podcast I've invited you to come on to talks he made a bright start then you're apologizing to be talking to me about just relax and calm the little agency given the content they obey it's fine it makes me feel better this is maturing I'm kind of sars people around blended rate so there's loads there that's great he'd take on that and they they go for it because the case is you know just offense and a cat and a bit more detail like with your bank the first is Spanish and I'm not just those three words there's so much shame there said David west you know I mean so what do you mean basis first what do you mean by Spanish would be made senator what do you mean based foundation what do you mean basis versus sentiment what do you mean basic first it's fine you know it's a lot it's so there's neat and just those three words never mind the next words in the title city have certain salts for a summer what is it needs to be subversive what do you identify since arsenal's Spanish summer yeah that's such a good question I think that was one of the key points that came back for and I'd submit the first draft of the manuscript to the publisher is on the talks about four I needed to do to prove that threat and the idea of subversive Spanish cinema city the big not that it wasn't there but that you know just by adding things like and the conclusions each chapter unexploded back you can prove that threads together and the artists such leaders on their anonymous obviously they are such pertinent questions that really made me think about the significance of the title and how it related to what I was talking about it because I think if you look at the carcass of material for the big and the filling car pass it probably looks quite mainstream in some ways I'm not necessarily looking hot experimental filmmaking in Spain that's not part of what that be extending there's some really interesting things happening in kind of alternative cinematic practices worst filmmaking practices in Spain especially kind of post economic crisis that's not my forte told us not something I'm particularly knowledgeable back to somebody like Rebecca notes and he she has the blog nobody knows entity where she talks about Spanish cinema I don't know how active she is barking at the minute she's from the northeast actually and I don't know if you've ever come across sorry but she's a really knowledgeable person I buy alternatives Spanish cinema practices that's not what this because it's not a private kind of we cannot what's happening with the mainstream if that makes sense it's more about looking hot you know the key players all Spanish cinema there are some films in there that are less well known there are some filmmakers you know the likes of petrol model of our who is probably you know the most well known Spanish filmmaker certainly in the U. K. ET bought depict deals rather with subversive nests within those kind of mainstream contacts and looking out hi %HESITATION the position of filmmakers who were working under Franco's the likes of Carlos Salazar or at least customer Langat one into the burning them he's the uncle off have yet course people like them your last identifying filmmaker is under Frankel working June the dictatorship cheating the very strict censorship conditions that there were at the time so it's looking at those kind of precursors to what's happening in contemporary manifestations of performance and that presentations of performance in Kentucky's funny cinema and kind of seeing that flag comes through you from those oppositional filmmakers into the present day and what that looks like and how you can become %HESITATION means all speaking out against the common additives or the dominant ideas in society that makes sense yes absolutely I'm not a man not draws in those other identities you're talking about as well as to make a child's sense of arsonists and those types of records show Saturday and then hi performance encompasses anything you know anything about it society or here we are sure that Jones and I'm not sort of stuff so yeah I imagine there's a lot going on there and such for it will grind for politics and I mean it's interesting by Amin I know so little of what was going on and stand at the minute reminds me of the nasco J. isn't his attention because even just since you've done some of this research the rise of the far right I think it's happening really very prominently then if you're looking at a lot of lasting creative send some makers so is there anything and what what he has done and there is that sense and I was looking at that like high contemporary hi recent doesn't come up too because you provision twenty twenty but realistically academic publishing is relational so you know what's the most recent sounds say and you're right that's a good question on a day off the top of my head I would have had some from maybe twenty twelve twenty thirteen at the absolute latest act isn't really bad that you forget what which phone do you want to know yeah without looking upset you know I had late last month despite him does so I'm so excited by almost over just twenty thirteen we went to the same screening of that when you're in an Aberdeen if you don't I remember you being really indignant about the gay sex in the not so let's well because they can see and I think it was yeah I think we had a really interesting conversation about that actually but yes I think that off the top of my head off the top of my head I think that was probably the most recent films obviously post economic crisis but you know we're not talking nearly eight years ago not your soul yeah things have changed a lot and yeah you're right politically there's been a dramatic shift I think Spain in particular is really interesting in terms of that kind of party politics and the arts and culture ski %HESITATION because there's a fatty nines to political culture amongst actors writers particularly like in the filmmaking and visual arts industries you know there's a very prominent culture of speaking against right wing decision made today were right wing party politics right wing governments are but it it might be and I think that's historical to certain and because you've obviously hides the Francoist dictatorship three nineteen thirty nine to nineteen seventy five which is obviously a right wing regime and I think even under the Congress regime so the filmmakers I was mentioning like along governor them and sell it off you were in contrast leaning and and in opposition to the star quests regime on their policies on and so on I think doc feeds to do for you and I've got this body art Spokane culture all actors writers filmmakers producers you have it might be so the likes of pad on the door for the likes of technologies like that have your birthday I'm sure almost all known and even the the online world than others obviously as well could be less than one here in her body politically active they will be going to demonstrations they will be signing petitions they will be writing a collector is against public figures or decision making revived it might be I'm thinking about the Iraq war as a key example for you had people like Happy Birthday I'm on the tools are not about them it's all have our burdens mother he's also about a prominent or was she just passed away actually was about a prominent political figure as well and I don't know that's something I don't think we have here where there's that kind of value process that S. contingent of performers let's call them performers because that's what they are with a broad label actively you know not just in their work but you know kind of personally are you fatty politically aware and politically active so I think it is something that is quite specific yeah the idea of politics and performance are believed linked in Spanish culture and stops we are part of the idea for the book came from I guess the schools within those towns do you have any specific examples of what game what do you mean by performance and hi it's not political or ice politicized could you just give us maybe one or two examples just as opposed to illustrate some of those ideas nine absolutely so course hard to pick just one or two the one that jumps I initially is bothered that these data from bad thought which is biotics the legless yeah it's known as the lost circus in English was produced in twenty twelve but it's set in nineteen thirty seven and nineteen seventy three so you got palindromic setting in terms of tying marker is obviously it's made in twenty twelve so you've got that triple time structure or time frame to the film and it looks like a circus troupe so you have to keep characters two protagonists who are clients the kind of sidelined happy client and in nineteen thirty seven the figure who will become the sideline witness says his father being rounded up by Franco's forces in the civil war and you've done all the moment in seventy three where he's become this client in the circus group and I guess just as a kind of really rudimentary instruction Spanish history seventy cities key moment because Frank was I. L. at this point he will die in nineteen seventy five and you know has received a pass over to king Juan Carlos well at the point in nineteen seventy cedar key political tensions going on with for example the Basque separatist group ETA and you know you got this off the nation's capital Blanco who to rich living pets is the successor to Frankel so there's a lot going on historically at that moment the film uses the location of anybody that was cut either hosts which is the valley of the fallen just on the outskirts of Madrid in Spain where until that it recently I found closure means were but it but this volley was constructed partly body or mostly by Republican prisoners in the aftermath of the civil war it is always a commemoration of the Frank was fallen but doesn't commemorate the publican fallen at the same time that their bones and actually kind of built into the framework of the structure because a lot of them died while they were building so it's a very controversial site as you can imagine in Spanish politics and actually very recently I think I was just able to include it in the big chunks of it's one actually moved from the site your prize money will grins because obviously it's problematic in the content the contacts that you've got the means of are a right wing dictatorship and wasn't ever brought to consequence over there the crimes that he committed and likewise has officials as well so it's a really controversial site and it's a site that still mostly to this present day certainly when we've lost in Spain it was still a site of commemoration of Frankel and his regime and his principles and on the anniversary of his death there would still be demonstrations and whatnot there are so many prominent site I'm very problematic site on the law of the scenes of this film or some of the scenes in this film or stage on this monument and I remember I was in a conversation with you right the S. and higher you know there's this monetize each and then off the site as well because not only has it become a segmentation it's also a film sat right it's become part of the film industry it's become a way of making money in the film industry so it's certainly not easy to teens are all these tensions I think that is one example where you've got this body all VS confrontation of performance on politics some of the examples in the other films are kind of less obvious or last demonstrative in that we have the political side of things one of my favorite films in that B. is by a filmmaker cultural monuments to isn't that a well known beyond Spain but he's also a very unspoken political figure in Spanish culture and you know to the extent that he even kind of reminds filmmaking and decided to put all this comes up on you choose because you believe they should be accessible for all you know so he's a really interesting figure on his phone the little kid to get us so anything you want in English from twenty ten is about a little girl whose mom dice and her dots played by one they will both dole starts to dress up as the mother as part of their canoes mourning and healing process as a really beautiful phone it's not very well known it was hard to get a hold of until he put on you cheat for everyone said to see it deals with the politics of identity and gender and sinking city subversive nice within these mainstream venues because you know he is a white middle class men who cross dresses as part of you know he's killing and grieving I'm just doctors hearing even process having lost his wife and her mother thought it's interesting because I think the film acknowledges that read the film's not trying to say well you know it's okay just you know fight man can get drug too and it's all good you know that's not what it's about you but it's about how you actually his contact with a performer becomes part of the healing process and something that he can do to help his daughter gave her mother there's really obvious kind of political examples and then there's some of the more subtle political examples with it's maybe more by the politics of the patriarchy the politics of normativity the politics of white male privilege I'm kind of navigating those things so yeah that's two examples I could pick high but there are so many more be sure to pick because they will to be the best next on the rooms are really really helpful especially because you want to start considering it is a performance space but then it's a mask we don't think of it as a performance space but of course let's not many artists must reading reading out carnage saying if you're interested in giving regular support for the podcast that aren't too keen on peach tree and I know I have membership options and buy me a coffee dot com forward slash P. eight there where you can get the same extras as well as some others exclusive buy me a coffee head over to buy me a coffee dot com forward slash P. eight B. LA bart to price membership options or drop a fiver into this charge thanks and enjoy the rest of the episode something we talked about it quite a lot is to post docket damage to your alternatives I could demonstrate riches Europe most people he still have a Honda and wastes some academic publishing but we are working on getting me here anymore and and if you need to say so E. G. the extremely important markets being a school teacher needs all done some nominal worksheet and what we slow in going through the past couple of years and I'm really interested in hearing about your experiences a languages teacher specifically but I think if you're happy to be can talk about it right alternative academic experience and your experiences are pushing a little bit and not around are you straight up I thought that that meant that and we're seeing signs you in that area it's such an important aspect of I mean what would even call out just if I could demand generally recognized that so many of us are coming through the system you know getting a PhD and doing it quite successfully actually you know having a good CV doing all the right things and for one reason or another not ending up working in academia whether that's your choice that's me or whether that's trying to not managing to get a job or deciding to alter you know there's there's lots of reasons for that and I think it is something that I'm quite open about you personally about my circumstances you know there was a part of me that one thirds if you're not working in academia would be something that held me back if I wanted to continue with the search bar I would have to see that for now it doesn't seem to be and I think that more and more of us are choosing to take alternative paths because that's what works for us and we're not willing to sacrifice what happened is certain aspects of our lives to have the academic journal so yeah for me I feel quite happy with where things are I mean there is a part of me that we'd still love to have an academic position in a university but for now you as a mom of two young boys if you you know you aren't going to be level for very long as much as the days can be fat a log right now %HESITATION I'm quite happy with this balance I've caught between work so non academic work and then mom life and then you know research is there as well but that's what we were talking %HESITATION obviously before we can start recording you know it's a jungle and it's difficult and you know sometime I'm sorry question it and think should I be doing this this this you know is this the right thing by actually one of the most liberating things up pricing two bites at is that it's all on me so you know if I don't feel like doing something academically I don't have to E. there's no obligation I'm doing for I want to do because I enjoy it and yet is aspects of it that don't enjoy so much if there's a deadline coming up and you have to her mind to something and you're not really in the right frame of mind well I don't know for me it's working really well actually and I think I just acknowledge not you that I can't do everything so I have a job I have a career and a house you know my kids and you know I'm a relationship on and those are the things that are important in academia or research isn't there and it's really important to me it's not the defining component of my identity anymore which I think I don't I think we may be all go through that with the PTSD if it becomes like this huge thing and it can become really difficult to see yourself thanks right if not but for me you know it's just well this is me and I do all of these things I don't think because more and more of us are in that blue it doesn't feel so scary anymore I feel quite I feel quite at peace with my decision and from what I can tell it's not a negative you know people are still interested in what you have to say even though you're not working in an institution I mean I do have to say that I am really lucky to be able to like I have an honorary affiliation with autumn university I'm done I'm not being really supportive in terms of like right in the library access so you know I do have certain privileges although I'm kind of on the fringes of on the margins of academia like I do you have certain privileges that I benefit from in terms of being able to access material online and just having that support of an institution here you know are they if I'm doing any sort of applications while I've got the ordinary affiliation and then also a personal level I'm able to carry on academics Hughes who are so supportive and so generous with their time you know and so willing to have a little fun even some academics who I've never met personally but I know him through Twitter and deal with an application for me or the latest chapter for me my gas social media and you know networks like Twitter arms being able to you keep in touch with people virtually on a huge part of that feeling like an accent community even though you're not in an institution so it works for me just not true and you know as long unless it is working then I'm just going to keep going I think what's your thoughts on how do you think it's kind of manifesting like nowadays with that kind of alternative path or paths to academic work yeah I think decision ready useful socks I am maybe I haven't paid my spouse and she community has not steady I think of my social media activity has come of it all cast mostly I think so I don't feel is embedded in the circles but I know exactly what you mean because I have imparted stopped short it is rainy sunny day make friends I mean that's when rich water became a political science tests that's what it was amazing work for people like us that we would find each other I mean there are mutual friends of ours yeah I'm mad to became friends on Twitter and I became friends with someone like summer first already good friends now you know so that's really valuable and it just happens that your academic researchers as well which is not right you know so it's a great taste for showering and start earning and redeeming about you people last time I eat spoke at a conference certainly a person should was in twenty seventeen I had on my batch renounce scholar in people challenge me but actually chose not to stay independent because I don't think that's ever cherry nobody's ever truly independent and expose and days become something that's separate from independent thought makes sense that the language around this is very interesting to me I'm people said freelance just implies that you're ready to take on more coming yes I am because I need the money so yeah I am I am for hire that's exactly what I want said communicate using work freelancing on the straight answer that way you I will take on commission park you know some of that my recent publications I've done have been commissioned things and things that I've been asked to contribute take now wouldn't that things that I would have seen a call for papers and gone I have just saying you know it was somebody asked me today not causing the accident so I did that and then a girl I need more money to not %HESITATION which is nice because you don't usually get that ready an accent I focusing it's nice that you get the sort of monthly publishing publishers get your money so I suppose in terms of the community that's a good question because I I don't ring I'm sorry I suppose it's what we make it ourselves to immigrant communities is really great here leaves here right here south part of that community you don't feel alienated from up I don't know because it's because I spend ten more Africans coming part of podcasting community which is a great community because such young medium that we're all helping each other which is really nice so it feels a bit like that and it rains where so go well I don't know how to do this morning Heidi dammit here's how to dance here's this other way it's Janet people's history of the nation you because they know stops and they want to help you learn no stocks and you can help our people that aren't you know since it's quite similar and not even just scrap underlines and there's no real institution for it it's it's like pre university you know why so yes this is a very long way of saying I don't necessarily know my answer it's not so it's really really good questions as we talk about perjury you know it's just I suppose to find a way of keeping your hand then so you don't really ever closed the door behind G. you know I certainly burnt bridges possibly that I can never cross but you you're not in a sense you may well have the door open it might just be asked charts the enrollments and you know %HESITATION but it's great to hear that you're happy the kids we've both done nice where you're strapping around the country Janney centerpiece really far away from where you left it in somewhere you might want to where your family is the people that you know how are you going I mean I really want this job got it three six hundred miles away from where she won't stay in my life yeah in terms of location yeah the tricky one definitely and I think you know that's kind of why men in terms of like compromise or sacrifice and what you're willing to do or not do you or for your willing to go or not go and I think for me if you're attached to anyone in any way shape or form which I think we all are in different ways because as you said none of us are truly independent RIAA you know academically or personally and I think having to operate and make a decision to move elsewhere you know it's not just me that's a consideration and not question that is a big factor for me and you know I was quite selective even when it was kind of actively applying for academic jobs I was really really careful about which ones I applied for he didn't just apply for anything and everything because I'm not that there's loads to apply for but you know I really have to see myself and my family moving there and living there it wasn't just awhile there's a Spanish job let's go for that and you don't have to be the right fit for all of us you know not questions even more complicated when they are little humans to think as well so yeah I think it is part and parcel of the academic environment as an and I think it's a decision that you need a car you know that you you're comfortable whether you're not in that spot I think you're right I think that obviously keeping a Honda and that's definitely something I'm keen to do moving forward I'm actually like and we talked about this before the fact that we've been in a pandemic and everything's moved on lighting has actually been one of the few positives to come across this recent pandemic because I've actually been able to participate in a lot of the bands I would've been able to do physically in person or I might be able to do one of them fox the fact that everything's moved online is actually benefits it's people like myself or maybe constrains physically geographically by eat their job or their family or accessibility for disabled people in a for effort is that impeded off from accessing certain events or certain places the pandemic has actually opened a lot of things up so for me being able to participate in the political this clown she CD's that Santiago on S. that organized or you know I did a talk as part of the university of west ministers research seminar CD's it would have been unlikely that I would be able to go to Westminster for either one or talk it just it wouldn't have been feasible with as you can do online great you know I'm sitting here in my house everyone else is in their house listening to that I can talk about maybe people can learn about it and it's been one of the few positives to come out with us and I think moving forward I do hope that not something that we hold on to you and we think about alternative arrangements it doesn't have to be a replacement for in person events but why not screen there so that the mom who's picking our kids a bad can listen to it or you know the person you can't fly because they're terrified of flying had listened to it whatever it might be whatever the reason is it's opened our eyes to actually how we can make academia more accessible which is not a bad thing I don't think transaction date a great summer day I did a test someone are in Switzerland from this corner of this heist I was able to enhance your talk at Westminster from Newcastle upon Tyne so it's been great to be able to say that I mean he suggests %HESITATION unless and then everybody needs thank but to support friends stand on my arm and right cheeky comments and you know and then the child well I want justice I did not listeners I did not do that I wanted to say that but I did not do that I was very well but he had to go so you said Glenn said right here Johnson makes online on the child has just started to cry you know it's just full of nonsense you know I was going to tell testicles in Belfast from here and I was just regions and across you know it's just you know it's not and so I was in hindsight and I know it I jumped on the single tear Westminster hangers right now all this stuff has already come do you not respect to read this and I'll trust lacks just stopped senseless cross street search yes it's