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The Queen on the Big Screen(s) – Outdoor Screens and Public Congregations

On Saturday 24 November 2012, Dr Ruth Adams presented a paper at the British Monarchy on Screen conference, held at Senate House, University of London.  Ruth’s paper was entitled ‘The Queen on the Big Screen(s) – Outdoor Screens and Public Congregations’, and examined the relatively recent trend of live relays of royal events, such as weddings and Jubilee celebrations, on giant screens in public places geographically proximate to the events themselves.  Although most people viewed them on television or online at home, an estimated one million people watched the Golden Jubilee concert on screens in the Mall, while many of the million who lined the River Thames for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant watched the event on the 50 screens along the route, with a further 90,000 watching in Battersea Park.
Ruth’s research considers what motivates people to travel and congregate to view events in this way, and asks how we should understand such events and the experiences they produce.  Are they mediated, or auratic?  Are they a means of compensating for the fragmentation of community?  Do they represent the reinvention of public space?  And finally, does the content determine the nature of these events?  Are royal events on public screens are qualitatively different to, for example, sporting or political events transmitted in a similar fashion?

Other speakers were drawn from both academia and media practice, and considered various representations of British Royalty, past and present, on television and in cinema, in both documentary and dramatic genres.

You can read here an article in the Telegraph newspaper on ‘Why British queens are the best film stars’, written by the organiser of the conference, Mandy Merck, Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway University:


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