BLACK HISTORY IN FILM

By Ashley Choudry

The Black Lives Matter or ‘BLM’ movement, is one that has garnered much attention over the past couple of years. The fight to get equality for all races has been and continues to be a long and arduous one. So too has the fight to get equal representation on screen (both big & small) for black people of significance forgotten or ignored by society. This is part of the reason as to why we celebrate Black History Month every October.

For this month’s blog I want to bring to your attention five films that showcase the lives of a few black people most of whom whose names had essentially been lost in time until recent years. These films also portray events in history involving said persons that had a significant influence on the lives of black people for centuries thereafter.

Now some of these features may not be an easy watch, but they are crucial to understanding the struggles and achievements that black people have gone through over time

Now some of these features may not be an easy watch, but they are crucial to understanding just some of the struggles and incredible achievements black people have gone through over time, yet have been overlooked and forgotten about. Three of these movies were nominated for Best Picture, and though it’s easy to see why, two of them still underperformed at the box office and went slightly under the radar in the minds of the public.

The first entry I wish to bring to your attention is a film titled Amistad (1990).

Amistad Film Cover

Directed by the same man who was the focus of my last blog, Stephen Spielberg, it tells the story of events that unfolded aboard the Spanish slave ship La Amistad in 1839 and their part in the build-up to the American Civil War. Mende (an ethnic people from Sierre Leone) tribesmen are abducted to be used as slaves, however they somehow manage to gain control of their captors and the ship off the coast of Cuba. When the tribesman themselves are then captured by the Americans, a substantial legal battle is launched in which they fight for their freedom.

These legal proceedings split the American judicial system and begin to have a devastating affect not only on the country but on the slaves themselves. Despite starring big names such as; Sir Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman & Matthew McConaughey; the film failed to make much of a profit at the box office, possibly due to the story it attempted to portray. However, it gained highly positive reviews from most critics, praising the emotion and vivid imagery the film discloses. For those of you who are history buffs or those that just love a good legal drama, this powerful true story is one film you cannot afford to miss. Need a teaser first? Watch the clip below of former President John Quincy Adams opening speech at the beginning of the trial, then you’ll have no choice but to loan the whole movie on DVD from the Library!

From the oldest to the most recent, we move next to an increasingly popular film within the last half a decade, Hidden Figures (2016).

Hidden Figures Cover

This seminal title about the true story of three incredible women whose names and acts were long ‘hidden’ from society is a masterpiece by Theodore Melfi to inspire black women everywhere. It focuses on the untold stories of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) & Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) and their rise through the ranks at NASA to playing imperative parts in the Space Race (in particular Johnson, who went on to play a vital role in the Apollo 11 moon landing among other space missions).

The film begins with Johnson, assigned to a space task group due to her incredible analytical geometry skills, becoming the first woman on the team. From there she, Vaughn and Jackson climb fast up the ladder, meeting resistance along the way yet persevering in changing most people’s opinions on women and black people. A fun-loving, comedic drama, this heart warmer is a perfect watch for an evening-in as the seasons start to change.Hidden Figuresis available now on DVD or e-stream, click on the link below to view a just a snippet of what’s in store:

The middle film of this month is yet another historical drama, Selma (2014).

Selma Cover

Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, it chronicles a three-month fight for black voters right and an ensuing march from Selma to Montgomery (both in the state of Alabama). This protest march became a crucial event in the history of black Americans gaining equal voting rights. It begins when a black woman, Annie Lee Cooper, is denied the choice to vote in Selma itself by a racist registrar. Afterwards, Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo) appeals to President Lyndon B. Johnson to pass a bill giving black people the right to vote but is shunned.

In an act of retribution, the leaders of the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an African-American civil rights organisation) and activists from the same group devise a march across Alabama in protest and to win over the hearts and minds of the white population. This powerful picture is a must-see for all, the story’s importance to Black History cannot be understated, and neither cananastounding performance by Oyelowo as the illustrious Martin Luther King Jr which brings it all together. You can watch some highlights of his performance from the trailer in the clip below and loan the full film on DVD from the Library now:

Our penultimate entry for this month is also the most critically acclaimed, the biographical slave-drama, 12 Years A Slave (2013).

