‘The Creek’, a practice-based research project with accompanying critical commentary.

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This critical commentary addresses the completed work, The Creek, a 42-minute
documentary film. The film is the first sustained investigation
of the lived experiences of a vernacular, working-class fishing community in
Teesside that existed for approximately 80 years. As such the work adds to the
presently limited research regarding the working-class cultural history of Teesside.
The film also examines of the work of the notable photographer Ian Macdonald,
specifically his work made at Greatham Creek in the 1970’s that has been previously
unresearched, despite being held in national collections. Following a survey of
known works and published research regarding the Greatham Creek community, the
commentary is divided in to two chapters, firstly a critical consideration of the
methodology and rationale for the practice-based approach to the research and a
consideration of affordances of documentary film, thereby contributing to the
discussion regarding documentary film as a mode of academic research. Also
considered are the approaches to research, use of archive material and the
development of the cinematic approaches. Secondly, the research findings are
critically examined in a variety of contexts; the relationship of the Creek community
to the emergence of the plotlands movement nationally, the socio-economic context
of Teesside during the period the Creek community existed (from its emergence to
its decline), gender roles and depiction of working-class men. This second chapter
sustains critical reflection upon practice established in the Methodology chapter
given that the research findings are embedded within practice. The work concludes
with future possibilities for further research regarding vernacular working-class
culture in Teesside.
Date of Award14 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorNatasha Vall (Supervisor)

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