it it's opened up about the dusting it's open it up to the people and not just the ivory tower now I'm not so so important so so important she because a lot of different backgrounds and style which may not have been technical rates and talk continued personal work we might be searched Jan type people service desk dot different mindset needs to be a white country and people who just want to turn out for us this might not understand the thing understand thinking comes are staying against the prize and that's really nice and slow and steady wins world definitely we'd love for you to be part of the conversation with AP cultures called on Instagram Facebook and Twitter and we also have discord yes it may I like to talk about you than your joke mark the kids teach teach languages English French and Spanish ranch you've got a wee bit of anguish thanks channels to your box I guess you teach about a German as far as that right yeah you know which is huge impressive to me and you know I meant a language learner and then also signed somebody I don't know how you think about this but I feel like I'm somebody who does not have an option to change for languages and I don't know it's not it's not since you're not maybe it's just it takes sometimes it takes the accent I don't know that I just do not have that ability to pick it up never have to cram really super hearts just learn a little bit of that I am always fascinated to speak to anybody he has a whole other languages and their variants just on the right cyst and Madison and and then they'll get you in terms of culture it's such a fascinating things also we were talking about earlier that's where we start reading that he's thanks from there he can think differently and there's a different version of the eight and a different language I was wondering as far because your research is on Spanish cinema and I suppose it's quite technical to research when you J. modern languages and then you top shot see another saying it's not sure sentiment receipt or whatever thank you well I talked to the language learning you don't have to do it that way you know but there is stock barriers and all you did in the subtitles and somebody else's translation that you're relying on so I can really fascinated by all those sorts of various I suppose yeah I just wanted to see what your thoughts on those kinds of things might be I'm thinking of right this kind of ironic deals where I think I was finishing my masters and writing like a research proposal for PhD I don't remember Janet Stewart leading the workshop on it and she said to me you don't see that you're fluent in Spanish and I was like okay but it's not all the S. because why else would I be doing one and she said no but people can research Spanish cinema with being fluent in Spanish and thought always stuck with me because I thought well I just assumed that they would know what I I didn't realize I would have to spell that you know and make that explicit and I think it's one of those things that when you become fluent in another language you know the isn't one that you've been brought up with you almost kind of forget that before you can do is not necessarily something that other people can do and I'll often say you know what I'm doing things for the kids at school it's obvious like how do you not know that where it's not and I see this call can you not see that that word would mean not and he's like no I cannot see that that's your brain your brain just Knowles that dot the connection and not how it works so it doesn't make sense to me so I quite often brings things off and actually remember like repeating stuff a whole more thinking to do something to do in class he's kind of my Guinea pig because he would see himself probably similar to our youth you yourself so he would say he's not natural learn language learner doesn't have that kind of affinity for it his brain just doesn't work cannot wait and he find it really hard at school it is I mean I didn't start learning languages so I was in secondary school I don't know if you were the same yeah and we have all contacts with language learning English Chinese school and you know we go arbitrarily assigned to you either French or German woman back into first year I really wanted French for no reason really other than I just fancy French but we didn't get a choice it was right here you go even this class unless you had a specific reason like I don't know you have friends family anybody visit the members every summer and you know you could just already speak about French well you might get French than or similar for German you good German cousins so you've got German but most people just got runs in the fitness classes and I got German and like I remember my teacher being so excited about you know like all you're so good to German and you really get a lesson she keep up and to be honest humble heart I didn't really try that hard because it obviously just kind of came naturally and I didn't have to do much work I really enjoy it and I did pick somewhere can cause a good kid at school and works pretty hard quite studious I wasn't like you know Boston my god every night trying to learn the full copy I could delete the page once or twice and it would go and they just kind of it kind of works and I mean I don't know why I really actually like to learn more about the science behind it and what it is about our brains help us learn I think if you've got a good memory and if you've got a quick official name a name that you are more likely to be predisposed to that language learning affinity I don't think it's necessarily true but I think there is more likely that that's a possibility and I think I have a really visual memory I don't know I don't know it's totally photographic but would be bordering on photographic but I can remember doing full cut checks at school as a student and you know it would be she would say the word in German and I can remember right that was the start were dying in the first call I mean I could actually visualize on the page so I think that that helps a lot I don't know what else you know I I actually really like to learn more about the science behind it and how do we learn languages but before I do know is that the more you read in your own language another languages the better your language will be on the easy it'll be to learn other languages so I'm learning Portuguese tonight as well just on Duolingo I'm not doing anything more adventurous than not but it's something that I've been interested in for a while Scott had a colleague who was from Portugal and he would talk to me in Portuguese and then I could understand what you saying I can reply to really frustrate me so I'm trying to do Portuguese on dealing with the site and it's fascinating because there are so many connections with Spanish but then the pronunciations really different and sometimes appear random words like I was doing the animals one and hunt looked at it for awhile and but to fly can often light but don't know what is important is I just have a gas and just hit the spot and some like money put aside which is but you're fine Spanish and it's no it's bullet that which is like totally different and it fascinates me I'm like right linguistically then we're just going to let that come from because you would assume it would be more similar to the Spanish and it's not or like words like milk it's late chance Bonner so alley C. H. eat nine kind of opposite leaks but in Portuguese it's lit TCI but spot with a team instead of a C. age so there's obviously kind of something happening linguistically there that I don't know the history all of our flight that's come to be that way but you can see the connections across the two languages are least icon but maybe that is just my brain but yeah I think it is it is really fascinating and I think I remember like being away on holiday and heating other people speaking I don't know let's see cool ash I like being really annoying I can understand them because you start to forget that the actually there are languages that you have no idea how they work because when you know a lot of the month languages you know Italian I don't speak it I could probably work because most of what's been said or if there's something that indirect wholly work but you know something like Polish or other eastern European oranges I would have no clue it feels like I get really annoyed to like all I don't know that is this is really frustrating so I think when you're talking about that kind of frustration and not hurdle in trying to get to the next bet I think the key there is actually just being surrounded by it twenty four seven and I think living in the country is pretty much the only thing or living with somebody who speaks a language you can talk to you in that language all the time even even then you're not totally immersed in it because that he was not in that language you know you're not eating all the time and I think for me my Spanish is my strongest language it does go through peaks and troughs you know they'll be times when it's better than others and not could be because of other factors like they've got a lot going on %HESITATION stressed I've not really been invested much time in it my brain's not really in the right place it might not be to halt the actually then I can start spending time on again so I'm watching a Los fantasies on Netflix right nine because thought is you know an amazing we'd say immerse yourself in the language I listen to Spanish music so I go back to the CD's I ball I was living abroad and you know I was able to go to like a snack or a good thing glass and see what was in the charts and buy stock on a listen to that and sing it and not help this well and then you're just reading in the language as well but obviously the research for me is part of keeping my language alive as well because it helps me to keep it there so it's a bit like playing a musical instrument or exercise we are if you don't use that then you do you lose it it does disappear you know hence why teaching German for me was quite a lot of fun last year because I haven't used since seventeen years so going back to that was a real challenge but it was also really interesting because it actually brought back a lawful I knew already and just was kind of lurking in the back of my brain but I couldn't quite remember that a lot of that I was having to do you on the hoof when I was googling things before it's cute worker what they mean so I knew that they were simply I'm sorry I'm not doing any German this year so that's Beverly I can focus on Spanish and French I kind of feel like a sense of mourning for like how to get my Spanish was when I was living in Spain because you can't replicate out here it's impossible and I got to the point where you know I'd be in the shower and that kind of you know we have you have like your daily thoughts in the shower late night with any state stay or whatever it is you're thinking about it I'm sure it's not just me the house that I would be thinking in Spanish or you know I've been dreaming in Spanish because you're literally immersed in it and it doesn't take long for that to come back you know I can have a conversation with our friends from on the phone in Spanish and it's the it again or you know I'm if I'm watching a lot of Netflix in Spanish than it does start coming back you start thinking about it more so yeah I think if I was going to give advice for like high %HESITATION to be sure language on to that next step is just trying to merge yourself in it still reads listen and converse city con but that's obviously be difficult when you're not in the environment I wonder but it's not it's not it's not L. his friend that's you he mentioned maximum members telling me that it's as if you're brand styles to languages away in the order in which you burn them soon our English will be first and then for me it will be friends snacks because that's what I didn't scale and I did it for GCSE I was okay because I work I worked really hard to let and it's going to be so you know that was me working super hard it can deal somewhat at United's can read no okay that does multiple choice questions probably help because you got a chance to get in something right but it's the oral and the last thing I think because as you say it's an honor student it's really talks I understand better it's Spanish for awhile because I was listening to you did you language Spanish classes for him but I it's it's just even just great stories Senate it's really fun to listen to you so if you didn't you may get a short Spanish you either way I think it's really useful to take kids and it's just reading reading some stories and they're trying to get a big channels different accents from all the different faces so my lesson is getting ready to get it but then I get obsessed with one of my find another podcast naked obsessed on the Selena state because I'm a nurse so I have to do things you know and ridiculous to see signs and it is the same as generating about less than Irish because marriage is very beginner but I was trying to listen to it just because you get used to the signage that and then you only know how where does that's unique and then you know you sort of get it but it thank you say you see the connections because even with Irish there are some very big similarities with artwork and the rates of some birds and things you know they're quite similar actually transformation compartmentalized in concert times when I've been in space in west from and I'm trying to talk to her mom and what comes it is French I haven't yes French since I was nineteen where is not French coming home is because it's the next language and then there are times when I'm trying to do make shooting go Irish on a little come this is Spanish I can't reach it you know and it's really really interesting high brand works you know hi IT service operates the languages and the different parts here shrews memory banks you know so yeah it be ready counselor mark I thought yeah and I think I see Israeli just to jump in on that like I was talking about this the school actually not long ago because so are two year olds it's obviously just a speech is starting to develop really quickly it seems out of no where but you know I was trying to say to sculpt the actually I think it's a lot I don't know I I mean a current speak as an expert in child speech acquisition of course well for me it feels like when you're learning a foreign language like they've been listening to English or whatever language it is you know they've been listening to their mother tongue since they were in the room you know since they could hear me all and that kind of insight into that image and vitamin and they've been listening to that since they were born every single day but they can't produce the same amount of stuff so they can understand the law but they can't necessarily could you stop themselves and it's the skills of perception in production are obviously two different things and I think that's what you're talking about we are you know a word columns I always think those moments are quite interesting because you're under pressure a lot moment yeah you're not it's not that you're reading attacks in trying to work it will okay see this word but let the what could that mean in this context you're in this stressful situation where you're trying to produce the words so much and that your bodies in this high alert type panic state linguistically shopping for this word in your brain and something comes out and hunt really thought about things being filed in a certain hardware but for me it's interesting because Spanish was the most recent language that I learned so I started with German and I did French and then I did Spanish I did all city and then I dropped Germanic capped off the Spanish and French but then obviously Spanish because I invested so much more time in and spend more time there and you know research to academically and whatnot and it's obviously become the stronger but then going into the school setting and having to teach predominantly French to start with was really daunting and people are probably thinking will fire you wanted you could degree in French but yet that I haven't used it in like eleven years or something hunt being used on a French but it's amazing what is actually the %HESITATION what you've retained and what comes back to you know find out with the German this year because you know I haven't haven't used German I dropped it first you need and you know I haven't been to Germany since then or it's still there it's in the back when I did actually sometime my friend ditions in German are actually like sometimes stronger than the Spanish because I did all those basic full cap stuff at school so we did all the animals we did all the colors and we did all so all those kind of boycott basics are still the leading German and sometimes it's not it should be like I think one of the kids asked me for like ten pin bowling was an insect contractually know that Spanish because we didn't do hobbies because we skirt suit or we maybe did it but we touched on it quickly and then we moved on and so the obvious ones I maybe know all the more kind of specific ones I may be doing or if I've never been tent in billing in Spain which I haven't I don't know why C. ten pin bowling in Spanish because I've never had to use it and the kids can put you on the spot you know they'll be like how to say this I am I often just say if I don't know you may think she's on the shelf one got one free night which I don't know every single word or %HESITATION sometimes style I would admit I don't know and I'll just be like you know you're going to come with the word for unicorn is like what is the unicorns or German enterprise that is thank you call for a night you got a device in your pocket house the whole of the internet and I know but they still want to ask me those moments of like when you're trying to find the words I either it comes out in their own language or you make this massive full path for you see a false friend and it's not actually like I always tell the story I tell the kids as well as school like when I was working in the skill in Spain and it was like one of my first days there and you know I was meeting colleagues in the staff room and hears me like freshly graduated from undergrad like twenty one or something twenty two maybe and talking to this older teacher and she's like all S. three S. thing weakens the bottle each day we need to respond as people and you maybe know that this already they love to talk about their ailments a love to talk about it what's not going so well that's a big study type it's like also the weather like we love to talk with the winner let's start with your health so she's like a spring wheat was the product I was like wow that's like a lot of information considered I'm just meeting you you're telling me that you're constipated and like what you obviously feel they can talk openly to that's great and then my friend said yeah you realize that because the bottom means stuff not like blog topic called thank okay right that makes more sense she's not telling me about her bowel movements just tell me that she's got a cold right okay I can get on board with that and you know I'll never forget that words never because that was my first encounter with it and I made this like horrendous mistake or like the time I told my E. slot me in Spain that my great grandmother had broken her a lot %HESITATION instead of her head because I said good window instead of cut it on we still isn't anything alike in English they don't really send out like in Spanish but that's what can I do and I think it's not no well %HESITATION I also ask the cockroach is that of a spoon you never forget those moments you know that's how we learned to make mistakes and we we learn from them and I think like having the confidence to try even though you maybe aren't the best I think doctrines for so much and that's why I try and tell the kids at school from there all about us about trying to speak in another language and language you're going to say something stupid like I've done and I tell them my mistakes I'm trying to ease at them that they were never totally totally fluent like we don't know every single word in English even as native English speakers so I think it's just yeah but being open to embracing your mistakes and it's a constant learning process because language is evolving all the time as well and we seem not like with the pandemic like look at all the card today that we are using that meant nothing or made something totally different and you know the word blockchain will be like a trigger for us all for decades to come I think I think language learning it's something that we we struggle with in this country years native English speakers team get on board with sometimes and I know sometimes I see that you can schools where off what's the point you know writes I don't speak French was point me learning package I cannot speak English and you know I think actually it's one of the most important things that we can study and learn because it's crucial to our species are culture communication whether it is just your own language and I think that is the other side of actually learning other languages teaches you about your own language and make sure the flax and not be becomes but what we're talking about right being a different person in another language and I think that is a key part of that was language learners we've probably all had the experience of trying to talk another language and struggling to get %HESITATION we are across and that can feel really strange but then you have to kind of discover who you are you know it's really interesting I didn't I didn't be read and I'm talking about this I think it's fascinating that obviously is something that we reflect on the law at work and it feels like an uphill battle sometimes trying to teach languages and an uncle phone contacts because there is a lot of resistance to it and people find it hard that's the other thing people find a high read more no sadly not part of our schooling system from early enough in any sort of meaningful way hopefully that is changing in Scotland for the one plus to you but it's a long road I think to get there would you like to receive updates thanks and special offers straight to your inbox and visit audio visual cultures tower presto com to sign up to our mailing list thank you for all the sites there's a lot here in the next year we grew as this all of my interviews is because that is only scratching the surface on your show me yes we can expand on search you're always welcome back again this is not your podcasts is that that's mine it's been a real joy %HESITATION I spend reading of the actually date to talk about a lot of things because again on the other side of that as a language learner ands and destroys it could just mumbling stream very slowly let's let me get here encouragement like caught you know as well I think that's really important so I hope that she's %HESITATION anybody else he's last name because I think it is fascinating that sent us some fascinating area of culture and I agree you know I think it's something that we're very robust shop actually in this country and starring other people's languages and opens up so much cheer left experience I think even if it's just mysterious she compared it race music actually impacting you right learnt some music when I was a teenager and I was always better at the scenery of the naxal playing at that and I think it's very similar with language right I understand the scenery behind it I understand how the language works signed the comics is at work I can explain it all to you I can expand right this is highest sentence structure works and Irish can I tell you an example sentence gives me house on artistic you're at all right so it's really great and said here the other side of the box as well and also you know Hyatt and schools and see your other interests you Roger now there's things that you do this year I'm not standing ready I'll shoot you net I do want to keep anymore you've been so generous with your time but you want to point people to where we can find you because you've got a really lovely blog and cheer practice on some of the solutions are you happy sad just point people towards where we can read more of your stuff yes of course so yeah I have my blog which little bit neglected by I'm hoping to revive that and especially with the the new projects on the front on the loan that I know I'm hoping to give myself an enforced %HESITATION right saying that line of some sort for that to the blog astonished in Philly %HESITATION dot wordpress dot com you know I've got a kid a mixture of stuff on there it's not just Spanish cinema stuff there are kind of reviews of films I falls or thought some films I've watched or study and or come across in my typing working in Spanish cinema but there's also stuff on the %HESITATION up by being a PhD candidate of course it is a blog post on the department's E. vicerex finance on my advice which is quite a popular post I think is probably my most visited cities of posts so yeah there's a mixture of stuff on there on Twitter you'll find me are you an actionable and then I'm also on Instagram and I'm trying to remember my handle is off the top of my head I think it's Dr underscore teacher underscore mom is a private account well it's only private because I post some pictures of the kids on there never their faces or anything so I'm happy for people to follow me there as well it's just it might not be very exciting from an academic perspective it's more my mom life on my mornings you know sometimes the odd things thrown in that a bright and academia or teaching hours once I was posting this account from trying to meet regardless but nicer so there are some random things on there and I think that's it is it or I guess by email as well Shawna dot noble at Durham dot AC dot UK is the academic one I use most of the time so yeah you'll find me there and I'm happy for people to follow up and see what I'm saying and engage in dialogue and whatever that might be wonderful thank you so much and thank you for your time thank you for your amazing very end thank you for being an awesome given I thank you for being a Michael Katz thank in a long time coming out than I was when trying to like start the site for a while so I'm really delighted that we manage to see make the most of my child free afternoon yeah having a kids catch up first and then the card in this it's just been such a jolly and my Cup feels soul fool contributor so yeah I'm just delighted on I'd be equally clients come back and chat more another day so yeah let's do that we should do some maybe topic isn't spending ages since I've done that's what you made in China but it hasn't happened since it would be ready costs that may be reaching a gardenia vests or you know I'm so excited I haven't seen it since we went to the cinema to see and if they get to see it again stamina holds up thank you the kids should do like a virtual viewing together and then in afterwards that would be cool the sun right thanks units are okay thank you Paula

