The First full PopKult Meeting - Oct 2018
Well, the first (complete) meeting of the PopKult projects is over! And what a meeting it was…
As a newbie to the group, I was a little anxious that I would have some obstacles to overcome but everyone in this group is wonderful and has incredibly valuable insights to offer. Luckily, I wasn´t the only newcomer and we all settled into the swing of things without issue. I really feel privileged to be working with such brilliant minds, working on such fascinating topics. With a packed program taking place over two and a half days at the University of Luxembourg, the food for thought was plentiful! The group was treated to an extremely interesting guest talk by Bodo Mrozek on Americanisation, Westernisation or Europeanisation. In addition, two excellent presentations by Aline Maldener and Richard Legay formed an important part of the meeting, fostering vital discussions and source analysis. The Beat Club German TV show and Radio Luxembourg’s Top 20 were both enjoyable (and even had a few of us singing along for a while!) and thought-provoking. Research has never been quite so fun!
What strikes me is the sheer amount of collaboration that can be achieved here. Transmediality and internationality at its finest! With a group consisting of multiple nationalities and working languages, I feel that this can only improve our range of insights, and can go a long way in achieving a truly European project. My subject is comics, and even in these early stages of my research, I´m blown away by the amount of crossover with other topics being worked on that I´m discovering each day. For instance, did you know that Asterix the Gaul was adapted into a radio play, and first broadcast on Radio Luxembourg? Or that the Journal de Tintin featured an issue dedicated in part to Johnny Hallyday? The joy of this project is that we are all working on such fascinating media that can be linked to almost every other topic, even with just small details. For me, the discussions also helped solidify my own topic and gave me a multitude of new directions to pursue in these preliminary steps of my own research field…
Another aspect of this project that really excites me is that we are also working on several digitalization methods to ensure our work can be seen for decades to come. Included in this field are various tools we can use to collaborate, meaning that any valuable documents we find in archives or libraries can be shared with each other, easily and quickly. This is particularly relevant to the time period we are working on, given that many of the documents we need can be difficult to find, or of poor quality. But what is amazing with the project and its tools is that the potential for team work is virtually limitless. I would go as far as to say that this is what makes the project so unique; though there has been much written about media in the 60s from a sociological and historical perspective, this project is an opportunity for in-depth analysis of popular media through a broad spectrum of nations and transmediality links by working as a co-operative team, something that has rarely been attempted on such a scale.
With the next seven meetings already scheduled, and alternating between Saarbrucken and Luxembourg, bring on the next phases!