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Imagining celebrity

26 June 2012

A team of researchers led by Dr Dorothy Rowe (History of Art) has been awarded £3874.00 from the Faculty of Arts Research Committee to scope the the University of Bristol's Theatre and Library Special Collections during summer 2012 in preparation for a large grant application in the Autumn on the theme of 'Imagining Celebrity.'

A team of researchers led by Dr Dorothy Rowe (History of Art) has been awarded £3874.00 from the Faculty of Arts Research Committee to scope the the University of Bristol's Theatre and Library Special Collections during summer 2012 in preparation for a large grant application in the Autumn on the theme of 'Imagining Celebrity.' The project team is interdisciplinary, cross- School and cross-Faculty and includes Dr Catherine Hindson (Drama, School of Arts), Dr Lee Marshall (Sociology, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law) and Dr Louise Hughes (History of Art, School of Humanities).

The purpose of the seed-corn funding application is to scope the Theatre and Special Collections for material in preparation for a substantial funding bid under the theme of 'Imagining Celebrity'.While it is commonly recognised that celebrity emerges in the early years of modernity, the majority of academic work on celebrity focuses on the film actor as the archetypal star. Clearly the invention of moving and then talking, pictures had a significant impact on the trajectory of stardom. However, many elements of modern celebrity were already firmly established by the early twentieth century, shaped by the presentation of stage actors in the preceding century. This project seeks to shed light on the emergence of modern celebrity by relating it to the emergence of visual culture during the nineteenth century. By focusing on the visual representation of actors and actresses from circa 1830 to 1930 in the first instance, we intend to examine the emerging relationship between celebrity and the visual.

 

Photo: John Vickers, Vivien Leigh

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