Dr Helen Hughes

Research Interests

My current research focus is in environmental humanities. I have written in particular on documentary responses to environmental issues but I am also interested in other media such as painting, land art, installation, performance art, and literature.

Research Collaborations

Helen Hughes has worked extensively on German-language film with Dr Martin Brady (King's College London).

She has also collaborated with Dr Ute Wölfel (University of Reading) on representations of gender and the workplace in DEFA documentary film.

In 2008 she collaborated with Kate Lawrence and Stuart Andrews on a project with the Surrey Ion Beam Research Centre performed during British Science Week.

She is currently working with Catalin Brylla on a project on documentary and disability.

Teaching

UG Level 4 Blurring Boundaries

UG Level 5 Documentary Film History and Concepts

UG Level 5 World Cinema II (European)

UG Level 6 Advanced Genre Study

Departmental Duties

BA Programme Director: Film Studies and Film Studies with Creative Writing

Contact Me

E-mail:
Phone: 01483 68 2837

Find me on campus
Room: 24 AC 05

View Larger Map


My office hours

Please email h.hughes@surrey.ac.uk if you wish to make an appointment at any time.

Publications

Journal articles

  • Hughes HA. (2016) 'Review: The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Film eds by Robin Curtis and Angelica Fenner'. Seminar: a journal of Germanic studies, 52 (3), pp. 349-351.
  • Hughes HA. (2015) 'Adrian J. Ivakhiv (2013) Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature'. Film-Philosophy, 19 (Reviews)
  • Hughes HA. (2014) 'Review: Catherine Wheatley, Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethic of the Image, Berghahn, New York, Oxford: 2009'. Studies in European Cinema, 11 (2)
  • Hughes HA. (2013) 'The Visual Rhetoric of Climate Change Documentaries: Aerial Shots and Interviews'. IECA Proceedings of the Conference on Communication and the Environment,

    Abstract

    This paper discusses the ways in which a number of documentary films on climate change attempt to represent a consensus view through the use of the aerial perspective. It analyses the ways in which conflicting uses of the aerial view, to represent both industrial progress and environmental damage, are reconciled in documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth. It goes on to discuss the relationship between the aerial perspective and the interviews also represented in the films, with the latter demonstrating a wide variety of possible political interventions. Like aerial shots, interviews are used to construct consensus and conflict but they can also demonstrate the difficulties in generating genuine participation and in using conflict constructively.

  • Hughes HA. (2013) 'Arguments without words in Unser täglich Brot (Geyrhalter, 2005)'. Taylor & Francis Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies,

    Abstract

    In this article, I discuss the film Our Daily Bread [Geyrhalter, N. 2005. Unser täglich Brot [Motion Picture]. Austria: The ICA] as an almost wordless film, asking why the decision not to include interviews, intertitles or commentary, and to use carefully composed, often symmetrical framing, appears to have led reviewers to see it as an unusually democratic documentary. In my discussion, I refer to Richards' [1930. Practical Criticism. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner] four kinds of meaning in poetry, and Sperber and Wilson's ([1986]1995 Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Oxford: Blackwell) model of inferential communication guided by the principle of relevance, as a means to explore how authorial feeling about the subject is suppressed in the film, and how this might encourage the belief that the viewer makes up his/her own mind about what is made visible or ‘mutually manifest’. Sperber et al.'s [2010. Epistemic Vigilance. Mind & Language 25, no. 4: 359–393] work on ‘epistemic vigilance’ and on the links between argumentation and communication is also drawn on in order to understand how separate kinds of reasoning involved simultaneously in the interpretation of the film create a dynamic ambiguity or ambivalence, which itself is the basis for the use of formal aesthetic devices in political art cinema.

  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'Scrutiny and Documentary: Hubert Sauper’s documentary film, Darwin’s Nightmare'. Oxford University Press Screen, UK: 53 (3) Article number 3 , pp. 246-265.

