The Twitterverse: #dwfth4 from a distance.

Dear @wfthn and @callingtheshots

What does #dwfth4 look like, viewed from a distance, via its tweets? Collated out of the Twitter feed from the inspirational conference at Southampton University, organized by the @callingtheshots team, here is the image – our #dwfth4 group photo/temporary planet (via wordcloud).

A little background about the process to create this picture:

  • all the tweets and e-mails were cut and pasted into a document;
  • all names of delegates were removed (with apologies for any editor error), to honour the general rule that we are not a star system but a collective;
  • a dispensation to ‘repealthe8th’ in tweets was given, to acknowledge the conference’s support of that important, contemporaneous event;
  • less willingly, all directors’ names, were removed, to allow the shared vocabulary to prevail. Some painful surgery was, therefore, necessary on Lotte (5) and Reiniger (4), as well as Craigie (4) and Winona (2);
  • that said, Weinstein stays in, since this writer trusts it will become a historical marker, as in pre- and post-;
  • ‘canapés’ was underused (1) but should be recognised as the official kitemark of a good conference.

Please feel free to print and pin for a happy reminder.  If you’ve no such time, let us point out  a few highlights and enjoyable associations:

  • ‘tomorrow’ is visible;
  • The words ‘working’ (LHS) and ‘looking’ (RHS) are prominent, and balanced;
  • ‘pretty ignored’ has formed itself into a useful phrase (towards the base);
  • ‘pioneering’ and ‘old’ are nestling together between the ‘e’ and ‘n’ of women.

Of course, you might see others – please feel free to share via a tweet or two @wfthn.  Overall, in amongst our discursive tentpoles: women, history, feminist, film, tv and research: we have an expanding collective vocabulary – virtually and in person –  to take us forward.

@wfthn looks forward to supporting #dwfth5 – coming soon…….


CFP: Doing Women’s Film and Television History IV

 Doing Women’s Film and Television History IV: Calling the Shots – Then, Now, and Next

University of Southampton, May 23 – 25, 2018

Organising team: Shelley Cobb, Linda Ruth Williams, and Natalie Wreyford

As researchers of the AHRC-funded project Calling the Shots: Women and Contemporary UK Film Culture 2000-2015 we are proud to host the fourth International Doing Women’s Film and Television History conference in association with the Women’s Film and Television History Network – UK/Ireland.

Details can be viewed and dowloaded here (pdf) and here (Word document)

The focus for DWFTH-IV is predicated on the idea of the contemporary as an historical formation. The conference will offer a space to think about the interconnectedness of the past, present and future in feminist historiography and theory, as well as across all forms of women’s film culture and film and television production. It will also consider women’s film and television histories and their relationships with the contemporary, framed and read historically, to reflect on our methodological, theoretical, ideological and disciplinary choices when researching and studying women and/in film and television. In addition to this theme, we are interested in proposals/panels on all topics related to women’s film and television history, from all eras and from all parts of the globe. We hope that DWFTH-IV will build on the successes of the previous conferences through new work on women, both historical and contemporary, and fresh thinking on what we mean by women’s film and television history.


Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Professor Jane Gaines (Columbia University, USA)

Dr. Oluyinka Esan (University of Winchester, UK)

Dr. Rashmi Sawhney (Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, India)

Professor Shelley Stamp (University of Santa Cruz, USA)

Professor Yvonne Tasker (University of East Anglia, UK)

The conference will also include screenings with practitioners and other industry professionals.

