Cuts demonstration – London october 2010

Footage of the anti-cuts protest in London, October 20th, before the drastic cuts were confirmed.

Many students were marching against the government planned education cuts.

The cuts will  particularly affect the humanities as well as precipitating entire programs and grant facilities to be totally shut down. Current prospective students could see their university fees triple.

The student movements against the cuts culminated with the march last Wednesday 10th November that gathered more than 50,000 people coming from all over the country.

More actions should be announced to take place later during the month. Spectacle will be covering the ongoing actions.

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Thousands protest against Government Spending Review

Thousands of students, trade unionists, community groups and others marched through the streets of London in protest following the brutal spending cuts issued by the Tory government yesterday.

Students from University College London and surrounding universities initiated the march on their campus and were soon joined by thousands of others united in the cause. Banners on display reflected the diversity of those protesting, including unions such as Unison, the National Union of Teachers and the GMB. The procession passed through Central London and ended up at a rally outside Downing Street. Simultaneously thousands of demonstrators were also gathered at a rally at Lincoln’s Inn Fields where Tony Benn, as well as other trade union and movement leaders addressed thousands of angered protesters. The Lincoln’s Inn Fields protesters later marched towards Downing Street.

Local protests were also organised around the UK;  a clear indicator of the public’s outrage at the proposed rebudgeting of the country’s coffers.

To read related articles go to our blog and to IndyMedia.

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Cultural differences on TV


The Unteachables, Channel 4 – A programme format is a license to produce and to broadcast a
national version of a copyrighted foreign television programme and to use its name

Programme formats are a major part of the international television market and they keep growing in popularity. With 11.6 million viewers previous Saturday X- Factor is a great example of the public’s desire for these type of programmes. The broadcasters love them too because of the large cost savings associated with avoiding the risk of inventing something original.

The most common type of formats are those in the genre of game shows, which quite often are remade in multiple markets with local contestants. Other key examples than X-Factor are Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Survivor and Big Brother. However, there are also examples of documentaries as formats such as The Unteachables which Spectacle has been involved with.

On paper, formats don’t leave much room for creativity, nevertheless these programmes still seem to be executed differently in different countries. Does this mean that a TV format is a complex cultural product that cannot simply be reduced to a mere mechanical reproduction of a purchased TV programme? This might be a reasonable hypothesis when comparing The Unteachables with the Danish version of the programme titled Plan B.

A TV prog

ramme format is a license to produce and to broadcast a national version of a copyrighted foreign television program and to use its name.

Plan B, TV2 – the Danish version of The Unteachables

On the surface, the two versions of the programme seem quite similar. In both countries school children take part in a ground-breaking educational experiment investigating whether the school system is at fault, or the children are simply unteachable. In both cases the outcome of the experiment is positive: With the right teacher and learning methods by their side, even the worst behaved children can overcome their attendance problems.

However, when taking a closer look at the two versions, differences still occur – the two titles demonstrate this to great extent. Whereas the English version focuses on suspended school children the Danish one focuses on those children lacking confidence in school. Furthermore, in the English version the editing speed is faster and there is more focus on the children heavily using swear words.

How come these differences occur in the same programme format? Surely, a program will be executed differently by different producers, but is this a sign of the English media’s wish or need to be sensational and tabloid in order to attract greater audiences? It might also be worth taking into account the type of channels the programmes were broadcast on. The Danish channel TV2 prides itself on being an inclusive channel with the aim of unifying the public. On TV2 there are only winners – not losers.

Does this explain the differences or are the two school systems just too different to compare? Did Channel 4 portray a neutral picture of the English school system? Or do you think it is driven by sensational stories?

What about the Danish version? Is that a great example of how the school system operates in this country? Or is it too glorifying?

Have you experienced other versions of The Unteachables in other countries and how was the school system portrayed there?

You can find out more about Spectacle’s Class X project commissioned by Channel 4 to accompany the Unteachables series or order the DVD from distribution@spectacle.co.uk

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Class X Discuss Black History

Class X

The clips from the Class X project that once featured on the Channel 4 website as The Unteachables is now accessible on Spectacle’s homepage.

The clips were made for Channel Four Online in connection with the TV series ‘The Unteachables’. The idea was to contribute to the debate on education from the point of view of school kids.

To commemorate Black History Month, we would like to promote the clip ‘Diversity in History’.

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Is exclusion from education exclusion from representation?

According to a recent article in the Guardian, ‘only 176, or just over half a percent, of nearly 30,000 pupils who got three As at A Level last year were eligible for free school meals’.

If these statistics are correct, it  indicates that the poorest in society are still not accessing higher level education.   You cannot attend a good university, in most cases, if you do not have good A Levels.

What affect does this have on the media?

If you do not go to University, what chance do you have of working at the BBC or one  of the mainstream newspapers? And if none of the poorest social groups work in the main stream media, what are the chances of a fair representation of this social group?

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The Causes of Poverty

Conservative Party Leader David Cameron has said:

“We have to think about the causes of poverty.  We have to disaggregate the problem – to look at the various types of poverty that exist, and the factors that contribute to them.

Because for most people, material poverty is a consequence of other factors. Family breakdown, drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, poor education…”

Do you agree with these factors being the key reasons behind poverty?  Have you a personal experience of these factors?

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