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Volume 11, Number 1, 2011

Abstracts

Searching for a Feminist Voice: Film festivals and negotiating the tension between expectation and intent

Tess Van Hemert

International Film Festivals play a vital role in shaping filmmakers’ careers. This paper presents some initial findings from a current major research project, highlighting the significance of particular festival programming of emerging female directors from developing nations. Some filmmakers showcased at festivals actively privilege the voices of women in their films as a means of commenting on pressing cultural and political issues. Ironically, other filmmakers do not subscribe to the label of “feminist” or “woman filmmaker”, even if their respective films represent a strongly coded woman’s point of view. Tensions also arise inevitably when scrutinising women filmmakers from developing nations within a first world film festival context. The expectations of the researcher, the festival, film critics and audiences inevitably must negotiate with the original intentions of the filmmaker. This paper explores the significance of women filmmakers in attendance at the Brisbane International Film Festival (2009) and the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2010).

 

Flagging Spaces: exploring representations of ownership on the Australian beach.

Liz Ellison

The Australian beach is a significant element of our national identity. Since the majority of the population lives on the coastlines of the continent, the beach (rather than the Bush) plays an important role to many Australians. Yet the beach can also be a complex setting because of the often complicated concepts of ownership that surround it. ‘Flagging Spaces’ examines the layers of complexity surrounding textual representations of ownership of the beach space. In particular, this paper explores the Indigenous representation on the beach moving through to the role of multiculturalism on the beach space in the wake of the 2005 Cronulla riots, using specific textual examples such as Sacred Cows (Heiss 1996), Australia (dir. Baz Luhrmann 2008), Heaven (dir. Tracey Moffatt 1997), Radiance (dir. Rachel Perkins 1998), Butterfly Song (Jenkins 2005), and Bra Boys (dir. Sonny Abberton 2006).

 

An obsession with storytelling: Conducting oral history interviews for creative writing

Ariella Van Luyn

Anna Hirsch and Clare Dixon (2008, 190) state that creative writers’ ‘obsession with storytelling…might serve as an interdisciplinary tool for evaluating oral histories.’ This paper enters a dialogue with Hirsch and Dixon’s statement by documenting an interview methodology for a practice-led PhD project, The Artful Life Story: Oral History and Fiction, which investigates the fictionalising of oral history.
Alistair Thomson (2007, 62) notes the interdisciplinary nature of oral history scholarship from the 1980s onwards. As a result, oral histories are being used and understood in a variety of arts-based settings. In such contexts, oral histories are not valued so much for their factual content but as sources that are at once dynamic, emotionally authentic and open to a multiplicity of interpretations. How can creative writers design and conduct interviews that reflect this emphasis?
The paper briefly maps the growing trend of using oral histories in fiction and ethnographic novels, in order to establish the need to design interviews for arts-based contexts. I describe how I initially designed the interviews to suit the aims of my practice. Once in the field, however, I found that my original methods did not account for my experiences. I conclude with the resulting reflection and understanding that emerged from these problematic encounters, focusing on the technique of steered monologue (Scagliola 2010), sometimes referred to as the Biographic Narrative Interpretative Method (Wengraf 2001, Jones 2006).

 

Eat, Pray, Loathe: Women’s Travel Memoir as Moving Metaphysical Journey or Narcissistic New-Age Babble?

Kate Cantrell

This paper considers the contentious space between self-affirmation and self-preoccupation in Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular travel memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Following the surveillance of the female confessant, the female traveller has recently come under close scrutiny and public suspicion. She is accused of walking a fine line between critical self-insight and obsessive self-importance and her travel narratives are branded as accounts of navel gazing that are less concerned with what is seen than with who is doing the seeing. In reading these themes against the backdrop of women’s travel, the possibility arises that the culture of narcissism is increasingly read as a female discursive practice, concerned with authorship, privacy and the subjectivity of truth. The novel, which has been praised by some as ‘the ultimate guide to balanced living’ and dismissed by others as ‘self-serving junk’, poses questions about the requisites in Western culture for being a female traveller and for telling a story that focuses primarily on the self.

 

Re-Presenting/Representing Melbourne:A literary and cultural analysis of Melbourne’s inner city and outer suburbs in contemporary fiction

Penny Holliday

This article provides an overview of a research project investigating contemporary literary representations of Melbourne’s inner and outer suburban spaces. It will argue that the city represented by local writers is an often more complex way of envisioning the city than the one presented in public policy and cultural discourses. In this view, the writer’s vision of a city does not necessarily override or provide a “truer’ account but it is in the fictional city where the complexity of the everyday life of a city is most accurately portrayed. The article will also provide an overview of the theoretical framework for reading the fictional texts in this way, examining how Soja’s concept of Thirdspace (2006) provides a place to engage “critically with theoretical issues, while simultaneously being that space where the debate occurs” (Mole 2008: 3).

 

 

Editor

Professor Alan Knight,
University of Technology, Sydney

Advisory Panel

Dr Judith Clarke, Baptist University, Hong Kong

Elliott S. Parker, Central Michigan University, USA

Dr Lee Richard Duffield, Queensland University of Technology

Jim Tully, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr Kasun Ubayasiri, Griffith University, Brisbane

Philip Cass, Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Stephen Stockwell, Griffith University, Gold Coast

Dr Steve Quinn, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

     

Ejournalist: refereed media journal. ISSN 1444-741X