This one-day event, sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Postgraduate Forum and the Migration Research Group at the University of Sheffield, aims to open up discussion and debate about women making films across the Black Atlantic. It will showcase films, by four female directors, which traverse that space. In bringing them together, new connections can be made through the filmic representations and explorations of migration, belonging and identity.
Figuring the Black Atlantic as a complex, contingent web of relations and movements brings to the fore questions of migration, belonging and identity within and across this space. It links Africa, the Americas and Europe through the relations and movements of human beings. It is 25 years since the publication of Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness – a quarter of a century in which Gilroy’s proposal to ‘take the Atlantic as one single, complex unit of analysis […] and use it to produce an explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective’ (1993: 15) has been explored, celebrated and critiqued by a whole generation of Cultural Studies scholars.
In particular, the relative lack of consideration given to gender and the somewhat restrictive geographical matrix of Gilroy’s work has been criticised and the need to engage with women’s experiences of the Black Atlantic has been highlighted. Kimberley Juanita Brown, for example, in exploring black female subjectivities, asks: ‘what is to be made of the Black Atlantic body forgotten?’ (2015: 4). Film, with its uniquely visual properties, can do much to make forgotten bodies visible. But what about the bodies behind the camera? Women behind the lens, who face all kinds of gendered and racialised barriers to success, and are globally vastly outnumbered by men, are often forgotten.
The geographical aspect is also of urgent importance. There is an ever-pressing need to open up multidirectional dialogue about all kinds of migratory experiences, drawn as they also are along lines of race, privilege and gender. If we are to change the narrative on migration, it is crucial to give greater visibility to women’s perceptions and representations.
Fidalgo, as a starting point. Sabrina will join us via Skype for a Q&A. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion, with audience questions and interventions warmly invited.
The screening of the feature film, Homelands (2017, UK) by Tara Manandhar and Jaha Browne will take place from 4:30-6pm, and we will be joined by the directors for a Q&A.
* The event is co-organised by Katy Stewart, PhD Researcher at the School of Languages and Culture, and Dr Marcia Vera Espinoza, Research Associate at the Department of Politics, both members of the Migration Research Group at Sheffield.