    Abstract

    This article is an attempt to understand the significance of the considerable textual complexity and fraught reception history of the film Darwin’s Nightmare which was made in Mwanza, Tanzania, at the beginning of the millennium, released in 2004, screened on French television in 2006, and discussed in court in Paris in 2008 and 2009. The film is discussed as an example of recent activist documentary which seeks to make visible the impacts of modernisation and globalisation on local communities. Problems that arise out of such ventures concern evaluation of the documentary’s truth claims. The article suggests that a model of communication and cognition initially developed as Relevance Theory by Dan Sperber and Deidre Wilson and developed more recently in articles on epistemic vigilance and argumentation, offers a way to maintain the truth claims made by activist documentary filmmakers, while acknowledging the creativity of both the production process and the process of interpretation.

  • Hughes HA. (2011) 'Humans, sharks and the shared environment in the contemporary eco-doc'. Taylor & Francis Environmental Education Research, 17 (6), pp. 735-749.

    Abstract

    Focussing on the film Sharkwater directed by Rob Stewart (2006), this article discusses formal interpretive aspects of recent environmental documentaries which are intended to raise awareness about environmental issues. It is argued that contemporary environmental documentaries seek to persuade audiences to protect the shared physical environment by increasing the amount of information and imagery available to a shared cognitive environment. An integral part of this process is the conscious awareness of attitudes towards information presented. In the case of recent environmental films about threatened species it is argued that the inclusion of the human and the wild animal in the frame is a technique used to raise awareness of the complex questions concerning human attitudes towards other animals as well as towards other human beings. It is argued in particular that activist films are concerned to make visible the necessity for human cooperation in the protection of endangered species.

  • Brady M, Hughes HA. (2008) ''Import and Export: Ulrich Seidl's Indiscreet Anthropology of Migration''. 2008 Edition. GFL Journal German as a Foreign Language (GFL), (1), pp. 100-122.

    Abstract

    Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s documentary and fiction films have received international recognition, and aroused considerable controversy, for their extreme subject matter (xenophobia, deprivation, physical and sexual violence) and for their inimitable style (obsessive symmetry and static tableaux). As a ‘Berufs-Oppositionskünstler’ who refuses to offer straightforward political solutions he has been compared to German directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Christoph Schlingensief and his compatriot Michael Haneke. This article examines three films by Seidl, spanning his career to date, which have the theme of migration as their subject: Good News (1990), a study of migrant newspaper vendors in Vienna, Mit Verlust ist zu rechnen (1992), a post-Wende documentary on a failed courtship across the Austrian-Czech border, and the feature film Import Export (2007), which tells the story of bi-directional migration between Austria and the Ukraine. Seidl’s ‘anthropology of migration’ is examined in the context of Jean Rouch’s cinéma-vérité, and his hyper-stylization is demonstrated to offer a unique way of looking both at contemporary migration and at migrants themselves. Shifts in the portrayal of borders since unification are examined, and Seidl’s unflinching camera is shown not only to ‘voyeurise the voyeurs’, but also to gaze severely yet democratically on transnational movements in the ‘new Europe’.

  • Hughes HA. (2008) 'Review of 'Verschollen im Meer der Medien: Kafkas Romanfragment "Amerika": Zur Rekonstruktion und Deutung eines Medienkomplexes (Lost in a media seascape: Kafka's fragmentary novel "America": the reconstruction and interpretation of a media complex)'. Wiley The German Quarterly, 81 (3), pp. 361-362.
  • Brady M, Hughes H. (2006) 'Downfall and Beyond: Hitler Films from Germany'. GFL-Journal (German as a Foreign Language), 3, pp. 94-114.
  • Hughes HA. (1997) '‘Die verschobene Antigone’ Böll's contribution to the film Deutschland im Herbst'. Dayton Review, 24 (3)
  • Hughes HA. (1996) '‘daß er jetzt ein Exemple statuieren werde’: on Thomas Bernhard's Exempel'. German Life and Letters, XLIX (3), pp. 373-386.
  • Hughes HA, Brady M. (1994) 'Death in Berlin: Reflections on Celan's DU LIEGST'. EONTA, 2 (2), pp. 12-15.
  • Hughes HA. (1994) 'visible bodies: introducing valie export's unsichtbare gegner'. EONTA, 2 (1), pp. 11-15.

