Hebden Bridge Film Festival this weekend

From Friday to Sunday Hebden Bridge Film Festival will be online. I’m delighted to be hosting a panel looking at narrative and care in making documentary films. We had hoped to do this in person last year. The disappointment in cancelling that event at the onset of the pandemic is quelled by looking forward to this weekend and the hope I’ll be there in person in 2022.

‘Because we spoke our secrets to each other’

The Picture House by Clare Shaw

TOGETHER / APART is the theme of this year’s festival. This feeling is beautifully evoked in Clare Shaw’s poem The Picture House read by Maxine Peak below. It conjures the magic of cinema going, the joy of being part of an audience and the irresistible pull of storytelling. I’m really looking forward to the festival’s Virtual Foyers where you can meet other festival goers online. The sessions are on Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 3pm.

REAL LIFE: The Challenge of Documentary
1:30pm Sunday 21st March 2021

“I’m interested in shy people, telling small stories, quietly… my camera can be a loudhailer”


I’m thrilled to be joined by the following speakers for a live discussion about making documentaries. We’re going to talk about how to find narratives and to handle stories and their subjects with respect. The panelists have great skill and sensitivity in common and all understand the responsibility of telling stories with care. We’ll hear more about their work and what matters to them when documentaries are made.


I think this is as close as I can get to the softly energetic pleased with myself feeling I have today. A nice time writing, a return to Jayne’s pilates, mixed with really enjoyable reading (Helen Dunmore… more soon…) and finally buying a shed. I feel unfurled. This continues to be my go to dictionary for this series. I particularly loved these synonyms and related words:

Synonyms for springing

Words Related to springing

Emotion of the day series, with thanks to Be Manzini

Preparing for BtM Conference

Tomorrow and on Wednesday I’ll be taking part in the Beyond the Multiplex conference. I’ve been preparing for the sessions I’m hosting, rereading the speakers’ papers and becoming acquainted with Padlet, which is new to me. Here’s a preview of the two discussions I am chairing.

Audience choice, programming and digital platforms
14:10, Tuesday 2nd March 2021

  • Paul McEvoy (BFI Research and Statistics Unit) will present ‘Pick and Mix’ – cultural access, screen engagement and film appetites in the UK’s nations and regions
  • Prof. Mattias Frey (University of Kent) will present Film and Series Choice in the Age of Netflix: Results from an Empirical User Study
  • Dr Vejune Zemaityte (Tallinn University), Prof. Deb Verhoeven (University of Alberta) and Dr. Bronwyn Coate (RMIT University) will present Programming foreign films: Analysing cultural diversity in the global exhibition sector

Independent film exhibition support and development
14:40, Wednesday 3rd March 2021

  • Robert Livingston (Regional Screen Scotland) will present Developing diverse audiences in Scotland
  • Yasmin Begum will present Decolonising (D)evolving Film: Notes from Scotland and Wales
  • Monika Rodriguez and Michael Pierce (Cinema Nation) will present Imagining Cinemas as Eco-Systems
  • Rachel Hayward and Andy Willis (HOME, Manchester) will present Celebrating Women in Global Cinema: Curating a year-long programming initiative at HOME, Manchester

At the end of the conference I am joining Prof. Bridgette Wessels to reflect on the Beyond the Multiplex findings and recommendations and reflect on audience response. I intend to follow up here after the busy two days.

The aim of the BtM was to understand how to enable a wider range of audiences to participate in a more diverse film culture that embraces the wealth of films beyond the mainstream; and how to optimise the cultural value of engaging with those less familiar films. It did this by investigating how audiences engage with and form around ‘specialised’ films in four English regions, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West/Greater Manchester and the South West. Here, Audience formation is understood as the processes of engagement with films that generate audience experiences.



One of those nice serendipitous things where Brain Pickings, a newsletter I enjoy, took me to The Poetry Business who had been recommended to me just yesterday, via enjoying Christy Ducker’s A Scientist’s Advice on Healing. I am happily now a member and looking forward to reading Messenger in full.

“Try to accept

this fat red hurt

is your starting point,

in the way a pen must be put to paper

     in one particular spot,“

A Scientist’s Advice on Healing, Christy Ducker

The nourishing day continues with a delightful discussion on Book Shambles with Kevin Barry on reading, writing and the exciting news he has a new story collection out.

Emotion of the day number 23, with thanks to Be Manzini

A Room of One’s Own, Accumulating Weight

I recently finished A Room of One’s Own for the first time. There’s so much more to say than this initial post but in the midst of several funding applications I am reminded of two of so many phrases that hurtled towards me.

“That collar that I have spoken of… bowed my head to the ground.“

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (p.5, Vintage Classics)

This physical manifestation of worry or preoccupation is a concept I’ve ruminated on for some time. The Daily Journeys We Wear is an overarching concept for my present art practice. The notion being our lived experience can be manifested in wearable sculpture, portraits that enclose, cage, guard or amplify us.

I am developing a new series:

Worn: A Battleground.
Exploring what we carry with us.
Accumulated weight. An armour of sorts.

Worn Weft Weary. A trio.

Vestiges of an emotional battleground, artefacts.

I like the sense of a trio emerging here. They’ll be several stances forming a group I think. The W words are textural and a ripe starting place as specific words often are for me.

“A nugget of pure truth to wrap between the pages of your notebook and keep on the mantelpiece forever.”

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (p.4, Vintage Classics)

I loved this phrase from the moment I read it. That preciousness and the idea of a gift of words. A weightiness too though that can be burden like the previous collar. It is writing I want to write and the pressure I feel to find such writing when deadlines loom.


…I started by researching synonyms for reluctant. It was interesting to see the specific differences implied by adverse or loathe over reluctance – they give a specific motivation that I don’t have for the unwelcome task in hand. Irresolute brings the right flavour of vague unwillingness.

Emotion of the day number 22, with thanks to Be Manzini

Rachel Pronger’s discovery of Sandra Lahire

The wonderful archive activists Invisible Women bring archive to screen. Their research and writing are beguilingly rich, I’ve learnt so much about missing work in film history from them. Their particularly lovely recent newsletter features Rachel Pronger’s piece in Art Monthly on discovering Sandra Lahire. This essay is fertile in its description of the films during the particular setting of lockdown in March 2020. Rachel draws themes from the collected work with ease and gave me a physical sense of the impact of watching them.

“I felt a hand reach out across the span of dead time, one lone woman to another. A kind of connection in a disconnected moment. Alone, but somehow strangely still together.“

Together, Alone: Watching Sandra Lahire in Lockdown, Rachel Pronger