The Dorothy Project: Child migrant responses to genre, film-practice and authority space

Stream: Presentations
Date: Sunday, 4 December 2016
Time: 3.45 pm – 5.30 pm


In 2012-2015 I worked with first generation child migrants in Australia, the UK and China in a series of workshops we called The Dorothy Project. Allied to a parallel programme of film analysis and archival work looking at child migration on film, these workshops invited young people to engage with ideas of colour, scale and transitional objects to create film narrative on the theme of separation and journeys. Their responses and ideas fed into my parallel work and enlisted them as co-researchers. In all cases the films made were within a structured brief and were not intended to require the film makers to engage with their own stories too literally. However, the results were exceptionally rich in subversive and suggestive material. Themes that were shared amongst all groups were - how to manage extreme uncertainty, the problem of violence, and loneliness. The presentation will address these themes through the work produced by the participants/co-researchers and will also discuss my own responses to their feedback on a new canon of film that captures the conditions of arrival and settlement for the young migrant today. As a comparison I will also introduce the BFI 'intervalle' project with non-migrant young people in Birkenhead (2015). Here there was also a focus on loneliness and mental health but a less pronounced emphasis on uncertainty.


Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (Presenter), UNSW
Stephi Hemelryk Donald is a Future Fellow and professor of comparative film and media at UNSW Australia.
She has published papers and books on childhood, China, comparative film and media studies, and urban visual culture, and has worked as a Dean and Head of School at RMIT, UTS, and the University of Liverpool. Recent publications include Inert Cities: Globalization, Mobility and Suspension in Visual Culture (ed. 2014),and her current books: Childhood and Nation in Contemporary World Cinema: Borders and Encounters (ed.); and There's No Place Like Home: Child Migrants in World Cinema, will be published in 2017.