Audiovisual Cultures episode 50 – Musicals and Women in Hollywood and Horror with Dr Martha Shearer automated transcript

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they says audio-visual cultures the podcast that delves into topics and issues around cultural production I’m the host and creator Paula Blair in this edition I’m excited to be joined by film scholar dr. Martha Shearer talking about her research on musicals women and new Hollywood and much more thanks to our members on forward slash a V cultures for your continued and valued support if you’d like to help the podcast financially or by spreading the word listen to the end to find out hi when I do enjoy my chat with Martha amid the hustle and bustle of BFI Southbank in London I’m currently teaching studies at King’s College London where I worked for quite a while and I also did my PhD I’m teaching film history contemporary history but also a lot of kind of Hollywood cinema and also I’m currently editing two books gosh that’s a big undertaking I know originally I was sort of gonna be not at the same time and they sort of aren’t but there is a definitely a point where in my life in the future where they will be overlapping one of them is gonna be on women and new Hollywood and then the other one is called musicals at the margins which is looking at films and media texts of various kinds they exist on the margins and boundaries of the musical is a genre a historically now and especially now I think but also in a range of different kind of geographical on the geographical context you’ve worked a lot on New York yeah are you happy to tell us a bit about your research on the bag yes my first book the musical in New York City and so what it was looking at was being sort of everywhere isn’t here now and quite far the most common setting was interesting but also one of the primary things I was trying to do in that boat was think about the ways in which New York was undergoing quite substantial amounts of change during the period of which the music was at its peak so from like they’re coming of sound the late 1920s opportunity early 1960s really which it starts to tail off in the kind of mid fifties but this is when you’re getting the kind of growth of suburbia this is when you’re getting various kinds of modernist architecture you know the baby boom but they’re also various process of urban redevelopment another completely transforming the city and so I was interested in how that was sort of reshaping the musical and how those processes was registering the musical and so it was a sort of project that was very confined into one city but also because most of those musicals were still made in Los Angeles so they’re also almost always from the outside to some extent it’s trying to map on the relationship between the kind of industry and the process of production the actual kind of aesthetics of the films themselves and then their relationship to the history and geography of think about how all those things are woven together in trance moving each other throughout the very first musicals and go up until the 1970s I really consider anything contemporary my back it’s really fascinate an idea that idea that New York is rebuilt on a studio lot yeah an MGM in particular because they had a massive lot with not so standing set so they had I think three different New York streets ads which you can pick up recurring this is the brownstone Street or whatever else might be kind of readjustment so they have their own sort of approximation of the city and so it is to an extent it’s a different version of it I was trying to kind of grapple with what is the relationship to the real city when you are constructing your own kind of weird distorted version on another coast in order for it to make sense as New York as a setting it’s not intentional and so you can see the various ways these films

