Family and Autoethnography:
BAFTSS Practice Research SIG Seminar
Wednesday 25 November 2020, 6.00pm to 7.30pm
A British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies event led by Dr Charlotte Crofts and supported by the Moving Image Research Group and the Digital Cultures Research Centre, UWE Bristol.

Thinking Place: Remembering Through Father-land
Joint paper with Stuart Moore
This presentation brings together our thoughts on a recent practice-based collaborative research project resulting in a 20-minute collaborative essay film, Father-land (2018), which interweaves memory, archive and voiceover to explore the liminal spaces between present and past, and the borders between cultures and nations in Nicosia.

So much autoethnography has photography as its foundation - we found ourselves in a place where no photos were allowed. We had no ‘home movies’ to work with, all we brought to the project were our memories as the children of military personnel. The paper considers the multi-layered narratives of people and place that intersect in Father-land, mapping the interplay between the spaces viewed on the screen and the diverse temporalities of the spoken memories of childhood and our recent experiences as temporary residents of Nicosia, living close the UN Buffer Zone, which divides the city.

As the unseen narrators of Father-land, we speak of absence and presence, home and displacement against a backdrop of views of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. These memories, ‘spoken in place’, are entanglements caught between the multi-layered facets of political and social histories, the legacies of colonialism, occupation, and the Cold War. The narrative gaps allow the audience thinking space and are redolent of the ruptured temporalities of the abandoned centre of the old city, lost in time as life goes on to the north and south of the Buffer Zone. Our voices drift outwards across the landscape as the call to prayer permeates the city’s consciousness.

Image: cars and cement mixer abandoned in 1974, Nicosia, Cyprus (2018)

About the Event
The BAFTSS Practice Research SIG, in association with the UWE Moving Image Research Group, presents the first in a series of seminars exploring how academic filmmakers situate their practice as research. In this seminar, four filmmakers whose work focuses on various aspects of the family archive will present their work:
Father-land - Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore
The essay film interweaves memory, archive and voiceover to explore the liminal spaces between present and past, and the borders between cultures and nations in Nicosia.
The Family Album and Other Images - Stephen Connolly
This personal look through a family album began an examination of what images can say and how they might narrate a past event that may be obscured or unknown.
The Album - Sana Bilgrami
The Album is a self-reflexive personal interrogation of identity and displacement through the lens of family history. Using diverse narrative approaches, the documentary film performs the simultaneous act of archaeology and collage-making.
Note: participants were given access to the Vimeo link and password to enable them to watch the films before the event, and provided with the 300-word research statements.