12 Years a Slave

Based on a slave memoir from 1953 by Solomon Northup in which he tells his incredible but solemn story. Solomon (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a born-free man from New York, tricked into travelling to Washington D.C. for work, whereupon he is abducted and sold into slavery. Doomed to work on plantations for the next 12 years, the film recounts his journey from a disgruntled to a respected slave who fights to be heard and become a free man once again.

Winner of 3 Oscars (including the fabled Best Picture award), this film received rapturous applause from critics and audiences alike, describing it as essential cinema. Its ensemble cast featuring the likes of; Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Lupito N’yongo (Best Supporting Actress winner for this film) and Paul Giamatti; is but one of the many things it gets right. The main draw of this epic however, is its historically accurate portrayal of slavery, which it does like no other film before it. University of Reading Professor Emily West (who specialises in the study of slavery) said herself, she had never before seen slavery depicted so accurately. The downside of this depiction of course, is the vivid scenes and imagery that comes with it throughout the runtime, there are however some truly beautiful and uplifting moments to be found too. Of all the films I am recommending to you today, there is none more poignant to Black History or more watch worthy than this one. You canwatch one of the more buoyant scenes in the film by clicking on the link below and view the full film only on e-stream now:

So, we’ve had plenty of drama and some comedy so far this month, but our final flick is of a genre quite different from the others; a sport biography of sorts, the largely unknown Remember the Titans (2000).

Remember the Titans cover

The second oldest on this month’s list, this hidden gem is a cult Disney film with an edge. The focus is on real-life black high school football coach Herman Boone, who throughout the 1960’s and 70’s struggled to racially integrate two of his teams.

The film begins in 1971 when Boone takes a job at the T.C. Williams High School as assistant coach of the white boys’ team (though having been hired under the pretence of coaching the black boys’ team), having just left his old coaching job. In reality, he was forced to resign from his position at E.J. Hayes High School due to the belief that the town was not yet ready for a black head coach, this despite his impeccable record (even before his arrival at this school) and his 1966 team being recognized by Scholastic Coach Magazine as “The Number One Football Team in America”.Boone is quickly promoted to head coach, much to the dismay of some, and unsurprisingly meets hostility in his attempts to integrate the team and implement his coaching style.

The rest of the film portrays his journey from an ostracised teacher to an inspirational leader. Remember the Titans has plenty of heart and humour to go with it’s more shocking moments, and thought not quite historically accurate in some areas was a modest box-office success (unlike other films on this list), and is revered as one of the best American Football films of all time. Yet, it is all but ignored in this day and age. While 12 Years A Slave is the must-see film of this month, this one is my firm favourite (author’s choice some may call it), headlined by the always incredible Denzel Washington. Those of you who are sports fans, will find it truly inspirational and learn the name of one of the most underrated coaches to have ever lived, Herman Boone. Click on the link below to watch a scene that exemplifies the whole premise and loan it on DVD now in the Library:

Well there you have it. five incredible films, focusing on significant events in black history and bringing to the forefront some truly inspiring black people, who all deserved to be known and remembered for their work and their struggles. Why not honour them by watching and learning about their stories through the Library’s film services?

A guide to our new Study Skills Collection

Academic research goes beyond using whatever you find when you do a Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, or DuckDuckGo search.

Whatever stage you feel you are at when joining the college, the library is here to help you to identify, develop and refine your academic research skills.

Library Study Skills Collection

Our study skills resources have all the information you require whether you are: curious about questionnaires,
perplexed by presentations,
terrible at time management,
alarmed by academic writing,
terrified by teamwork,
confused by citing,
reluctant with referencing,
or just reticent about research in general.

In order to make it as easy as possible for you to get started on developing your academic skills we have collected together all the relevant resources, which were previously located throughout the main library sequence, into a single study skills collection.

All items in the study skills collection can be discovered using the library catalogue. They will have the shelfmark SSC, be ordered alphabetically, and are all available as two week loans.

Items are arranged alphabetically

Summer of Spielberg

By Ashley Choudry

One of the most essential participants of the movie making process is the director. Without the director a film simply cannot be made; they are the artistic leader, the visionary that holds everything together. This month I want to draw your attention to one of the most esteemed and loved director’s cinema has ever seen, the great Steven Spielberg.

When you think of Spielberg, you probably think you know most of his films, he’s one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of directors. Well I want to talk to you about some of the lesser known films of his, ones you may have seen or heard of but might not realise that they were directed by Spielberg himself. Over several decades Spielberg has become a master of many genres; from Sci-fi action flicks to Spy thrillers; and in this blog I will showcase a few different ones.

