Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Flying to the Past: This Saturday

A taster of two of the talks we have for Flying to the Past this Saturday:

Michael McCluskey (UCL), Croydon Calling: The Airport and Interwar Networks

Photograpg from Olley Expedition
A key player in the spread of communication, transportation, and information networks throughout the interwar period was the Croydon Airport. In this talk I explore the significance of Croydon as a pivotal site for the expansion air travel, economic development, and British influence around the world through a discussion of documentary films on flight from the 1930s. Croydon was the starting off point for what would become a ‘chain of aerodromes’ that supplanted the ‘old highways’ of land travel. Each aerodrome was intended not just as a launching and landing point but a force for economic development in the local area. Croydon was the familiar model for filmmakers to show off and help audiences to understand the airport itself as a complex network of social, commercial, and technological operations. It also served as a symbol of the image of modern Britain that public relations experts wanted to project: advanced, efficient, and on the move.

Michael McCluskey is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English, University College London. His current research project looks at amateur films and home movies of the 1920s and 30s.

Amara Thornton (UCL), The Travelling Archaeologist

Photograph at Persepolis from Olley Expedition
To ‘planes, trains and automobiles’ add ships, camels and horses. These are the modes of transport archaeologists used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to take them to the ancient sites they aimed to explore. Drawing on archaeologists’ archives and published memoirs, I will reveal the archaeologist as traveller, taking a closer look at how transportation effected archaeology and the archaeological experience.

Travel was (and remains) one of the most routine and yet most intriguing elements of archaeological life. It’s been captured in fiction and non-fiction – in books, films and television. Focusing on British archaeologists heading to the East, I will examine the ways in which transport and the experience of transport changed over time, and how travel played an important role in enriching and expanding the archaeological network and cementing a particular vision of archaeologists in the public imagination.

Amara Thornton is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Her research currently focuses on the history of popular publishing in archaeology, investigating how archaeologists captured and packaged their experience in print for a general readership.

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