because it’s a musical you continually have this influx of people working on the Broadway so there is this kind of direct live experience but yeah the SATs are really interesting especially the historical there’s a whole cluster musicals especially 1940s that are set around turn to centuries and I have a whole chapter on and a lot of them are doing quite interesting things where they’re trying to present this vision of a city and the skyline natural buildings but doesn’t really exist anymore but it’s all been rebuilt other ways of which they’re visually attractive can maybe talk about some examples of specific films in a minute I’m just wondering about New York as a transient space because there’s so much emigration to America coming in especially if a lot of the funds for earlier in the 20th century yeah and then people moving it was the way the movies it’s not just singing it’s dance we’re talking about yeah I mean I think musicals are really product about people coming to the city but not necessarily as migrants so there is a kind of standard musical merit it’s like a girl someone she wants to be a star Broadway and she ends up living in a boarding house having lots of fun with her boardinghouse friends but actually there’s relatively little on contemporary in migration whether that’s from the south which like there was kind of a second break migration that happened around World War two all actual immigration which is strange I mean there are a couple of historical musicals that have Irish yeah but that is the kind of especially like nineteen forties musicals they will have weird Gene Kelly doing a jig bit like that’s okay there’s a film called up in Central Park which has been exempt rice playing boss tweed controlling Tammany Hall it’s about his downfall in this very very fictionalized version but it’s all about this father and daughter Irish immigrants like literally fresh off the boats get picked up by this guy working the time it’s like oh you have to go in to vote twenty three times okay because we can’t read so we don’t understand the Constitution then they learn how to read no like oh no what’s interesting I think is there the musicals are much less interested in that sense of transience than in the sense of quick cities they’re really preoccupied with these very dense neighborhoods where you know everyone knows each other and actually they might be quiet Italians they’re people from Eastern Europe but all living together in there all have their own customs whatever but it’s really interested in this fixed that it’s idea of a neighborhood and so a lot of the films in the 1940s because there are all these plans to redevelop them to build new public housing or to move people out the city because they want to build like an art center or whatever there’s a real sense of anxiety to those kinds of films and so what about those musicals end up being about is this sense of community that’s really rooted in place so it’s actually much less about embracing that sense of transience and change people moving in and out are they’re really worried about the ways that these neighborhoods in the city as a whole might change it’s quite defensive and actually I think the kind of historical musicals are doing something similar because they’re setting up this idea of continuity with the past and quite often even though they’re displaying the ways in which the skyline wanted changed they’re quite often built around places that still exist so you have sat around Central Park there’s a whole scandal in that film about lost weeds wearing the animals in the Central Park Zoo for him to eat o or Washington Square Park but stuff that still exists so it’s about a sense of continuity that’s threatened and they’re quite disdainful of any kind of modernism as well especially what you get in the 1950s and you get proper kind of international style story because these don’t go down very well they’re not interest like a lot of these films I ended up because I was doing this database when I had this mad spreadsheet where I was going through AFI catalog listing any film listed as a musical or film with songs which is like a different category it starts to get a bit unstable but also going through all these kind of coffee-table book on produced in the seventies and just going through every single film they listed so that I had this master list of anything that might be considered a musical that was being produced from like the 30s please it’s vast but the numbers are absolutely fast and so I was going through and trying to be like okay what proportion of these films are setting what trends can I pick out it took months obviously months just doing that but it threw up some interesting things that I think get missed because the musical is on that people are very familiar with the same sort of like 15 to 20 films about constantly get screened constantly but there are you know 800 other films and some of them are doing similar things to those films in some ways those forms are kind of exceptional and that’s why they’re interesting but actually there are these broad themes that get really lost if you’re just going to the films that you know that is one of the things I really wanted to do if you John rest studies really is to try and bringing some of the things that actually were tapping into quite significant trends in the genre but I’ve got lost because the process of colonization so sometimes I’ll be talking about thumbs and people like I know that film like you absolutely don’t my god I found it in this list and then like the only way I could see it was because it’s child star was selling a copy on her like weird personal website yeah that was an amazing find it did come like the DVD came and it was just some like dvd-r and it didn’t even have the title of the film on it just like her name had a big picture of her I

was very grateful to that because you know that was really wasn’t available anywhere else they never will be probably I mean this was called there’s a girl in my heart and that was another turn-of-the-century musical about a kind of neighborhoods where they all clubbed together and put on a show or whatever and there’s various kinds of rollerskating people and it’s about a block that was threatened with redevelopment so it’s quite interesting for my parents is because it’s really keying and it’s not a very good film it’s very cheaply made it’s like a poverty road musical when there are various poverty Road Studios that wanted to go a bit more middlebrow and so started making musicals to do that which are a bit more expensive they would normally be doing I mean it’s really chunky they’re a bit so I’m watching and I’m like I feel like that bit status so it’s not like I’m providing this Melek everyone please check out this amazing piece of cinema Arts that you have missed but it is for thinking about the relationship between the musical and new your grand between Hollywood cinema in New York it is quite an interesting example to get directly talking about the redevelopment like build a sports arena I think in that case it’s quite interesting that those films that are completely very very cheap they were but no one was really paying particular attention to you know but are actually kind of engaging with these films really directly just because it might be objectively not well made that does not mean that can take just a name which I’m showing yeah yeah and I think actually some of those films you don’t have to be I’m not really ever particularly interested in web of the films and goods yeah it doesn’t matter yeah well as I think other sorts of projects that’s maybe part of your argument in that I don’t know well but you’re saying that this film has been engaging with or making of interesting into venture and I’m doing this I was totally uninterested in that sort of yeah yeah it’s different kind of value yeah I suppose it’s up maybe it’s a question yeah this is for the kind of stuff I’m working on at the moment so I’m I’m editing this book music was at the margins with gene LeBell so right and this is sort of a starting point really in there I think there is a sense that it’s really obvious what a musical is but I can have this with students every year when I try to teach us whatever they like well a musical it has to be one like people of breaking into song and any film where there are only stage performances that can’t be a musical any film where people are just dancing and not saying that’s my musical and like let me give you like a list of films and a list of contacts and which people have definite considered that musicals and it actually is much more unstable than initially especially if you move beyond the Canon and especially actually if you’re talking about a more contemporary context because there does come a point around the late seventies early eighties where this genre does start to shift and develop into dance motorcycles what we’ve wanted to complete aside stand for those boundary policing issues because what it’s doing is it’s a way of managing that instability rather than actually acknowledging it and addressing it and so what we’re trying to do with this musicals at the margins project is directly look at the unstable edges and look at those films there might be boundary cases or that have been marginalized so there are examples of films where no one will read the screen departmen musicals but they haven’t been discussed as such for various kinds of reasons or perhaps because they’re dealing with marginalized groups or they’re in a marginal cinema or they’re doing something slightly different or they’re not film or like a short film to put those kind of questions back to the center I think with the book my approach was really I’m not going to impose a definition yeah I’m gonna be really led by and actually some of the films that I wrote about their generic status was contested at the time the example always have is this film young man with horns which is about Kirk Douglas it’s great but that is a film is really interesting because when I looked at the memos in the archive you get all these people writing about it being like just to because they’re everyone this is not a musical this is a serious drama about gas it’s not a musical just music but they also cast Doris Day as a singer in it and it’s very early in her film career but she was a singer ideally but when it gets released there are various reviews that come out they’re just like oh yes there’s new musical the road just in this offhand way and so the studio can’t really other like people working on the film I can’t actually control how other people understand it that film now doesn’t really get discussed very often it has a musical it gets discussed quite a lot and it’s been written about extensively as a jazz but there’s some sort of resistance towards understanding it as a jazz musical these things are never really settled and I think even with the studio era where it seems like it ought to be much more quick cuts what a musical is there are various kinds of films where some people will categorize them as a musical others would be like now this is a drama that just has a few bits of singing in it just how the occasional musical number it’s not I mean it’s never really clear actually a matter in itself it does make it a bit more difficult and it puts the ways in which the genre has been theorized under some pressure because you know there are various examples of Briggs written in the 80s where they have a list of criteria that a musical has to meet you get some quite strange exclusion so there’s a passage in like record spoke of the musical where one of his key arguments is that musical is always built around the formation of a heterosexual couple is necessarily structured by it and so he gets to a point where he’s like oh you know there are various films that don’t meet that like The Wizard of Oz which you would obviously consider to be a musical and so he does this with sort of like dance around musical but it’s also something different it’s like a children’s film so he sort of includes it in his list of musicals but then he’s like this doesn’t fit my definition so I’m gonna say it’s something else and like children’s musicals are like a different thing this is really weird yeah it’s strange because actually a lot of the ways in which he’s writing on their theory enough but are really interesting already useful and are quite flexible and quite open and then takes the strange turn which is always quite fun to teach but it does throw out the ways in which any sort of definition yet for me if you have run into trouble because there will always means boundary cases throat problems and do like a troubling border yeah I mean I think in my first book I did what a lot of people do which is just like I’m not really gonna deal with this time just gonna have quite an eye opener pragmatic which I think was the right thing with that book because it wasn’t really about definition but it was something that stayed with me and so I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve ended up doing this project where it’s really I mean sure the film is always musical in the sense that the roots and hide scores behind it yeah a lot of time a lot of yeah well this is the thing when it starts becoming all encompassing and various of our contributors are just getting the chapters in now yeah because you can look at what is the genre how people understood it and how is that different at different times how is it being contested how might that have changed so that more sort of cultural approach and then other people are thinking things I feel like that these films don’t get to it’s about as musicals have got to wait in relation to musicals but actually aesthetically they’re doing similar things to fairly canonical examples then you could also take that much broader approach something like this is on a continuum with the ways in which music is incorporated in film and the ways in which that might be spectacular is I think one of the interesting things is that you can look at the musical it gets used as a kind of analogy and other kinds of genres that you say Linda Williams for example at length compares hardcore pornography to the musical as saying Lisa kind of numbers and climate or people who are compared action or in the 80s when you start getting all these kind of synergistic films re built around the soundtracks GLaDOS doing something similar to a musical except it’s all from diegetic music well not the time so once you start thinking in that way it starts becoming something really broad and really jhana studies so often siloed so then you have people working on this little in ways that don’t really speak as much as they might so you get people writing but comedy oh yeah those are also musicals but you’re not crossing each other you’re just speaking these strange little lanes and so yeah it starts really be a lot more open so loading your publications just to give me a few problems I thought this year yes UK romance of staying this transatlantic quite interesting that came out of their conference a few years back it’s looking like it’s going to be quite an interesting project because some of the politics I’ve been doing a few projects recently are gentrification this is gonna be part of a bigger project get also at some point on real estate anyway so this project is less about that and more directly about gentrification television so I’m looking at two TV shows looking in your the worst that both include US UK romances in gentrifying cities and stratifying areas of this how those cloths issues get played on as well no use for such characters as bearers of class identity write in quite interesting ways I’m looking I think is a really interesting example because Andrew Hague and Russell Tovey oh yeah but what is really interesting about it is so there is a way in which that show because it has a British people involved creatively it gets it I think there’s this really interesting running the thing where jonathan groff scared cuz i can’t read his Britishness he’s talking about where he grew up in Essex and I’m like well this is exactly it same kind of familiar with IRA see with what he’s talking about you with love when I’m showing that I don’t know whereas it’s sort of interesting like what who that joke is cause I think there’s something interesting with the way in which those programs will connect this idea of Britishness with a class system and Cosette and then this gentrification that cities undergoing is this class transformation of their cities and how those sorts of things are used to speak to each other and I think looking does that on actually a fairly interesting way the other TV show in fact which I have not seen the last two seasons of because it’s quite difficult to watch in this country there were various little bits of it they got shown on channel 5 at one point I think is actually a bit more troubling and it has this idea of some sort of international creative class which allows you to escape your past background actually fairly pernicious I think where it has this very unconvincing British character who is supposed to have grown up in the rough part of Manchester as the active comes from Cambridge and he’s really posh accent what’s happening here yeah so there’s this whole thing where his working-class abusive father who he hates and the show respects you die yeah sends him a football shirt the team that the dad supports and the son has never been interested in which is Manchester football team all right you know Manchester’s going what’s going on so it’s sort of tone-deaf in that way but also it has this weird international hipster class transcendence idea was a lot of ways kind of quite displace to be handled I suppose for anybody who might who’s for major to be a reference point is it better or worse GNA soozluecke Indian accent well he doesn’t even try doing like a posh southern it’s religious and then his whole supposedly monk Union family visit and they all have different regional accents it’s very confused the episode was a stressful watch I think there are things about this show that I really like but this is like upsetting but yeah I’ve been trying to branch out from New York those shows one of them is set in LA and one of them something just go so I’ve gone from like doing this long emotion in New York’s history now I’m talking about writing about various other different cities which requires me to try and figure out because you’re not just researching the cultural products it’s the geography do politics culture of these pieces they’re making my cousins yeah yeah it does make my part and I think this is the stress and anxiety of interdisciplinarity where you’re trying to keep on top of multiple objects yeah she’s you know the city and the actual taxes but also at the same time trying to vaguely keep on top of different disciplines and it’s a lot of work I think it’s really hard to do it well I don’t necessarily feel like I do well all the time I think it’s something they can only do what they can do and I think I think it’s useful to sort of be aware of that also because I feel like I go to a lot of film and X yeah well yours get calm studies people being like I’m so sorry I am a media scholar I don’t know anything I just apologize before I get my paper and then the number of times I’ve been at those conferences where people from other disciplines just anyone who feels completely comfortable talking about film that’s the thing it’s like we know we’re tiny better good yeah I mean know a bit about other bits of it but its massive it’s one massive thing cuz it’s everything it’s there used to be a point where I would be like really annoyed by that you’re like why haven’t you read this book like it is really difficult to get a handle on yeah what other disciplines are doing I mean that’s not to say we shouldn’t do it though I think it’s really productive and I think it’s far as a really interesting work that it is hard to do sort to try and get those multiple disciplines to speak to each other and to get to corral those different things into one project so yeah it’s the thing I’m constantly like am i doing this properly have I missed some big debates but I’m not aware of and I’m stepping on someone to tell you somewhere it’s just part of the impostor syndrome yes like the people who really need to have impostor syndrome we’re the ones who don’t but know if you’re questioning yourself those are good questions because they’ll keep the day on the straight and narrow because I mean our inquiry into it sounds like curry on charted territories in terms of trying to eat so I when are the boundaries a person doesn’t have to be yeah people don’t really like a lot of people like closed boxes holes for things and vehicles for penguins we’re in a world that the minute were in many ways for challenge anatra challenge and that the gender with sexuality with geopolitics you know all the time so it feels like it’s a moment where there’s anxiety and someone come some things need to be border at all yes I need to know what my identity is yes and I want have a very fixed and to defend that and that’s why you know there’s a resistance to three so no I completely appreciate that than this mayo new studies have been about the fault lines between what kind of mediate is completely sympathize for any questions they’re getting at you it must be useful because yeah and you can really make sure you’re not doing things I mean it’s always useful to pay attention for sure giving you important information yeah and in the way proper even when you don’t want her binder is you need to sort of in a way at your own boundaries because you drive yourself mad it’s the RAC I know this is when everything starts becoming will be there’s been like Don DeLillo’s Libre it’s a historian character who is just never finishing project surrounded by people

