Visiting Speaker, 1 Mar 2016: Lisa Stead on interwar cinema

Lisa Stead (University of Exeter) will be presenting her paper, ‘ “Secrets of the Film World”: Archives, Cinema Writing and Interwar Intermedia’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 1 March 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 4.43, and will be followed by a wine reception.

This talk will explore the relationship between women’s writing and filmic cultures in interwar Britain. Film and literary media created new identities for women as both the creators and consumers of interwar movie culture, intervening in how women saw and thought about themselves, and how they navigated the everyday experiences of modernity in spatial, behavioural and emotional terms. The paper will focus on the diverse textual forms and archival ephemera that constituted a larger, gendered print culture of cinema, and examine the role that archives in particular play in creating access to a gendered film world behind and around the silver screen. Exploring a rich network of print media from newspapers and magazines to middlebrow and modernist fictions, the paper considers how women created networks of storytelling media around practices of filmgoing. It will touch upon the writings of figures such as Winifred Holtby, Stella Gibbons, Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Rhys, Elinor Glyn, C. A. Lejeune and Iris Barry, alongside lesser-known columnists, magazine and short story writers—in doing so, it seeks to illuminate a literary preoccupation with the figure of the female cinemagoer, and the experience of cinemagoing. In turning to archival traces of this literary movie culture and its creative figures, the paper will consider the dual process of reclaiming and reframing these writers and their works, foregrounding recent project work seeking to bring these materials to life in new digital and audio visual forms for new audiences.

About the speaker
steadDr Lisa Stead is a Lecturer in British and American Cinema at the University of Exeter. She has published articles on literature and regional cinemagoing, fan cultures, and film and literary archiving, and is co-editor (with Carrie Smith) of The Boundaries of the Literary Archive (Ashgate, 2013). Her monograph, Off to the Pictures: Cinemagoing, Women’s Writing and Movie Culture in Interwar Britain, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press later this year (2016). She is co-investigator on the AHRC Connected Communities project Lost Spaces.


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