British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

New additions on the BUFVC Gateway

The BUFVC Moving Image Gateway includes over 1,300 websites relating to   video, multimedia and sound materials. These have been subdivided into   over 40 subject areas. To suggest new entries or amendments, please   contact us by email or telephone or visit the Gateway at

Adam Curtis – The Medium and the Message
Filmmaker Adam Curtis uses this BBC-hosted site to express his own opinions in a series of blogs which are illustrated with footage and stills from the BBC archives. The results here echo his films in that they are highly associative, creating layers and levels of meaning from the use of fragments of archival footage and music, but less sprawling than his films, which means that often they can seem more to the point without losing the sense of playfulness and originality which characterises his work. The post Rupert Murdoch – A Portrait of Satan is the story of the media mogul’s rise to power in Britain as told via the BBC’s coverage, in which Curtis aims to illustrate “how far [Murdoch’s] populist rhetoric is genuine, and how far its is a smokescreen to disguise the interests of another elite”. In another post – While the Band Played On – Curtis elegantly demonstrates how the use of music can manipulate our emotional reactions to watching film.

Celebrating Dickens
This resource from the University of Warwick was created in 2012 to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens. The site features short films, podcasts, and articles as well as a 45 minute documentary. Led by Professor John Mee, the videos and podcasts explore various aspects of the novelist’s work, covering Dickens and crime, Dickens in relation to his philanthropic works, as well as wider aspects of Victorian society. Writer Andrew Davies contributes to the discussion on screen adaptation, talking here with Professor Gary Watt about the cinematic nature of Dickens as well as the challenges he has faced in adapting the works for the screen. Aspects of certain novels, including Bleak House, Great Expectations and Little Dorrit are explored in greater depth in individual podcasts. The discussion on Our Mutual Friend, for example, looks at the destabilising effect of the novel’s dark humour and its presentation of human beings as commodities to be bartered and traded.

Distillations Podcast
Produced by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, this series is loosely structured around a look at a historical breakthrough in chemistry, its present day applications and possible future developments: this episode about the history of Teflon is a good example. Categorised into five main subject areas of Environment, History, Medicine, Society and Technology the series is aimed at the general listener rather than a specifically academic audience but is nonetheless interesting and scientifically rigorous in its approach. The podcasts are free to listen to and download and can also be subscribed to via iTunes.

Pod Academy
A platform for podcasts covering the arts, social sciences, business and economics, and science and the environment, this independent, not-for-profit initiative was set up in 2011 by a group of academics, journalists and IT specialists and aims to keep abreast of research in the academy as well as work that throws light on events in the news, thus combining rigorous scholarship with an up-to-the-minute accessibility. Recent podcasts include Laura Mulvey’s Death 24x a second in which she analyses the relationship between stillness and the moving image in cinema; an interview with Angela Phillips, Reader in Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London and chair of the ethics committee of the organisation, Media Reform on the background to the Leveson Inquiry; and a look at Youth unemployment in the UK with author Callum Biggins who has written about the subject for the London-based liberal think tank CentreForum. All the podcasts are accompanied by a full transcript and the site also features a blog and links to other educational sites.

You Be The Judge
Interactive website created by the Ministry of Justice in which users are invited to consider the evidence in reconstructions of real-life criminal cases before deciding what sentence to pass. Cases include Mugging, Burglary, Threatening Behaviour and Manslaughter. A series of videos features members of the legal professions, who explain their roles, before introducing the facts of the offence, considering aggravating and mitigating factors and then explaining how sentences are handed out. Users select a sentence before finding out what punishment the defendant received in reality. The aim of the site is to explain sentencing to the public: according to the Ministry of Justice, people think that sentencing is too lenient, but analysis of the website’s users shows that “for every three users who enter the site thinking sentencing’s too lenient, two leave it thinking it’s about right”.

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