it’s not just hot summer stopping pool yeah no it is a lot of the times the stoppage point is just the tyranny of the word count you need something – really isn’t it exciting that there’s potential that other people take on the baton other people in a few years time might go actually Martha identified this topic in terms of

I sort of wrote the book and then I was like especially also casting out the fires having this massive musical seasons music I mean I’m working the chapter further musicals edited book I’m writing about the Magic Mike films so that’s coming at it from a slightly different angle yeah it’s mainly contemporary secondary and then I have another project I’m working on for another collection on the musical that’s going to be on Saturday yeah I’m right 10,000 words about sanity I think the thing is that once you do something then people start asking you to do stuff along those lines yeah which is nice and some other time you’re like yes actually there is the kind of thing I would have still want to do and then at some point you have to be like I have to stop and I have to move on to the next project or I’m gonna go mad so yeah I think I’m gonna try and find Stan it’s not working we also don’t to be typecast as the musical person there are people who’ve gone through that anymore like the whole identity as a scholar is like the musical and that’s great but I think there are some people who want to basically be working on the same thing so it’s not their entire career than I really expected proportionately and I think I got to a point where I was like I’m done with this I think I still have these questions lingering that I want to push in this direction or I think definitely the work I’ve done recently that’s not directly on the musical it has been a product if the concerns to open working on about the relationship between cities but pushing it in a slightly different direction because I really wanted to have that sense of some kind of great I think especially when you’ve written a book placing your PhD but yeah you do need that distance because I suppose that’s like having a really cool family you know I love you but I need a break from you for my son okay I can do this amount of time and then just one more question because so he works on something to do with Suspiria yes yeah which actually is a kind of a total break so this is actually because I’m doing this women in New Hollywood book I mean I’ve worked on New Hollywood in the kind of musicals portraits oh I see yeah I’m co-editing it with bits I asked whether I’d be interested in submitting a proposal for this a data collection I’ve been teaching Suspiria because I love this area I think it’s a great teachable film doing interesting things formally but also has this fairytale quality my project on that is about Daria Nickelodeon as its screenwriter firstly looking at the ways in which she sort of been marginalized in a lot of the writing about it wasn’t that’s scholarship because it’s seen overwhelmingly as no gender yeah yeah but also just looking at and thinking about what happens when we understand this film as having a female and I think doing that throws up some quite interesting things about it in the ways that it’s actually quite interested in questions of authorship it’s setting up all these deaths which are irrational and unexplainable that is a question of authorship like created it and how do I mean there’s almost no there’s – I think very peripheral mail carrier and that vomits and it’s also like got a very feminine aesthetic yeah it’s very engulf times much pretty and it’s about which is a faller I think there was a way of reading it as engaging with certain kinds of questions of female authorship that aspect of the text gets really you can’t see that they’re purely seeing it as a Dario Argento yeah there was a really nice view that project – it also allowed me to go back to some of the stuff I was really interested in undergrad feminist film theory and kind of really it was a really nice rape it was also one of these things no good I’m working on this like cult film that all these horror nerds oh I gotta find these holes and it’s really nice because it’s a film that has I did realize it was basically of all the horror films I could have chosen the one that’s most like a musical without being one great way of looking at this is what I realized eventually I was like notice I’m pretty different from research that I’ve been doing one of the coolest cinematic experiences I’ve ever had was at the Belfast Film Festival one year goblin came over and then alive I was very awesome I know this being a friend who’s Italian and works in Italian cinema I think it was us and a bunch of dudes you mostly thank you very days oh my god you’re in metal t-shirt stuff therefore Goblin I’m like oh wow yeah there is some quite interesting work on Suspiria as a film that has like a disproportionately high oh yeah you know fandom as compared to like other magenta films or other Italian horror films or whatever it’s quite interesting following film it was really amazing this is here with score I can’t really watch it again do you want to talk a bit about their women in new Hollywood yeah again it’s charted territories because we anybody knows anything about new Hollywood it’s a very meal yes exactly the scholarship is still really attached to that Oh tourist mail it’s great romantic artists it’s also like look at me bucking the system which yeah is really tedious but also there are various women who direct on this period there’s actually a really interesting book that’s come out recently called liberating Hollywood’s by myosin clear which is about each of the women who directed films in the Hollywood period including people that are relatively well known I can make me so other people who are but I think one of the things we really wanted to do with this project is not just look at directors because I think one of the real problems is that that period has been understood in such a no terrorist way that has obscured paying attention to the women that we’re working on the kinds of rolls so whether that’s screenwriters its production designers editors especially or as operators so we have a really interesting mix people working on directors like Barbara Rosen and me brackets or Marshall Lucas we’ve also tried to organize it in a way that we have sections that are there’s a section that’s primarily dealing with looking at the industry and historiography and looking at that side of things it’s more focused on how that creatively but shaped texts women’s contributions to those and also a section looking at theory that doesn’t tend to be that contact a lot of the time between them thinking about their him thinking about the industry but hopefully there’ll be some interesting work that was thinking about the generational theory in the period in relation to those Wars but also thinking is storia graphically about the emergence of feminist theory or about the kinds of filters that are going on at the time but also about how we might think very simply about women’s authorship in that period in the various different capacities and they it’s really exciting but it’s also at that early stage like we’ve got proposal and we’re now just getting contributors and I think it’s gonna be really exciting Jesus I like that it’s a collections man I just I mean it’s really kind of what I’m gonna contribute to different times around like oh it’s time so I’m really sorry to be late with my chapter and then you’re like that’s fine but it’s also like you’re trying to manage lots of other different people’s various commitments and then trying to get everything on schedule castle but it’s how you get see my foot and then should bring together a lot of new voices on the topic I think we’ve got quite an interesting range and I do think it really is there have been a lot of kind of books of Commerce on new Hollywood recently and I knew this is making a sort of necessary intervention in the field which it’s really in need of some a scholarship forward their hard work but it’s something I do really enjoy reading other people’s work and getting people to ask those questions and I’m really delighted to be part of this I think it’s doing something necessary I think it’s really important that edited collections cuz there are so many of them it’s just continually creating any collections that there actually have some fun actual projects and aren’t just collections of stuff really vital projects of employees yeah there’s an important agenda find it there’s a network nioh this kind of thing and when you’re calling the shots project yeah I mean it’s a really hot area you know in a lot of ways we’ve been slow get to this point there are so many really interesting projects like all the your projects it’s all the glads you’ve had these lovely feel for a while but actually that’s not valued whether it’s because it just wasn’t very good or it didn’t get a lot of funding or people just deliberately kept saying so the fish straight um people out of work or just didn’t acknowledge yeah you know almost like archaeology and then there’s this digging ice of what actually yeah I think but it’s interesting because you get there’s long been this cliche being like oh you know new only ready so critical construction but it becomes so clear how it’s a critical construction that’s constructed around white masculinity yeah unlike whether it’s acknowledged a lot that is one of the attractions and I think the films are more interesting than that the borders of that category are constructed in such a way as to exclude I mean and then also you do need to talk about it slightly differently when you’re talking about women because a lot of those women that didn’t want to work in Hollywood because of what it was you know entirely reasonably or they wanted to in their pathways were just blocked it’s never got to make those jobs in a way that

it’s both the kind of excavation and the reframing why am i working on so many different things the same time I know it’s so exhausting this summer is because I really sat down at one point a few weeks ago and I was like I am trying to think about five different things at the same time and sometimes I’ll be reading a book and I’d be like oh this is really useful for this but wait I was reading this with this project until now and like I just have to kind of this is what I’ve done to myself I mean it’s all self-inflicted

do you want to direct anybody to your websites to find out more about any of these projects yeah so my book is out and is incredibly expensive you know I’m sure parts of it on Google Books is very especially interesting I think my most recent publication was in the Oxford Handbook of musical theater screen adaptations which is an enormous Oxford Handbook so always absolutely things I got to write about some stuff that was in my PhD that didn’t make it into the book sort of a last dregs that kind of firm so that was like you calling it probably I mean I wrote it out on the town a bit in the book but I had to cut it down because I’d written so much about it and my PhD that exploded you railed one of my businesses so much to say about it so I cut a lot of it out and then put it in this chapter and I was like yeah finally I have a place for this and then another film but I obviously love called bells are ringing which doesn’t get talked about so much but it’s wonderful with judy holliday isn’t so well known because she died very young and died in the 60s before she got to talk herself up in the 70s from all the other funny what starts with doing that talk to a [ __ ] she’s best well-known but she’s amazing and it’s absolutely not be film about she works answer phone operator it’s a hard plot to explain but basically the chapter is about how those two films which are both adaptations of war brain musicals but also the ways in which they’re adapting new york and the ways in which new york is itself changing and that requires an adaptation of representational strategies it was really nice to be able to write about those two films I’d had some for structural reasons not talked about so much in the book and just expands that and kind of really delve into it I don’t really have a personal website jalisa yeah I have a page on there Kings website yeah yeah the somatic setting because you do and I do everything it’s in the time oh yeah this is where I you’ve been listening to audio visual cultures with me Paula Blair and my very special guest Martha Shearer this episode was recorded and edited by Paula Blair and the music is common grind by air tone licensed under creative commons attribution 3.0 and available for download from ccmixter org if you liked the show and find its contents useful and interesting please help cover production and distribution costs by donating to paypal taught me for research pei Blair or libera PACOM forward slash Pei Blair episodes are released every other Wednesday please read share and subscribe on your chosen listening platform as this helps others find the show for more information visit audio-visual culture at and follow AV cultures on Twitter and Facebook thanks so much for listening and catch you next time you


Audiovisual Cultures episode 94 – Community Covid with Dr Rabya Mughal transcript

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Paula Blair: This is Audiovisual Cultures, the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and media. Join me your host Paula Blair and the researchers, practitioners and enthusiasts I meet along the way.

