As part of the strategic alliance between the University of Limerick and NUI Galway a public lecture entitled “No-one wants to be lectured by a woman: the gendered presentation of history on television.” was held at UL. The lecture was hosted by Gender ARC, the Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society. Gender ARC was launched in January 2011 and is a strategic alliance that brings together over fifty established and emerging academics, across UL and NUI Galway, who are currently engaged in gender-focussed research.
This lecture drew on research carried out at the University of Lincoln, UK, for the project ‘Televising History 1995-2010’, which examined how history is represented on television and posed the question: “how do we get the kind of history programmes on television that we do?”
Professor Ann Gray, Research Director in the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology at the University of Lincoln and Principal Investigator on the project, presented the lecture at UL. During the lecture, Professor Gray said “My paper asks why there are so few female presenters of history programmes on television? During the course of my research into history on television I interviewed commissioning editors and producers of the programmes as well as female historians who had been involved with getting their ideas onto the television screen. Many of those interviewed spoke of the problems they encountered in getting taken seriously by commissioning editors and producers”.
The title of Professor Gray’s talk, “No-one wants to be lectured by a woman” quotes a commissioning editor’s response to English academic historian Bettany Hughes’ proposal to present a history television series. Professor Gray believes this attitude is still prevalent, “Although this took place in the early 1990’s, there remains a reluctance to promote female historians and the topics they research on television. The research I conducted raises questions about the assumptions made on the gendered nature of authority and legitimacy in factual programme genres and identifies prevailing attitudes in the wider culture about women on television.”
For further information on Gender ARC go to: www.genderarc.org