Collective Imaginings: Legacies of the Black Audio Film Collective

In 1983, Black Audio Film Collective emerged in the British art scene with their first slide-tape films, Expeditions 1: Signs of Empire and Expeditions 2: Images of Nationality, which traced the formation of black British subjectivity borne by diasporic journey. Over the next fifteen years, Black Audio Film Collective’s lyrical, essayistic films would bring together archival footage and draw upon the work of postcolonial writers, feminist intellectuals, and queer theorists—Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Homi Bhabha, Gail Lewis, Femi Otitoju, and George Shire, among others—to reckon with radically shifting social and political conditions in Britain and the US. Their subjects are familiar today: their films confront racism and power, increasing economic disparity, and the relationship between migration and rampant xenophobia. Collective Imaginings: Legacies of the Black Audio Film Collective is a panel discussion with participants Coco Fusco, Tobi Haslett, Kara Keeling, and moderator Ashley Clark. The discussion will explore the importance of returning to Black Audio Film Collective’s work in our current political and cultural moment—not only in terms of their radical approach to documentary film, but also their broader commitment to supporting new voices of color in video production by organizing workshops, roundtable dialogues, and public forums.

This panel is organized on the occasion of “John Akomfrah: Signs of Empire,” the first American survey exhibition of the work of British artist, film director, and writer John Akomfrah (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana). Since the early 1980s, Akomfrah’s moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world.

READ THIS! Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s Edited by: Sue Clayton, Laura Mulvey

The 1970s was an enormously creative period for experimental film. Its innovations and debates have had far-reaching and long-lasting influence, with a resurgence of interest in the decade revealed by new gallery events, film screenings and social networks that recognise its achievements. Professor Laura Mulvey, and writer/director Sue Clayton, bring together journalists and scholars at the cutting edge of research into 1970s radical cinema for this collection. Chapters are at once historically grounded yet fused with the current analysis of today’s generation of cine-philes, to rediscover a unique moment for extraordinary film production. Other Cinemas establishes the factors that helped to shape alternative film: world cinema and internationalism, the politics of cultural policy and arts funding, new accessible technologies, avant-garde theories, and the development of a dynamic and interactive relationship between film and its audiences.

Exploring and celebrating the work of The Other Cinema, the London Film-makers’ Co-op and other cornerstones of today’s film culture, as well as the impact of creatives such as William Raban and Stephen Dwoskin – and Mulvey and Clayton themselves – this important book takes account of a wave of socially aware film practice without which today’s activist, queer, minority and feminist voices would have struggled to gather such volume.

Sue Clayton is a screenwriter and film director, and the Director of the Screen School at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her films include The Song of the Shirt (1979), The Disappearance of Finbar (1996) and The Last Crop (1990). She has made 14 award-winning documentaries for Channel 4, BBC, and Central, and a number of music videos.

Laura Mulvey is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the acclaimed author of: Visual and Other Pleasures (1989; second edition 2009), Fetishism and Curiosity (1996; second edition 2013), Citizen Kane (1992; second edition 2012) and Death Twenty-four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006). She made six films in collaboration with Peter Wollen including Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) and Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti (1984) as well as Disgraced Monuments (1996) with artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis.

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784537180
Publication Date: 29 Jun 2017
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations

Towards Other Cinemas: 1970’s Experimental Film, Whitechapel Gallery, Sun 17 Sep, 11.30am – 6pm

Exploring the dynamic artists’ and experiential moving image work of 1970s Britain, Towards Other Cinemas is a series of screenings and discussions, exploring the renewed interest in diverse strands of experimental film and video works made in this period. Curated by Laura Mulvey, Sue Clayton, and Claire M. Holdsworth and featuring Steve Presence, Lucy Reynolds, and Kodwo Eshun, we bring together works made in 1970s Britain and explore how younger generations are re-activating this recent past.

The series coincides with the publication of Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s (IB Tauris, 2017), edited by theorist Laura Mulvey and writer and director Sue Clayton.

In partnership with LUX, London.

