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Being Ruby Rich : Film Curation as Advocacy and Activism

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square


This one-day symposium will celebrate the return of curator, critic and film activist, B. Ruby Rich, to London, where she was instrumental in the theorisation of, and advocacy for, feminist and avant-garde film in the 1970s and 1980s. Rich will be celebrated with a four-day event at the Barbican Cinema, entitled 'Being Ruby Rich' (as part of their 2017 Film in Focus season), sponsored by Film London and co-curated by Club des Femmes, a queer-feminist film curating collective. In addition, this symposium will act as a pre-conference event for 'Feminist Emergency : International Conference' (22-24 June 2017) hosted by BiH in collaboration Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS), the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, BIMI and the British Comparative Literature Association.

Building on Birkbeck's innovative MA Film Programming and Curating, the symposium will place the film curator as advocate and activist rather than simply taste-maker. In particular, the event will explore the inter-related ethics and political aesthetics of the three movements with which Rich is associated: 1970s and 1980s feminist cinema; 1990s and 2000s international New Queer Cinema; and 21stcentury social documentary. The event will consider how these complex, politically-engaged movements have specifically integrated and foregrounded curation and criticism as a key aspect of moving image practice.
The symposium will mirror this integrated practice, bracketed by screenings and panel discussions that highlight interdisciplinary approaches to moving image practice within the School of Arts and other humanities programmes across the College. Revisiting debates such as the role of psychoanalysis in film theory, and engaging with new questions such as the theorisation of feminist curation, the day will bring together a scholarly and artistic community that highlights continuities of theory and practice from the radical 1970s until the present day, not least with Prof. Laura Mulvey. At a challenging political and cultural moment, when inclusive practices are both being revisited within the film industry and resisted by a backlash against progressive and diverse culture, 'Being Ruby Rich' offers an unique opportunity to revisit and revise radical filmmaking practices by casting fresh light on the curatorial and critical routes, by which these films and filmmakers were (and continue to be) brought to international attention.
This event is free, but reserving a place is essential. Click here for further details.

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