When I was a student teacher in the sixties, one of my bibles was The Popular Arts, by Hall and Whannel. Leavis didn’t have to be right. Great literature wasn’t the only route to intelligent discrimination, and mass media wasn’t an impersonal sea of corruption, dragging adolescents down to damnation. Teachers prepared to think could profitably encourage pupils to examine TV, newspapers or popular music.
For fifty years since the name of Stuart Hall (no, not the guy from It’s a Knockout) has been synonymous with intelligent, critical thinking, raising questions and valuing ideals which lazier figures would rather dismiss. This film, The Stuart Hall Project, is both a celebration of Hall’s work, and a history of the last fifty years. As a fellow leftie and grandad, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.