We start with an early 20th century Sci-fi film, Minority Report (2002).

Minority Report DVD

Based on a short story by well known writer Philp K. Dick, this was also one of the enigmatic Tom Cruises’ earliest action films. Set in 2054, it revolves around a futuristic police department specialising in predicting crimes and those who will commit them before they happen. This is accomplished with the help of three Precogs (human clairvoyants) who have the ability to foresee future events.  However, one day they predict that Chief John Anderton (Cruise) will kill a man, prompting him to go one the run and desperately try to prove his innocence. Perfect for those with a taste for fast-paced action flicks with a Sci-fi twist, it was among the best reviewed films of 2002 and continues to be revered as a cult classic.

It is far from the first film that comes to mind when thinking of Tom Cruise or Spielberg but deserves more recognition nonetheless. It’s available now on DVD and e-stream. Watch the clip below for a taste of the action:

From Sci-Fi action to Children’s fantasy, our next entry is the live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book The BFG (2016).

BFG DVD

Almost a shot for shot retelling of the 1989 animated version, the well-known tale centres on a 10-year old orphan girl named Sophie who one night is abducted by a giant. What enfolds is a fantastical adventure as the BFG introduces Sophie to his world while simultaneously trying to protect her from several unfriendly characters and reclaim his home (with a little help from his new friend).

While it may have been underappreciated on the big screen, Spielberg’s trademark movie magic brings the book to life in new and imaginative ways, blended the celebrated styles of films such as E.T. (1982) & Hook (1991). A talented cast and brilliant effects make this one to watch with your family in what remains of this summer. You know the story, now you can envision what it would be like in reality. Loan it now on DVD in the Library. Watch the trailer now in the link below:

In addition to action and sci-fi & fantasy, Spielberg is also admired for tackling real-life matters within his work.

This ties in neatly with our third film of the month, The Color Purple (1985). It’s another of Spielberg’s famous book adaptations (see the above film or Jurassic Park for an example), this time based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker.

The Color Purple DVD

A powerful rendition about a young African-American girl (played by the incredible Whoopi Goldberg in her breakout role) facing problems almost every African-American female; plus, many more people, faced throughout the 20th century. Those trials faced denote strong themes including; domestic violence, incest, paedophilia, racism, poverty and sexism; but don’t let them put you off of seeing this compelling flick. The Color Purple is certainly one of Spielberg’s most under-appreciated films, nominated for several Oscars (including Best Actress for Goldberg) but failing to achieve a single win. Though the judging panel did not deem it worthy of an award, I certainly deem it worthy of a watch.

Even though it is not for the faint of heart, it tells an important story representing both Black and feminine history and does feature some very uplifting moments within its intense tone. You can check out the trailer in the link below and then loan it out on DVD only in the Library:

Lastly, we take a look at another of Spielberg’s more recent entries into his filmography, the acclaimed spy thriller Bridge of Spies (2015).

Bridge of Spies DVD

More of a historical drama than a straight-laced spy film, it’s centred on real-life events surrounding American lawyer James B. Donovan and Soviet spy Rudolf Abel during the Cold War.

At the height of the Cold War US attorney Donovan (played by the always magnificent Tom Hanks, a somewhat often collaborator of Spielberg’s) is sent into Berlin to negotiate for the return of captured US pilot Francis Gary Powers in return for Soviet spy Abel, who has in turn been arrested by the US. What neither side banks on however, is Donovan’s kind heart as he sees the good in Abel and endeavours to get the best deal for both parties involved.

It’s a profound retelling of touching story with terrific acting from the whole cast, with action, intrigue and even a little humour. Even despite its many departures from historical record it was still heavily praised by critics, nominated for several Oscars, and winning Mark Rylance (The BFG himself in the 2016 movie) a Best Supporting Actor gong for his role as Rudolf Abel. However, while adored by critics it was somewhat overlooked by the public audiences making only a modest profit at the box-office. Well now is your chance to watch it in all of its glory on DVD in the Library.

Click on the link below to view a snippet of what’s to come with Donovan and Abel’s first meeting:

Steven Spielberg is one of the most acclaimed directors of all time, but not all of his films are so well known or abundantly watched. If you love him and his films visit the Library now and loan out one or more of these great films to finish your summer or start the new year on a great note!!

