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The Folk Cinemas project mounts the first full exploration of a folk cinema within a global context. It encompasses the world’s first folk film festival - the Folk Film Gathering - as well as ongoing research activities funded by the AHRC, with support from Edinburgh College of Art.

It encompasses both the world’s first folk film festival - the Folk Film Gathering curated by Transgressive North - and ongoing research activities funded by the AHRC, with support from Edinburgh College of Art. Read more

this text just copied from AHRC bid - Jamie to edit/amend

Drawing upon an innovative interdisciplinary perspective and methodology within film studies (combining aspects of political theory and ethnology with research-by-practice) the fellowship will produce an ambitious series of world-leading multimedia outputs, including the first scholarly monograph to explore a folk cinema, a feature-length documentary film, two

interdisciplinary symposia and two editions of a film festival. The fellowship will also create forums for practicing folk filmmakers (and those who study their work) to connect and share resources, alongside opportunities for audiences across the UK to explore the emergent questions of a folk cinema.

As parallel climate and public health crises highlight the extent to which the experiences of communities worldwide are inextricably connected, there is an increasing urgency to find ways of illuminating aspects of solidarity, common concern and shared experience globally across cultures and communities. Responding to this imperative, this project will mount the first ever global study of a folk cinema both within film studies and the wider humanities, a new comparative space in which the experiences of diverse communities can be interconnected.

Whilst disparate scholars have mentioned in passing the notion of a folk cinema (Gabriel (1982), Landy (1994)), there has yet to be undertaken any overarching study exploring the full implications such a notion holds globally for world cinema. And yet: examples of a folk cinema - a cinema not only FOR the people, but OF the people, BY the people - lie scattered

throughout cinema history, from the films made collectively with working class communities over half a century by Newcastle's Amber Collective, the use of cinema as a form of cultural continuity within ancient Inuit oral traditions by Zacharius Kunuk, or Alicia Rohrwacher's recent cinematic retellings of Italian folk tales.


Drawing upon an interdisciplinary framework (including aspects of culture studies, ethnology and political theory) this project will seek to illuminate previously unconnected instances of a folk cinema, highlighting important commonalities of practice and aspects of shared experience between filmmakers and traditions of cinema in very different parts of the world. In doing so, the project will propose a transformative new perspective within film studies and the wider humanities, exploring the possibility of a 'globalization from below' (Appadurai, 2001) in which global interconnectedness is theorised from the ground upwards through the establishment of cross-cultural solidarities, rather than imposed from above by the aggressive transnationalism of neoliberal capital. In inaugurating an inclusive, cross-cultural space in which diverse

community traditions, experiences and practices can be placed alongside each other in solidarity, a folk cinema will present an important counter to contemporary right-wing populisms in which community tradition tends to be rehearsed in the exclusive and protectionist terms of nativism and xenophobia.

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