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Henry Bacon

George Henry Aslak Bacon
Born December 4, 1957, Helsinki

BA and Phil.lic. 1990 (Theatre Studies), PhD 1994 (Theatre Studies) University of Helsinki

Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Helsinki (2004-)
Head of Projects, Finnish Film Archives 2003-04
Finnish Film Archives, researcher (1999-2003)
Theatre Studies docent, University of Helsinki  (1995-)
Film and Television Studies programme, Study Co-ordinator (1996-), acting Senior Assistant (1994) and acting Adjunct Professor, University of Oulu’s Arts and Anthropology Department (1995-98).

Bacon has also been a University teacher in the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy, as well as a freelance journalist.

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research areas: Audiovisual narratology, film’s relation to other art forms, transnational film history, the appeal of filmic violence, the actor in film, and the history of opera.

Awards and achievements
The State Award for Public Information  2006 for Seitsemäs taide – elokuva ja muut taiteet (’The seventh art. Film and other art forms’)
Knight, First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland (6.12.2007)

Photo: Mika Federley
Authors: Henry Bacon and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.).
Translated by John Calton, Mira Apell, Anna-Maria Jukarainen and Henry Bacon. Revised by John Calton.

Not only for the sighted

When it takes even the supervisor into entirely new areas, guiding a doctoral student in the writing process doesn’t get more exciting. In November 2014 Maija Hirvonen successfully defended her doctoral thesis on audio description. Her project also helped me to investigate the ways in which an understanding and enjoyment of contemporary audiovisual culture for people who are visually impaired might be made possible.

A voice-over is added to the soundtrack of a film or a television programme describing all the salient features of what is seen in the moving images. Besides, an amazing amount can be deduced from just the soundtrack. In a training session for future practitioners of audio-description we played the opening scene of Aki Kaurismäki’s Drifting Clouds for a group of visually impaired people. It turned out that it is remarkably easy to enter the fictional space, enjoy the atmosphere, and understand the feelings and motivations of the characters solely through the auditory information.

It was certainly challenging to lecture about film to the visually impaired, so it was all the more rewarding to hear someone say, “I wouldn’t have believed that film theory could be so interesting.”

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