4-5 december: PRIDE and its Precursors: Political Mimesis, Nostalgic Dissidence and Popular Film

Capture d’écran 2016-09-01 à 15.04.56An event hosted by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) in collaboration with Birkbeck Institute for Gender and Sexuality (BiGS) and Sussex Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence

December 4th (18:00-21:00) and 5th (10:00-17:30) at Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Organisers: Catherine Grant (Sussex) and Diarmaid Kelliher (Glasgow)

Free ticket links: Friday event: here ; Saturday event: here. If necessary, please add your names to the waiting list as places should become available on the days of the event. Please relinquish your Eventrbrite tickets if you are unable to attend. Thank you.

Pride (dir. Matthew Warchus) was by far the most prominent of a number of films released in 2014 to coincide with, or commemorate, the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the 1984-5 UK Miners’ Strike. The extent of the film’s popular appeal took many by surprise.

Based on the story of a real-life support group for South Wales miners forged by London-based lesbian and gay activists (Lesbians and Gays Support the  Miners, or LGSM), Pride helped to inspire new activism and solidarity (including the reformation of LGSM) and stimulated widespread discussion, including an earlier event held at Birkbeck in December 2014 – ‘Pits and Perverts Revisited: Pride the Movie and Politics Now’ – which featured some of the real-life activists involved in the events Pride depicts (audio recording here: http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2014/12/pits-and-perverts-revisited-pride-the-movie-and-politics-now/).

In this follow up symposium and screening event held over two days, activists, filmmakers, and scholars will discuss the impact, success and popular film aesthetics of Pride as a political drama-comedy, as well as its connections to earlier LGBTQ and/or Miners’ activist and community films and videos (including Framed Youth: Revenge of the Teenage Perverts, 1983/1987, All Out: Dancing in Dulais, 1984/1986, and The Miners’ Campaign Tapes, 1984/1985) and other more recent audiovisual commemorations of the Miners’ Strike and 1980s’ queer activism (including Still the Enemy Within, 2014, and Re/framed Youth: From Perverts to Pioneers, 2013).

We will address the questions raised by Pride and the related documentaries about historical re-enactment, or re-activation, exploring the ways in which this mainstream British feature film was able to draw on the forms and energies of earlier representations and figurations of real people and events. The symposium will also revisit the concepts of ‘political mimesis’ (film theorist Jane Gaines’ name for the ways in which films aim to and sometimes succeed in effecting social change and solidarity) and ‘nostalgic dissidence’ (as coined by cultural theorist Svetlana Boym), reconsidering, in relation to both of those terms, the roles of filmic melodrama and comedy, music and dance, and poignancy and pastiche.

FRIDAY 4th, 18:00-21:00

18:00 Welcome and introduction to the event (Michael Temple for BIMI/CG/DH)

18.10: Screening: Framed Youth; Revenge of the Teenage Perverts (1983/6, 45:21) and All Out: Dancing in Dulais (1984/7, 23:20) introduced by filmmakers/ participants and LGSM members Jeff Cole and Nicola Field.

19.30: Screening: Trailer (4:02) of Re/framed Youth: Perverts to Pioneers (2013), introduced by filmmaker Ed Webb-Ingall; excerpt (12:00) from Still the Enemy Within (2014), introduced by filmmaker Owen Gower; excerpt (5:22) from Pride (Matthew Warchus, 2014).

20:00: Roundtable discussion: On the 1980s’ videos and the activism that generated them, and on their role as inspiration and ‘audiovisual archive’ for activism since (with Jeff Cole, Matt Cook, Nicola Field, Ieuan Franklin, Owen Gower, Catherine Grant and Diarmaid Kelliher).

SATURDAY 5th, 10.00-17:30

10.00-10.30: Presentation: Ieuan Franklin (Bournemouth), ‘Talking Liberties: An A to Z of Framed Youth: Revenge of the Teenage Perverts’.

10.30-11.15: Screening and Discussion: Re/framed Youth: Perverts to Pioneers (2013, 29’10), introduced by the filmmaker and researcher Ed Webb-Ingall (Royal Holloway), and followed by a conversation between Catherine Grant, Ieuan Franklin and Ed Webb-Ingall about remaking and ‘reactivation’.

11.30-12.30 Screening and Discussion: miners’ solidarity and related short videos and excerpts, presented and discussed by Catherine Grant, Julian Petley and Lizzie Thynne, including Not Just Tea and Sandwiches, documentary from The Miners’ Campaign Tapes (1984; excerpt 11:49); Scratch video: Blue Monday (Duvet Brothers, 1984; 3:42); Out on Strike (Jacquie Lawrence, 1993, C4; excerpt 3:36); and Red Flannel: Liberating Women on Film (Lizzie Thynne, 2014; 4:55).

13.30-13.45: Excerpts from Pride (Matthew Warchus, 2014) introduced by Catherine Grant

13.45: 14:45: Presentations:
·      Diarmaid Kelliher (Glasgow),‘Pride: What’s left out and does it matter?’;
·      Mandy Merck (Royal Holloway), ‘Pride as melodrama’.

15.00-16.15 In Conversation
·      Lucy Robinson (Sussex) on “the lost story” of LGSM and Mark Ashton;
·      Rosalind Galt (King’s College) on Pride in the contemporary global queer cinema landscape;
·      Richard Dyer (King’s College) on Pride as a feel-good film.

16.30-17.30: Roundtable discussion: On politics, solidarity, (audiovisual) dissident history, nostalgia and Pride, with Louis Bayman (Southampton), Jeff Cole (LGSM original member), Nicola Field (LGSM original member), Michael Lawrence (Sussex), Alisa Lebow (Sussex), Julian Petley (Brunel), Sam Solomon (Sussex) and other participants.


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