Papers are invited on any aspect of women’s work in, consumption of, and relationship with film and television. The following is an indicative (and by no means exhaustive) list of possible topics:

  • women’s film/TV historiography: filling gaps or changing history?
  • history formulated as in medias res: how do we do contemporary history, and what are the implications of thinking of the historical in this way?
  • methodologies: archive searches, data collection (uses, limitations, difficulties collecting); interviews with practitioners; creative/cultural industrial approaches
  • the impact of social, economic and industrial conditions (including industry regulation) on women’s roles and creative practices
  • new ways of doing textual analysis of women’s films (rethinking feminist theory?)
  • the intersection of class, race, sexuality, disability and women both on screen and behind the camera
  • issues of archiving and preservation for women’s film and television
  • distribution and exhibition and broadcasting – finding and seeing women’s film and television
  • re-thinking women as ‘auteurs’ of film and television (directors, showrunners, producers, actors)
  • feminism & women’s film history; historicizing women’s film collectives of 1970s and 80s; feminist filmmaking today (and tomorrow?)
  • international and transnational contexts: connections, comparisons, collaborations, migration
  • crossing industry boundaries: film, television, theatre, radio, journalism, art, etc
  • practice-based research: directing, screenwriting, sound/set/costume design, etc

– the relationship between practice-based research and history

  • women audiences/viewers and women as fans
  • women campaigner/activists in film and television and for on-screen/off-screen change
  • women’s film criticism/women film critics
  • the uses of social media by women filmmakers/showrunners/actors/critics/fans/campaigners etc
  • digitisation in women’s filmmaking and future histories
  • ‘women’s cinema’ as critical category in post-feminist contexts
  • women’s independent filmmaking and/versus women’s mainstream (or blockbuster) directing
  • changing the curriculum: critical canons; pedagogies of women’s film and television history; teaching feminist history and theory; women’s film and television in core curricula
  • the relationship between film and television genres, their gendered affiliations and women’s involvement in their production
  • women practitioners’ negotiations of femininity and/or feminism in their working lives

Proposals for twenty-minute presentations must include the title of the presentation, a 250-word abstract and a brief biography the author(s). Pre-constituted panels of three speakers may also be submitted, and should include a 250-word 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 before the (now extended) deadline of 13th November 2017 (GMT 10am). Participants will receive a response from the selection committee before 20 December 2017.

Calling the Shots: Women and Contemporary Film Culture in the UK, 2000-2015 is an AHRC funded research project, running from 2014-2018. Further details of the project can be found at:



Remembering Annie Hall: A One Day Conference

Remembering Annie Hall: A One Day Conference
University of Sheffield
31st May 2017
Confirmed plenary speaker: Professor Annette Kuhn (Queen Mary, University of London)
Since its release on 27th April 1977, Annie Hall has established itself as a key film for Woody Allen’s career and the history of romantic comedy more generally. At the 1978 Academy Awards, it won Oscars for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. In addition to its central place in Allen’s oeuvre (film critic Roger Ebert called it “just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie”), it is regularly cited as one of the greatest film comedies. In 2015 it was voted the funniest screenplay ever by the Writers Guild of America.
To mark the fortieth anniversary of the film’s release, the University of Sheffield is hosting a one-day conference to consider the importance of Annie Hall and its cultural influence. We are particularly interested in conversations stimulated by revisiting the film in the current political climate of President Trump’s government. To that end we welcome papers on all aspects of the film, including its reception and reputation. 
Suggested topics may include but are not limited to the following:
 Annie Hall and “New Hollywood”
 Annie Hall as an auteur film
 Annie Hall as (auto)biography
 Annie Hall and fashion
 Annie Hall and feminism
 Annie Hall and whiteness
 Annie Hall and film genre
 Annie Hall and film theory
 Annie Hall and psychoanalysis
 The role of art, transformation and performance
 Representations of the city
 Representations of migrant experience
 Representations (or non-representations) of race
 Romance and sex
 Music and voiceover
 The problem of the Hollywood ending
 Thinking about Annie Hall as (or as not) a Woody Allen film
 Thinking about Annie Hall as a Diane Keaton film
 Annie Hall in 1977 versus Annie Hall in 2017
 Allen’s influences in Annie Hall and/or the influence of Annie Hall today
 Thinking about Annie Hall in the age of Trump
Proposals for 20-minute papers (maximum 200 word abstracts, plus a short biographical note of no more than 50 words) are due by 31st March 2017, and should be sent to
We encourage proposals from anyone with an interest in Annie Hall, including established academics, graduate students and independent scholars.
There is a conference website:

After Chantal: An International Conference


AFTER CHANTAL: An International Conference

The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster is pleased to announce a two-day conference that will celebrate and critically explore the work and legacy of Chantal Akerman. The event will mark the anniversary of the filmmaker’s death and also of the UK’s first retrospective exhibition of her installation work at Ambika P3, University of Westminster, which opened in October 2015. We welcome abstracts for 20-minute papers. Themes are outlined in the concept note below.

Conference Dates:  Friday 4th November (4pm) – Sunday 6th November 2016

Conference Venue: University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW, and 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS

Confirmed Keynotes and Invited Speakers include Janet Bergstrom (UCLA), Sandy Flitterman-Lewis (Rutgers University), Dominique Paini, (Paris),  Griselda Pollock (University of Leeds), Adam Roberts (A Nos Amours) and Corinnne Rondeau (University of Nimes).

Abstract Deadline: Monday 19th September

Registration opens: Monday 3rd October

Conference Themes

“When you try to show reality in cinema, most of the time it’s totally false. But when you show what’s going on in people’s minds that’s very cinematic.”   Chantal Akerman, 2015.

The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) is hosting a two-day conference to critically explore the legacy and implications of Akerman’s work. Akerman contributed greatly to challenging the perceptions of film and cinema. Her work explored themes that included the everyday, domestic labour, psychoanalysis, migration and displacement.  She is seen as a pioneer in embracing the gallery space as a filmmaker and she contributed to the expanded cinematic form, experimenting with reflexivity, cinematic time and the frame. She worked across countries, sites and cultures as well as pre-defined conceptual, epistemological or political categories. Her method of working was distinctive in its blurring margins and crossing genres. She refused to be identified as any single ‘type’ of filmmaker, whilst contributing greatly to our contemporary understanding of film.
Participants are invited to critically explore both how Akerman disrupted the polemics of art and cinema and the lasting effects of her work. Papers can address Akerman’s work directly or explore work influenced by her under the following themes:

1        After Chantal: Nomadic Making and Resistance
‘I always resist definitions. It creates fences.’  Chantal Akerman, 2015.
Constant movement accentuated Akerman’s identity as an artist. She moved across physical locations, amongst disparate genres and subjects, and between high culture and low culture. Her nomadic approach to making produced her most successful films and numerous ventures, including television shorts, comedies, musicals and a vast body of installation work. Her methods relied on self-reflection, re-invention and a willingness to fail. She disrupted expectations and the notion of a fixed identity as an artist. How do we situate the mobile artist/filmmaker? How does nomadic thinking support a practice of constant reinvention and at what cost?
Topics can include:

–       Nomadic subversion, representation and identity

–       High theory and low theory, high culture and low culture

–       Unexpected encounters in filmmaking

–       Risk and the value of failure

2        After Chantal: Fiction and Documentary
‘It is certainly interesting to mix fiction and documentary, it’s a good thing.’  Chantal Akerman, 2015.
The factual character of film is its inherent index of reality, yet there are intriguing borders between fiction, documentary and actuality. Akerman fused non-fiction and fiction, at times replacing one with the other. Her work requests us to rethink how we negotiate these borders. How is reality shaped through film? In what ways can fiction and truth become narrative or documentary? Are there new ways of showing/viewing the everyday in and beyond existing film categories?
Topics can include:

–       Fiction as method

–       Narrative in documentary and fiction

–       The everyday

–       The politics of truth

3        After Chantal: Film as Installation
‘Yes, so there is a big difference between cinema and works in galleries. When it is an installation, which is rarely narrative, every moment of the work should grab you, and cause you to stay. Time is no longer decided by the stage director but by the public.’  Chantal Akerman, 2015.
Akerman’s installation work has helped to rethink the role of film as installation. This session will approach video and film installation in relation to space, the curated exhibition, performativity and counterculture. Can film installation move us to new ways of thinking about space and art? What is the interaction between space, narrative and audience?
Topics can include:

–       The cinematic turn in contemporary art

–       Narrative and installation

–       Film as intervention

–       Spectator, time and space

4        After Chantal: Legacy
‘As for experimental cinema, I do not know where to find it.’  Chantal Akerman, 2015.
Experimental cinema is today a fragmented practice located in a variety of contexts. We invite presenters to explore the idea of legacy through work influenced by Akerman. We invite presentations of projects and practices that continue her work of challenging perceptions of film and video today, as display, process or medium. Where does Akerman’s influence currently exist and how can it be manifested in the future?

Deadline for Abstracts

We welcome proposals for papers of a maximum of 20 minutes addressing any one of the above themes. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words.  These should include the presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter. Abstracts should be sent to Michael Maziere at<> and arrive no later than Monday 19 September 2016.

Programme and Registration

This conference will take place from 4.00pm on Friday 4 November to late afternoon Sunday 6 November 2016.  Registration will open in October 2016.

Conference Team

Michael Maziere, Rosie Thomas, May Ingawanij, Treasa O’Brien, Aislinn White.
Conference administrator: Karen Foster.

CfP: Gothic Feminism

Gothic Feminism: 

The Representation of the Gothic Heroine in Cinema

 University of Kent 

Thursday 26th – Friday 27th May 2016

Keynote Speaker: Dr Catherine Spooner (Lancaster University)


 Since its literary beginnings, the Gothic has featured distinctive female characters who engage with, and are often central to, the uncanny narratives characteristic of the genre. The eponymous ‘Gothic heroine’ conjures up images of the imperilled young and inexperienced woman, cautiously exploring the old dark house or castle where she is physically confined by force – imprisoned by the tale’s tyrant – or metaphorically trapped by societal expectations of marriage and domesticity. The Gothic heroine is habitually motivated by an investigative spirit and usually explores her surroundings in a quest to uncover a sinister secret which shall, for example, reveal her love interest’s past or provide explanation for her supposedly supernatural encounters.

The importance of the Gothic’s women protagonists is not limited to these narrative functions but extends to considerations of the genre itself; the Gothic can be defined by its portrayal of the heroine. Ellen Moers’ work on female literary traditions is a key text in this respect, identifying the ‘Female Gothic’ as a distinctive mode within the genre. The ‘Female Gothic’ highlights the prevalence of female writers exploring the Gothic mode and the implied woman reader engaging with the heroine’s exploits. Moers writes that ‘Female Gothic’ texts – such as those by Ann Radcliffe – convey a specific form of ‘heroinism’ which evokes the idea of a ‘literary feminism’.

Moers’ work demonstrates how the Gothic and the Gothic heroine intersect with feminist criticism because, as Helen Hanson notes, ‘the female gothic bears a political charge’ (Hanson, 2007, 63). This ‘political charge’ is equally applicable to the Gothic film and its representation of the heroine. In cinema, the Gothic enjoyed particular attention with the 1940s cycle of melodrama and noir films which emphasised the Gothic traits of the old dark house, mystery and domestic threat, with the Gothic heroine’s exploits central throughout. Films such as Rebecca (1940), Gaslight (1940/1944) and Secret Beyond the Door(1947) are exemplary of this trend. Several writers have explored the political and feminist ramifications of these films which have been seen as Gothic or, as Mary Ann Doane writes, ‘paranoid woman’s films’ (Doane, 1987). The reception and interpretation of these films is inextricably linked to societal contexts in which these films were made, as Diane Waldman notes how the war and immediate post-war period offer distinct visions – and varying degrees of validation – of the heroine’s feminine perspective.

