Goodbye Aisha

Written by Heather. Posted in News

So the project officially ended last week. This means that the money stops flowing. This also means that Aisha, our wonderful researcher, has left Brunel – though we hope to have her back for a month in the autumn to do some writing. Aisha was only on the project for three months but in that time she presented with us in London and Chicago, tweeted and blogged @CelebYouthUK, designed a fabulous pull up banner, watched and made notes on videos of Prince Harry, Nicki Minaj, Katie Price and Mario Balotelli, and coded these and the rest of the case study dataset.  Most recently she helped Heather direct a series of short films based on our data (coming to a YouTube channel near you soon). You can see the multi-talented Aisha in her comedy debut below.

 

Thank you

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Now we are about two weeks from the official end of the project, we (Heather, Kim, Laura and Aisha) thought it might be a good moment to say thank you to all the people who’ve supported us. While acknowledgements are a standard part of a book or dissertation, people don’t normally get the chance to do the same for a research study. Having this website, gives us this lovely opportunity…

A report from ‘A sense of inequality’ workshop – Manchester

Written by Kim. Posted in News

Last week, Laura and Kim were invited to speak at a brilliant one-day conference organised by CRESC and the University of Manchester, entitled ‘A sense of inequality’.  They drew on findings from the project to  attend to young people’s everyday negotiations and understandings of inequality. In this short blog post, Laura and Kim give a brief report on their presentation and the day itself.

War, nonviolence and popular culture

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Anzac_poppiesWhen Michael Gove spoke out against what he saw as unpatriotic myths about the First World War, his main targets were drawn from popular culture: the film Oh, What a Lovely War! and the television series The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder. In this way, he acknowledged the crucial role of the popular media in how we come to think about war and violence. This is not to suggest that the media somehow causes violence. As Stuart Hall pointed out, there is no “smooth line of continuity … between shoot-outs at the OK Corral, and delinquents knocking over old ladies in the street in Scunthorpe” but what we do get from the media are “messages about violence” and these deserve our critical attention. In this post, Heather discusses some of these messages about violence in the coverage of war and exploring the place of nonviolence in these.

Racism in US Sport

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Racism is one element of sports that leagues all over the world have been trying to eradicate. Despite these efforts, instances of racism continue to pop up in diverse range of sports across the globe, as Aisha points out when she asks “Is it ok to be racist sometimes?”. Sports in the United States are no different in this regard. In this post, guest-blogger Scott Huntington shows that recent history has seen a number of racial controversies in U.S. sports.

It’s OK to be racist…sometimes?

Written by Aisha Ahmad. Posted in News

When is it okay to be racist?

Who is it okay to be racist towards?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAveiled womanI am a confident Black woman, 22 years old. I have blonde braids in my hair. I have an eye for men and I’m proud of my beautiful physique… I’m sitting on a tube. All of a sudden people start getting up across the carriage and before I know it the majority of passengers get up and start singing racist chants. A parent in front of me smears his white baby’s face with chocolate and puts a sponge on his head to imitate my blonde Afro (but this is child abuse). I do nothing. I try to stay calm and continue playing on my iphone, trying hard to look down at my mobile screen, and concentrate on the game I was playing. Sickening abuse is hurled, passengers start singing ‘monkey’ chants and more than a 100 inflatable bananas are waved around by passengers in front of me. The consequence? I am fined £8,200 by TFL staff for reacting by using a ‘vulgar hand gesture’ as I get off the tube.

Can you imagine that? In this blog post, Aisha draws on data collected from the case studies to ask us to consider what counts as racism….

Invitation for youth theatre group to contribute to CelebYouth communication

Written by Kim. Posted in News

As the project draws to a close, we’re developing ways of communicating the research findings. We’re currently working with a web designer and artist and now we’re looking for a youth theatre group to help us bring some of the data to life. We have some brilliant group interviews with young people talking critically about celebrity and think it would be great if more people could hear these. We can’t use the original recordings because they’re confidential so we’re hoping to use actors instead.

Specifically, we’d like to find a group of young people to act out various roles of participants, working from scripts of short extracts from the group interview data that we’ll prepare in advance. We’ll film these young actors  in 12 scenes of between 1 and 2 minutes. These will then be edited and used within an interactive website. We’d like to do this before mid July. We will provide the cameras and operators, and have a small budget to assist with other costs. If you lead, know or are part of a youth theatre group and are interested in helping us with this part of the project please get in touch with Heather at heathermendick@yahoo.com

Schadenfreude, Sexism and Child Stars

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Mara WilsonWhile our obsession with celebrities often receives criticism for its vapidity or vanity, it seems that very few feel the need to call attention to its more damaging and pervasive issues. This is not to say that there are no criticisms of the larger issues found within and spread by Hollywood. Rather, it seems far easier to criticise pre-teen girls for their obsessive crushes on the boy band of the moment than it is to take a critical look at the predatory nature of the studios behind those boy bands, pop princesses and other young stars.

A current craze in dire need of further critical discussion is the fascination with “child stars gone wild”. In this post, journalist and guest blogger Scott Huntington asks: Why do we desire to track these train wrecks? How does this fascination shed a light on issues in Hollywood culture and/or our culture at large? Are these issues gender neutral, or do they dovetail with the ongoing struggle with sexism within our culture?

Stories from our data: Will – ‘I just want to be out there’

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Dwyane+Wade+Kobe+Bryant+Los+Angeles+Lakers+wsK5HKGlMaflWe’re currently working on ways to make our findings accessible to a general audience including those who work with young people such as teachers, careers advisors and youth workers, as well as other researchers.  As part of this we’re writing up vignettes based on the individual interviews we did with young people. With advice from our advisory group and other ‘friends’ of CelebYouth we’re working on a dedicated interactive website which will host these and other research findings and resources.

As we develop these we thought we’d share two of these vignettes in two blog posts. In this post, Heather shares one of her interviews, with someone from a rural school who chose the pseudonym Will Smith. In another post, Kim shares the story of Mariam from Manchester.

We’d love to hear what people think of these – are they interesting? Do they give a useful insight into the participants and their aspirations? Do you think these will be useful resources and to who? What questions do these raise for you? In what ways do you think these stories might get used?

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