Selina’s PhD research

About This Project

This enquiry sets out to remember through creative practice a cultural history of lesbian, queer and feminist film programming and curating in 1980s London, with a focus on the archive at the Rio Cinema in Hackney.

I am interested in film programming and curating as queer feminist historiography, with a focus on how memory and experience as knowledge in the archive passes amongst friends, between lovers, with colleagues, amongst communities, intergenerationally and trans-generationally, thus contributing to a wider understanding how we might do feminist film history today.  Drawing on B. Ruby Rich’s (1998) concept of socially informed film curation and criticism to describe feminist film curating and programming as a form of activism and archiving, my practice based research sets out to construct a new archive out of historical absence, that tells a story of how feminists working collectively as film programmers and curators shaped a dynamic feminist film culture and community in the UK.  My research offers a queer feminist intervention in the archive through an ethics of care as curation (Marks 2004), to remember and re-imagine new feminist archives of feelings and experience (Cvetkovich 2003), in order to keep lesbian, queer and feminist film programming and curating histories present.

Through film screenings, oral history, archival activations and community archiving sessions I will ask why and how this definitional decade of lesbian, queer and feminist film programming and curating might be collectively remembered for a feminist future.

About the Researcher

Selina Robertson is a PhD candidate in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies Department at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published in Film Quarterly and other publications, as well as writing for the BFI. She has worked as a film programmer in cultural film exhibition since the late 1990s; at the BFI, the Film Council and since 2005 at the ICO, where she currently works part time. She co-programmed BFI Flare (formerly London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival) from 2003-2005. In 2007, she co-founded the queer feminist collective Club des Femmes with Sarah Wood.