Introducing WFTHN Resources

Providing a Gateway to Key Resources
and Artefacts through the WFTHN website

by Rona Murray

Following on from Natalie and Hannah’s piece as the new Social Media Team, it’s the turn of WFTHN Resources to come into the blog spotlight. See here if you’re not already familiar with our Resources pages which provide information about all things women’s film and tv history (publications, events, collectives, archives and so on). Recently, we have added a number of entries into each of the sections and we’re looking to make this an interactive resource for all of our members as well as to create a record of the current work being done and preserving the important work already in existence.

ResourcesI’m Rona Murray, a PhD student at Lancaster University, working on a comparative study of modern women filmmakers in different cultural and institutional contexts. I have joined Clare Watson at WFTHN to contribute to the further development of the resources section as an effective portal to key materials concerning the history of women and cinema. My background has included collaborating with programmers and educators (most often at the National Media Museum in Bradford) around events to exhibit women’s cinema and it’s been my experience there that ‘if you build it, they will come’ – and come as knowledgeable, passionate and engaged audiences for these films and debates around them. Arriving at WFTHN has been like washing up onto the shore of a country where this is all rightly taken for granted and where a vital hub for issues of preservation, ongoing research and advocacy for women and film has been built.

Constance Talmadge, Cigarette Card from The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of ExeterUpdating the resources – with the suggestions already compiled – has been the first step and has been a fascinating exercise. There is now an opportunity to incorporate our members needs/wishes as we build and reshape this part of the website. We will aim to highlight useful materials, ranging from well-established collections, archives and collectives to less well-known assets. We want to make our coverage of what’s available as comprehensive as possible. I am hoping now to accelerate the process of adding to these materials, crucially with your help as members through your contribution of information about individual resources known to you. As importantly, we are open to hearing from you about what you might expect from this resources section, depending on your particular stage in research or your institutional situation. Is Constance Talmadge on a cigarette card (above) of interest to you? ‘She’ is one of 75,000 artefacts held at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter and their online categories provided many similar searchable images. As we refine our own categories, we would want to incorporate members’ wishes as much as possible.

This resources section needs to face two ways – to hold material from the past and to keep up with current work now.  For example, in terms of our historical records, the collation and preservation of materials from collectives such as Leeds Animation Workshop remains an urgent issue. In order to reflect current scholarship and activism, the WFTHN resources section intends to act as a gateway for contemporary projects, from the latest articles and academic writing through to creative festivals.

Posts and information will also be highlighted through social media. If you want to browse the materials through the WFTHN website, please choose ‘Resources’ from the top menu on the WFTHN Home page where you’ll find a drop-down menu with various options.  These include some highlighted sections as well as ‘All Resources’  which will take you to the main page. Follow the directions on each page to add your own resource suggestions – a  brief proforma will indicate what information you should provide for each type of resource.

Adding resources

So, I’ll end by drawing attention to some of the specific areas we would really like members to send us information on straight away:

And any suggestions you may want to add to any of the sections would be very welcome.

Each section in Resources includes a button link to allow you to contribute.  Please also contact me directly with any queries, information or comments you have:  r.murray3@lancaster.ac.uk.