Programme 11.00 – 11.30 11.30 – 13.00

13.00 – 14.00 14.00 – 15.30

15.30 – 14.00 16.00 – 18.00


Activated Spaces
with Sue Clayton and Steve Presence

Lunch break

Listening In
with Claire M. Holdsworth and Lucy Reynolds

Afternoon break

Time and Place
with Laura Mulvey and Kodwo Eshun

Screening followed by a discussion of the Other Cinemas project.

Sue Clayton is a UK feature and documentary film writer and director. Her films include The Song of the Shirt (1979), The Last Crop (1990), The Disappearance of Finbar (1996), Hamedullah: The Road Home (2012) and Calais Children: A Case to Answer (2017). She has made award-winning documentaries for Channel 4 and ITV including How to Survive LifestyleJapan Dreaming, and Turning Japanese. She is a Professor and founding Director of Screen School at Goldsmiths (University of London), and co-author with Laura Mulvey of Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film the 1970s (IB Tauris, 2017).

Dr Steve Presence is a Research Fellow in Film and Television Studies at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. He is a founder member of the Bristol Radical Film Festival, and founding member and convenor of the Radical Film Network (RFN) – an international network of organisations involved in politically-engaged and aesthetically innovative film culture, which has claimed the IFVA Independent Film and Video Makers’ Association, formed in the 1970s) as one of its formative influences. Steve is also Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded research project, ‘Sustaining Alternative Film Cultures’.

Dr Claire M. Holdsworth is an archivist and writer. A Research Fellow at Kingston School of Art (Kingston University London) specialising in British artists’ moving image (1970s/1980s), her research explores sound, the voice, authorship and oral histories in relation to archives and historiography. Holdsworth assisted with research and editing of the anthology Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s (eds. Sue Clayton and Laura Mulvey, IB Tauris, 2017), to which she also contributed as an author.

Dr Lucy Reynolds is Senior Lecturer and researcher at Westminster University. She has published extensively and curated exhibitions and programmes for a range of institutions, most particularly focused on questions of the moving image, feminism, political space and collective practice, and is currently editing an anthology on Women Artists, Feminism and the Moving Image (IB Tauris, 2018). As an artist Reynolds’ films and installations, which include the ongoing sound work A Feminist Chorus, have been presented in galleries and cinemas nationally and internationally.

Laura Mulvey is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of Visual and Other Pleasures (1989, new edition 2009) Fetishism and Curiosity (1996, second edition 2013) and Death Twenty-four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006). She made six films in collaboration with Peter Wollen, including Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) and Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1984), as well as Disgraced Monuments (1996) with artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis.

Kodwo Eshun is Lecturer in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths University London, Visiting Professor, Haut Ecole d’Art et Design, Genève and co-founder of the Otolith Group. He is the author of More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction (1998) and co-editor of Post Punk Then and Now (2016), Harun Farocki Against What? Against Whom? (2010) and The Ghosts of Songs: The Film Art of the Black Audio Film Collective 1982–1998 (2007).

John Gianvito Masterclass by Film Studies, Queen Mary University of London, Mon 6 November 2017

The Centre for Film & Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with Close-Up Cinema, is pleased to host a masterclass on political cinema by acclaimed American documentary filmmaker John Gianvito.

John Gianvito is a filmmaker, teacher, curator, and critic. His films include the feature films The Flower of Pain (1983) and The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein (2001). In 2010, Gianvito’s meditative film essay Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind(2007) was named one of the 50 greatest documentaries of all time by Time Out (New York).

This masterclass, which focuses on political filmmaking, follows the first complete London/UK screening of For Example, the Philippines, a nine hour diptych consisting of Vapor Trail (Clark)(2010), and Subic (Wake) (2015), that patiently unearths the violent legacies of American colonialism and militarism in the island nation.

Mon 6 November 2017

13:00 – 15:00 GMT


Coal not Dole (1984) Channel 4 People to People Doc strand June 1984

38 mins UK 1984 Banner Film and TV Ltd

Broadcast in the Independent Film and Video slot People to People, Coal Not Dole counters the mainstream media’s coverage of the 1984 miners’ strike. The Sheffield based filmmakers cover the picket lines and demonstrations in a South Yorkshire mining community, and invite striking miners and their families to give their views of the strike.

