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Title: We were there: the women of the Maze and Long Kesh Prison : collaborative filmmaking in transitional Northern Ireland
Author: Aguiar, Laura Santos Lopes de
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9344
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This research is concerned with the power imbalance between filmmakers and participants and with exploring filmic strategies to challenge gender stereotypes often found in war films. I adopt a practice-led methodology which consists of editing and screening the 60-minute documentary film We Were There, in collaboration with the Prisons Memory Archive and its participants, and of writing a critical reflection of this process. The findings show that sharing authorship and authority with participants offer them control over the creation and re-contextualisation of their stories and turn them into active agents in the meaning-making process. As a result, this collaborative framework can potentially minimise risks such as re-traumatisation or misrepresentation, offer a sense of validation and acknowledgment of people’s life experiences and present different learning opportunities for participants. For filmmakers, working collaboratively with participants enables the creation of an ethical, transparent research and that contains adequate representation of people’s life stories. This is paramount in places where people have been over-researched and misrepresented, such as Northern Ireland. However, collaborative frameworks also have limitations: they can be more time-consuming than firstly presumed, can blur roles because of the close relationships and may not necessarily guarantee an equal sharing of tasks. The findings also demonstrate that when women have the opportunity to frame their own stories through a collaborative media project and when this project has a sensitivity to gender, the gap between media representations and women’s plural lived experiences are more likely to be addressed on screen and in off-screen discussions. This research offers two original contributions: it proposes an ethical and sensitive model of filmmaking/research where all parties involved in it invest in and are rewarded by the process; and brings to the public a relatively unknown multi-faceted portrayal of the women’s experiences of the Maze and Long Kesh Prison.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available