Dr Ciara Chambers

RESEARCHING NEWSREELS:
ARCHIVES, DIGITIZATION, ACCESS AND APPROPRIATION

Dr. Ciara Chambers


Before the advent of television in the 1950s, newsreels were the only moving image news medium available to the general public. 
Consumed in a cinema setting and often manipulated for propaganda purposes, newsreels are an important record of what audiences were shown and told about contemporary events and personalities. Aftermath of the Easter Rising. Image Courtesy of the Trustees of the Imperial War MuseumGiven a lack of sustained indigenous production, Irish audiences viewed newsreels mostly produced by British companies who faced unique challenges when covering turbulent events for audiences with a fluid range of political sensibilities in early twentieth century Ireland. This paper will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with the study of newsreel material in an age of burgeoning digitization and will consider shifting archival attitudes towards access and preservation. It will also pose questions on film as an historical source and critique the newsreel as a source of information in both its original context and in ‘recycled’ form.

Dr. Ciara Chambers is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Ulster and author of Ireland in the Newsreels (Irish Academic Press, 2012). She has worked on a number of archival and digitization projects with the British Universities’ Film and Video Council, Belfast Exposed Photography, Delargy Productions, the Nerve Centre, Northern Ireland Screen, Ulster Television, University College Cork and the Irish Film Archive.

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