New Look Library

If you been on the 2nd floor of David Hockney Building over the last few months, you’d have noticed that the library team has carried out another one of our increasingly annual book moves.

We’re really pleased with the result.

Taller shelving allows us to create more space for studying

We’ve upgraded about a third of the shelving from 3 to 4 high, allowing us to remove our older wooden shelves and create a new reading area. We’ve moved our shelving to be closer together to create more of a library feel and make book searching more straightforward for library users.

New reading area with comfy sofas and a bookshop feel

Our new reading area brings together our Graded Readers with our Reading Collection. We’ve got comfy sofas for anyone wanting to curl up with a book, as well as quiet group study tables. You’ll also find our film collection here, and we are creating a new collection of graphic novels.

New Study Skills collection to aid browsing and discovery

We’ve still got a quiet individual study area which is next to our new collection of Study Skills books. This will allow students to browse our generic study skills books rather than having to find these books which were scattered throughout the library collection.

We’d love to know what you think. Contact us on Chat via Library Online or our Library Catalogue, email us on askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk, or just come and chat to us in the Library.

Japanese July

By Ashley Choudry

One fact about film is that it isn’t just American, it isn’t just British, it’s a far-reaching industry with outlets all over the world. One such outlet, which has continued to grow exponentially over the last 60 years, is Japanese film. Having started producing films in 1897, the Japanese film industry is now the fourth largest in the world and has won more Oscars for ‘Best International Feature Film’ than any other Asian country. From starting out producing traditional black & white features, Japan has since become synonymous with one of the most popular film styles of the Twentieth Century so far, Anime (a type of animation often based off of Manga art).

From it’s conception, Japanese film has had a profound influence over Western Films.

From its conception, Japanese film has also had a profound influence over Western films (particularly Hollywood productions), as you will find out later in this blog. Whether we notice or not, Japanese film techniques are used in many American and even British films we watch every day, which is why it is time we learned more about their own films. In this blog, I will focus on two classical films and two more modern Anime films, to explore the development over a significant period of one of the world’s biggest film industries. Watching these films will help you to learn about and relate to Japanese culture and maybe even encourage you to discover a new language during your holidays.

We start with one of Japan’s most notable films, Tokyo Story (1953).

This undeniable classic was one of the first motion pictures to put Japanese film on the map. A realist piece on working class people, it is regarded as prominent director Yasujiro Ozu’s masterpiece. The Story itself concerns an ageing couple (Shukichi and Tomi Hirayama) returning to Toyko to see their grown-up children, having migrated away some decades prior. What follows, is a tale of two contrasting behaviours from the couple’s children and their daughter-in-law (married to Shukichi and Tomi’s son, whom had been presumed dead prior to the events of the film), the children who are rude and inattentive and the daughter-in-law who is kind and caring. The film chronicles the couple’s attempts to reconnect with their children and conveys strong themes from growing apart from your parents to the westernization of the traditional Japanese family. Overall, this film is a wistful but important and very relatable narrative which is a must watch for anyone who loves a classic, especially film students. After all, it wasn’t voted the best film of all time in a 2012 poll in Sight and Sound magazine (which can be found within the library’s journal collection and online) for no reason. We have it available on DVD in the Library , and you can watch the trailer below:

Our second classic Japanese film, is one that has had even more influence on Western cinema, Seven Samurai (1954).

The original inspiration for the American western (and remake of this film)The Magnificent Seven (1960), it became the 2nd highest grossing film in the industry at the time and thus cemented its place in history, as one of Japan’s greatest ever films in the eyes of the rest of the world. Much like it’s eventual remake, it centres on a mountain village continuously raided by bandits, once the villagers become tired of the pillaging they decide to hire seven samurai to protect their homes and people (after they had seen other villages succeed using the same method). The film’s story and even many of its scenes mirror The Magnificent Seven, but its influence goes far beyond the several films in that collection.

