Gems of the Archive Blog Series

In WFTHN’s new series, we will be re-posting 10 of our most popular blog posts – or “gems” – from the archive. We will be reposting one blog a month. This is an effort to recontextualize and understand old posts in the context of today’s society.

This series of ‘gems’ has been curated by Jasmin Leech, Maynooth University.

August’s Gem of the Archive

This article by Lorna Jowett, published in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is centred around architect, actor and producer, Kai Cole, who was married to television producer, Joss Whedon. Kai Cole, a powerhouse in her own right, exposes the hypocrisy between the feminist narrative of Whedon productions such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), and his personal life, in which he consistently cheated on her with young women who were involved with his productions. In this blog, Jowett considers the feminist literature on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in light of the details surrounding Whedon’s behaviour. This blog post serves as an interesting case study, enquiring if we can actually separate the art from the artist.

July’s Gem of the Archive

This blog post is a 2014 interview with actor Joanna Scanlan by WFTHN SG member, Clare Watson. It covers the life of Scanlan, from her formative years in an acting program that had just allowed girls to enter, to her big breaks and role in a movie portraying Charles Dickens’ wife, directed by Ralph Fiennes. The interview took place when Scanlan visited DeMontfort University, where she used to work as a senior lecturer (a position she obtained aged 25!). Since this post in 2014, Joanna Scanlon has featured in 29 films or television programmes.

June’s Gem of the Archive

June’s gem of the archive follows on from May’s gem on the Sheffield Film Co-operative. In this second part, WFTHN Steering Group member Angela Martin further delves into the history of the Sheffield Film Co-Operative based on an interview with founding member Christine Bellamy.

The Sheffield Film Co-operative, while not currently active have conceptualised, produced and screened many films that told the story of the lives of women in Britain, From stories about abortion laws, domestic violence and women trying to make it in male dominated fields, this film co-operation serves as an important landmark in women in film in the UK and Ireland. This blog post evaluates the films and the actions of it’s steering members, both as active members, and after the collective officially ceased trading.

May’s Gem of the Archive

The Sheffield Film Co-operative served as an important gateway into representing women and women’s lives, on television. This blog post traces the origins of this film co-operative, from conception as a radio show, sharing everyday moments of women’s lives, to the production of a movie, exploring the female experience in a world where abortion has been newly legalised. This blog post was based off of an interview conducted by WFTHN Steering Group Member Angela Martin with Christine Bellamy, from the Sheffield Film Co-operative.

This blog is part 1 of 2. Part 2 can be read as June’s gem of the archive.

April’s Gem of the Archive

Angela Rippon is a BBC news journalist and presenter, well known for the longevity of her career on the screen. This blog post explores her encounters with sexism and ageism as she became a household name in the 1970s. Angela Rippon can be counted among other female news presenters in the BBC, who were making waves and leading the way for more women in visible, televised roles. This 2014 blog post by Gillian Murray asks the question, what can we learn from the complexity of the obstacles faced by the women who pioneered female broadcasting, and how does what remains unspoken shape our understanding of the role of women in media today?

March’s Gem of the Archive

When considering women in film throughout history, the live cinema experience can easily be overlooked. This blog post written in 2014 by Eva Balogh and Olly Gruner covers the lives of female ushers in the Portsmouth film scene in the 1930-40s. Mostly composed of oral history, this study discusses the role of women in the golden era of cinema in Britain. The research of the blog indicates that the ushers looked up to the idea of Hollywood stars, in a work environment that lacked any kind of workers protection for women’s labour. It is undeniable that these women had a great effect on how the cinema experience was shaped, and in an increasingly digitised world, the work and the value that these women contributed in shaping the golden era of cinema should not be overlooked.

February’s Gem of the Archive

Originally published in 2018, this blog post explores the life of Anne Charlotte Robertson, as told by herself. Through a series of video and written diaries, Anne Charlotte Robertson allows the viewer a glimpse into her life, as she performs her daily tasks to the film camera. Ultimately culminating in the reflection, “Is this my life?”. A thought-provoking question, with perhaps and even more though provoking approach to answering it. In 2001, she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in Filmmaking, as well as her films being screened both nationally and internationally. However, as this blog post points out, her work, for various reasons, is almost entirely absent from academia in film and documentary making.

Bonus Gem of the Archive

The news of Sex and the City’s reboot raises many questions: how has modern womanhood changed since the show ended? What impact has the show had on television? What is the show’s relevance today? In this blog post from 2014, Janet McCabe reflects on Sex and the City’s impact on television, women storytellers and postfeminist female subjectivity. The blog post is in dialogue with the symposium ‘Sex and the City 10 Years On: Landmark Television and its Legacy’, which assessed why Sex and the City mattered then and now. With a new iteration of Carrie Bradshaw and co. appearing on our screens soon, we couldn’t help but wonder: what is Sex and the City’s legacy – past, present and future?

January’s Gem of the Archive

As representation become ever more important in the world of filmmaking and broadcast television, among the pioneers of Asian representation in the BBC is Tara Prem. This 2013 blog post by Dr Liarou explores Tara Prem’s role in the advancement of British multicultural television. Dr Liarou covers Tara’s Prem’s professional life, from small to large scale production companies. Tara Prem is of Indian and Irish descent and wrote the first drama to air on the BBC with an all Asian cast.In 2015, Tara Prem was presented with an award for Outstanding Contribution to Media by the Asian Media Awards.

December’s Gem of the Archive

The role of a Continuity Girl will always be relevant within the scope of filmmaking. However, as Melanie Williams points out, the role is often overlooked, even though the role is crucial to the overall production. With the rise in popularity of long TV shows and streaming, the job becomes even more important. The Continuity Girl is often a gendered role, while also not holding the same amount of status as a director, or other roles on set. This blog post and linked article explore the possible link between the lack of status attached to the role, and its gendered nature.