See our website at and other links in the show notes for more information.

For now, enjoy the show.

Paula Blair: Thank you for tuning in to another episode of audiovisual cultures. Today we’re looking at the relationship between art and well-being with my very special guest

Paula Blair: Dr Rabya Mughal, who is a postdoctoral research fellow and science arts and culture at University College London’s school of life and medical sciences. You are most welcome Rabya. It’s a real pleasure to have you join us on the podcast today. How are you doing?

Rabya Mughal: hi Paula Thank you very much for inviting me and for that introduction. That was lovely, thank you very much, and thank you for having me on your podcast.

Paula Blair: yeah you’re very welcome it’s been a real treat getting to know you just a little bit this past few months, and to learn about your research so I’m really looking forward to getting into all of that today.

Paula Blair: We’re going to be talking about the role of creativity and what that can play in our health

Paula Blair: But, but there are some issues, of course, because it takes a certain level of privilege to have the means to be creative and do creative things, and so, as I understand you from working on a lot of these sorts of areas and issues

Paula Blair: Specifically on the UCL Community Covid Project. Would you be happy to just outline that project a bit for us?

Rabya Mughal: Yes, so UCL Community covid project is being conducted at the UCL culture and health research group at the division of biosciences and what we do is we look at how

Rabya Mughal: Non medical interventions can help with certain health conditions and we focus on arts and creativity. So what we do know is that

Rabya Mughal: things like art, creativity, things even like sewing and embroidery, being in nature, listening to music, socializing with people, reading philosophy – what we call

Rabya Mughal: salutogenic approaches and non medical holistic approaches – we know that these can be beneficial for our health.

Rabya Mughal: What we do is look at how we can try to evidence that benefit and the Community covid part of this research is looking at how creativity, arts and other forms of Community engagement have been used during the pandemic, and in particular what we look at is how this

Rabya Mughal: Community engagement can be used to address social and health inequity.

Paula Blair: Fantastic

Paula Blair: while many people might have access to something, they might be able to find something around the place, you could have a pen or you could draw on the back of an envelope or

Paula Blair: write something down or most of us have phones of some description, you can make notes on or take a photograph with or something.

Paula Blair: But it’s not always as simple is it as just plucking creativity out of the air, it’s knowing what to do, what you’re able to do, there’s a whole raft of things going on there.

Paula Blair: And, and there may also be different social, cultural, maybe educational and economic barriers, as you say,

Paula Blair: That prevent somebody from just giving something a try, I mean even psychologically people might think oh I’m not good enough or

Paula Blair: That’s stupid, only kids do that sort of thing, all sorts of reasons, and that’s all before we add this weight of covid on top of everything and the added pressures that that’s introduced.

Paula Blair: would you be happy to explain and just tease out some of those details, those issues, for us just so we have a very full picture of what’s going on there?

Rabya Mughal: So I think it’s a really interesting question but it’s also really big question as well isn’t it, because what we know what the evidence says is that when we do these

Rabya Mughal: arts and creativity activities we can involve ourselves in things like aesthetic engagement, we might be using our

Rabya Mughal: imagination, we might be utilizing our emotions, there’s cognitive stimulation that goes on and there’s sensory stimulation, there’s social interaction.

Rabya Mughal: We might be using physical activity and, in turn, those things have a positive psychological response, for example, it might help us with coping and emotional strategies, it might have a positive physiological response, such as

Rabya Mughal: it might lower our stress levels or lower stress hormone responses, it might help us with social outcomes, for example, it might reduce loneliness or isolation.

Rabya Mughal: And it might help us with behavioural outcomes such as adopting healthier behaviours and skills and developing skills.

Rabya Mughal: So what we know that the evidence says that these holistic approaches, these creative and artistic approaches, are beneficial to our physical health and there’s a lot of evidence for that. The evidence is there to say that this works.

Rabya Mughal: But then we come across like you say these barriers for people, and I think that’s really interesting to break down those barriers, so what we see is a lot of cultural, socioeconomic and

Rabya Mughal: and physical barriers to arts participation and breaking that down even further is

Rabya Mughal: When we frame these things, when we make these research questions, are we making the research question? Are we putting our own

Rabya Mughal: frame of mind into the research question? and I say that because a lot of the research I’ve read indicates that we are doing this.

Rabya Mughal: One of the pieces of research I’m thinking about is it came out quite recently, and it was about.

Rabya Mughal: it was about arts and music participation in various different social groups and one of music participation things that they were talking about was participation in ballet.

Rabya Mughal: that was just one of the things, there were lots of other things, but they were looking at participation in ballet. and then, at the same time you’re looking at different groups different socioeconomic groups, how they’re participating in ballet.

Rabya Mughal: So then, when you look at this activity and then you measure its participation in different groups.

Rabya Mughal: It wasn’t a surprise that there weren’t a lot of South Asian communities participating in ballet but then that’s, not to say that South Asian communities

Rabya Mughal: And people from those groups don’t participate in any musical activity, that they don’t engage in music, they don’t use music as a, as different things, as prayer or meditation or using different types of music or using different

Rabya Mughal: ways of expressing music so that’s just to do with music right.

Rabya Mughal: What I’m trying to say is that, when when you frame the question in a certain way you’re going to get certain types of answers, so I think

Rabya Mughal: that’s also got something to do with it, so when we say that there’s low participation in cultural activities from certain socioeconomic groups we’re also saying that there’s low participation in our interpretation of what

Rabya Mughal: Cultural participation really means. So yeah I think that might be more of a reflection on the research question itself, but then also

Rabya Mughal: When we go to

Rabya Mughal: implement Community activities and music and arts within the bureaucratic structures that we have, so, for example, when we take the NHS and we have

Rabya Mughal: This idea that we should implement holistic strategies to help with long term health conditions, when we then take that same research culture into

Rabya Mughal: Implementing this kind of stuff within the institutions that we have, are we then saying Okay, well, we think that all diabetic people should go and watch the ballet.

Rabya Mughal: These are the mismatches that we might have. So I think that’s one part of it is how we interpret cultural activity, so when we say that, then yes, there are lots of barriers but

Rabya Mughal: There are generally lots of barriers as well, there is truth to the fact that there are barriers to arts participation, for example when

Rabya Mughal: We talk to as part of the projects we’ve talked to a lot of social workers, we’ve talked a lot of link workers, I’m not too sure if you know.

Rabya Mughal: If you’ve heard of link workers, so people that work in social prescribing within the NHS and that work within this kind of holistic system

Rabya Mughal: that’s in the NHS. When we speak to them the sentiment is generally that when they’re working with people with vulnerabilities, when they’re working with people who have social economic vulnerabilities, for example, for example, people who are using food banks, people who.

Rabya Mughal: are single mums, people on low incomes. When you’re working with them and bringing to them holistic approaches to their health, for example, saying well why don’t you go on a nature walk? why don’t you do a collage workshop, for example? Their answers generally are

Rabya Mughal: we’ve got more pressing issues, we’ve got housing forms to fill in, we’ve got we’ve got this problem, I’ve got this problem with my Council tax, I’ve got this problem

Rabya Mughal: With universal credit or I’ve got this problem with childcare and so these things are much, much more pressing or appear to be much, much more pressing than taking part in

Rabya Mughal: A nature walk and so there’s that kind of mismatch as well, so we might call it a barrier to participation, but it might also be that that participation just doesn’t seem like it’s very important to a lot of people, so I guess

Rabya Mughal: You have to look at it from a top down and bottom up perspective. So what do we say is participation and what do we say, are the barriers to participation.

Rabya Mughal: And what are participants, what are people within the service saying are their barriers to participation, are their priorities for participation?

Rabya Mughal: yeah it’s a big question. It’s a very good question, what are the barriers to participation and I guess it’s quite a philosophical question as well because you’re

Rabya Mughal: you’re bringing to the lots of your own thinking.

Paula Blair: I wonder if it’s part of the general landscape of thinking that the arts in general are just frivolous, they’re just superficial, they’re not important, and that’s why they’re the first to get defunded and that sort of stuff, you know it’s probably part of a much bigger problem.

Rabya Mughal: yeah and I think sometimes the system

Rabya Mughal: And I don’t know whether this is whether this is just endemic to this country or whether it’s you know we we have a civil service, you know the UK is famous for its civil service.

Rabya Mughal: And whether that kind of thinking is endemic to the civil service and bureaucracy, I’m not too sure, but yeah there is this

Rabya Mughal: way of working, where if it’s preventative then it doesn’t take as much.

Rabya Mughal: It doesn’t get as much funding and it doesn’t get as much.

Rabya Mughal: Attention as when there’s a crisis so when when you get to a point where you do need

Rabya Mughal: Immediate medical intervention, that’s when our medical services do very, very well, but it’s the point of prevention, it’s the point of adopting healthy behaviours, it’s the point of

Rabya Mughal: looking after your health up until the point where it doesn’t become a crisis, and these things are the bulk of the

Rabya Mughal: You know the fun the money that goes into the NHS are to do with these long term conditions.

Rabya Mughal: I guess, when you’re looking at preventative it’s different from when you’re actually in the crisis and so when something falls into that preventative category, because it’s not

Rabya Mughal: Immediate, because it’s not of your immediate concern it’s not there at all, and maybe these are these are behaviours that we need to adopt or behaviours that we need to promote.

Rabya Mughal: But we do know that arts intervention work, so what can we do about those two bits of information?

Paula Blair: really fascinating stuff.

Paula Blair: yeah I mean just to go off tack a little bit here, there is a really amazing charity here in Newcastle upon Tyne

Paula Blair: Which annoyingly their name is escaping me, but they have been on the podcast before. I think it’s rooms for you that’s what it is and they specialize in

Paula Blair: doing arts projects with people with terminal illness so they’re in their end of life

Paula Blair: And they may have a few months, a few weeks, maybe six months something like that, and they do lots of arts projects with them.

Paula Blair: And it just makes them happy and it keeps people occupied and they feel more positive and they are able to think better about

Paula Blair: how to spend their last time and it’s, I suppose, it’s part of that idea of when you can’t prevent anything, what can you do to have

Paula Blair: People have actually a good end of their life as well, so there’s so many I think angles to where this could be important and it’s not at all frivolous it’s actually really essential for well being at all stages of life so there’s an awful lot there to think about.

Paula Blair: And I think there’s probably really strong links with mental health because again

Paula Blair: It gets to a crisis point before anything really happens, a lot of time, sometimes people never get the help they need, and it can end in very, very awful circumstances.

Paula Blair: it’s that sort of thing I think there were a lot of epidemiologists and virologists out there a year ago, saying look if we overreact

Paula Blair: And we prevent stuff that’s better than having to deal with a crisis and, of course, most of the world has had to deal with an absolute crisis and is dealing with an absolute crisis at the moment, so.

Paula Blair: Yes, there’s a lot to be said, I think, for putting more into preventative measures in these So hopefully

Paula Blair: Just by talking about this and educating people about it, that will help.

Paula Blair: if we if we look, then, specifically, at maybe how you’re trying to address that with the Community covid project and the ways that you’ve been gathering data and learning more, understanding more about the vulnerabilities people have and

Paula Blair: The range of stories people bring with them and how we understand different equalities.

Paula Blair: If you’re happy to maybe we could talk, then a bit about the workshops that you’ve been doing as part of that

Paula Blair: and the idea of actually resourcing the creative activities and what can happen when you provide people with the means to do

Paula Blair: you know something creative and if there’s a little bit of direction going on there too in a facilitated workshop. so, if you’re happy to talk us through that that’d be great.

