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New exhibition celebrating TV coverage of British pop music aims to be top of the Pop-Up shops

Date: 29/04/2012

Throughout May a pop-up exhibition and drop-in shop will be open in Coventry city centre focusing on the history of British pop programming and celebrating the importance of shows such as Ready Steady Go, Six Five Special, Top of the Pops and The Tube in helping female audiences to keep up with (and record) the latest trends in pop music and fashion. The pop-up exhibition is the latest event to take place as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project ‘A History of Television for Women in Britain, 1947-89’ (based at the University of Warwick and De Montfort University) and will offer members of the public an opportunity to talk to the research team about their own experiences of pop music on TV.

The research project is also looking at the impact of pop programmes on the evolving identity of teenagers and young women and speaking about the on-going research Dr Rachel Moseley from the project team said:

We hope that talking about pop programming will inspire people to share with us other memories of the television programming that was significant to them during the period of our research. We are also interested to hear whether pop programming was as significant for a male audience as it was for the female viewer. We would really like to meet and talk to anyone who is inspired by our exhibition and hope to see you in Shelton Square in May.

The Coventry arts organisation Artspace have brokered a deal with Coventry City Council through their ‘Empty Shops’ initiative (recently praised in Mary Portas? high street review), to house the project team's exhibition about their work in the currently disused Coffee shop in Shelton Square in Coventry city centre. The exhibition makes use of the large shop window (and the inside of the shop) to display an exhibition of props, documents, and moving-image footage which evokes the rich history of this programming in this period, and to get the passing public thinking and talking about the pop programmes that were important to them. Display items include: 1960s style furniture and artwork that evoke a typical Coventry living room of the time, a 1960s TV set playing pop programmes of this era on a loop, a ‘Cathy McGowan‘ mannequin (McGowan has been identified as a significant icon for viewers of the 1960s), reproductions of media coverage of the time, and printed excerpts from the interviews the team have already conducted about this aspect of the history of television for women.

The shop will also be open three times a week (Saturday 10-1, Monday 12-4, and Thursday 9-1) during May so that members of the public can drop in to talk to the project team about their work and share their memories of television viewing in this period.

The Project team are: Dr Rachel Moseley and Dr Helen Wheatley (Investigators), and Dr Mary Irwin (Post-doctoral Research Fellow) are at Warwick; Dr Helen Wood (investigator) and Hazel Collie (Doctoral Researcher) are at De Montfort.

AHRC Media contact: Jake Gilmore, Communications Manager, Tel: 01793 416021 / Email: j.gilmore@ahrc.ac.uk / Warwick Media Contact.

Notes to editors:

  • The exhibition runs between 1 May and 31 May in the currently disused Coffee shop in Shelton Square in Coventry.
  • About the project: A History of Television for Women in Britain: 1947-1989

    Loose Women, Sex and the City, Mad Men. All contemporary television programmes which speak to issues relevant to women's lives in the twenty-first century, often focusing on the difficulty of combining relationships, family and work. Not such new concerns, as it turns out. Our three-year, AHRC-funded research project, ’A History of Television for Women in Britain, 1947-1989‘ is showing that television for women in Britain in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s dealt with just these issues, often in very similar formats, long before it might be imagined that these concerns were on the agenda. The project is running between Warwick and De Montfort Universities from 2010 to 2013, and explores and documents the history of television produced for a female audience in Britain, from the re-start of regular television broadcasting in Britain after World War Two in 1947, to the end of exclusively terrestrial broadcasting in 1989. We are looking at both the programmes that were made and the production contexts from which they emerged, but also at the experiences of the women who have watched this programming. In broad terms, the Warwick team are exploring the programmes and production culture of this period, whilst the other side of our project is located at De Montfort, where the team are conducting an audience study, interviewing a generationally and nationally-dispersed group of British women about their memories of watching the television that they perceived as having been ’for them‘. Sometimes, this is not quite the same thing as &lqquo;women's television’ sport and music television are looming large in ways we could not have anticipated!
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): Each year, the AHRC provides approximately £98 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. In any one year, the AHRC makes hundreds of research awards ranging from individual fellowships to major collaborative projects as well as over 1,000 studentship awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.


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