This panel invites contributions from film and audio-visual scholars, researchers, creative practitioners and archivists working in and with colonial film archives as a means of interrogating colonial histories.
In recent years, powerful interventions from scholars and artists using colonial film archives, have opened up these collections to renewed scrutiny (for example, Akomfrah, Allen and Basu, Beerends, Igwe, Kentridge/Miller). A growing body of work is excavating colonial histories that further extends earlier scholarly research, such as the ‘Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire’ research project (www.colonialfilm.org.uk). This panel is convened by two scholars who are part of an international research network on colonial film archives. We invite contributions from film and audio-visual scholars, researchers, creative practitioners and archivists working in and with colonial film archives as a means of interrogating colonial histories. We envisage a panel that both draws on and ‘speaks to’ colonial film from a postcolonial perspective and that includes screenings of short selected sequences from collections that panel participants are working on, and/or from their own films that use archival footage. We are especially keen to include international exemplars of research and scholarship including practice-based research. Contributors might consider the following questions: What can colonial film archives reveal about colonial histories and their complexities? What kinds of relationships and entanglements do these archives proffer across different film forms, for example, amateur, documentary, educational, ethnographic, instructional, medical? What connections can be made across moving image and other archival repositories such as oral histories, photographs and other forms of documentation? How can we track the networks, circuits and circulations of colonial power through these film archives? What kinds of fresh, critical engagements with colonial film archives do we envisage in order to contend with the impact of past history on the world in which we live?