Rabya Mughal: so some of the workshops that we’ve been doing with participants have been

Rabya Mughal: Around people’s experiences of lockdown, their experiences of the pandemic. Their experiences may be accessing services or

Rabya Mughal: experiencing loneliness or isolation or the anxiety that’s come with the pandemic and expressing that through art forms. So we’ve run a couple of very, very interesting workshops.

Rabya Mughal: The first one was run by somebody called Mah Rana who works with us, who is actually a PhD student who’s working on

Rabya Mughal: interventions with people with dementia and so she, she does lots of really interesting things such as

Rabya Mughal: embroidery, so the mindfulness that comes with embroidery and also the fine motor skills and you know everything that kind of comes with doing this very, very intricate and thoughtful

Rabya Mughal: thing for a long period of time. Her workshop was on collage and we looked at how we might be able to express our feelings through the medium of collage.

Rabya Mughal: And you know that might involve looking at lots of old magazines and you know bits of paper and things that you might have lying around, and you know, looking at maybe words in newspapers and picking them out and

Rabya Mughal: thinking about why why you’re picking them out, and so you know when you see somebody’s collage on a piece of paper they might have used a certain colour, they might have used a certain picture, they might have used certain words

Rabya Mughal: To bring the picture together, so it might look like a complete mess of the picture, it might not look completely aesthetically great, it might look wonderful.

Rabya Mughal: that’s beside the point. what the point of the collage is is to look at it and think: how does this reflect my experience?

Rabya Mughal: And in looking at reflecting my experience how do I then talk about my experience, how do I frame my experience? and, if I can have a sort of narrative around the experience, then maybe I might be able to

Rabya Mughal: address the issues that come up during the experience, for example, my collage in particular.

Rabya Mughal: I happen, and I thought this was a very, very interesting, I was thinking, why I was doing this myself, my collage looked at Meghan and Harry interview.

Rabya Mughal: And I picked up pictures of Meghan and Harry and, for some reason I also picked up words that weren’t to do with the interview but were around understanding and telling my side of the story and

Rabya Mughal: Family and these kinds of things and and I’m picking these things out and thinking Why am I picking these things out? maybe I’m thinking about my own family, maybe I’m thinking about my own

Rabya Mughal: way that I project myself or the way that I am talking about how I’ve experienced things, and when you look at these and then

Rabya Mughal: You look at everybody’s collages and you ask everybody to talk about their collages you can see some very, very, very interesting stories, you know you hear about people’s experiences and rather than

Rabya Mughal: sitting down and doing a traditional interview with somebody which we might do in research, and you know it might be very, very structured, when you get somebody to

Rabya Mughal: express their opinion, through the medium of art, through the medium of collage,

Rabya Mughal: You might get a lot more rich data from that, you might get a lot more interesting data from that or you might get more of a glimpse of the person, rather than a set of structured answers that they might

Rabya Mughal: want to tell you just to just to tell you, so we run these workshops just for that purpose to understand how people have been experiencing Covid.

Rabya Mughal: And that’s one of the things that we’ve been doing as part of the Community Covid project. we’ve also done a lot of focus groups of people so we’ve spoken to

Rabya Mughal: Link workers and social prescribers and people that are working in the Community,

Rabya Mughal: people that are working in arts engagement in the Community, people that are working in local authorities and social workers and teachers

Rabya Mughal: To ask them about what what do you think are the barriers to participation? what can we do to make these these things much more accessible for people and what do you think are the issues around

Rabya Mughal: what’s happening in arts participation stuff? yeah and as well as that we’re doing lots of like traditional quantitative work which we have to do as well!

Paula Blair: it must be nice then to be able to participate in the workshops, as well as having to do the more traditional scientific data crunching and

Paula Blair: that sort of thing.

Rabya Mughal: yeah.

Rabya Mughal: And I really liked the idea that we

Rabya Mughal: can do both.

Rabya Mughal: I think it’s very, very important to have that scientific data crunching and that quantitative data that can say look X, Y z happens, and this is the p value, and this is

Rabya Mughal: this percentage of people say this, and therefore we can confidently say this exists because the statistics say so.

Rabya Mughal: But then when you look at the real world experiences, you can at least paint a rich picture and those two quantitative and qualitative pieces of data when they come together, I think, together, they can

Rabya Mughal: create something very, very coherent and I think that’s what the research should look more like.

Paula Blair: yeah I think that’s so important, I mean I think when maybe the general public, those of us who maybe don’t know how the scientific process works necessarily, we just imagine boffins in white coats in a laboratory.

Paula Blair: So it was.

Paula Blair: Really fun because I participated in one of the workshops and it was really fantastic to have you in there with us and you were just the same as all of us, because we’re all being facilitated by Mah and

Paula Blair: there were only a few of us are, but we were having a nice chat as well you know, so it was great in a way it was like a talking therapy for some people.

Paula Blair: As well as the process of I mean, I was very quiet, I get very hyper-focused when I’m doing stuff like that, so I can, I find it difficult to have a chat and make things so I’m sort of making things and being really

Paula Blair: ah doing the stuff but I’m listening, but it was great yes to have you there with us and it sort of breaks down that barrier as well, between the researchers and the participants that you’re studying, we’re not just lab rats.

Rabya Mughal: yeah and I think, I think it’s best to do research and that way. I’ve got to just say also there was another workshop that we did with an

Rabya Mughal: artist called Alejandra and that was a really, really good workshop as well and she actually used

Rabya Mughal: things that were just lying around in the room, and you look at the things that are that there are there, and maybe write something down on a piece of paper and then create texture out of the paper and then you take pictures of it.

Rabya Mughal: With your phone or whatever, or if you don’t have a phone, then you know just look at it, and that was a really interesting workshop as well, where

Rabya Mughal: We you know, wrote down, the first thing that came to

Rabya Mughal: mind and then took pictures of it and then looked at it from a certain angle, and she’s a photographer and so she

Rabya Mughal: talks about perspective and everything, but then all the different types of perspective that there are so not just literally the perspective, but also how you’re framing your perspective, how you’re framing

Rabya Mughal: Your experience and you know some of the photos that people sent in were really, really interesting, some of the things that they had written down on paper we’re really, really interesting and how they’d

Rabya Mughal: Use the paper to express their feelings like schrunching it up or or tearing it apart or folding it, gave you an insight into how their experience had, how the pandemic had impacted on them and what their experience of it was.

Paula Blair: I think, being able to have a space where people felt very safe to just talk about that and to sometimes to use what they were actively doing in the moment.

Paula Blair: So it was a very live, quite a visceral experience as well to just hear people and people have very, very sad stories, like awful awful things have happened to so many people.

Paula Blair: I think the numbers became so big so fast in terms of deaths and cases and that sort of thing, there are so many

Paula Blair: Human stories where people have had tough times and they’re survival stories and they’re barely survival stories in some cases, whether it’s directly to do with Covid or not.

Paula Blair: It was really important to remember as well, like again yourself

Paula Blair: You know you’re a researcher looking at this, but you’re also a human being surviving a pandemic and that’s a really hard thing to do, and you know billions of us are doing this together and

Paula Blair: Maybe more together than some, but it has affected everyone, you know so it’s been really important actually to see a face of the research and see you as humans and it’s been amazing actually that so many researchers

Paula Blair: of all kinds are being so open, and I mean exposing themselves and being quite vulnerable in doing that, but there’s so many doctors out there who’ve set up their YouTube channels and they’re telling us what’s going on all the time and

Paula Blair: You know, on Twitter, you see these very generous thoughtful threads from people who go I’m an actual virologist here we go and explaining a bunch of stuff.

Paula Blair: I just have really appreciated your presence and the actual presence of the research and the researcher being in there, but again at the importance of remembering all of you who are doing that work, you’re people, you know and that’s so important.

Paula Blair: Just a wee reminder to check out the show notes wherever you’re listening for relevant links including for more information and to sign up to our free monthly newsletter.

Paula Blair: If you felt comfortable to do so because you bring your lived experience, as well as your

Paula Blair: Research experience to the project, and if you’re happy to go into that in a bit more detail or whatever you’re happy to talk about there.

Rabya Mughal: yeah and I completely agree with you, I think it is really important to be a person whilst you’re researching. It is really, really important to

Rabya Mughal: understand where somebody is coming from when you’re researching that person, that is what we’re doing, we’re looking at people’s lives, we’re looking at people’s lived experiences and we’re going very, very deep into their psyche and talking about some very

Rabya Mughal: very personal things that have happened to them.

Rabya Mughal: And in order to understand that and empathize with that. I’m not saying that researchers that don’t have lived experience aren’t able to do that, of course, we’re all able to have empathy.

Rabya Mughal: But when you do have that lived experience you bring a different level of empathy to the situation and I think it is very, very important to not have this

Rabya Mughal: power balance between the researcher and the participant. in my mind when when we do these research projects, when we look at what’s what’s happening on the ground and when when we’re looking at

Rabya Mughal: public services that are working with people who are facing the most – the most – inequality in society, then we have to come at it from a position of

Rabya Mughal: partnership. We can’t be saying this is what we’re going to do, and this is how we’re going to implement it, and this is how we’re going to run the service for you. We shouldn’t have that power dynamic, we shouldn’t have that

Rabya Mughal: hierarchy, both within research and within the services themselves and, unfortunately, that is what we see, we see this, we see this hierarchy, we see an us versus them kind of culture.

Rabya Mughal: We see a dynamic, where I am the professional and I’m helping you, and it really ought not to be like that.

Rabya Mughal: When we create services, when we design services, when we innovate these kinds of things, we must do it with people at the Centre. there must be like a participatory approach to this and yeah I bring my own life experience to this.

Rabya Mughal: I am you can either call it first generation or second generation, so my parents came over to the UK. I was born here in London,

Rabya Mughal: in a low socioeconomic background. we had free school meals, we were in the service quite a lot and I have that experience of the service and so that’s what I bring to this to this research and that’s what I brought a lot of my career and for me, it was a very, very

Rabya Mughal: I guess an unusual upbringing, because

Rabya Mughal: I got scholarships to private schools and and all sorts of things happened that made me a little bit different from everybody else, and so I come at it with this lived experience and that also comes with a lot of

Rabya Mughal: with a lot of baggage itself

Rabya Mughal: Because there are these power dynamics and you do see that the a lot of people might go into these kinds of careers and they might go into into research and they might

Rabya Mughal: want to work in these kinds of areas because ‘I want help somebody’ and it really shouldn’t be about helping people.

Rabya Mughal: that’s a bit patronizing. it should be about creating systems where people are able… first of all, where the system is sustainable,

Rabya Mughal: where it thrives, where the system is created for the person and with the person and where the system addresses all of the capabilities, as well as the needs of the person.

Rabya Mughal: And then second of all, it should be a system which is also sort of owned by the person as well, not a system that things are done to the person.

Rabya Mughal: yeah I think these sort of power dynamics, these things that we see within within all of our institutions, these kind of things

Rabya Mughal: are important to how we address these concerns within the with within institutions. I think that, in order to create a fairer society, what we need to do is start pulling at these systems, pulling at these institutions that we conform to and that govern us.

Rabya Mughal: Like I said before, when we do things like around systemic change we’ve got to look at them from a top down, as well as a bottom up approach. I’m not sure if that answers your question, there’s a lot.

Rabya Mughal: I could go on for quite a long time, but that’s the experience that I bring to this work.

Paula Blair: That’s really helpful and that leads on to what I was going to ask next really was about well, what are the hopeful like comes of the likes of the Community covid project? so as you’re saying it’s you know, identifying that need for creating

Paula Blair: I suppose just to very much reduce what you said there, creating these sustainable enabling shared systems that are beneficial really across the board and, as you say it’s not that

Paula Blair: patronizing, oh we’ll do this to help you, but it’s actually empowering people to take on their own issues and do more for themselves and to stop preventing them from doing that.

Paula Blair: so from the project it’s gathering information, but then what’s that going to be used for? is that going to be used to lobby with evidence for these changes?

Paula Blair: is the hope that it will help change mindsets even in ordinary people, so, as you say that the top down so maybe from a government level but also then from the bottom up to think well if there are people in

Paula Blair: Socioeconomically

Paula Blair: deprived backgrounds, who just think art is a load of nonsense and it’s a waste of our time and only

Paula Blair: You know, select derogatory terms here, and it’s only for those people that they think that they should look down on,

Paula Blair: Is it to change their minds and perspectives and go no actually you’re very welcome to do all of this, we’re reducing the barriers, we’re putting those away now, we want you to join in, if you want to

Paula Blair: join in, you know that sort of stuff so I’m rambling a bit, but are those the sorts of things that the aim is to

Rabya Mughal: yeah I mean definitely having a participatory approach definitely having

Rabya Mughal: The person who’s using the service at the centre of the service and sort of driving the change within the service, that’s something that we

Rabya Mughal: always talk about and that’s something that we always promote. we believe that

Rabya Mughal: We should have the user at the centre of the service, you know, have this participatory approach. To involve the user within our research is also you know a very, very important thing.

