My Jewish London: performance and identity in co-creative documentary practice
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This thesis examines the historical representation of Jewish London in U.K. mainstream documentary practice and finds a narrow band of conventional, ‘authentic’ narrative norms – safe interior spaces occupied by safe, stereotypical characterisations – that are exclusionary. The documentary archive holds very few examples that explicitly address gay male Jewish London experience. Through a co-creative practice-based research methodology, this thesis proposes a documentary mode of ‘walking’ films that challenges both the stereotypical Jewish identities previously represented and the documentary narrative structures used to construct them, and which facilitates more open, ‘performative’ configurations of identity. This PhD proposes an activist co-creative agenda to enable community members themselves to understand and provoke change in their representation. Issues of audience are central to the thesis: who is the audience for non-mainstream film practice? Do they differ from the assumed audience of mainstream documentaries, and how is that significant in terms of affecting social change?
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