The sun was shining in Portsmouth today, and provided the perfect conditions for our Port Towns filming! We have commissioned a series of short vignettes which will introduce our research and projects. Keep a look out for their launch on the website later this year! In the interim, here is a short report on the content of the films so far, and a snapshot into #porttownsresearch!
The film crew from the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries Media Production Centre first set up in the Dolphin Pub, Old Portsmouth to film two of PTUC’s PhD students. John Bolt and Elizabeth Libero provided an insight into their PhD research, the reasons why they chose to study at the University of Portsmouth, and the advantages of being a part of the ‘PTUC project.’ Both cited that one of the most important reasons for them choosing Portsmouth was the expertise available to them, both at the University and via our connections with important institutions connected with their research. John and Elizabeth both study aspects of the ‘Senior Service.’ John’s research focuses on the Royal Marines and is titled “Service, identity, and social mobility in the Royal Marines: 1815-1914.” Elizabeth is currently examining the role of the Royal Navy in knowledge production at the outreaches of empire during the Napoleonic Wars. She is particularly focused on networks in South Atlantic port towns such as Cape Town (South Africa) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Both projects provide excellent insight into the social and cultural understandings of port towns.
Next the film crew took to the streets with Professor Brad Beaven and Dr Karl Bell who showed them around Portsmouth’s ‘Sailortown’ in Old Portsmouth. The research of the PTUC team on the history of Portsmouth as hub of maritime life has been collated into an exciting app which can highlight the hidden histories of the city’s urban environment. To see access the app and our further research, please follow this link to ‘Explore Portsmouth’s Sailortown.’
Brad and Karl picked out some highlights of the ‘Sailortown’ walk, and also talked more broadly about their research and the experience of living in a maritime and Royal Navy town in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. While Brad is particularly interested in the behaviour of sailors and how their lives intersected with the civic elite and institutions of the port town, Karl’s research on the supernatural has prompted him to investigate the role of ghost stories as a means of ‘communal mapping’ for those who lived and worked in maritime communities.
The diversity of PTUC’s research shows how versatile the investigation into the influence of ‘the maritime’ on land can be. If you have research interests which may compliment our Port Towns and Urban Cultures ethos, or would be interested in studying with us, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!