Filming the Past in the Present:
Heritage and Documentary Practice

Heritage and Film_15 May

Wednesday 15th May 2019, 14:00-18:1030
Culutre Lab Ballroom, Newcastle University

What does documentary film offer as a mode of creative and critical research for
heritage? Vice versa, what does it mean to make films about the past in the present?
In this event, we will screen a number of documentaries made as part of different
heritage research projects at Newcastle University, bringing together filmmaking,
heritage and memory studies, archaeology and design research. The screenings will
be followed by comments and discussions about the experiences of making the films,
their aesthetics, politics, ethics and purposes, and the nature of the scholarship they
represent. These questions bear upon the status of documentary films about
heritage, no longer as supplementary ‘show-and-tells’ concerned with
‘communicating the research’ to audiences, but as a different form of creative,
critical and political research practice with unique potentials.

The event is free but registration is essential: contact with
subject line ‘filming the past’

This is a collaborative event supported by the Research Centre for Film, the Digital Cultures Research Group and the Cultural Significance of Place Research Group.


14.00: Introductory comments: Gönül Bozoğlu

14.10:  Plural Heritages of Istanbul: films by Cem Hakverdi

14.45: Comment by Tom Schofield, Cem Hakverdi

15:10: Hidden Landscapes of Naxos

15.45: Comment by Stelios Lekakis and Sam Turner

16.10: Break

16.40: Who is Europe?

17.40: Comment – Ian McDonald

18.05: Chris Whitehead: afterword: what can documentary film and heritage studies do together?

18.10: Drinks reception


Films include:

Plural Heritages of Istanbul (funded under Katip-Celebi Newton Fund), co-produced by local residents along the historic Land Walls of Istanbul and a group of filmmakers, one of whom is Cem Hakverdi. The films show community members’ deep – and yet sometimes playful – engagement with the place histories that bear strongly on the social relations and ways of life.

Hidden Landscape of Naxos explores some of the lesser-known landscapes of Greek Island of Naxos through archives, monuments and the stories of local people. The film was directed by Vasia Hatziyiannakis and is presented by Stelios Lekakis, who was also responsible for the research and wrote the script. The documentary is collaboration between the McCord Centre, Newcastle University and Greek TV channel ERT.

Who is Europe? by filmmaker Ian McDonald, is a one-hour film in six acts to respond to different aspects of CoHERE project (Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in Europe, funded by European Commission). The acts of the film cover multiple locations and meanings of the past in the present to question what Europe is, who ‘belongs’, and what the significance of the past is for contemporary social and political realities. It uses a split-screen technique to explore contrasts and dissonances through a poetics of juxtaposition that highlights the tensions between and contests over the different cultures, experiences and understandings of Europe today.



Dr Gönül Bozoğlu, Leverhulme Fellow, Newcastle University

Dr Cem Hakverdi, Lecturer in Media, Istanbul Bilgi University

Dr Stelios Lekakis, AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellow in Archaeology, Newcastle University

Dr Ian McDonald, Director of Newcastle University Research Centre for Film and Film@CultureLab

Dr Tom Schofield, Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures at Culture Lab, Newcastle University

Professor Sam Turner, Archaeology, Newcastle University

Professor Chris Whitehead, Media, Culture, Heritage, Newcastle University

You can follow our blog and twitter account (@csopnewcastle) to receive updates on events and opportunities throughout the year.

Suggestions for themes, topics and/or speakers for 2019-20 should be sent to Chris Whitehead ( or Jonathan Hicks (

One response to “Events

  1. Pingback: CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘Multiculturalism, Education and Place | Cultural Significance of Place·

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