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Talk #103

Debbie Ballin & Esther Johnson

Debbie Ballin is a filmmaker, writer and academic working across a number of forms including documentary, audio, interactive media, fiction and memoir. She has an interest in the way oral history testimony and archive material can be used to construct compelling resonant stories about the past. Her work explores memory and identity and the way we narrativise and mythologise our personal histories. Recent research projects focus on histories of childhood: including historic childhood hospitalisation and isolation due to tuberculosis and the experiences of children whose parents were protestors. Ballin is interested in the intersections between documentary film, memoir, oral history and historical fiction and recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. Ballin is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University and a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.

Artist and Filmmaker Esther Johnson (MA, Royal College of Art) works at the intersection of artist moving image and documentary to create poetic portraits focusing on alternative social histories and marginal worlds. The repositioning of archival material is explored as a way of looking at intangible cultural heritage and, of addressing the relationship between memory and storytelling. Films have been exhibited internationally in 40+ countries, and broadcast on BBC and Channel 4, with audio works aired on ABC Australia, BBC Radio 4, Resonance FM and RTÉ radio. Esther is former recipient of the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Research Prize in Performing & Visual Arts and, is Professor of Film and Media Arts in the Art, Design and Media Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

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