As ever, the MeCCSA Women’s Network has enjoyed an eventful year. In structural terms, our former chair, Milly Williamson, stood down after ten diligent years in post. The network has been deeply enhanced by Milly’s leadership and both the committee and our members are extremely grateful for her enthusiasm and dedication. 2020 has seen the election of a new chair, Beth Johnson, and we have also welcomed three new steering committee members – Hannah Yelin, Bridget Conor and Cinzia Padovani.
This year has also seen the name of the network change. Wanting to better reflect our broad membership, in particular, our members who specialise in practice, the title was changed from Women’s Media Studies Network to MeCCSA Women’s Network. Our new logo, as seen in banner above, now reflects the new name.
We had a wonderful time speaking with network members, new and old, at the annual MeCCSA conference at the University of Stirling, 9-11 January, 2019. The conference theme ‘Continuity and Change – Media, Communications and Politics’ was especially relevant to many of our members who shared their research and practice. Members in attendance noted being inspired by keynotes from Professor Shohini Chaudhuri on ‘Cinema of Constraints: Continuity and Change in Contemporary Filmmaking from and about the Arab World and Iran’ and Leshu Torchin, whose talk focused on ‘Genre and Geopolitics: Economies of Fact, Finance, and the Body’. It was also a treat to see many of our members enjoying the ‘Women in Media and Politics’ roundtable event.
In terms of external events, the Women’s Network has supported many varied and successful activities over the last year.
The first was the Women Over Fifty Film Festival, 2018, celebrating older women in front of and behind the camera. Running from 20-23 September, the festival showcased 58 short films, practical workshops, all-female panels, lectures and networking events, and was a huge success. One of the key organisers, Nuala, stated that the Women’s Network support had been:
Invaluable and enabled us to reach students in a way that we hadn’t previously. With MeCCSA/WMSN support, we received 45 student submissions from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Georgia, Hong Kong, the US and Canada. Your support also enabled academic Deborah Jermyn to attend our festival and share her academic knowledge in an accessible and enjoyable way, so our audience left the festival feeling refreshed and inspired by what they had learned about the work and films of Nancy Meyers and Sue Bourne.
Other successful events included Period Positivity: Challenging Stigma Through Comedy and Art (13th February, 2019). Organised by Kaity Mendes, comedian, educator, activist and founder of #periodpositive, Chella Quint, delivered a workshop at the Leicester Innovation Hub using craftivist techniques to challenge the stigmas around menstruation.
The conference ‘Screening Violence’ took place at The Storey Meeting House on Lancaster, 4-5 April 2019, thinking through how media images and narratives of violence provide spaces of care and escapism for violated communities, and how trauma and survival are modelled in the stories we tell. The symposium ‘Persistence of Vision: Women Reframing Animation’ was held by the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, on Friday 28th June. Supported by the Women’s Network, this event covered topics including animation sand feminism and activist animation.
We look forward to receiving new proposals from members wishing to host an event at their institution with the support of the Women’s Network. If you’re interested, please contact the Network Chair, Beth Johnson on: firstname.lastname@example.org