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A Century at Leeds

A Century at Leeds

Cultural critic Richard Hoggart returns to his alma mater, not only to sing its praises but also to interrogate the many challenges it faces.

Documentary 1975 29 mins

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Overview

Not surprisingly the renowned pioneer of cultural studies, Richard Hoggart, offers a perceptive view of his old University of Leeds. Using interviews with students, alumni and some of the major players at the University, Hoggart situates the Uuniversity within its historical and social context, and examines some of the issues facing universities in the 1970s. He specially focuses on the relationship that the university University has to the wider community in Leeds.

At the time of this film, Hoggart was resigning from his position as an assistant director with UNESCO. Given his poor upbringing, failing the equivalent of the 11 Plus, but winning scholarships to both grammar school and Leeds University, Hoggart was in a good position to examine the cultural differences between the classes after the war. Hoggart saw universities as having a vital role in raising the intellectual horizons of society. Along with Theodor Adorno he became an early critic of ‘mass culture’, especially with his book The Uses of Literacy in 1957. And along with Raymond Williams he sparked renewed interest in the field of culture, founding the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Birmingham in 1964.