Conference papers

  • Hughes HA. (2015) 'Gothic Energy: the iconology of energy in the documentary archive'. Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, UK: Green Knowledge: The Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment UK and Ireland (ASLE-UKI)
  • Hughes HA. (2015) 'Between departments: the uses of corporate documentary in environmental communication'. Boulder, Colerado: Conference on Communication and the Environment (COCE)
  • Hughes HA. (2015) 'From iconophobia to nomophobia: remote sensory ethnography?'. Contemporary Directors Symposium: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, University of Sussex
  • Hughes HA. (2014) 'Environmental Documentary and the Networked Landscape'. Glasgow: Screen Studies Conference: Landscape and Environment
  • Hughes HA. (2014) 'Rational Disasters: Reasoning in new documentaries on living with nuclear power.'. Seattle: Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Conference 2014
  • Hughes HA. (2013) 'The Visual Rhetoric of Climate Change Documentaries: Aerial Shots and Interviews'. Proceedings of the Conferences on Communication and Environment, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala: The 2013 Conference on Communication and Environment in Uppsala: Environmental Communication: Participation Revisited: openings and closures for deliberations on the commons
  • Hughes HA. (2013) 'The philosophy of staged dialogue: Joseph Beuyss Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee Nee Nee (1968)'. University of Surrey, UK: What is Performance Philosophy? Staging a New Field
  • Hughes HA. (2013) '‘My backyard is everybody’s backyard’. The cultural coding of backyards in audiovisual responses to Gasland (Josh Fox, 2010).'. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Uppsala: The 2013 Conference on Communication and Environment in Uppsala: Environmental Communication: Participation REvisted: openings and closures for deliberations on the commons
  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'The toxic materiality of the ecodoc'. Boston USA: The Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference
  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'The Everyday Between Heaven and Earth in Michael Pilz's 'Himmel und Erde' (Austria 1979-82)'. King's College London: The Politics of the Home: Domestic Culture in Post-War Germany and Austria
  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'Framing Humans and Wild Animals in the Environmental Documentary Film.'. Cultural Framing of Environmental Discourse (CFOED) The Cultural Framing of Environmental Discourse (online), Bath: The Cultural Framing of Environmental Discourse
  • Hughes HA. (2009) 'Local Geography'. University of Aberystwyth: Living Landscapes
  • Hughes HA, Wölfel U. (2009) 'Women in the workplace and the Development of DEFA documentary style.'. Carlisle, PA : Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA Glossen, Cardiff School of European Studies: Made in the GDR: Visual Culture in the Other Germany (29)
  • Hughes HA. (2007) 'Beautiful Food: Representing the Gap between the Production and Representation of Food'. University of East London: Cultural Studies Now!
  • Hughes HA. (2007) 'WE FEED THE WORLD: Contemporary European Documentaries on the problem of Food Production'. Coventry: MeCCSA with AMPE conference 2007

Books

  • . (2017) Documentary and Disability. 1st Edition. Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan UK

    Abstract

    This edited collection of contributions from media scholars, film practitioners and film historians connects the vibrant fields of documentary and disability studies. Documentary film has not only played an historical role in the social construction of disability but continues to be a strong force for expression, inclusion and activism. Offering essays on the interpretation and conception of a wide variety of documentary formats, Documentary and Disability reveals a rich set of resources on subjects as diverse as Thomas Quasthoff’s opera performances, Tourette syndrome in the developing world, queer approaches to sexual functionality, Channel 4 disability sports broadcasting, the political meaning of cochlear implant activation, and Christoph’s Schlingensief’s celebrated Freakstars 3000.

  • Hughes HA. (2014) Green Documentary: Environmental Documentary in the 21st Century. Bristol : Intellect Books
  • Hughes H, Brady M. (2000) Deutschland im Spiegel seiner Filme. Association for Modern German Studies
  • Brady M, Hughes H. (1993) German Feature Films. Glenbuck Films, BFI, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Goethe-Institut

Book chapters

  • Hughes HA. (2017) 'On Andrew Kötting’s Mapping Perception'. in Hughes HA, Brylla C (eds.) Documentary and Disability Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan UK , pp. pp. 275-289.

