“Lights, camera, research: A seminar on film as a political research tool”: reflections on presentation at University of Essex

As per my last post, I presented at a seminar at the Center for Work, Organisation, and Society at the University of Essex on Halloween. The seminar was scheduled to last for 4 hours, in which presenters were to talk for 40 minutes each, followed by questions/answer/discussion.

It was surreal being in Colchester. The seminar itself had a small and intimate audience of 3 other people in addition to myself, the second presenter, and Stevphen who organized the event. I didn’t mind because I always enjoy presentations regardless of the numbers present.

I provided a history of the sitcom project and described the process of creating a cooperative sitcom. Then I described specific critical theory and showed how it was enacted in the sitcom, so I screened lots of clips. I described squatter capital, followed by scenes from episode 1. I then described micro-dynamics within a squatter living group, illustrated by scenes from episode 2 and the debate between Mop and Vomit. I then explained how authority works in a community that rejects authority, visualized by the gossip around Dirk, the scenes in the kraakspreekuur, and the Judith Butler quote in episode 3. It was interesting to see which clips received more laughs than others.

Afterwards, the three of us had dinner in a small, picturesque village in a quaint pub. It was quite lovely, actually. I had deep fried onion rings while it turned dark at 4:30 PM. What more can you ask for from a small village in Southeast England on Halloween? As the Dutch would say, it was gezellig.

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