When groups in Devon were planning an Area workshop, member Marie Handyside knew who would fit the bill. Her daughter Dr Fiona Handyside is a senior lecturer in European film at the University of Exeter and had recently written a book on 'Sofia Coppola; A Cinema of Girlhood' (featured in the 2017 Big Read). So, on Saturday 28 October, over forty members and visitors from Devon and Cornwall came together for a workshop on 'Women and Film: Images, Memories and Fantasies'.
We started with a presentation by Fiona and her colleague Dr Danielle Hipkins, which expanded on the NWR national theme for 2017 of women in film. Interspersed with film clips, they focused on the multiple ways women interact with film: as directors, as stars and as viewers. We learnt how films such as 'Breakfast at Tiffanys', 'Pretty Woman' and 'Lost in Translation' subverted and changed how women were portrayed. Some of the very few 2017 films made by women such as 'United Kingdom', Wonder Women', 'Viceroy's House' and 'Beguiled' were highlighted.
After an excellent lunch we moved from the cinema style setting to workshop tables and encouraged by various questions, discussed the changing roles of women in film and shared memories of cinema going. Some members were regular cinema goers in the 1950s and 60s and recalled plots and stars from those times. Memories were stimulated and illuminated by posters, books and magazines from the University's Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.
Many thanks to Carolyn Hempenstall, Glenda Cooper and the area team for arranging such an interesting, informative and stimulating event. I returned home inspired to find out more, view productions more critically and with a list of films to see and some to watch again.
Fiona and Danielle have kindly offered to create a pack so that other NWR groups can explore or revisit the Women in Film topic.
Four members of Arnold NWR joined with around 50 other NWR members recently for a very enjoyable day event organised by members of Trentham NWR, Staffordshire Moorlands NWR and Marilyn Vigurs, Area Organiser.
The venue was The Tea Junction at Hulme End (http://www.teajunctionhulmeend.co.uk/). In the morning we enjoyed an illustrated talk by eminent local photographer Simon Watkinson (www.world-infocus.co.uk). Simon entertained us with wonderful photographs from around the world and closer to home, showing how you can achieve great results by getting up early, going out in all weathers, and always having your camera to hand for any unexpected opportunity! Also how to improvise and make use of what equipment is to hand.
After a lovely lunch provided by the team at The Tea Junction (including feta cheesecake...yummy!!), we split into groups for an afternoon of activities. The more active amongst us set off for a 5-mile ramble; another group embarked on a treasure hunt in nearby Hartington. The largest group went with Simon a short distance to Beresford Dale, for an afternoon workshop on how to improve our photography using our various types of camera, tablets, phones etc. We learned how to use a variety of settings that some of us didn’t realise our cameras had! Simon patiently showed us how to access the menu options on our cameras and choose appropriate settings for the conditions. We were then set loose for a couple of hours, to wander along the dale and experiment taking different pictures and changing the camera/phone settings to compensate for bright sunlight and strong shadows and reflections.
We all reconvened for tea and cake and closing remarks having had a most enjoyable day in glorious sunshine!
Thanks to all the organisers and to the wonderful catering team at The Tea Junction!