Interview in Contact 17 (3), the University of Lincoln newsletter, published in April 2006:
TV RESEARCH PROJECT LINKS PAST WITH PRESENT
An academic from the University of Lincoln has been awarded a third of a million pounds to fund a research project examining the role of
television shows like ‘Monarchy’, ‘A History of Britain’ and ‘What the Victorians Did for Us’ play in how we interpret the past.
Dr Ann Gray, Reader in Media and Cultural Studies, submitted a bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for £329,300 for the
'Televising History' project.
This is the first major grant from a national funding council for a project conducted solely by researchers at the University of Lincoln.
Dr Gray began studying history TV programming, 1995-2010, in September 2004 with Research Fellow, Dr Erin Bell who will continue
working on the project.
Their research will include analysis of the experiences of historians and media professionals involved in history programming, comparative
research into British, French and German history programming, and the use of history TV programming in schools.
According to Dr Gray the aim of the project is to examine the role that television plays in the production and dissemination of ideas about
‘the past’, particularly relating to national identity.
“History programmes shape the way we understand history itself,” said Dr Gray.
“Most people learn about the past through the medium of television. This raises questions about what versions of the past are represented
on television and how history is represented.
“I think there has been a tendency to present history as an absolute, rather than something that needs to be examined.
“There is also a lack of women’s history, social history of the ordinary people and history that recognises Britain’s diversity.
“The Second World War and the Tudors tend to dominate the schedules as they do school lessons.
“There is a huge appetite for history and not just on television. Popular books, magazines and web sites covering the past are flourishing.
We want to find out what generates this interest. Is it a nostalgia for the past or a desire to locate ourselves in what went before in order
to make more sense of the present?”
Interview in Lincolnshire Echo, 4 February 2006