UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Economics in Film

One of ECONPUBLIC's central concerns is to examine the communicative strategies of the actors that meet in the newsroom including scholars, public officials, advocates, and publics. For most of the twentieth century film was one prominent component of these actors' strategies to persuade, educate, and celebrate. In a one day workshop we want to examine how film elaborates upon actor strategies and cultural themes we have identified in our ongoing work. We will focus on three themes: economic policy, managerial ideals, and banking transparency. 

British Film Institute - Tottenham Court Road, 20th May 2016

9:00-10:15. National Objectives

The session is concerned with the use of film by the post-war British Labour government to communicate and explain its economic programs to the citizenry. Both films screened were produced on behalf of the government with direct input from the Labour Chancellor Sir Stafford Cripps. They were both conceived to explain the key postwar goal of increased production for trade.

  • The Balance (d. Paul Rotha, 1947)
  • Robinson Charley (d. Halas & Batchelor, 1948)
  • Aled Davies, University of Bristol
  • Tim Boon, Science Museum

10:45-12:30. The Manager

This session probes the representation of the "manager" in film in the 1950s and 1960s. We will contrast the representation of the manager in industry sponsored film, in public television and in non-fiction feature film. We will discuss how managerial ideals and claims to expertise can enable a dialogue between the history of film and business history.

Films (excerpts)
  • Introducing Work Study (BPC, d. Clifford Parris, 1955)
  • The Job (BBC, d. Michael Blakstad, 1966)
  • I'm Alright Jack (d. John Boultin, 1959)
  • Sally Horrocks, University of Leicester
  • Michael Weatherburn, Imperial College
  • Florian Hoof, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

13:30-15:15. The visible Bank

The session will problematize the Bank of England's Public Engagement agenda since the 1960s, with a focus on transparency through film. In the discussion we will bring together scholars and practitioners of central bank communication and the visuality of finance.

Films (excerpts)
  • Bank of England (d. Derek Williams, 1960)
  • Inside the Bank of England (d. Philip Geddes, 1988)
  • John Morris, ECONPUBLIC, UCL
  • Michael Pryke, Open University
  • Paul Gilbert, University of Sussex
  • Dan Nixon, Bank of England


Attendance requires registration, please contact a.cusack [at] ucl [x] ac [x] uk