May 06 2016 Posted: 13:58 IST

NUI Galway will host a public seminar by Dr Díóg O’Connell, Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology from 4-5pm on Wednesday, 11 May in the Hardiman Research Building. Entitled Irish Women Screenwriters cast in the shadows - Knocknagow and Guests of the Nation, the seminar is organised by NUI Galway’s Gender ARC and the Centre for Global Women’s Studies

Dr O’Connell’s will explore how Irish women screenwriters are often written out of the historical record, and cast in the shadows of male directors and novelists. In the case of Knocknagow and Guests of the Nation, two significant films in the early history of Irish cinema, very little is known about the screenwriters Mrs NF Patton (Knocknagow) and Mary Manning (Guests of the Nation). These films could be considered landmark films in early Irish cinema history at the level of narrative theme, historical significance and audience appeal. Both films were written by women but very little historical references are found for either writer. Yet much is written about the male directors of these films and more noticeably the male authors of the source material for both films.

Knocknagow is based on a Charles Kickham novel of the same name (1873) and Guests of the Nation is based on a story of the same name by Frank O’Connor (1931). The nature of adaptation is closely examined without any mention of the scriptwriter. Examining the archive material of both these films, this study traces through the reviews of these films, the place awarded to the screenwriter in the documented history. Is this just a case of the screenwriter being cast to the periphery or is there further marginalisation happening at the level of gender? Drawing on theories around social capital, Dr O’Connell’s presentation will explore what the barriers are to recognition and record. Is the status of the male author privileged over that of the screenwriter, or is there a gender bias at work, relegating women screenwriters to the margins, on two levels, as screenwriters and as women?

Dr Díóg O’Connell is the author of New Irish Storytellers: Narrative Strategies in Film and Documentary in a Changing State. She has written extensively on Irish cinema, television drama and screenwriting. She has also been a member of a Writers’ Team for Irish television drama.

Gender ARC (Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society) is a research network linking more than fifty academics at NUI Galway and the University of Limerick who are engaged in gender-focused research across diverse disciplines. The network hosts a variety of seminars and public lectures throughout the year.

To learn more about this event and future Gender ARC events contact Amie Lajoie, Gender ARC Postgraduate Research Associate, at a.lajoie1@nuigalway.ie.

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