Vernacular Media and Everyday Memory

9781137441201

Emily Keightley and Michael Pickering

Wednesday 16 March, 6pm, John Stanley Bell lecture theatre, University of Bradford

The aim of this talk is to address a gap in existing studies of media and everyday life. While the role of media in everyday experience has been a key concern for media studies, it is common for only one communications medium to be considered at a time, or for media in general to be discussed, resulting in either narrow or excessively broad treatments of the ways in which media are intertwined in the practices and processes of lived experience. In our research we have taken two technologies – photography and recorded music – together in order to explore their distinctive and complementary features in vernacular remembering. We do so via the concept of the mnemonic imagination. This concept is designed to illuminate the interaction of memory and imagination. It shows how both memory and imagination are vital in maintaining the dynamic interplay between past, present and future in everyday life. In the seminar we will apply the concept to examples from our ethnographic fieldwork. These examples will address three distinct phases of the distillation of experience which together constitute the process of everyday remembering: the localising and integration of cultural resources into remembering practices; the use of photography and recorded music in the process of congealing experience into recognisable and communicable units and patterns and putting these to work in the story of a life; and the final distillation of lived experience in which value and significance is invested in relatively stable ensembles of experience which communicate the meaning of a life to self and others.

Dr Emily Keightley is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK. Emily’s main research interest is memory, time and its mediation in everyday life. She is particularly concerned with the role of media in the relationship between individual, social and cultural memory. Emily’s research explores the roles of photography and phonography in the articulation of everyday memory and the gendered nature of mnemonic experience. She is the author or editor of four books and twenty-five journal articles or chapters.
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/socialsciences/staff/academicandresearch/keightley-emily.html

Professor Michael Pickering is Professor of Media and Cultural Analysis at Loughborough University, UK. Michael’s work covers a number of areas including popular music, racism and popular culture, imperialism and theatrical history, Mass Observation, working-class writing, news and documentary, stereotyping and representation, humour and comedy, creativity and cultural production, media and memory, and historical hermeneutics. He has also written extensively on research methods, having edited collections on methods in cultural studies and memory studies. He has published eighteen books as author or editor, and has written over one hundred articles and chapters.
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/socialsciences/staff/pickering-michael.html

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