The BCMCR research seminar, Thursday 19th of Nov. at the Parkside Campus, saw the welcome return of School of Media graduate Sophie Sparham, who delivered a lecture entitled “How Close is Close? The Role of the Punk Rock Ethnographer and their Relationship with their Research Subjects.”
Sophie had previously delivered this presentation at the Punk Scholars Network 1st Annual Post Graduate Symposium which was held at The University of Leicester. Matt Grimes, Degree Leader for Music Industries at Birmingham School of Media, who also presented at the Symposium, assisted Sophie with this project.
In this presentation, Sophie draws on her personal experiences of touring with anarcho-punk band Addictive Philosophy in 2013 and investigates the “blurred distinction between researcher and research participant” that became apparent in the production of her radio documentary about the tour.
Sophie goes on to discuss the role of the radio documentary producer “from the interviewing and recording process to the editorial decisions that were subsequently made to enable the creation of the documentary”.
Her finished documentary was awarded a special commendation by judges of the Charles Parker Award for radio documentary production – and was described as “an unexpected slice of youth culture.”
The Chair of the judging panel, and BBC Creative Director Simon Elmes, commented; “It was littered with swear words. It was very raw, it was very rough and ready – but it was very brave – and I thought that this was a remarkable piece of actuality documentary”.
“It was just meant to be a little documentary for my mates – but then I started interviewing the promoters that put on the gigs and the people that went to the gigs and I started learning a lot more about the punk scene. It became more than just a band documentary, it became a comment on the punk scene in general.” Sophie Sparham.
Hear the full documentary below;