Rabya Mughal: What we’re looking at, I guess you’re talking about the deliverables of the project. We are looking at a lot of

Rabya Mughal: I guess you can call them top down outputs. so we’re writing a rapid evidence review where we’re looking at a critical appraisal of all of the Community activities that have gone on in the last year or so. We’re writing an evaluation framework. We’re writing a

Rabya Mughal: good practice assessment that makes recommendations for people who are running Community projects. We’re looking at writing an evidence synthesis report, and then doing lots and lots of peer-reviewed

Rabya Mughal: publications and conference presentations. And then, at the same time, like, I was talking about the creative journeys that we’re looking at from the participants

Rabya Mughal: from the workshops that we’ve done so we’re looking at how people have experienced covid, how they’ve experienced the pandemic and how

Rabya Mughal: they’re expressing their experience of the pandemic. so we’re looking at all of these things and I guess you can call them all of these things

Rabya Mughal: are a top down thing that we’re looking at, but the bottom up thing that we’re doing is promoting participatory action within our research, promoting the voice of the user within our research and having lots and lots of

Rabya Mughal: elements of that voice within all of the top down, things that we’re doing so within the reports that we’re writing, we want to have the voice of the user within the reports.

Rabya Mughal: Within the conferences that we’re doing, we want to have pictures and you know the the creative journeys, we want to have all of those within the presentations that we’re doing and that’s because we want to

Rabya Mughal: emphasize that this is research that is done

Rabya Mughal: on behalf of a group of people, and it is important to have that group of people if they could be part of the research, if they could be part of

Rabya Mughal: you know, they can be the researchers, that is perfect, but if that’s not possible, then their voice needs to be heard within all of the elements of the research.

Paula Blair: It feels like covid has brought about the opportunity or the very rapid need and necessity to really properly assess all of this, because these are problems that were existing anyway.

Paula Blair: It’s one of those things where I think across the board, it didn’t bring the problems with it, it highlighted them, it showed them up, it made them undeniable.

Paula Blair: so, is that part of it as well it’s it’s not just about responding to covid. this is forever, we need this change, because this is going to happen again at some point or there’s going to be some other kind of public health crisis.

Rabya Mughal: yeah I think

Rabya Mughal: What Covid has done is really highlighted the inequalities that we have in society

Rabya Mughal: As it is, and it’s really, really kind of exacerbated them as well, so.

Rabya Mughal: Well, first of all, when we say vulnerabilities, when we say that we’re working with vulnerable people, what we’re what we’re actually saying is that we’re working with people who are in socio economic vulnerability, we are

Rabya Mughal: Working with people who have physiological vulnerabilities so long-term health conditions and also with people with psychological vulnerabilities so people with you know long-term

Rabya Mughal: Mental health conditions. and when we look at how the pandemic has affected people within these groups, what we see is that these vulnerable

Rabya Mughal: populations entered the pandemic from very, very uneven starting points. If you’re living in poverty, for example, if you’re

Rabya Mughal: On a low wage, if you’re a member of a single-parent household, you’re most likely to have the highest level of covid-

Rabya Mughal: related impact. You’re more likely to be exposed to the virus, you’re more likely to be living in very condensed areas and

Rabya Mughal: You know these kind of disparities put vulnerable people at more of a risk of negative outcomes and those negative outcomes are only there because there’s already existing structural

Rabya Mughal: and institutional disadvantage. And the same is for people with chronic physiological conditions, chronic psychological conditions that

Rabya Mughal: require multiple points of entry into various social care and health services and so what we know is that if you started off the pandemic

Rabya Mughal: From an uneven starting point then those uneven starting points are just going to get more and more and more disparate.

Rabya Mughal: That’s the landscape that we’ve started off with and you’re right that the pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities and

Rabya Mughal: What we’re also wary of is that.

Rabya Mughal: Do these vulnerabilities, are they going to carry on post-pandemic? Are the services that we’re promoting during the pandemic going to be running

Rabya Mughal: The same way as they are in two or three years’ time? Have we created different ways of working during the pandemic

Rabya Mughal: that we will now be expected to work over the next you know, several years? And those are things you know we can’t answer those things at the moment, what we do knows that there’s been

Rabya Mughal: A severe sort of upheaval to lots and lots of community

Rabya Mughal: activities and Community organizations over the last year or so.

Rabya Mughal: What we don’t know is how those Community organizations are going to adapt and survive in the future in order to address all of the vulnerabilities that they have been doing for years and years.

Rabya Mughal: And so you know for the people that are working within those within those activities within those

Rabya Mughal: organizations, there is a big worry that we’re working on shoestring budgets, we’re completely stretched.

Rabya Mughal: we’re doing things online when there’s a lot of digital poverty, when there’s a lot of deprivation and people don’t have access to online things, and so how is this going to carry on? Are we now going to be expected to work on these shoestring budgets from now on?

Rabya Mughal: There are lots and lots of questions about how

Rabya Mughal: You know, social, health and community care services are going to work from now on and it is a bit of a worry for people that are working on the ground yeah.

Paula Blair: yeah a lot to think about there. Do you know if there’s anything

Paula Blair: That, what could be possible solutions or what will assist people in

Paula Blair: What we need to do to start affecting change? Do we need to start writing to our MPs?

Paula Blair: I guess, I mean if you could point people to where we can start learning more about your research that would probably be a good start as well, but

Paula Blair: You know, is there anything that general listeners of this podcast, what can they do to maybe push this on a little bit more, is there anything we can do and what might that be, what do you need to get this started?

Rabya Mughal: yeah so you can find out more about our research at That just outlines quite a lot of the projects that we’ve been working on.

Rabya Mughal: at the culture health research group at ucl we focus on lots of different types of Community participation activities and how they influence

Rabya Mughal: Our well being and our health.

Rabya Mughal: that’s a very interesting question, what can we do to help?

Rabya Mughal: It’s a very, very interesting question.

Rabya Mughal: I think.

Rabya Mughal: The first thing that we can do is

Rabya Mughal: promote Community activities, promote these kinds of organizations and

Rabya Mughal: help these kinds of organizations that are working on the ground and working with people. We should be promoting

Rabya Mughal: Better funding to these kinds of organizations, I mean these kinds of things are out of our hands but you’re saying to

Rabya Mughal: writing letters to MPs, I mean you could do these kinds of things, you could

Rabya Mughal: be actively involved in in these kinds of debates, but I think the best that we can possibly do is create a system which promotes

Rabya Mughal: Community engagement, that promotes healthy participation and public services that involve the user at the Center of the service, and I think

Rabya Mughal: When we can create a system where these these things can exist, then we can kind of start to address these inequalities in society. When we can

Rabya Mughal: Look at how power dynamics within the system can be addressed, when it’s a less of an us versus them kind of a system, when it’s less of a

Rabya Mughal: ‘You need to do this, and this, and this, and this in order to get your universal credit’ this kind of system, when it’s less of ‘you need to jump through these hoops

Rabya Mughal: Before we can sign you on’, when there’s less of this kind of a power dynamic, that’s when you might get better participation within systems within these public

Rabya Mughal: Institutions, so I guess what I’m saying is that we need a systemic change and we need

Rabya Mughal: We need a much more compassionate

Rabya Mughal: way of running things in the public services.

Rabya Mughal: I don’t know if we can do that from writing to our MPs.

Rabya Mughal: the bigger picture I guess would be that.

Paula Blair: yeah, I think, and I mean it’s a small advocacy thing to do, but it doesn’t hurt to educate your MP. Some some of them, some of them, are are willing to be educated on things. I’ve found that in my constituency at least. It’s worth a try.

Rabya Mughal: it’s worth a try and it’s worth promoting these kinds of things yeah.

Paula Blair: For sure. It’s putting me in mind, I think of

Paula Blair: Things I’ve heard on a raft of other podcasts that I listen to, where sometimes we just need to be leaders in our own communities and it might be those of us who maybe have that little bit more privilege than somebody else.

Paula Blair: Just starting something, I think that, like as we’ve seen with the mutual aid groups that just spring up

Paula Blair: more than a year ago

Paula Blair: where communities just got together and did stuff for each other, did shopping for each other, just small things like that, it’s maybe huge to somebody else and

Paula Blair: it’s just things that can include your neighbours or whatever, and hopefully if it’s even if it’s feeling quite tiny, if there’s a ripple effect of that tiny droplet that you put in the water, you know, hopefully it would get a bit bigger and, as you say, it is about

Paula Blair: empowerment rather than charity, you know, and that’s a major frustration I have is that in the UK, certainly, we’re so reliant on charities. You know me in myself

Paula Blair: the only way I’ve had proper treatment for mental health issues as through charities, that’s a really major thing that

Paula Blair: We as a society need to go: that’s not okay, it shouldn’t be up to people donating their hard-earned money to pay for somebody else to get therapy, you know, it should be provided for, because we’re not well because of the system.

Rabya Mughal: It’s a basic, it’s a fundamental right to be able to access any kind of

Rabya Mughal: Health support. You wouldn’t expect if you have

Rabya Mughal: high cholesterol, or if you have diabetes, you wouldn’t expect to be ignored by the health service because you have this long term health condition, and it should be no different if you have

Rabya Mughal: Any other condition. If you’re experiencing any kind of health condition, that should be addressed by the health service, and I do feel that we’re kind of in the foothills of this both of this research, but then also of this

Rabya Mughal: way of working with people.

Rabya Mughal: We see big sort of shortfalls in the social care system where if you’re a carer for somebody you

Rabya Mughal: are having to rely on charity, you are you’re having to rely on

Rabya Mughal: Things that you shouldn’t be having to rely on. the The state should be you know, supporting you within these situations, and in other countries, there is this this kind of state support, or there is this emerging

Rabya Mughal: Addressing of

Rabya Mughal: The increase in social care needs and we do have that here as well, it’s happening

Rabya Mughal: But it needs to increase in the next you know however many years because

Rabya Mughal: We now have more people who are recognizing mental health conditions, we have more people that are in need of carers, we have more people that are in need of preventive medicine.

Rabya Mughal: And these things all can be addressed through holistic interventions through these salutogenic approaches and

Rabya Mughal: if we can use these things to address these issues, then that would be brilliant, but it does need state support and it does need you know the public service support and, hopefully, you know, hopefully that’s something that can happen in future.

Paula Blair: it’s all stuff to work towards. I think on a happier note, you mentioned to me before that there might be an online exhibition of some of the work from the workshops, would you be able to tell us something about that.

Rabya Mughal: yeah So if you go to our if you go to our website, you should be able to see the exhibition, it should be up in the next few weeks or so. yeah so it’s at

Paula Blair: Wonderful. Rabya is there anything else that we haven’t covered today that you would like to say? this is a good, it can be about anything.

Paula Blair: You just want to add anything that we haven’t got to I mean I think we’ve covered everything we planned to do, but if there’s anything at all I’ve forgotten about or do you just you’re burning to say or what’s your favourite movie you know anything at all.

Paula Blair: you’ve got the floor.

Rabya Mughal: Oh I don’t know if you’re going to regret doing that!

Rabya Mughal: I think it is important

Rabya Mughal: To reiterate that these kinds of different, innovative and alternative ways of looking at how these you know these different ways of working can really work.

Rabya Mughal: And you know we like to promote those things and we like to we like to look at different ways of working, we like to do we like to look at innovation and.

Rabya Mughal: how public services might be able to work in a completely different way if we just turn the service on its head; how might it work if we… I worked in an

Rabya Mughal: Innovation project years and years ago where we tried to look at how to innovate the job centre.

Rabya Mughal: A simple thing that we did was allow the people who were signing on to sit in the chairs of the person working at the job centre and changing that power dynamic, you could see that it did something for people’s confidence. I think that’s a very interesting

Rabya Mughal: way of looking at public services, it’s a very it kind of it’s a very telling way of how we do public services and I think there is a lot to be said about this power dynamic

Rabya Mughal: That’s in research and in public services, in all of these kinds of things that we’re looking at, and you know we can kind of

Rabya Mughal: change that a little bit if we can change the hierarchy around a little bit, make it a little bit less us versus them then maybe we might be able to move forward.

Paula Blair: that’s wonderful, that’s a really important message. Dr Rabya Mughal Thank you so much for all your time and for conducting this really important research. It’s been just an absolute pleasure getting to know you and about your work, thank you.

Rabya Mughal: Thank you very much, it was really interesting to talk to you, Thank you.

Paula Blair: This is a cosy pea pod production with me Paula Blair.
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