Betty Balfour sheet music is included in the display

New student exhibition – ‘Film and the Rise of the Female Consumer’

Five undergraduate History students have curated a new temporary exhibition in the University’s Bill Douglas Centre.

The display is entitled 'Film and the Rise of the Female Consumer' and uses artefacts from the collection to look at the development of consumer culture and its links to the predominantly female cinema audience, particularly in the 1920s.

The display was put together by five second year History students - Rose Bray led a team comprising Lucy Bowker, Holly Pound, Marie Cousin and Louie Freeman-Bassett. Many of the team are taking the 'Gender and Citizenship' History module which examines some of these issues.

Lucy Bowker said, “This was the start of the culture that we are all familiar with. Cinema was becoming intertwined with the mass capitalist society that was developing at that time.”

Much of the exhibition is structured around two female stars - American sensation Clara Bow, typified as the flapper of the 1920s and her British counterpart Betty Balfour, who became famous playing the Cockney flower-girl Squibs.  The exhibition also features cigarette cards, figurines, adverts from magazines showing how products were sold to the cinema-going woman, and even hairgrips branded with British film stars.

Lucy added, “It has been a brilliant experience and we have all found it really interesting to be able to have the opportunity to see some of these items and explore behind the scenes. We have not only learnt a lot about the period we are studying but also about the mechanisms of putting on an exhibition.”

The exhibition will be on display in the Bill Douglas Centre until the end of May.

Date: 23 March 2012

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