Letters, lives and archives panel – BAFTSS, St Andrew’s 16-18 April 2020

Letters, lives and archives: an epistolary approach to women’s film history

With papers by Julia Eisner (KCL), Lizzie Thynne (Sussex) and Tashi Petter (QMUL)

Letters and personal correspondence held in public and private collections offer a rich primary resource for film scholars, especially for research on figures who have been side-lined or marginalised in traditional historiography. Showcasing new work on three such individuals – Jill Craigie, Lotte Eisner, Lotte Reiniger – this panel will explore the opportunities and challenges of an epistolary methodology. How can we re-construct a life from women’s written communications and other print-based materials in the archive? How can this approach help us to move beyond ‘surface’ level understanding in order to re-think women’s contributions to cinema and film history?

This panel came out of a collaborative workshop delivered by Julia Eisner and Tashi Petter, as part of the DAAD-funded project ‘Circulating Cinema: the moving image archive as Anglo-German contact zone (CIRCE)’. Paper titles are as follows:

  • Lizzie Thynne – The politics of making: the correspondence of Jill Craigie (1911 – 99), documentary film-maker
  • Julia Eisner – Lotte Eisner: Collecting and Connecting
  • Tashi Petter – “Life in London, Lotte Loves it”: Lotte Reiniger, letters and exile film history through the archive

Please see the BAFTSS conference web page for further details: https://www.baftss.org/conf-2020


***Unfortunately the BAFTSS conference in St Andrew’s has been cancelled due to Covid-19. We hope to present this research at future conferences and will post details when we can.