Maike Helmers als Gastwissenschaftlerin am Institut


Maike Helmers, Senior Lecturer in Sound Design and Editing an der Bournemouth University, UK, ist im Rahmen des Kooperationsprojekts Entangled Media History (EMHIS) seit 4. November 2013 für zwei Wochen Gast des Hans-Bredow-Instituts. Das von der Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education“ (STINT) finanzierte Forschungsnetzwerk EMHIS ermöglicht ihr die Literaturrecherche in der Bibliothek des Hans-Bredow-Instituts sowie die Recherche nach Archivmaterial über den frühen deutschen Tonfilm in Berlin.

Maike Helmers an der Bournemouth University


Bournemouth University Responsibilities: Senior Lecturer in Sound Design & Editing
Programme Coordinator: MA Sound Production for Film & TV
Qualifications & Membership of Professional Bodies: BBC in-house training scheme: 1987 Assistant Film Editor
Diploma in European Humanities (O.U.): 1998
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice / Academic Development (B.U.): 2002
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Research Interests

Past and present Research Themes

Prior to joining Bournemouth University in 1997, I worked in the BBC cutting rooms for about ten years.  During my time in broadcasting, I worked on the sound design and editing of a range of factual and drama programmes.  Through this work, I became particularly interested in the manipulative and emotive elements that may be employed by the soundtrack. 

Having left the BBC, I switched from the broadcasting environment into the Higer Education sector and became a member of staff at the Media School within Bournemouth University, where I have been lecturing in sound and editing, as well as embarking on a PhD / MPhil within the Media School.  Currently my research is predominantly concentrating on the period of the late Weimar Republic, and within that context specifically the very early sound films made in Germany during the period from 1930 – late 1932. 

I am interested in a range of dramas made during that period, looking at them specifically from the perspective of sound aesthetic style.  Some of the research questions I would like to explore:
•    How is sound used beyond the spoken word? 
•    What is the relationship between image and sound from the perspective of narrative editing? 
•    How complex are soundtrack elements? 
•    What is the role of composed score or other musical elements? 
•    To what degree are out of vision sounds used to construct a narrative world beyond the immediate confines of the visual cinematic frame?  
•    What attention (if any) is evident in terms of atmospheric or ambient sound elements?

Though I would aim to create a context that explores particular technological determinants, the central concept is not about technology as such, but about aesthetic or artistic factors that may have been involved in shaping these early ”soundscapes” in film.  Günther Lamprecht, GW Pabst, Piel Jutzi as well as Fritz Lang are some (but not all) of the directors that I would like to weave into this research on sound film styles. 

I presented some of my work at the School of Sound symposium (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London) in April 2013, where I was concentrating on the 1931 film version of the Erich Kästner novel Emil und die Detektive. 

I have just submitted an article on Gerhard Lamprecht’s work on the Kästner film to The New Soundtrack (Edinburgh University Press).

Future Research Interests

Looking beyond the immediate parameters of my PhD research, I would like to explore the relationship between early sound cinema and political ideology, particularly with regard to the national-socialist regime assuming power in Germany from January 1933. These are themes that were explored during my talk at the Centre for Media History conference  (Bournemouth University) in May this year.

I am also interested explore the divisive effect that the arrival of sound cinema had on European film, and am curious whether this could be a direction for the entangled / disentangled aspects of German, Swedish and British cinematic histor; along the themes of convergent and divergent cultural developments.

Journal Articles

The Soundtrack (Intellect Publishing):
2008 Vol. 1.1, p.61: Rick Altman’s Silent Film Sound
2008 Vol. 1.2, p.139: Ears Open: The role of sound in Das Leben der Anderen, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
The New Soundtrack (Edinburgh University Press):
2011 Vol. 1, p.181: Fritz Lang’s Three Versions of  Dr Mabuse
2013 (submitted 30/10): Gerhard Lamprecht’s Emil und die Detektive