This conference seeks to re-engage with these theories and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. Since the release of Rebecca over 75 years ago, has our evaluation of the Gothic heroine necessarily changed? How does the Gothic heroine relate to its literary predecessors? Can one speak of a cinematic Gothic heroine, distinct and separate from the original Gothic literature? Victoria Nelson notes that, in film history, ‘[in] a relatively short span of time, the perennial swooning damsel in distress had turned into a millennial female jock’ (Nelson, 2013, 136). How have the Gothic heroines of the screen evolved and is it possible to trace this specific lineage in contemporary representations? Whether the Gothic heroine be a ‘damsel’ or a ‘jock’, this inevitably raises the question of interpretation: how should the Gothic heroine be evaluated and can such a representation be thought of as ‘feminist’?

This conference shall engage with these questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations, with films such as Crimson Peak (2015) directly re-engaging with the Gothic genre. This event seeks to wrestle with the difficulties posed by the Gothic as a mode which emphasises terror, the uncanny and suspense, alongside representations of women protagonists who given agency as investigators motivating narrative development but are subjected to horror for the story’s pleasure. These difficulties are not new to the Gothic genre. As Fred Botting notes: ‘Women’s gothic, it seems, straddles contradiction and challenge, persecution and pleasure’ (Botting, 2008, 153). Similarly, David Punter and Glennis Byron write that ‘[whether] female Gothic should be seen as radical or conservative has been an issue of particular concern’ (Punter and Bryon, 2004, 280). This conference shall illuminate the concerns, contradictions and challenges posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen through reference to specific case studies which re-engage with older examples of the Gothic and/or explore contemporary films, reflecting upon the renewed academic and commercial interest in the genre of recent years.

 Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • How interpretations of the Gothic heroine relates to large feminist criticisms. Can Gothic film be said to be ‘progressive’? Is the Gothic heroine always defined in relation to a patriarchy?
  • In light of Moers’ work, can one speak of ‘heroinism’ and a ‘cinematic feminism’ to Gothic film?
  • Historical explorations of the Gothic heroine in cinema. How has representations of the heroine changed and how does this relate to larger social and political contextual concerns?
  • Contemporary incarnations of the Gothic heroine.
  • Comparisons between the cinematic Gothic heroine and the genre’s literary beginnings.
  • On-screen adaptations of Gothic literary texts.
  • How does the Gothic heroine compare to other distinctive representations of female protagonists in genres such as melodrama and horror? Is the Gothic heroine a distinct and separate entity apart from other genres, or is she inextricably linked to them?
  • Can one speak of a separate Gothic heroine tradition in cinema?
  • The reception of Gothic film and Gothic heroine audiences.
  • The relationship between the heroine and space, particularly domestic spaces such as the house. How does architecture relate to the representation of the Gothic heroine?
  • The significance of costume and fashion to the Gothic heroine’s identity.
  • Comparisons between the Gothic heroine and other protagonists, such as the archetypal ‘other woman’ or male lead. How, for example, is the concept of ‘Gothic feminism’ affected by the genre’s representation of masculinity/masculinities?
  • The Gothic heroine as virgin or mother figure.

 Please submit proposals of 500 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to by 18th March 2016.

Frances Kamm and Tamar Jeffers McDonald, University of Kent.


Botting, Fred. (2008). Gothic Romanced: Consumption, Gender and Technology in Contemporary Fictions. Oxford: Routledge.

Doane, Mary Ann. (1987). The Desire to Desire: The Woman’s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hanson, Helen. (2007). Hollywood Heroines: Women in Film Noir and the Female Gothic Film. London and New York: I. B. Tauris.

Moers, Ellen. (1976). Literary Women. New York: Doubleday and Co.

Nelson, Victoria. (2013). ‘Daughters of Darkness’. In: Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film. London: BFI.

Punter, David. and Byron, Glennis. (2004). The Gothic. Oxford: Blackwell.

Waldman, Diane. (1983). ‘”At last I can tell it to someone!” Feminine point of view and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s’, Cinema Journal 23: 29-40.