John Thomas Greggs (UCL) - 2020-21 Students
Cinema and the Nationalised Coal Industry: Media, Energy, and the Political Economy of Britain, 1947-1994
‘Cinema and the Nationalised Coal Industry’ explores how the National Coal Board (NCB) used media, principally cinema, to facilitate and mediate the management and operation of the British coal industry in the era of public ownership. It uncovers a vast, decade-spanning corpus, testament to the vigorous and enduring commitment of an elite state institution to the production and circulation of moving images. It examines the media produced by the NCB (latterly the British Coal Corporation) as well as the way it circulated in Britain and abroad. Cinema as a didactic and persuasive form of mass communication, used in theatrical and nontheatrical settings, and for a wide range of internal and external purposes, is an important part of this media history. Equally important are the broader histories with which NCB media intersects: the history of national energy supply (the transition from British coal to foreign oil and natural gas); and of British politics and economics (from a planned economy with industrial production at its core to the rise of neoliberalism, the free market, and the deindustrialisation of Britain). ‘Cinema and the Nationalised Coal Industry’ explores the relationship between cinema and the NCB for what it reveals about British energy history and the political economy of Britain in the mid-to-late twentieth century and, more specifically, the ways media was shaped and used to supplement the political and economic policies and practices of both an extractive industry and the state.