Wednesday 16th May 2018 – Lunchtime Seminar with Dr Steve Presence (University of the West of England)

Speaker: Dr Steve Presence
Title: Organising counter-cultures: challenges of structure, organisation and sustainability in the Independent Filmmakers Association and the Radical Film Network
Date and time: Wednesday 16th May, 1pm-2pm
Hosted by: Dr Anandi Ramamurthy

The Radical Film Network (RFN) was conceived in Bristol and established in London in 2013 in recognition of the growth of organisations working in progressive and experimental film culture in the UK. Since then the RFN has grown rapidly, and now consists of more than one hundred organisations across four continents, from artists’ studios and production collectives to archives, co-ops, distributors, film festivals and exhibition venues.

This seminar reflects on the RFN’s development in relation to the Independent Filmmakers Association (IFA), a London-based organisation which sought to represent politically-engaged and aesthetically innovative film culture in the 1970s and 1980s, and which largely inspired the formation of the RFN. Despite almost four decades between them, many of the questions and challenges facing the RFN today were addressed by those involved with the IFA: What constitutes oppositional film culture? How should a counter-cultural network be organised? What roles should different actors – filmmakers, academics, activists, the state – play within that culture?

Taking into account the key contextual differences between the IFA and RFN, the seminar will explore how some of these questions are being negotiated today and what lessons the history of the IFA holds for those involved in building contemporary radical film cultures.

Dr Steve Presence is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). He convened the Radical Film Network in 2013, is a founder member of Bristol Radical Film Festival, and Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded research project, ‘Sustaining Alternative Film Cultures’ (2015-18). Steve is also Principal Investigator on ‘Understanding Watershed’ (2017-18), a study of the history and significance of Bristol’s premiere independent cinema, funded by UWE; and on ‘UK Feature Docs’ (2017-2020), an AHRC-funded study of the UK’s feature documentary film industry. 


See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email the C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.