Well worth a listen…


29060270_10156277520856543_8229250880931242296_oA thought-provoking episode of Radio 4’s Key Words For Our Time aired today, about the cultural significance of #MeToo as a phrase/hashtag.

It features Helen Lewis, Deputy editor of The New Statesman, is only 15 minutes long and is well worth a listen in advance of the Women In Hollywood symposium.

To listen click here


Registering to attend the Women In Hollywood Symposium

cath logo

The Women In Hollywood symposium on May 28th is FREE to attend but booking your place in advance is essential, even if you are presenting at the event.

To do this simply visit our Eventbrite page here and fill in the short form.

Once you have completed this short form, you will receive a confirmation message and an email confirming your booking and giving you further information about the event.

If you have any queries please feel free to email ellen.wright@dmu.ac.uk

CATH MA Travel Bursary competition open to Women in Hollywood attendees.

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To ensure that participants across a range of career stages and wage brackets are part of the conversation at the Women in Hollywood symposium, there is no registration fee to attend, but we are aware that there are other costs involved in attending.
To help cover the cost of attending, the Cinema and Television History research centre at DMU will be offering a travel bursary to a limited number of postgraduate students whose research interests link with the symposium and who want to attend this event.
The CATH MA Travel Bursary is a competitive fund for exceptional students completing or who have recently completed MAs but who are not registered for a PhD.
You don’t even have to be presenting at Women in Hollywood to be eligible to apply.
Email me ellen.wright@dmu.ac.uk for a form or if you have any further questions.

Women in Hollywood Symposium

180107-oprah-lede_ogpjbrThe context:

2017 saw a number of high profile news stories around the poor treatment of women in the entertainment industry, from the Weinstein allegations and the explosion of #MeToo, to revelations about gender pay gaps and the under representation of female labour, both in front of the camera and behind.

About the symposium

This symposium will consider the intersecting range of factors that impact upon women working in Hollywood both now and in the past. It will be a platform to discuss the disadvantageous treatment of women and will offer an opportunity to highlight examples of women’s autonomy, agency, subversion and innovation in the American film industry.

This event is organised by the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre and will take place at DeMontfort University, Leicester on May 28th, 2018. It will run over a full day and will conclude with a panel discussion with Q&A. This closing section of the event will run between 5pm-6pm, will be open to the general public and will be recorded and made available as an audio download via this website.

Should you have a point you want to raise for discussion but you are unable to attend, feel free to email your point to ellen.wright@dmu.ac.uk or tweet with the hashtag #WomenInHollywood and we will endeavour to include you in the conversation.

Confirmed Speakers

As the deadline for abstracts has not yet passed, we cannot yet confirm our programme of speakers. However, we are thrilled to say that our confirmed key note speaker at this event is Professor Shelley Stamp (University of California, Santa Cruz) founding Editor of Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal, and author of Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (University of California Press, 2015) and Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Call for Papers.

The call for papers for this event is available here.  Given the considerable disruption caused by the current industrial dispute the deadline for submissions is now midnight, Friday March 30th 2018.  Submissions to be sent to: ellen.wright@dmu.ac.uk

Registering to attend

To attract a range of voices to this conversation, this symposium is free to attend but places are limited and must be booked in advance. To secure a place please register on our Eventbright page here.

Further details to follow…

ARZNERBOWsymposium poster

A timely symposium – Women in Hollywood


Me attempting to channel Rita Hayworth. Image courtesy of Beki Doig

I am very pleased to announce that on Monday May 28th I will be running my first ever symposium at DeMontfort University.

It seems odd to me that having organised and been part of so many public events over the years, I haven’t yet organised a conference or symposium.

The idea for this event came a couple of months ago when myself, Alissa Clarke and Laraine Porter were asked by PhD candidate Becky Jones to be part of a panel discussion around the treatment of older women in Hollywood following a screening of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – a film about the final years of Hollywood vamp Gloria Grahame at the Phoenix cinema in Leicester.