    Abstract

    In this chapter Hughes identifies Andrew Kötting’s collaborative film Mapping Perception (1998–2002) as an innovative experimental documentary about disability that is still worth viewing today. She develops an interpretation of the film that focuses on the performance of Andrew Kötting’s daughter Eden, who was diagnosed with Joubert syndrome as a baby. The collaboration between the scientists and the artistically gifted Kötting family is viewed as the kind of investigation into dis/ability proposed by Michael Schillmeier in his book Rethinking Disability. The complex manipulation of the aesthetics of filmmaking becomes meaningful through the representation of Eden reflecting on her own life, her articulation of the words that describe her condition and her own agency as a disabled person responding to the demands of the filming process.

  • Brylla C, Hughes HA. (2017) 'Introduction: The Bricolage of Documentary and Disability'. in Brylla C, Hughes HA (eds.) Documentary and Disability 1st Edition. Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave Macmillan UK , pp. pp. 1-10.

    Abstract

    This is an edited collection of essays exploring the intersection between documentary film and disability studies. It is intended to fill a gap in both disciplines: on the one hand, documentary studies need to discuss contemporary portrayals of disability, practices of disabled filmmakers and industry policies that determine access, inclusion and representation; on the other hand, disability studies need to adopt more explicit methodologies that explore film texts, authorship and spectatorship in order to assess the current situation of disability in the television and independent documentary sector. On a more social level, the purpose of this volume is to address the medial construction of disability and reduce ‘otherness’ as a phenomenon of cultural stigmatisation.

  • Hughes HA. (2017) 'Coming to Terms with the Present: Andreas Dresen’s Wichmann Films (2003/2012)'. in Preece J, Hodgin N (eds.) Andreas Dresen London : Peter Lang Article number 7
  • Hughes HA. (2016) ''The essential is sufficient': the Kafka adaptations of Orson Welles, Straub-Huillet, and Michael Haneke'. in Biderman S, Lewit I (eds.) Mediametamorphosis: Kafka and the Moving Image London : Wallflower
  • Hughes HA. (2015) 'Documentary and the survival of the film auteur: Agnès Varda, Werner Herzog and Spike Lee'. in Marcus D, Kara S (eds.) Contemporary Documentary London, New York : Routledge , pp. 142-155.

    Abstract

    The careers of three auteur filmmakers, Agnès Varda, Werner Herzog, and Spike Lee, demonstrate that documentary has become an important part of the artistic and entrepreneurial strategy of contemporary independent filmmaking. The recent documentary work of each is placed in a context which demonstrates how the voice of the filmmaker can be found in a wide variety of film forms as well as in the promotional activities that surround them.

  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'Humans, sharks and the shared environment in the contemporary eco-doc'. in Blewitt J (ed.) The Media, Animal Conservation and Environmental Education London, New York : Routledge Article number 3
  • Hughes HA. (2012) 'The visual rhetoric of climate change documentary'. in Carvalho A, Peterson TR (eds.) Climate Change Politics: Communication and Public Engagement New York : Cambria Press , pp. 87-120.
  • Brady M, Hughes HA. (2010) 'Import and Export: Ulrich Seidl’s Indiscreet Anthropology of Migration'. in von Dassanowsky R, Speck O (eds.) New Austrian Film New York, Oxford : Berghahn (15)

    Abstract

    Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s documentary and fiction films have received international recognition, and aroused considerable controversy, for their extreme subject matter (xenophobia, deprivation, physical and sexual violence) and for their inimitable style (obsessive symmetry and static tableaux). As a ‘Berufs-Oppositionskünstler’ who refuses to offer straightforward political solutions he has been compared to German directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Christoph Schlingensief and his compatriot Michael Haneke. This article examines three films by Seidl, spanning his career to date, which have the theme of migration as their subject: Good News (1990), a study of migrant newspaper vendors in Vienna, Mit Verlust ist zu rechnen (1992), a post-Wende documentary on a failed courtship across the Austrian-Czech border, and the feature film Import Export (2007), which tells the story of bi-directional migration between Austria and the Ukraine. Seidl’s ‘anthropology of migration’ is examined in the context of Jean Rouch’s cinéma-vérité, and his hyper-stylization is demonstrated to offer a unique way of looking both at contemporary migration and at migrants themselves. Shifts in the portrayal of borders since unification are examined, and Seidl’s unflinching camera is shown not only to ‘voyeurise the voyeurs’, but also to gaze severely yet democratically on transnational movements in the ‘new Europe’.

