Speak my sister web documentary. A contemporary, decolonial, feminist and multi-modal collaborative response to José Cardoso’s Mozambican musical film Sing My Brother – Help Me to Sing (1981).

Boswall, Karen (2022) Speak my sister web documentary. A contemporary, decolonial, feminist and multi-modal collaborative response to José Cardoso’s Mozambican musical film Sing My Brother – Help Me to Sing (1981). Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This practice-based research project comprises two related components: A web documentary to be found at https://kboswall.wixsite.com/speakmysister, and this written thesis.

The web documentary is a multi-modal response to the revolutionary Mozambican film Sing My Brother – Help Me to Sing (José Cardoso, 1981). It is a curated collection of twenty short films made collaboratively with young Mozambican students of film and cultural studies in response to the 2018 National Festival of Culture theme: ‘Culture, promoting women, identity and sustainable development’. The multi-modal, musical, interactive and non-linear format of the web documentary is a creative and critical response to the calls for intersectional decolonisation and inclusion in Mozambican film production, audio-visual research and knowledge construction. During the production, post-production, and multi-modal exhibition of the films both physical and on-line, this practice-led research engaged with questions of polyphony, dialogue, inclusivity and diversity in film production.

The written component of this multi-modal thesis also embraces decolonial principles of multi-modality and non-linearity in its exploration of the research themes of the role of women’s song, dance and film in knowledge construction in Mozambique. The seven chapters combine critical reflective analysis of the Speak My Sister research project and the resulting web documentary from historical, local, global and personal perspectives. Seven musical portraits from Cardoso’s revolutionary film Sing My Brother – Help Me to Sing serve as conceptual and thematic springboards through which to explore three core themes: collaboration and authorship in audio-visual production, the role of music and dance in knowledge construction and exchange and the place of African feminism, decolonisation and cultural activism in Mozambique’s audiovisual research and production in the future. The portraits are reimagined as written scripts, illustrated with screenshots taken from the original film to form cinematic pauses, or ‘interludes’, between each of the chapters.

The text below is divided into three parts that follow the Aristotelian progression of narrative and logical argument: introduction, development and conclusion. The first three chapters that make up Part 1 introduce the theoretical principles and personal and historical context behind the research (Diawara 1992, Convents, 2011, Gray 2020). Part 2 is made up of three chapters each of which uses the practice as a starting point to explore theories around collaboration and authorship in Chapter 4 (Rangan 2017, Bishop 2012, MacDougall 1998, 2006, 2020, Rose 2017), local musicking and nego-feminism in Chapter 5 (Reiley and Brucker 2020, Nnaemeka, 2004) and body knowledge, gender and power in Chapter 6 (Cowan 1990, Conquergood 2002, Jackson 2012, Meintjes 2017, Impey 2020). In Part 3, the concluding seventh chapter takes these ideas to assess the contribution of this research towards constructing more inclusive representation in Mozambique in the future and the role of polyphonic and dialogic thinking in collaborative and authored audio-visual content (Aston and Odorico 2018).

At a time where national and international governments are being asked to redress historic and institutional racial, geographical and gender inequalities, this critical creative practice combines lessons from visual anthropology, ethnomusicology, African film studies and media practice to approach the theme of decolonisation from a creative, personal, national, and international perspective, and so to explore the relationship between personal, local and global change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 11:10
Last Modified: 30 May 2022 11:10
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/106173

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