Digging the Seam: the 1984/5 Miners' Strike

CFP: a conference in Leeds, March 2010

(Please circulate news of the conference. The convenors are are particularly interested in archival collections and how archives preserve and construct histories of the strike.)

Digging the Seam
Cultural Reflections and the Consequences of the 1984/5 Miners' Strike
Conference 25-27th March 2010.

Papers, panels, screenings, performances and exhibition materials are invited for a conference to be held at the University of Leeds on March 25-27, 2010.

The conference is organised by The Louis Le Prince Centre for Photography, Film & Television (LLP) and the Media Industries Research Centre (MIRC) at the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS)

Introduction and Themes
March 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of one of the bitterest industrial disputes in living memory, the 1984/5 miners' strike. The social and political consequences of this dispute, which have resonated for the past quarter century, have been subject to detailed analysis and reflection. The consequences for the arts and popular culture are less clearly mapped. This conference intends to explore the broad cultural legacy of the strike and to focus on two key strands.

The first will examine cultural representations of the strike and broader mining culture through popular forms such as literature, music, dance, theatre, performance, radio, photography, television and cinema. It will examine how popular culture has recorded and represented the strike and its associated cultures in the intervening 25 years as well as its role in the preservation of particular traditions and practices in a new 'post industrial' society.

The second will examine the relationship between the strike and cultural production. How did cultural producers in forms such as music, theatre and cinema respond to the strike? Which kinds of producers showed what kinds of solidarities with the miners and how effective were they? How have cultural producers actively constructed meanings of the strike in the intervening years? Arguably, the defeat of the miners hastened the onset of various forms of policy, aimed at regenerating 'post-industrial' communities through information and cultural industries. To what extent have there been useful policy interventions, cultural and otherwise, in mining communities?This anniversary provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on these issues and to explore the role of culture and the cultural industries within this important context.

Suggested themes
Possible strands and contributions could include:
Culture and Industrial identity/Political theatre/ Folk traditions/ Music and the cultural impact of the strike/New documentary traditions in film and photography/Cultural re-orientation and the strike/ Arts therapy and reconciliation/Storytelling and testimony/ The cultural industries as new employers? /Digital resources and the strike/Archives and the re-constructions of cultural memory/ The impact of the strike on media cultures/The political novel/ Poetry and protest/ Culture as memory.

We are also seeking proposals for screenings, performance, and art works for exhibition.

Proposal deadline: abstracts (250 words max), enquiries and requests for registration should be sent, by 1st December 2009, to the organising committee at:
email: [mailto]ics-conferences@leeds.ac.uk[/mailto]

or mail to: Dr Eleri Pound, Digging The Seam Conference, Institute of Communications Studies, 16 Clarendon Place, The University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK