Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of events, films, books etc.

Review: The BASE Insight Forum 2018

Dr Jonathan Wroot recently attended the latest Insight Forum held by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE), on Wednesday 14th March. The event brought together many media distribution representatives from across the UK, both from independent companies and larger studios and conglomerates. As Greenwich Alumni and BASE Chairman Robert Price explained, this was also the third consecutive Insight Forum, and the attendance this year was the biggest so far (almost 300 people were in the audience).

BASE signage

James Duvall, the Head of Insight at BASE, stated that a key focus of the quick-fire TED-style talks was to be the Young Shopper – specifically meaning the young consumer of content, whether for physical or digital media. The speakers largely identified this demographic as consumers in the 16-34 age range, and each had their own statistics used to identify this target audience, as well as suggestions on how best to attract them to online and physical retail outlets.

First, to give the audience his own opinions on how best to market products, Mark Earls of HERD, and author of Copy, Copy, Copy (2015), emphasised that very message. He referred to the style of Elvis and other media figures, to stress that their ideas were not original, and were always inspired by those that came before them. To hammer home this message – the audience were asked to dance along to Viva Las Vegas (more than once!).

Justin Sampson, from the Broadcast Audience Research Board (BARB), started to highlight a recurring trend across all of the talks – that streaming and digital content viewership for home media is on the rise. However, Justin was also quick to point out that most viewing, whether broadcast or on-demand, is still done on the TV screen in most households. In comparison to tablets and smartphones, the big screen continues to be the preferred choice – especially in light of popular broadcast programmes, such as sports matches, and last year’s series of Love Island (ITV).

Statistics for young shoppers

James Brown followed with a similar perspective, referring to data gathered by the Kantar Worldpanel. BARB monitors UK media consumption through a sample of households in the UK. Kantar does similar, but on a global scale, with a sample of 15,000 people, aged between 16-79. James challenged the assumption that young people no longer want to pay for media, as they found that 33% of 16-34s surveyed still paid for content, and that this demographic was spending the most on both physical and digital media. Electronic sell-through purchases (e.g. digital downloads) were becoming increasingly popular, but the lack of platforms available and their restrictive access could sometimes put off potential consumers. Physical media is still being sought, especially when this was linked to positive experiences (e.g. a limited edition of a favourite film, or rising trends, such as the return of vinyl).

Next, BASE representative Monica Chadha interviewed a panel of such 16-34 year olds, from various film and TV industry roles. Amy Nightingale, Akinyi Gardiner, Chris Foxwell, Jessica Briggs, Zohreh Shahribaf and Chris Pratt (not that one!) all gave an insight into their media consumption habits, such as what attracted them and what didn’t. A general nag was intrusive marketing campaigns, such as YouTube ads mid-video. While finances may be squeezed in the current economic climate, subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon were perceived in a similar way to essential utilities and services.

Brandon DiMassa from NBC Universal then presented about the forthcoming digital gifting proposition, Unwrapt. After a short break, actor and writer Mark Gatiss arrived for an interview about his career and to discuss home media developments.

Panel discussion

Cornelia Calugar-Pop followed the special guest talk, with some of the latest trend analysis figures from Deloitte. According to their data, the smartphone market will continue to increase through to 2023, with subscription services also increasing (estimates ranged from 5 to 8 per person, again by 2023).

Last but not least, before the day was wrapped up by the organisers from BASE, Will Worsdell gave the final talk of the Forum. He works for The Park, which was responsible for the marketing and promotion for ITV’s 2017 series of Love Island. Will emphasised that acting quickly and getting Love Island talked about in any way possible was paramount to the show getting the enormous positive reception it received last summer. Both word-of-mouth and social media hype helped, rather than one over the other.

Robert Price will hopefully be returning to the university for future guest talks and market insights, as well as other industry representatives who were present at the Forum. This event confirmed that these industries can learn a lot by communicating with younger media consumers – who are also a vibrant and crucial part of the ongoing teaching and research at Greenwich. To read more, visit the BASE website, or look up #InsightForum18 on Twitter.

The Performativity of Painting Review

The Performativity of Painting, Artists’ Talk

On the 10th February 2018, the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, in conjunction with the Creative Conversations team, hosted the Performativity of Painting, Artist Talk event. Taking place in the month long exhibition (16th January – 16th February), the talk, described as a choreographed meeting, gave the attendees a chance to join the artists in conversation surrounding their work, in relation to the gallery space.

The casual nature of the event brought forth some great discussion from the crowd, who at first, appeared apprehensive, especially notable during the performance by Rebecca Molloy. The boldness of her work helped the audience feel closer to the artists, and a round of questions began to fly around the room. There was a great sense of inspiration felt, as the artists detailed their own creative process, shedding light on the “behind the scenes” side of the art-world that is rarely discussed.

Here are some key images and quotes from the afternoon:

“How does something behold the viewer? How does the artwork draw you in?”
“Why Stephen Lawrence Gallery? We wanted a space that would allow us to research.”

“How painters perform isn’t necessarily what you see in the galleries, but the behind the scenes rituals at the studio.”
“A sense of memory seems become clear in a gallery space.”
“Is painting a place where spatial transformation occurs?”

“You don’t want to paint something obvious. There is a push and pull between paint and play, you want room for more to happen.”
“There may be certain layers that are showing, and certain layers that aren’t.”

This event was a joint effort from the Creative Conversations Team and The Stephen Lawrence Gallery. For more, visit our websites, and follow us on social media.

Creative Conversations:

Creative Conversations

The Stephen Lawrence Gallery:

On Now

Matthew Healey

The Granular Performance and Colloquium: review







The Granular Performance and Colloquium was a great weekend full of music, noise, art and talks. Regretfully, I did not get a chance to see our keynote speaker Greg Hainge or any of the other speakers on Saturday morning, so this will only be a review of the performances.

That moment in the darkened TV studio, where all the seats were full, and after a short speech by David Waterworth, David Ryan raised his hands, the music started and the Granular event, that had been planned for so long, became. What followed was a weekend of talks and performances that all in some way, involved something becoming, changing and/or ceasing to be.

What became of David Ryan and Ensemble’s performance of Recitativo was a visual music piece filled with dramatic tension. In moments the dark, powerful lows of Joe Zeitllin’s cello thundered and mixed with the crisp, tense highs of William Crosby’s guitar, as Italian whispers of Cristina Grifone interweaved with the out of sync, English whispers of Kelcy Davenport. Expertly switching between moments of high volume and low volume, confused, whispered, overlapped speech and emphasised words. What resulted for me was a fragmented experience where I only caught bits of what each speaker was saying. The music was tense and dynamic and this combined with the visuals of Roman statues, and smoky, volcanic rocks produced an experience where the visuals matched the sounds, and became like another part of the orchestration. Overall a fantastic performance filled with tension and dynamics.

On Saturday after lunch, Rob Smith and Charles Danby’s performance started with a bowl of quicklime, with a cable inside, attached to a speaker that Rob carefully poured water over. What started to happen was the quicklime expanded and broke apart. Rob poured water over another bowl of quicklime that ignited and a video of the bowl was projected onto the side of the lecture theatre. As the quicklime burned you could hear the fizzing sound amplified by the speakers. Then the presentation of the paper began. Equally narrated by Rob and Charles, the paper focused on the working landscape of canals, quarries, tramways and kilns that serviced the lime industry of the rural Black Mountains which in turn fed the nations heavy industries that roared through South Wales. When these quarries are not used anymore they become heritage sites and serve a social function in the community. After the presentation of the paper had ended the quicklime continued to burn for another minute or so before burning out and thus ending the performance. Overall, a very good piece about change, history and heritage, with a unique way of presenting.

After Rob and Charles’ performance there was another performance of Recitativo in the TV studio. This time however, it was just a small part and featured David Ryan on clarinet, Ian Mitchell on bass clarinet, and Cristina Grifone and Kelcy Davenport on vocals. The booming sound of the bass clarinet was deeply satisfying to the ear and again the piece was filled with tension. Whispers in both Italian and English and words with emphasis, again created a fragmented experience of Lucretius and Negri’s writing. However, for me the stand out for this performance was Cristina Grifone’s vocal work. She never missed a note of the high range and her whole body moved as she dramatically embodied a kind of crying or prickling pain, in ahs and ahhhhs, like she was about to sneeze. A truly unique and fantastic performance.

The last performance of the day was Russell Duke. I had the privilege of speaking to Russell as he was setting up in the project space and he walked me through his set up. An EKG (what doctors use to check the heart’s electrical functioning) attached to a plant, which produced a boing noise when you flicked one of the leaves. A synth and a bunch of pedals and knobs and dials. Oh, and a few fidget spinners attached to a hat. And yes, these made noise.

Beginning loud and staying loud, Russell’s piece was like going to a rock concert in an art gallery. I enjoyed seeing how Russell’s manipulations of the instruments available to him interacted with each other and changed the course of the piece. With an improvised feel and a range of exciting methods of creating sound, Russell’s piece was noise at its finest.

As the event came to an end everyone had a drink and enjoyed the exhibition. It was very satisfying to see all the work of planning and organising come to fruition, in what was a successful event. Like the exhibition, each piece of work or performance seemed different but when put together they really complimented each other. Granularity was at the core of each and it was great to see artists and academics of different backgrounds, from far and wide, come together and explore these ideas together.

Review written by Wesley Sloan