British Women Documentary Filmmakers 1930-1955

British Women Documentary Filmmakers 1930-1955

British Women Documentary Filmmakers 1930-1955

Symposium 5 April 2019 9:00-18:30

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Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, London School of Economics

As the work of filmmakers including Jill Craigie, Kay Mander and Marion Grierson testify, women  played a significant part in the early decades of British documentary and informational filmmaking. Women were a vital part of the war effort and this was apparent in the films made by the Ministry of Information as well as newsreels, documentaries and dramas. Women also worked behind the camera as directors, editors and scriptwriters on instructional and propaganda films.Yet much early British documentary history on Grierson and the Documentary Movement tends to elide the ways in which non-canonical works engage differently with questions of the nation, gender, class and identity and the ways in which form and content are linked to context of production.  This one-day symposium seeks to deepen understanding of women’s creative presence in British documentary filmmaking. Papers explore individual films and filmmakers, as well as the industrial, social and historical contexts in which they worked. While WWII has been foregrounded in accounts of women’s participation in British film production, the day will consider a longer historical period including the innovations in documentary of the 1930s and the changing industry of the post-war period.

There will be a display in the open space drawing on the Craigie collection.

9:00-9:30 Arrivals and Coffee

 9:30-9:45 Welcome and Introduction

Lizzie Thynne and Sadie Wearing

9:45-10:45 Illustrated Lecture

 Fiona Kelly, (Film Curator, Imperial War Museum) ‘They Also Serve: the role and representation of women in Second World War film’

Chair: Lizzie Thynne (University of Sussex)

 10:45-11:00 Coffee/Tea  Break

11:00-12:30 Panel 1:  Housework and Home

 Toby Haggith (IWM)  ‘Women Documentary Filmmakers and the British Movement for Slum Clearance and Town Planning 1930-1960’

Charlotte Hallahan (University of East Anglia) ‘Rosie Newman’s Britain at Warand the Spectacle of Destruction’

Michael Lawrence (University of Sussex) ‘The Politics and Poetics of Housework in They Also Serve(Ruby Grierson, 1940)’

Chair: Adele Tulli (University of Sussex)

12:30-13:15 Lunch Provided at the Lower Ground Floor Space New Academic building

 1:15-15:00 Panel 2: Carving Careers

Melanie Bell (University Of Leeds)  ‘Pioneers and Practitioners: Women in Britain’s Documentary Film Sector’

Sarah Easen (Independent Film Historian) ‘Building reputations: The careers of Kay Mander and Margaret Thomson’

Helen Hughes (University of Surrey) ‘Looking for Diana Pine’

Hollie Price, (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘Building ‘Background’ Educational Film Networks, Women Documentarists and/in the Ministry of Information, 1940-46’

Chair: Shilyn Warren (UT Dallas)

15:00-15:15 Break

15:15-17:00 Panel 3: Beyond Biography

Ros Cranston (British Film Institute)  ‘What Marion Made – the significance of Marion Grierson in the British Documentary Movement in the1930s’

Gillian Murphy ( The Women’s Library, LSE)  ‘Jill Craigie Feminist Film Maker’

Tashi Petter (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘Sponsored Silhouettes: on Lotte Reiniger’

Melanie Williams ( University of East Anglia) ‘Women working in amateur non-fiction film: family, history, home, abroad’

Chair: Sadie Wearing (LSE)

17:15 -17:30 Introduction to the’ Jill Craigie: Film Pioneer’ Project

Yvonne Tasker, Lizzie Thynne,  Adele Tulli, Sadie Wearing

17:30-18:30 Roundtable(tbc)

With Charles Drazin (Queen Mary, University of London), Sue Harper (University of Portsmouth), Pat Holland (Bournmouth University), Isabel Segui (University of St Andrews),

Chair: Yvonne Tasker

Lizzie Thynne (University of Sussex)

Followed by a wine reception hosted by the LSE Department of Gender Studies, 11thFloor, Pankhurst Building

This event is supported by the AHRC

Book via Eventbrite here.

  Jill Craigie 1911 - 1999, English documentary film make, screenwriter, feminist, film pioneer.