The samurai epic is famous for inspiring the now well-used ‘assembling a team’ trope, with more than a few popular movie franchises borrowing that and other elements of the film, including; The Lord of The Rings (2001-2003), The Matrix (1999-Present), The Avengers Films (2012-2019), Justice League (2017) and many more. Seven Samurai was nominated for two Oscars and three Baftas and is available to watch now on DVD or e-stream.  Whether you love a good old classic western, samurai flick or action-comedy, it’s another great film with which to start your Japanese journey, watch the clip below to find out why;

Now we come to the first of our two more recent entries in Japanese cinema, both of which are popular Anime products. As I alluded to earlier, Anime is a hand-drawn and computer animation that originated in Japan and is often linked with Manga art. It has seen a gradual rise in popularity over the past three decades to become one of the most-watched types of animation in the industry (Over 60% of the world’s animated television shows are anime based).

One of the most popular examples of this is, Grave of the Fireflies (1988).

The second release by the renowned Studio Ghibli, it is ranked high among the greatest War films of all time. The notion that it is part non-fiction is undoubtedly a large part of the reason it stands so vastly recommended, for it is based on a short story by Akiyuki Nosaka on his experiences in World War II. It tells of two young siblings (brother and sister) who struggle to survive through the final months and immediate aftermath of World War Two in Japan. Although labelled as a war film, it focuses mainly on the devastating effects war can have on a country’s people. Make no mistake, it is a gruelling but powerful tale made all the more poignant by its origins, and even though there is little light until it’s end; I still implore you to give it a viewing. A last word of warning, even if it is an animated feature, it is by no means a film for children’s eyes! Teens and adults however can enjoy at their pleasure on DVD or e-stream anytime. Watch the trailer in the link below:

The second of our more modern Anime films also happens to be this month’s only recommendation from the 21st century (which is by no means a bad thing). Released in 2001, the Oscar and Saturn Award winning Spirited Away ushered in a new age of popularity for Japanese Anime features.

Directed by the revered Hayao Miyazaki – co-founder of Studio Ghibli and a pioneer in Anime and Manga Art – this film was named the fourth best of the 2tst Century in a list compiled by the BBC in 2016, and second best by the New York Times the following year. Spirited Away focuses on a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro, whom in the process of moving to a new home with her parents is transported into the spirit world and must fight to escape it’s grasp whilst trying to save her parents’ spirits (after they had committed something untoward in the eyes of the world’s inhabitants). Though the premise may sound simple enough, there are underlying themes of supernaturalism, western consumerism and environmentalism all represented within the story.

It no is surprise that this film is the only hand drawn & non-English language entry to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, as the film continues to be lauded for its incredible animation to this day. But the animation is far from its only selling point, with the story contrasting seamlessly between adventure & discovery to realistic and important issues; because of this the film has been compared to Alice in Wonderland and praised for its exploration on matters such as the effects of greediness. Overall it is a bustling sceptical of vibrant pictures and excellent representation of traditional Japanese culture, that it not to be missed by anyone. Suitable for those aged 9 and above, it is available on DVD in the Library’s film collection. Not invested enough yet? Watch the trailer by clicking the link below:

Start your Japanese journey now! In Japanese with English subtitles or simply with an English language dub, either way they are just as enjoyable.

The Importance of Library Displays by Asif Rashid

The Library team promote our services and collections in a variety of ways to attract customers and improve information literacy among the students and staff at the college.

Library displays play an important role in helping draw the attention of customers (students and staff) to new books, special collection material, the items that are under-circulated and especially the items those are important for reading and studying but often left unseen.

Our displays may show off new books, celebrate important days such as Remembrance Day, or promote themes in line with college united values, vision and mission. We created the dsiplay below on Yorkshire Writers to celebrate Bradford Literature Festival.

We select books to go onto our display stands, and create striking posters to display and also post onto our social media pages. The poster below accompanied a display of books on mental health, positive thinking, self-image for the college theme of ‘self-care’.

Poster for our display supporting the college ‘Self-care’ theme.

We took part in the School and College Festival of Arts day, creating a poster and display using books from our Art collection.

The displays are changed regularly, and attract lots of customers to fulfil their interests (reading for pleasure) and information needs (information about particular topics). We believe that they have played a pivotal role in engaging reluctant readers through these displays.

Also, I would like to mention in particular the collaboration with ESOL tutors which has really flourished the idea of Information literacy and I can tell the pleasure lots of these books on the displays are attracting ESOL students to borrow these books and enjoy their reading as well.

Summer Reading poster

Playing the Game

By Ashley Choudry

Summer is upon us! And what comes with summer? Sports! While it may be the end of regular seasons of sports, this Summer will be host to two of the biggest events in the Sporting calendar, Euro 2020 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (both of which were held back a year). So, why not get in the mood for viewing these events by watching some great sport-related films.

