Close Up: A creative-critical intervention in women activists and activist documentary filmmaking
My thesis investigates the impact that social activism has on women’s lives and explores how insurgency in women fosters courage and transformation. It analyses how womens’ activism extends beyond their cause and into their individual lives. My practice-led research will include the production of a film which will feature two groups of female activists: women insurgents in the 1984-5 miners’ strike, specifically the protest group ‘Women Against Pit Closures’ and a current movement against social injustice, ‘Black Lives Matter’. Both female-led organisations have been openly militant in their desire for change. Their causes have divided opinion and occupied a controversial position in the media. My thesis will examine the unintended and unpredicted consequences of women’s activism, the impact that this experience has had on the lives of miners’ wives and investigate how dissent is affecting women active in the Black Lives Matter movement now. What do these experiences have in common? To what extent do the activists (past and present) perceive themselves to share common ground, experientially, politically and, specifically, as women? Why does involvement in protest empower women to re-evaluate their role and aspirations and to take action in order to realise their potential, in and outside an activist context? It is important too to consider the ways in which the presence of social media and developments in technology have altered the organisation of protest for women.
The discourse relating to activism and insurgency usually has a masculine frame, firmly placing men in the foreground of the revolutionary picture. When women have been vociferous in their charge for change e.g. the Ford sewing machinists’ strike (1968), the Women’s Liberation Movement from around 1970— and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, (1981) (which was an influence on Women Against Pit Closures), such movements have been positioned outside the frame as auxiliary or different. They have required recovery research to bring them into the foreground, or to situate them in contextual relation to activism that is discerned to be broader, itself a gendered assumption.
My research refocuses the image, with the spotlight on women in the Midlands region.
- Art and Design and Arts and Humanities
- Film: The Art of Oppression screening and Q&A (Arts Council funded). At the intersection of womanhood and art my film follows three women who use their art as a means of activism to 'speak' of their experiences of marginalisation and social injustice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SSpqUye434
- Film: Roots/Routes - Filmmaker/director. A University of Nottingham and Nottingham Contemporary collaboration that reimagines the exploration of Black lives taking place in the local community. The voices of local Black academics and cultural creatives discuss the importance of Black thought, imagination and presence. https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/record/roots-routes/
- Studio Panellist: Aljazeera Television Inside Out show - How can racism against people of African descent be tackled? - Invited guest panellist on live show. https://www.aljazeera.com/program/inside-story/2021/6/28/how-can-racism-be-ended-against-people-of-african-descent
- Published article: Black Lives Matter: how the UK movement struggled to be heard in the 2010s. https://theconversation.com/black-lives-matter-how-the-uk-movement-struggled-to-be-heard-in-the-2010s-161763
- Expert Blog - Nottingham Trent University - Perfect Storm for a Black Revolution - https://bit.ly/3Azna71
- Expert Blog - Nottingham Trent University - The Killing of George Floyd: A Powerful Lesson for Change. - https://bit.ly/2RaVZx6
- Paper: Midlands3Cities Research Festival - Can You Hear Her? Exploring the Sonority of the Black, British, Female Dissenting Voice.
- BBC: - The Great Staycation - Matlock Bath - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bb7k
- BBC Inside Out: Crossing Divides: Thirty-five years after the 1984-1985 miners' strike, two former pit men try to heal deep wounds after the dispute. - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003449
- BBC Sunday Politics: A recent report finds that many people across the East Midlands region are struggling due to local authority economic development policies.
- Paper - Re-visioning Cultural, Historical and Gendered aspects of Nottingham's Past and Present.
- Paper - The 8th Annual Leicester Human Right Arts and Film Festival. Visualising the Muted Effect of Dissenting Women's Voices. - https://hraffl.wordpress.com/
- Paper - Steve McQueen Symposium - "I Want the Burden." 14th Annual Contemporary Directors Symposium. ...And Some of Us are Silenced. - https://sussexcds.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/steve-mcqueen-i-want-the-burden/
Public Engagement & Impact
- Filmmaking: The Art of Oppression - Winner - 'Best Film' - Windrush Caribbean Film Festival 2022.
- Filmmaking: The Art of Oppression - 'Special Selection' and nominated in 'Best Documentary' category - Midlands Movies Awards 2022.
- Panel Host: - Diaspora Cinema and Media: Globalising the Local. - https://www.bcu.ac.uk/media/research/research-groups/creative-industries/research-projects/diaspora-screen-media-network/news/diaspora-cinema-and-media-globalising-the-local-conference
- Guest Speaker: Generation Wiley UK (Publisher) - The Art of Oppression' - Viewing and discussion.
- Conference: October Dialogues 2016: Unspeakable Things Unspoken' -https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/whats-on/october-dialogues-2016/
Other Research Interests
Productions and Documentaries:
BBC Sunday Politics
BBC Inside Out
- British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies.
- Radical Film Network.
- Diaspora Screen Media Network.