DOXA Documentary Film Festival May 4-14, 2017 – Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain

Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert | France | 2016 | 144 minutes

The life and work of Chris Marker could easily fill several documentary portraits, maybe even several freight trains, but directors Jean-Marie Barbe and Arnaud Lambert have kept it to a brisk 144 minutes. As our guest curator Thierry Garrel states in his introductory essay, Never Explain, Never Complain “portrays the cinéaste and his works through testimonies of seven people who knew him and worked with him.”

“Who is Chris Marker?” — is the question posed by the directors/ interlocutors, and every answer reveals a different reality. Some of the recollections are funny and bittersweet, such as Wim Wenders getting blind drunk with Marker at a bar in Tokyo. “That night at La Jetée is the time when we talked most, but we drank so much sake and vodka that we forgot most of it,” says Wenders. As André S. Labarthe states simply: “He was a free spirit.”

One thing is clear, over the length of his career Marker was never content to do or be only one thing. Writer, filmmaker, photographer, polymath, cat lover — there is no single term that quite suffices. Marker was also no stranger to trouble. Statues Also Die (Les Statues meurent aussi), co-directed with Alain Resnais, was immediately banned by the French government. The rest of his major work galloped forth, unpredictable, wildly inventive, fearless, and free-roaming — Le Joli mai (1962), La Jetée (1962), Far from Vietnam (Loin du Viêt-nam) in 1967. In 1977, Marker released Le Fond de l’air est rouge (A Grin Without a Cat), that captured the rise and fall of 1960s radicalism. Patricio Guzman talking about Marker’s masterwork says: “he faces the world, faces history, and seems surprised…You get no answers by the end of the film. Only reflections, words thrown in the air.” In this era of ongoing crises, Marker’s work is more vital, more critical than ever, but the man remains elusive. Slyly winking out from this expansive film portrait with a single word. Can you guess what it is? -DW

via DOXA

The Politics of Race in Contemporary Film and Digital Practice. Black Film British Cinema Conference 2017, MAY 18.

The Politics of Race in Contemporary Film and Digital Practice

Venue: Goldsmiths, University of London (Day One) and Institute of Contemporary Arts (Day Two)


Professor Sarita Malik, Brunel University

Dr Kara Keeling, University of Southern California


Whether we consider the rise of the concept of diversity, the on-screen representation of identities, the off-screen workforce, the production trends of film institutions, new forms of independent production opened up by new media, or film education and talent development, questions of race and ethnicity remain central to contemporary British film.

This conference will mark nearly 30 years since the original Black Film, British Cinema conference at the ICA and its subsequent publication, which has been a huge influence on scholars exploring race, culture and the politics of representation. Some of its core thinking by Kobena Mercer, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy and others remains an excellent point to consider what has, and has not, become of black and Asian film and TV production in the UK.

The aim of this two-day conference is to consider the politics of race in contemporary British cinema and visual practice and reflect on almost 30 years of black film production vis-a-vis the institutional, technological, textual, cultural and political shifts that have occurred during this period. The conference will welcome scholars, early career researchers, postgraduate students and practitioners working at the intersection of film, TV, Moving Image, Media and Communication studies, Sociology, Politics and Cultural Studies.

This conference has been organised by University of Greenwich, Goldsmiths, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and co-supported by the Sociological Review Foundation.



Ticket price includes entrance to the conference on Thursday and Friday. Lunch will be provided on Thursday and there will be a drinks reception following the first day of the conference on Thursday evening at the Professor Stuart Hall Building at Goldsmiths University of London. Tea, coffee and cold drinks will also be provided at regular intervals during the conference.


Concessional rates are valid for full-time students (including postgraduate/PhD students), seniors (60+), registered disabled persons and benefit recipients (JSA).


Both Goldsmiths and the ICA are close to comprehensive transport links, so getting there won’t be a problem. Just follow the link here for more information. For information about where to stay during the conference just follow the link to Visit London


Please contact Dr Clive James Nwonka –