Where better to start than one of the most popular sports films of the last two decades, Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

A story of a teenage girl with a massive obsession with Manchester United football club and one particular star player, this flick is sure to grab your notice and ignite a new passion for football inside of you. Behind the sport however is a story of a young woman’s fight to rule over her own life and not be judged by her family’s religion, traditions and gender stereotypes; something I’m sure many of you can relate to. A blend of comedy, sport and romance, this is definitely a must-see for all. While we may not always have a DVD of this in our film collection, it is alternatively available to watch anytime on Estream, in addition we also have a copy of the book within our Reading collection. Enjoy a snippet of the excitement by clicking the link below:

An even more apt film however, is the quintessential Olympics centred film, Chariots of Fire (1981).

A definitive classic of the genre, it focuses on two British athletes as they prepare for and participate in the 1924 Olympics, though competing for very different reasons. Winner of Four Oscars; including one for its ever-iconic theme tune; this is no ordinary sporting tale, but a true story with an inspiring backdrop of fighting prejudice and embracing religion. The inspiring ending is sure to get you excited for the run up to the delayed Tokyo 2020. However, though The Olympics may still be at the heart of this film, there is so much more too it. Find out for yourselves by viewing the trailer within the link below, you can watch this epic now on DVD or on Estream:

Now I want to draw your attention to a lesser known film, but one with more heart than most sports related films you will ever see, Here Comes the Boom (2012).

Starring the incredibly funny Kevin James as a high school teacher desperately trying to save his schools music program by raising money as an MMA fighter, it’s more heart-warming and inspiring than overtly hilarious like his usual repertoire (Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) but worth a watch nonetheless. Perfect for teachers looking to inspire their students and perfect for those with families (It even featured in a Top 10 List by moviegoers in 2013 of best family films), this film is bound to light up your summer. Also available on both DVD and Estream, find out more with this trailer:

If anything, involving physical contact is your preferred type of sport, you may also enjoy watching The Wrestler (2008) directed by the acclaimed Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and starring Mickey Rourke (nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars).

While the debate over whether wrestling can be classified as full-fledged sport or seen as mere entertainment rages on, there is no doubting this films excellence. A solemn and tragic tale of an ageing man’s attempts to return to the limelight in the wrestling ring and regain his younger fame, this film represents many a sportsperson’s struggles throughout life once they retire. It perfectly symbolises the danger of sacrificing everything for the thing you love to do most, even when you can physical do it no more. The short clip below may not show any action from the film but demonstrates the main core of the story seamlessly. Watch the whole film now on  Estream:

Lastly, we have my personal favourite of this collection, the first two entries in Disney’s Ice-Hockey based The Mighty Ducks Trilogy (1992-1996). The Mighty Ducks (1992) & D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994), can currently both be found on Estream and will cool you and your family down nicely during the recurring heatwaves while bringing boundless amounts of fun to the start of your summer. The first film focuses on a young lawyer, washed out by Ice Hockey as a young teen, he finds himself reluctantly thrust back into its world following a series of misguided events. What ensues is an amusing narrative that conveys a message of moving on from the regrets of your past and using those memories to inspire others in a different way.

While Emilio Estevez’s Coach Gordon Bombay maybe the main character, it is The Ducks themselves that truly endear you to this franchise. Wayward but comical, this odd bunch of kids are quite simply too lovable for you not to want to follow them through their journey (throughout both or all 3 films). Whether you are looking for something to reignite your memories of your 90’s childhood (albeit the US version) or share the iconic era with your children, this set of films will become a firm family favourite in no time! These fun-loving films are also some of the only films to have had a genuine impact on real-life sport, inspiring the creation of an actual NHL Ice-Hockey Team, The Anaheim Mighty Ducks! See how the Mighty Ducks originally got their peculiar name in the first film in the clip below:

Whatever your sport(s) of choice maybe, why not give all of these films a try to get you in feeling active as we near the end of the academic year? Whether it be inspiring adaptations of true stories, heartfelt comedies or powerful dramas, we have it all right here in The Library or online with Estream.

Spotlight on… MacMillan Explorers Social Work collection.

