Dr Peter James Atkinson
Senior Lecturer , Course Leader
School of Arts and Media
Dr Peter Atkinson teaches Film, Media and Popular Culture and has particular expertise in media representation of Northern England, especially in the emergence of its popular mythologies in television and popular music. He has a great track record in module design with strong employability elements in Television and Music having been Media Manager in the university’s Centre for Employability through the Humanities and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Peter has been a Course Leader in Film and Media for over twelve years. He has published academic journal articles and book chapters on the emergence of modern mythologies of Liverpool, Manchester and Hull deriving from popular music and broadcasting which have involved popular music artists The Beatles, The Smiths and David Bowie, as well as local media institutions such as ITV, BBC and Factory Records. He has also published on the verse / film television work of Simon Armitage, Jackie Kay, Fred D’Aguiar and Tony Harrison. He is a member of Music Research Group at University of Central Lancashire.
Dr Peter Atkinson has a background in London advertising photography and, more latterly, a management role at Brewery Arts Centre in the English Lake District. His First Class undergraduate degree in Film Media and Television with English at York St John (read as a mature student) led to an AHRB funded MA in Contemporary Literary Studies at Lancaster University. Peter then undertook an AHRB funded PhD at Lancaster on the topic of the broadcasting of the modern myth of Liverpool, 1958-64. Peter has been a Lecturer in Film and Media at University of Central Lancashire since 2000 and became Course Leader of the subject in 2007. Peter was Realistic Work Environment Lead for Media in the Centre for Employability Through the Humanities following UCLan's award of a grant as a Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in the area of Employability in 2008. Peter has contributed to many international conferences on the North of England with particular emphasis on the role of television broadcasting and popular music in generating popular mythologies of the region.
- 2006PhD. Department of English, University of Lancaster. AHRB funded
- 1996 MA Contemporary Literary Studies, University of Lancaster (with distinction). AHRB funded
- 1995BA (Hons English with Drama, Film and Television Studies), Class 1, University of Leeds (St John’s College, York)
- Representation of the North of England particularly in Television and Popular Music and also northern screen industry and northern economic regeneration.
- External Examiner, MA Beatles, Popular Music and Society, Liverpool Hope University
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Dr Atkinson’s research examines particularly the role played by broadcasting, television broadcasting especially, in the creation of popular mythologies of northern England. In his PhD thesis, and early published academic work he noted that the modern myth of Liverpool, from 1963 was communicated largely through broadcasting, the process preceding the popular rise of The Beatles and extending back to scouse comedians including Tommy Handley and his important role in the wartime radio favourite It’s That Man Again (ITMA).
Peter has noted that the accommodation of regional playwrights such as Liverpudlian Alun Owen by the newly licensed Independent Television (ITV) in the second half of the 1950s also served to broadcast influential representations of Liverpool, as did a short series of story documentaries set in the city and, later, BBC’s ground-breaking realist TV series Z Cars. Meanwhile he also notes the centrality of BBC Radio in bringing a wide range of The Beatles’ music to public attention in 1963, through their live broadcast appearances, and also in communicating their ‘scouse’ character, largely through a comic contrast between their cheeky Liverpudlian patter, and the middle class voices of their host BBC presenters. Peter has provided a similarly in-depth analysis of the Manchester mythology attendant to the success of another northern English group of Irish descent, The Smiths in published work. Here he notes continuities between their work and the left wing politics apparent in productions by 1930s BBC Radio Manchester, and involving contributors Ewan MacColl and Joan Littlewood.
He also notes the influence of Manchester / Salford writers such as Walter Greenwood and Shelagh Delaney on the group's Manchester aesthetic. Peter’s work on The Smiths led him to consider more carefully the geography and cultural geography of central Manchester and, recently he has published two pieces of work on this topic. Here he notes the centrality of Granada TV both aesthetically and literally as its influence and location (then on Quay Street) enabled the emergence of the ‘pop cult’ myth of the cities (Salford border was a stone’s throw from Granada). He has noted that this myth has driven regeneration and how the cities now divide into particular ‘cultural quarters’ amidst extensive building, the product of foreign investment, and the gentrification of selected areas. Peter has also started a similar investigation of Hull, his starting point again being pop music where he has noted the understated influence of David Bowie’s backing band, The Spiders from Mars, who were all from Hull, in his 1972 project Ziggy Stardust. Presently Peter is investigating the substantial influence of the screen industry in northern England as the portfolio of film and television drama produced in the region grows.
Use the links below to view their profiles:
- View their unique and persistent identifier on the ORCiD registry
- Full list of publications and articles on CLoK
- The University of Central Lancashire Music Research Group
- Centre for History and Public Engagement with the Past
- English Shared Future Conference 2021
- Music, Memory and Memoir Conference 2018
- Gender in the North Symposium 2018
- Investigating Regional Creative Clusters Conference 2018
- A Sense of Place Conference 2017
- Mediating the North Conference 2015; Cultural Translation in Popular Music Conference 2013V The Story of Things: Reading Narrative in the Visual Conference 2010
- Meeting the Current Challenges: the Humanities and Employability, Entrepreneurship and Employer Engagement Conference 2009
- Academic Identities in Crisis Conference 2008
- A Sense of Time and Place Conference 2007
- Identities Conference 2007
- Exploring Liverpool and Merseyside Regionalism Conference 2007
- Re-visions Conference 2002
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