Accepted Paper:

Lessons from surrendering authorship in collaborative film production in Mozambique: What I learned when I was ready to listen.  
Karen Boswall (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

In Mozambique creative tensions of collaboration with less experienced audiovisual research partners can challenge the complex post-colonial power relationships. In this context, I make a case for the surrender of authorship as part of a necessary and mutually beneficial process of decolonization.

Paper long abstract:

What is the most appropriate and effective interview technique in ethnographic filmmaking? How can structure inform the engagement and affective response of the viewer? I thought I knew the answers to these questions, yet during my audiovisual research into Mozambican women's song and dance, my young and inexperienced research partners offered new perspectives on this well-trodden methodological ground. I had been researching women, culture and identity in Mozambique for years, and yet when it came to the personal process of making the film(s) inspired by this research, instead of making the films myself, I decided to commission and support the research and production of first-time Mozambican filmmakers. I will describe my journey and the lessons I learned from what the cultural theorist Pooja Rangan describes as non-interventionist 'surrender' (Rangan, 2017). I will draw on some of the provocations in her book 'Immediations The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary' (2017) to explore my motives and the 'new vistas of relationality' I was introduced to. Using clips from two of the six films in the series, I will analyse the filmmakers' insightful understanding of the power dynamics with their participants and the relationship with their audience. I will show how the young Mozambicans' profound contextual understanding inscribed their films with what Rangan describes as 'a trace of themselves, and their mode of being in the word'.

Panel P15
Quality and equality in collaborative projects
  Session 1