Salford lecturers to make research trip to Astley Castle for new documentary film

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A team of University of Salford lecturers have secured funding to make a new documentary about the memories of an ancient castle whilst staying there.

The six lecturers, from our Documentary, Drama and English Literature programmes at the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, will spend four days at Astley Castle in Warwickshire in June 2024 where they will make a site-specific documentary and co-author an article on their findings.

The trip has been made possible after the team received funding from the Landmark Trust Futures Scheme 2023/24, which funded ten proposals from university researchers across the country. 

Maire Tracey, Senior Lecturer in Media Practice and Programme Leader for MA Documentary Production, MA Drama Production, MA Editing for TV, Film and Digital Media & MA Wildlife Documentary Production, said: “Astley Castle is a really interesting location as it's got so much history and memories to be discovered. When we looked at the scheme, we were really keen on finding a place that could combine history with literature.”

Astley Castle was chosen due to its proud history which dates back to the Saxon period and at various points was entangled with the succession to the throne of England. It was also a place of interest for the Victorian writer George Eliot, who grew up nearby.

The Castle fell into ruin after it was gutted by a fire in 1978 and the Landmark Trust tried to provide the site with a viable future through a solution of conventional restoration and conversion for holiday accommodation. In 2005, the trust held an architectural competition to create modern accommodation within the ancient ruins and in July 2012, the newly-restored site was reopened to the public, winning the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture.

On the filmmaking process, Maire said: “As a filmmaker, I believe that the building yields to the director, you’ve just got to work it. We’ll do a ton of research and then spend time connecting with it.

“Our plan over the four days will be to arrive on the first day, film all of the second day, then start the edit on the third. By editing it there, it means the building will be its own character and that will really factor into the final film.”

The full team of lecturers heading to Astley Castle is Maire, Liza Ryan-Carter, Simon Stanton-Sharma, Professor Jade Munslow Ong, Dr. Emma Barnes and Dr. Sanja Nivesjö.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.