Since 2006, I have worked as a Senior Lecturer in Film at Falmouth University in the UK where I now serve as an MA Film & Television Course Coordinator. Before coming to Cornwall, I taught in Poland at the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw and at the Warsaw Higher School of Humanities.
Although my PhD from the Polish Academy of Sciences was in sociology and I hold two MAs in literature and culture studies, I don’t consider myself a specialist in women’s studies. Rather, my previous research work allows me to class myself as a film researcher with archive speciality.
My first serious archive project on film censorship took me to work in archive collections in Poland and the US. My book on this subject Kinematograf Kontrolowany (2006) became possible because of a Visiting Scholar role, which I was offered in 2002 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. It was funded by a Fulbright Scholarship. Several of the articles which I have since published in film journals also reflected my interest in archival materials.
This project was first born out of a simple observation. As I engaged in teaching world cinema the way it is taught in English with a huge emphasis on narrative films, I tried to encourage my students to research lesser-known Eastern European films. Having seen the growing interest in documentary cinema in our School of Film & Television, I did my best to promote studies in world cinema documentary films.
In September 2014, I organised the World Documentary Film & TV Conference. Speaking to other experts in the field made me realise that Polish documentary film history was almost a non-existent subject for international scholars. Even though after World War Two the Polish School of Documentary was one of the most vibrant in Europe, its reputation didn’t survive in English-speaking academia. Next to a few available short texts, what I knew was often the only resource on the subject for my students with no command of Polish language.
In 2014, I got together with my colleagues from Eastern European film departments and we started working on a collaborative teaching and research project Documentary Film in V4 Countries Before and After 1989, which was led by Dr Maria Ridzonova-Ferencuhova. With the support of a grant from the International Visegrad Fund, we delivered an MA module at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and published a book on the subject. To stay in line with the funding application, our essays appeared in print not in English, but in Slovak.
My archival research for this site was funded by a 2015 Leverhulme Trust Fellowship. It is still work in progress rather than a finished project.
Orientated to fill the gap in English-language film scholarship, the presentation on this site forms a report from a stage on my research journey. I decided to make it available to offer a glimpse at the work of ‘missing women’, whose presence on film history pages, until very recently, has been minimal not only in the West but also in Poland.
I am only the person who works at digging these women’s films out of the past. The filmmakers whose work features on this site are the actual authors of this project. Because you’re reading this, your interest is already helping to resurrect their memory. Should you want to promote or examine their output, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.