The themes of BBC Arena’s programmes over more than four decades have been framed by the UK's revolutions in cultural identity. Arena actively led the comprehension of these changes by engaging an audience with the full diversity of international cultures through the mass medium of television. The radicalism of its subject matter is reflected in the aesthetic adventure and uninhibited risk of its programme styles, which have been recognised in dozens of international awards.
For this seminar students will watch a film drawn from Arena’s archive of more than 700 productions and will respond critically as a group to the audio-visual treatment of the subject and the cultural/historical issues that are raised. They will individually thereafter produce a short assignment that seeks to extend these observations creatively in both written and filmic forms by mapping them onto contemporary concerns. This might mean producing a piece of poetic writing alongside new footage and/or a collage comprised of a mash-up of elements of the original film. While guidance will be given, the brief remains entirely open.
The course will be overseen by Anthony Wall, who served as Arena’s Series Editor, and a producer/director for over 40 years. Anthony will introduce a film and, together with Michael Hrebeniak, who is currently writing a book on the series for the British Film Institute, will work with the students on their written-filmic assignments.