Ash Reid

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Ash Reid's MPhil/PhD Art research project

Memory work: Cinenova and the undoing of a nation

Using the past and present activities of feminist film distributor Cinenova as a case study, with a particular focus on the materials held within its paper archive, this project will ask what role film and video production in the U.K. came to play in both the creation and unpicking of British identity within the larger political and socio-economic climate of the nation-state. Constructed as a study around three specific legislative changes in the 1980s and their effect on cultural production in Britain up to now, this thesis will ask how works like those held in the Cinenova collection came to disrupt and resist the narrative of productive citizenship offered to them by the neoliberal funding regimes of an increasingly racist and classist state.

Domestic Bliss

Concerned with the way in which these works trouble notions of belonging and representation, this study will consider the other worlds that continue to be produced by these past moments of insurgent collectivity and self-determination, using meeting minutes, personal correspondence and promotional material from the archive to explore what happens through the process of revisiting, rereading and rescreening these histories in a similar moment of struggle and resistance (Freeman: 2010).

The paper archive is currently uncatalogued, so much of the work of this project will be in conjunction with Cinenova’s current working group, thinking of how to make it accessible, and what it means to do this. The outcomes of these processes will create a new guide of sorts to the ongoing aims and objectives of the organisation, and the many intertwining histories that have led it here. As many of the documents relate to the financial and administrative work of Cinenova, oral histories will also be key to informing this record of events, looking specifically at the differences between these two to question the professional and intimate variances of the organisation (Cvetkovich: 2003). What these processes reveal and discuss will be documented in film, sound and performance scores, as a kind of alternative index to the catalogue itself.


  • Catherine Grant
  • Charlotte Proctor (cinenova)
  • Susan Kelly