We had a lot to say but understandably, only a small time in which to say it. We all remarked on this and also on how unusual it was to be part of an all female panel. As we gathered in the cafe bar afterwards, to continue the discussion, we drifted onto other issues women in Hollywood have had and still do encounter when trying to get on.  The #MeToo movement and the Weinstein allegations were only the tip of the iceberg. There were so many historical precedents.

The seed was sewn. We needed a day long event at least to discuss these issues. Vicky Ball also came on board and Women in Hollywood was born.

In case you are interested in attending and participating, here is our call for papers:

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Podcast #9: ‘I’ll Show Them, I’ll Record Everything’: Audience, Performance and The Room (2003)


In this podcast I follow up on my recent blog post You can laugh, you can cry, you can do whatever you like, express yourself, just don’t hurt yourself’: Performance, Pedagogy and The Room by talking with The Room aficionado, audience researcher and Film and Culture lecturer Dr Richard McCulloch about the ‘best worst film ever’, cult phenomenon The Room.

We discuss what makes this film so bad it’s good, its director, Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist and the Golden Globe winning performance by James Franco but most importantly we talk about the unique fandom around The Room.


Other topics we cover include fan communities and bonding via film, participatory cinema more generally, authenticity, performance and the nature Continue reading

‘You can laugh, you can cry, you can do whatever you like, express yourself, just don’t hurt yourself’: Performance, Pedagogy and The Room



Tommy in tux

Earlier this month saw one of my yearly teaching highlights, the annual screening of ‘the best worst film ever,’ 2003 melodrama, The Room.

It is ironic that a film renowned in part for such poor performances became the ultimate performative text, prompting a whole range of audience behaviours at its regular screenings.

Every year for the past three years, a participatory screening of this film has served as the climax of my third year Cult Film module, and it is promised to students at the start of the module, as a reward for their hard work and inevitably enthusiastic contributions over the course of the eleven week undergraduate module.

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The Battle of The Sexes

I was recently interviewed by PhD candidate Becky Jones* for Phoenix Talks – her podcast in association with the Leicester’s independent cinema, the Phoenix.

Becky kindly invited me to talk with her about biopic The Battle Of The Sexes which recently ran at the cinema. The film tells the story of the famous tennis match of the same name that took place in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

I wanted to talk with Becky about some of the ways in which this film raises issues around the media representation of sporting women’s bodies (which are often understood to be a problem as the power and potential they convey means they aren’t feminine or pliant enough) about toxic masculinity and about feminism. It’s a bit rambly, but hey, it was the end of term!

Here is a link to the podcast:

Bad and Beautiful: Reflections on Gloria Grahame and the treatment of women in Hollywood.

815CE927-16D7-43EA-93C2-A58261FAF7A8A couple of weeks ago I was part of an all-female panel discussion of the treatment of older women in Hollywood. The discussion followed a screening of the recent Paul McGuigan biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool which charts the relationship between ageing Hollywood star Gloria Grahame and younger British actor Peter Turner.

I enjoyed the film very much and was excited to be asked by marketing assistant and my PhD supervisee, Becky Jones, to be part of the discussion event at the wonderful Phoenix cinema in Leicester.

The film itself was very good, beautifully shot and both Benning and Bell’s performances were excellent. It also raised a number of issues around the idea of the ageing female star and the broader treatment of women in Hollywood which really seemed to chime with the recent Weinstein allegations and the public debate around the #MeToo campaign.

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Here’s Looking at You Podcast #8: What Happens in Blackpool Stays in Blackpool: Seaside Freak Shows and Permissive Entertainment in Britain

In this podcast I talk with PhD candidate Emma Purce about her research into the British seaside freak show in 20th century Britain. Whilst a lot has already been written on the freak show in the 19th century and particularly in America, Emma is really helping to shape our understanding of the 20th century freak show.


We discuss the notion of liminal, permissive working class spaces and the history, the legacy and the politics of the freak show and of the curious, scrutinising gaze employed when attending such an entertainment

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