Explore our online library of Social Work books

MacMillan Explorers: Social Work Collection provides students and academics with unlimited access to a range of 200 high quality eBooks for Social Work and Study Skills books in the following areas:

  • Social Work Practice,
  • Social Work Skills,
  • Social Work: Theory and Methods,
  • Social Work with Adults,
  • Social Work with Children and Families,
  • Ethics and Values,
  • Human Development and Psychology,
  • Social Work, Disability and Mental Health,
  • Social Policy and Social Work Law. 

Unfortunately for students, eBooks from MacMillan Explorers do not easily download into our library catalogue. This means that you can’t currently access the eBooks in the usual way, via the library catalogue and then logging in to the individual title. Instead, at the moment you have to access the collection using the MacMillan Explorers link, and search or browse the books from there.

How to log in

Go to https://www.macmillanexplorers.com

Click on the blue Login button

Ignore the Personal Account option. Choose the Select Your Institution option and select ‘Bradford College’ from the list of institutions.

Log in using a your college ID and password 

You will be prompted to enter an email address (one time only) – use your college email address. 

You will receive a confirmation email – this may go into your junk mail. 

Copy the verification link within the email and paste it into a browser. 

You should then be taken back through to the explorers platform and be logged in.

Browse books within a collection

Click on the Social Work tab at the top to view the list of topics. Click on one of these to view the books in the collection.

You will see an image of the cover, the title and year of publication, and a short description. Click on the book title to see the contents and choose whether to View or see the Table of Contents.

From this screen you can also search within the contents of the book, share the book link or print the details.

Search books within the whole library

You will see the Search box at the left hand top of the screen.

As you type you will see some suggested terms come up – you can click on these or continue with your own keywords.

The results screen will bring up results where your terms were found in the full text of the book, or just in the book description. You can narrow these down to selecting the Media Type button and choosing Chapter or Book. You can narrow by date, list results by relevance or date, or select a book title to view.

Books are regularly updated

The advantages of MacMillan Explorers is that each time a print book is updated, the eBook will be updated automatically. This means that you should get quicker access to new editions. We are expecting to receive some new editions in August.

Accessibility

There are some excellent accessibility functions including selecting different colour backgrounds, ability to change the font size, and change the read-aloud voice and speed of reading.

Click on the Enhanced Formatting button which looks like this: Aa

You have the choice to change Text Size (4 options), Font, Mode (background colour and font colour), Margins, and Line Height.

The Margins can be very useful on some of the books as they sometimes display as a webpage rather than a book (ie across the width of the screen). This can be harder to read in my experience, so I often narrow the margin to be more like a print book.

Multiple devices

Access is unlimited, and books can be read on phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and Kindle Fire. 

We’d love to know what you think of MacMillan Explorers. Let us know, or if you have any questions, by emailing us at askalibrarian@bradfordcollege.ac.uk, finding us on Teams or going to our Online Chat at library.bradfordcollege.ac.uk.

Looking to the Future with Films

By Ashley Choudry

As a former film student, I find that film is a great way to escape reality and delve into new worlds. However, they are also a device that enables you to dream of possible futures. I cannot think of a time when the need to escape or look to the future has been so pertinent than throughout the current pandemic.

Though we may hopefully be on our way out of this devastating period, worry still looms for the future of this nation and the world, but could an escape into film be the perfect immediate solution to those worries? The cinemas may only just be getting back on their feet after a while away, but never fear, The Library is here! To solve all of your movie needs with its ever growing collection of DVDs.

What better films with which to look the future, then Science-Fiction films. I know a lot of you may think that the ‘fiction’ part of this genre means that all films under this banner are simply make believe but a growing number in the last decade are at least in part based around real science and distinctly possible futures. I would like to draw your attention to four particular science-fiction films which I think are perfect in some ways for looking to the future.

Firstly, many of you probably know that May is seen as the month of Star Wars (May The 4th Be with You etc.) in the science-fiction world. While the Star Wars franchise (1977-present) may be extremely popular, almost as popular is its older rival the Star Trek franchise (1966-present). Another advantage Star Trek has on its greatest rival is that more of its technology and knowledge is based on scientific facts and possibilities rather than pure fiction, especially with what has been and can be achieved in the current age. From the Holodeck, the Communicators, Sensors and Tricorders; to the U.S.S. Enterprises (the main space vessel and setting of the series) computer system, Cloaking devices and Phasers. These concepts either already exist now or could certainly come to exist in the not too distant future.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Within the Library’s collection we have the first entry in the reboot (2009) of the long-running franchise, which if you like Action-comedy’s, Suspense thrillers and Alien films is perfect for you. It’s also a film with a lot of heart, and while fans of The Original Series may not find it quite so loveable, it is the perfect film to introduce new fans to the franchise and get you hooked on a succession of TV series and films that will fill up countless hours of your spare time should you so wish. Get a glimpse of that action yourself by viewing the trailer in the link below.