  • Hughes HA, Brady M. (2005) '“Diese Deutschen, Diese Briten: Documentary Filmmaking in Newcastle and Rostock”'. in Berger S, Laporte N (eds.) The other Germany: Perceptions and Influences in British-East German Relations, 1945-1990 Augsburg : Wißner, Augsburg 52
  • Hughes H, Brady M. (2002) 'Kafka Adapted to Film'. in Preece J (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Kafka Cambridge : Cambridge University Press , pp. 226-241.
  • Hughes H. (2001) 'The Material World: A Comparison between Adalbert Stifter's historical novel Witiko and Robert Bresson's film Lancelot du Lac'. in Preece ODAJ (ed.) Travellers in Time and Space/Reisende durch Zeit und Raum. The German Historical Novel/Der deutschsprachige historische Roman Amsterdam/New York : Rodopi , pp. 199-208.
  • Hughes HA. (2000) 'Films and Texts'. in Hughes HA, Brady M (eds.) Deutschland im Spiegel seiner Filme London : CILT, AMGS , pp. 3-13.
  • Hughes HA. (1999) 'Documenting the Wende: The Films of Andreas Voigt'. in Allan S, Sandford J (eds.) Defa: East German Cinema 1946-1992 New York, Oxford : Berghahn Article number 16 , pp. 283-301.
  • Hughes HA. (1998) 'German Cinema'. in Kolinsky E, Will WVD (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture Cambridge : Cambridge University Press Article number 14 , pp. 302-321.
  • Hughes HA. (1997) 'The Hand as Text and Image: On Valie Export's 'Koerpersplitter''. in Morrison J, Krobb F (eds.) Text into image, image into text Amsterdam/Atlanta : Rodopi 20
  • Hughes HA, Brady M. (1995) 'German Film After the Wende'. in McKenzie JRP, Lewis D (eds.) The new Germany Exeter : Univ of Exeter Pr Article number 13 , pp. 276-296.

Performances

  • Andrews S, Lawrence K, Hughes H. (2009) Particles in Space. Ion Beam Centre, British Science Festival, University of Surrey:
    [ Status: Unpublished ]

    Abstract

    Particles in Space is a model of tourist performance for revealing ideas in a scientific laboratory, in which technology can appear more dominant than the practices and ideas being applied. As scientists examine the back-scattering of particles fromthe use of an ion beam, this performance intervention creates a similar back-scattering of multiple, fragmentary and divergent artistic practices, to be considered by participants. The tourist performance walk engages in scattered practices, which are themselves responses to laboratory practices. The research reframes the movement of tourist practice, using performance to reveal ideas, practices and effects of intervention.

Other publications

  • Kluge A, Negt O. (2014) History and Obstinacy. New York : Zone Books
  • Hughes HA. (2012) Introduction to Peter Nestler's 'The Waiting' (1985) and 'The North Calotte' (1990/1) at Tate Modern London on 10th November 2012.
  • Hughes HA. (2010) Review 'Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War'. British Film Institute Sight & Sound magazine, 20 (4), pp. 93-93.
  • Kluge A. (2010) Seven Love Stories. Paris : Shakespeare and Company The Paris Magazine, (4), pp. 79-93.
  • Kluge A. (2007) Cinema Stories. New York : New Directions

Theses and dissertations

  • Hughes HA. (1994) The Bureaucratic Muse: On Thomas Bernhard's 'Exempel', Adalbert Stifter's 'Der Kuss von Sentze', Franz Kafka's 'In der Strafkolonie', and Oswald Wiener's 'die verbesserung von mitteleuropa, roman'.. University College London

Page Owner: lsx080
Page Created: Monday 6 July 2009 12:01:22 by t00350
Last Modified: Friday 18 September 2015 09:19:36 by m07326
Assembly date: Sun Nov 19 00:04:39 GMT 2017
Content ID: 8584
Revision: 16
Community: 1198

Rhythmyx folder: //Sites/surrey.ac.uk/School of English and Languages/People/Complete Staff List
Content type: rx:StaffProfile