You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

I quite like the free ‘Stylist’ newspaper that comes out every Wednesday in cities across the UK. There’s a balance between fashion and celebrity with interesting contributors and articles that relate to contemporary women juggling their multi-faceted positions in society (mother, worker, object etc).

 

The latest article (20.7.11) however included this article as it’s headline story, ‘How to Make the Perfect Baby’: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/how-to-make-the-perfect-baby . The report looks at the rise in gene therapy and the possible potential for future parents to screen their babies’ genetic code and play around with it, essentially eliminating the undesirable gene’s inherited from each partner and controlling those that they do inherit. A process called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), whereby embryo’s are screened for genetic malfunctions is already available on demand in clinic in the US, Cyprus or Russia albeit at a price. Soon the article predicts, parents will be able to undergo the “ultimate shopping experience: designing your baby”.

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A very quick update but yesterday (Mon 18th June) I attended the ‘Cine Sisters’ conference at the Women’s Library in East London. The conference was all about highlighting the stories about and contribution that women film and tv practitioners have made to the industries.

It was a fascinating introduction to a section of film and television history that has until now been totally ignored. Melanie Williams (UEA) gave a paper on the impact, both professional, personal and creatively of the Continuity “Girl’s” Maggie Unsworth and Barbara Cole on filmmaker David Lean’s (A Passage to India, Dr. Shivago, Lawrence of Arabia) career. Bryony Dixon and Lisa Kerrigan from the BFI talked about their work in uncovering archive footage of work by women filmmakers and a new project that will focus on women film and tv documentary filmmakers that will be launched in 2014. There were talks on the impact of female professionals in contemporary production design, 1920’s scriptwriters, women musician’s in silent cinema, women working in the UK regional news coverage and screenings of archive interviews with UK film and tv professionals working throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The breadth of these papers shows the diverse contribution that women have made the creative industries which has until recently been written out of history.

The conference was hosted by a number of different institutions: The Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre at De Montfort University, the School of Film and Television Studies at University of East Anglia the BECTU Oral History Project and the Women’s Film History Network UK/Ireland. All these organisation’s are working on project’s to address these hidden stories and all are worth following. In order to make sense of the issues that face women working in these industries today, it is important to have an understanding of the past. A vast amount of archive footage of women’s work, interviews and life stories is out there… it just needs to be accessed and publicised.

I haven’t written anything on this blog in shocklingly ages – a result of frantic reading / writing combined with sudden loss of childcare (nb nothing tragic). But the ‘News Of The World’ has just been axed! The British tabloid will cease to exist as of Sunday (10th July) following the revelations of the phone hacking scandal which revealed that it was not only celebrities, royals and politicians having their phones hacked into but also what’s considered ‘ordinary’ citizens who were victims of crime. The response to this news on social media platforms is electrifying. There are those that are berating the moral failure of the NOTW and celebrating its demised whereas others lamenting the effect of the Newspapers closure on its impact to broadcast journalism. Clearly, it’s complicated. I have a hunch that a lot will (more slowly) be drawn out from this situation relating to print journalism culture and the future of the press. For now though, it’s one of those moments when you feel like something profound is happening …. right now, the implications of which will probably go unnoticed by the vast majority and yet will affect all.

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