Next up we have Christopher Nolan’s space exploration epic Interstellar (2014). Now while quite a long entry (clocking in at 2hr 49 mins), it is certainly more than worth the watch. The Award-winning stunning imagery alone is enticing enough to draw you in but once again it also represents real science and a possible future for space exploration and colonising of new worlds.

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Even though the story is still a little downbeat at times, there is still plenty of light at the end (as there hopefully is for us here in reality too). Overall, it depicts a powerful tale surrounding both the future and past; of Earth, Family and Time & Space. And if you are yet to be intrigued by the sheer sound of it, take a look at the clip in the link below, which take places relatively at the start of the main characters journey into the unknown.

Now if you find you’re not a fan of modern Sci-Fi films, why not try a classic such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)?

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Stanley Kubrick’s epic is widely regarded as the original and first great Sci-Fi film and lauded for its scientific accuracy and effects (of its time that is), winning an Academy Award (Best Visual Effects) and several BAFTA’s (including Best British Cinematography). Though it’s visual effects may be a little old it is still seen as the quintessential Sci-Fi film by many and its influence is still being felt decades later in films such as Contact (1997), Arrival (2016) and even Interstellar itself. It may feature a homicidal artificial intelligence as the primary antagonist (although the clip below shows HAL 9000 in his more mundane period in the film), however even that can/has become a reality in scientific breakthroughs although devoid of any violent tendencies. If you’re a lover of Science-Fiction, this film is a must-see or if you’re merely a beginner in the genre this is the perfect film to start you off. 

The final film I want to bring to your attention, is also the most recent yet probably the most realistic in the current age of space travel, Ridley Scott’s (also known for directing Alien, 1979) The Martian (2015).

Image taken from DVD available in Hockney Library

Starring the excellent Matt Damon (as well as an incredible supporting cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean) The Martian is an endearing story of a man accidently left behind on Mars by his crew and his mission to survive until a rescue arrives. Even though it’s based on a novel by Andy Weir and set in the year 2035, both it’s imagery and it’s technology is extremely similar to the present day. NASA themselves were heavily involved in the production and script writing in order to achieve maximum scientific accuracy. It’s not just the dazzling special effects and iconic imagery that make this film so watchable however, the touching story at the heart of the film is just as if not more important, as this slightly humouros clip from the middle of the film shows: 

The message the film sends out is a particularly poignant one in the current climate, there’s always hope of a rescue in the gravest of times, making it a powerful watch now more than ever.

Overall, these films are some of the best you can watch to build your excitement for the return of big-screen Cinema or to give you hope and a sense of wonder for the future ahead as we continue to exit a most uncertain period in our history. So, why not check them out in the Library’s DVD section ASAP or simply anytime you feel in the mood for a good film!

Spotlight on.. O’Reilly Safari Learning Platform

by Haydn Clark

The O’Reilly Learning Platform is an online resource that provides you access to a huge amount of resources.  It will give you access to over thirty-five thousand different e-books and over thirty thousand hours of videos that are constantly being updated.

You also get access to Play Lists and Learning Paths that will take you all the way from being beginner in a subject to an expert level.

There is an Answer section, where you can ask questions of O’Reilly’s tech base.

O’Reilly provides resources on a huge range of subjects. While it mainly covers I.T. based subjects including Software Design, Programming Languages, Web Development, Mobile App Development, Software guides, Data Engineering, AI and Security

You can also find e-books on business, fashion design, that will help you to develop your career and get a job, travel guides, personal fitness, cookery books and photography. As well as many more subjects.

To access O’Reilly Learning Platform go to, www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/temporary-access

Choose Not listed Here from the drop-down menu of Institutions.

Now put in your College email

Then select

Shortly after the first time you log in, you will receive an email asking if you want to register and set up an account This will allow O’Reilly to save your progress through it’s Learning Paths and recommend books that you may find useful

A world of possibilities awaits, follow the link to find them.