Name: Patricia Francis
PhD: Arts and Humanities
Thesis Title: Close Up: A creative critical intervention in women activists and activist documentary filmmaking
My theses investigates the impact that social activism has on women’s lives and explores how insurgency in women fosters courage and transformation. It analyses how womens’ activism extends beyond their cause and into their individual lives. My practice-led research will include the production of a documentary film which will feature two groups of female activists: women insurgents in the 1984-5 miners’ strike, specifically the protest group ‘Women Against Pit Closures’ and a current movement against social injustice, ‘Black Lives Matter’. Both female-led organisations have been openly militant in their desire for change. Their causes have divided opinion and occupied a controversial position in the media. My thesis will examine the unintended and unpredicted consequences of women’s activism, the impact that this experience has had on the lives of miners’ wives and investigate how dissent is affecting women active in the Black Lives Matter movement now. What do these experiences have in common? To what extent do the activists (past and present) perceive themselves to share common ground, experientially, politically and, specifically, as women? Why does involvement in protest empower women to re-evaluate their role and aspirations and to take action in order to realise their potential, in and outside an activist context? It is important too to consider the ways in which the presence of social media and developments in technology have altered the organisation of protest for women.
The discourse relating to activism and insurgency usually has a masculine frame, firmly placing men in the foreground of the revolutionary picture. When women have been vociferous in their charge for change e.g. the Ford sewing machinists’ strike (1968), the Women’s Liberation Movement from around 1970— and the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, (1981) (which was an influence on Women Against Pit Closures), such movements have been positioned outside the frame as auxiliary or different. They have required recovery research to bring them into the foreground, or to situate them in contextual relation to activism that is discerned to be broader, itself a gendered assumption. Beeban Kidron’s article in the Guardian in 2013 about the Greenham Common protest supports this; ‘In 30-plus years since I sat at the yellow gate filming the heavy hand of the police and the inexplicable prejudice of the media against a group, whose major crime seemed to be the absence of men…’
My research intends to refocus the image with the spotlight on women in the Midlands region.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Professor Sharon Monteith (Nottingham Trent University)
Fiona MacLaren (Nottingham Trent University)
Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:
- BBC Inside Out: Thirty-five years after the 1984-1985 miners' strike, two former pit men try to heal deep wounds after the dispute.
- BBC Sunday Politics: A recent report finds that many people across the East Midlands region are struggling due to local authority economic development policies.
- Q&A Host: Sleaford Mods film and Invisible Britain book launch at Broadway cinema - https://www.broadway.org.uk/whats-on/invisible-britain-sleaford-mods-filmib-book-qa
- Delivered a paper: ' Filming the plurality of the Black British Experience Across Two Generations' at the 2018 Radical Film Network conference - https://radicalfilmnetwork.com/conferences/
- Delivered a paper: 'Women’s activism and political transformation through the lens of the 1984 miners’ strike' at the 'Movements: Protest, Politics and Activism in the 21st Century' conference - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/movements-protest-politics-and-activism-in-the-21st-century-conference-tickets-46007171689#
- Royal Television Society: CBBC film 'Are You Ready For this?'. 2018 award nominee.
- Host: International Women's Day event organised by Equation and Women's Aid Integrated Services.
- The Conversation - published article; 'We are women, we are strong': celebrating the unsung heroines of the miners' strike. https://theconversation.com/we-are-women-we-are-strong-celebrating-the-unsung-heroines-of-the-miners-strike-92448
- Are You Ready For This? CBBC 'My Life' series of documentaries
- The Place Is Here: An exhibition tracing a number of wide ranging conversations between renowned black British artists, writers and thinkers in the 1980s. I launched the event and Chaired 'The Time is Now' panel discussion for the Nottingham Contemporary. http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/time-now-june-givanni
- Journey To Justice Nottingham: Steering group member. The steering group curated the local content of the exhibition, devised the events and outreach programme, built and produced content for the website, and formulated new initiatives Journey to Justice: Nottingham could engage with. https://journeytojustice.nottingham.ac.uk/about/
October Dialogues: The conference examined the ways in which slavery has figured in public history in Britain. It considered how academic history has shaped public perceptions of slavery and how public debate has challenged and inspired. http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/october-dialogues-2016-transatlantic-slavery
- Making Waves screening and Q&A: My documentary compares the lives of young black people growing up in the 1980’s with those growing up today. Nearly 40 years after the 1976 Race Relations Act, Making Waves documents the life stories of first and second-generation black, British citizens from the African-Caribbean communities. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/home/featureevents/2015/making-waves-screening-and-qa.aspx
Productions: Independent Documentaries
- Making Waves (2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BEginKevFM&t=3s
- Rosetta (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg7ulZC-5Oo&t=172s
- Many Rivers To Cross (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp76muFTDIk&t=7s
- BBC Sunday Politics
- Laying The Foundation (2019): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00044yt/sunday-politics-east-midlands-07042019
- Young Carers (2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCgyMvPpOyQ&t=3s
- Bedroom Tax (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc_rphEQRho&t=7s
- Domestic Violence (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sxDgKlR-PE
- Universal Credit (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JikfU110ktk&t=3s
- BBC Inside Out
- Crossing Divides (2019): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003449
- Nottingham: A City of Activists (2017): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0952dx6/inside-out-east-midlands-18092017#
- Working Age Dementia (2013) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTF5ygYAnrQ&t=4s
- Are You Ready For This? (2017): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08l5jrm/credits
Events & Conferences:
- Journey to Justice launch event (2017): Member of the steering group and events sub-group.
- Reel Equality Film Club (2017): Hidden Figures. Post screen discussion and Q&A panel Chair.
- Reel Equality Film Club and Sojourner Sisters (2015): Girlhood. Pre-screen introduction. https://screeningfilm.com/events/reel-equality-and-sojourner-sisters-present-girlhood-2015/
- Broadway Cinema (2015): Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess and Many Rivers To Cross. Guest speaker.
- Nottingham Contemporary (2015): Making Waves. Film Premier and pre-screen introduction. http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/making-waves
- Broadway Cinema (2014): Beyond The Lights: Post screen Q&A and discussion. http://www.broadway.org.uk/events/film-beyond-the-lights-plus-qanda
- Nottingham Contemporary (2013): Many Rivers to Cross. Film premier and Pre-screen introduction. http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/many-rivers-cross
- News paper reviewer - BBC Radio Nottingham.
University email address: Patricia.Francis2017@my.ntu.ac.uk
Other Social Media: https://www.youtube.com/user/SyncopateTV/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd
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