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British Women Amateur Filmmakers

National Memories and Global Identities

Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, Heather Norris Nicholson

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The first book to address the topic of British women amateur filmmakers

The study of amateur filmmaking and media history is a rapidly-growing specialist field, and this ground-breaking book is the first to address the subject in the context of British women’s amateur practice. Using an interdisciplinary framework that draws upon social and visual anthropology, imperial and postcolonial studies, and British and Commonwealth history, the book explores how women used the evolving technologies of the moving image to write visual narratives about their lives and times. Locating women’s recreational visual practice within a century of profound societal, technological and ideological change, British Women Amateur Filmmakers discloses how women negotiated aspects of their changing lifestyles, attitudes and opportunities through first-person visual narratives about themselves and the world around them.

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List of Illustrations

List of Sources



1. Amateur women filmmakers as producers of cultural meaning

2. Webs of production and practice

3. Resisting colonial gendering while domesticating the Empire

4. Cameras not handbags: the essential accessory

5. Through women’s lens: imperial and postcolonial class and gender hierarchies

6. Teachers: users of cine-cameras

7. British women’s media narratives of gender and collective memory

8. Reimagining boundaries: amateur women's animations


Notes on the Contributors

Selected Bibliography


About the Author

Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes is a visiting Lecturer in digital and new media anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

Heather Norris Nicholson holds honorary research positions at the University of Huddersfield and also at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Packed with keenly researched historical detail and splendidly illustrated, 'British Women Amateur Filmmakers' brings to light the fascinating and hitherto hidden history of women's contribution to amateur film practice.

- Annette Kuhn, Emeritus Professor in Film Studies, Queen Mary University of London

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