CfP: Doing Women’s Film and Television History III: Structures of Feeling

Call for Papers

Doing Women’s Film and Television History III: Structures of Feeling

18-20 May 2016

Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre, Leicester, UK

Confirmed Speakers:

Miranda J Banks

Melanie Bell

Shelley Cobb

Linda Ruth Williams

As organizers of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, ‘A History of Women in the British Film and Television Industries,’ we are proud to host the third International Doing Women’s Film and Television History conference, in association with the Women’s Film & Television History Network: UK/Ireland.

The central theme of this edition, ‘Structures of Feeling,’ is derived from the work of Raymond Williams on social change, and commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1975 publication of Patterns of Discrimination Against Women in the Film and Television Industries by the Association of Cinematograph, Television and allied Technicians (ACTT) union’s Committee of Equality. This watershed report was the first to quantify and evaluate the gendered hierarchies of grades and pay that effectively saw women working in ‘sexual ghettoes’ within the British film and television industries, providing indispensable support for women union members in pursuit of collective bargaining rights for women. Forty years on from its original purpose, this report is now an important historical document, affording feminist researchers insight into the elusive ‘structures of feeling’ – those values and experiences within which a community of women worked and campaigned for change – that are only fully accessible to those living in that time and place and therefore require particular kinds of research.

Such reports are invaluable because they identify the ways in which women’s work in ‘below-the-line’ roles have been undervalued as well as highlighting the policies, practices and assumptions of the industries that keep gendered hierarchies in play.  Crucially they also make visible the largely ‘invisible labour’ of cinema and television that is carried out by women. In effect, such documents contribute to the field of women’s film and TV history by allowing researchers to counter the ‘selective traditions’ of historical analysis that have privileged histories over herstories. As the collection of essays from the first ‘Doing Women’s Film History’ conference (forthcoming October 2015) shows, the different sources, methods and conceptualisations on which scholars of women’s film and TV history draw challenge not only established histories but also the historiographicassumptions and practices that underpin them.

While these ‘jumping-off’ points explore women working in UK production contexts, Doing Women’s Film & TV History III, like its predecessors, is international in scope and the conference organisers seek comparative illumination by inviting proposals that explore the ‘structures of feeling’ of women working in any national system of film and television production, within any historical period. The organisers are also interested in proposals that address the critical and historiographic tools that can be utilised to bring women’s ‘structures of feeling’ in film and television history to view.

Specific topics for papers and panels that address gaps in women’s film and television history include:

·       Women’s contributions to film and television production

·       The impact of production cultures on women workers

·       The impact of social, economic and industrial conditions (including industry   regulation) on women’s roles       and creative practices

·       The relationship between women’s work and media trade unions/professional guilds/campaign groups

·       The connection between women’s access to production and screen representations of women or textual femininities

·       The relationship between film and television genres, their gendered affiliations and women’s involvement in their production

·       Women practitioners’ negotiations of femininity and feminism in their working lives

·       Women practitioners negotiations of identity politics (e.g. class, race, age, sexuality) in their working lives

·       Cross-national connections and comparisons

·       Women’s career moves from film to television (or vice versa) and from/to other creative industries

·       Issues of archiving, preservation and exhibition

·       Impact of digitisation on women’s film/TV production and future histories

·       Sources and methodologies for gender-orientated film and television research

·       Critical canons and teaching women’s film and television history

Proposals for twenty-minute presentations must include the title of the presentation, a 250 word abstract and a brief autobiographical statement by the author(s). Pre-constituted panels of three speakers may also be submitted, and should include a brief panel rationale statement, as well as individual abstracts. Proposals from both established scholars and early career researchers including postgraduate students are welcomed. Proposals should be submitted to vicky.ball@dmu.ac.uk before the 4 December 2015. Participants will receive a response from the selection committee by early January 2016.

‘A History of Women in the British Film and Television Industries’ is an AHRC funded research project led by the University of Newcastle and De Montfort University. The project team leaders are: Dr Melanie Bell (Newcastle); Dr Vicky Ball (De Montfort); Sue Bradley (Research Associate, Newcastle) and Frances Galt (PhD candidate, De Montfort).

Further details of the project can be found at: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/womensworkftvi/

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