Celebrating Women in Global Cinema

Curating a year-long programming initiative at HOME, Manchester

Rachel Hayward and Andy Willis


This paper will discuss our curation of Celebrating Women in Global Cinema (CWinGC), a unique year-long programming initiative that took place across 2019 (and into 2020) at HOME, Manchester. It begins by outlining HOME’s cinema offer, identifying how CWinGC emerged from the organisation’s clear and on-going commitment to the programming of work from women filmmakers from various socio-economic and geographical backgrounds. It then goes on to discuss the initial development of the idea of a year-long commitment to highlighting the contribution of women to the richness of global cinema rather than the more conventional season or month-long series of screenings and events. The paper then explores the key issues addressed when approaching the curation of such a large-scale project. In doing so identifying the over-arching themes and concerns that allowed for curatorial coherence across such a long programme of linked screenings, events and engagement activities. Finally, the paper then argues that, in its striving to offer an alternative to the more usual ‘short-term solution’ approach to more diverse programming, the approach to curating CWinGC offers something that can be seen as innovative within UK exhibition and offers a model that can be utilised across that sector in the future to address other gaps and omissions within the UK exhibition landscape.

Rachel Hayward is Head of Film at HOME.  She is the director of ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival, co-curator of Not Just Bollywood and a founder member of the Chinese Film Forum UK.  In addition to her role at HOME, she has lectured on a range of film and cultural topics and is one of the Trustees of the Alliance Française de Manchester.

Andy Willis is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Salford and Senior Visiting Curator for Film at HOME. As well as co-curating Celebrating Women in Global Cinema he has curated a wide variety of other film seasons including States of Danger and Deceit: The European Political Thriller in the 1970s (2017), and CRIME: Hong Kong Style (2016). In addition, he is the co-editor of DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption (Palgrave, 2017) and Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Restored (Palgrave, 2017) with Jonathan Wroot, and Chinese Cinemas: International Perspectives (Routledge, 2016) with Felicia Chan. 

1. Introduction 

In this paper we reflect upon our approach, as a curating team made up of Rachel Hayward and Andy Willis, to the creation and delivery of Celebrating Women in Global Cinema (CWinGC), a unique year-long programming initiative that took place across 2019 (and into 2020) at HOME, Manchester.1 Key to this is an acknowledgement that the CWinGC programme was driven by a desire to continue HOME’s commitment to diversity within the field of film exhibition. That is, a strategy that is steadfast in its aim to draw on work from across the globe and that is made by filmmakers and other creatives from a wide variety of cultural, social and economic backgrounds. This in turn means that we are able to bring work to audiences that they are perhaps less familiar with, opening up the opportunity to experience a more diverse set of formal approaches and subject matter. 

Whilst CWinGC was not directly a response to the British Film Institute’s (BFI) directives on diversity, HOME’s ongoing commitment in this area had already been acknowledged by the institution. As a result of our work on the 2017 season States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s, the BFI awarded that season their Screen Diversity mark of good practice, as our curation, events and approach to programming had achieved all four of their (at the time) new Diversity Standards.2 HOME’s film work more generally was awarded the BFI Screen Diversity mark the following financial year when it became available to venues rather than just projects. This reflects the fact that diversity has become very much embedded in our programming and curating and that the CWinGC initiative continued this, as opposed to being a reaction to any outside demands.   

We will begin our paper by outlining how CWinGC emerged from HOME’s ongoing, in-house programming of its cinema provision and the organisation’s clear and ongoing commitment to screening work from women filmmakers from various socio-economic and geographical backgrounds. This will be followed by detailing how we identified suitable content that delivered audiences variety, as well as moving beyond overly-familiar European and US examples, thus creating a series of global foci. We will then argue that one of the keys to the success of CWinGC was the ability to draw in a range of collaborators and get them to ‘buy-in’ to the ethos of the project. The second part of the paper will consider how that worked – both internally across HOME’s various teams and externally with partner organisations, both established and new. 

2. The Concept

HOME is a major arts venue in the centre of Manchester in the North West of England. It opened in 2015 following the merger of two of the city’s long-established arts providers, Cornerhouse (a gallery and cinema) and The Library Theatre Company (as the name suggests, a theatre). The newly constructed space offered audiences two gallery spaces, two theatres and five cinema screens, alongside social spaces such as three café-bars.3 As such, it was one of the most significant UK arts initiatives of the early 21st century. Key, in terms of our discussion of CWinGC, is the fact that HOME’s cinema screens are programmed by an in-house team. This is headed by Jason Wood (Creative Director: Film & Culture), alongside Rachel Hayward (Head of Film), Jen Hall (Film Programme Producer), Jessie Gibbs (¡Viva! Festival Coordinator) and, at the time of the delivery of CWinGC, Fraser Elliott (Film Admin and Events Assistant). This in-house programming strategy has allowed the venue to develop an approach that makes space in its calendar for a number of specially curated seasons led by members of the HOME film team. As a Senior Visiting Curator specialising in Film, Andy Willis (Professor of Film Studies at the University of Salford) has contributed to these ever since HOME opened. This approach to programming has certainly facilitated an ambitious and innovative set of working practices, from which the CWinGC initiative emerged. 

Traditionally, special foci within the film programme at HOME have consisted of a season of films and contextualising supporting events that typically include six to ten screenings. On occasion the Film team will focus on a particular theme. These more substantial seasons often take place across approximately one to two months and consist of up to twenty screening slots alongside additional supporting events such as introductions, curator talks and panel discussions. Even within this model of operation and programming, the concept of a rolling, year-long programme committed to highlighting the women’s contribution to the richness of global cinema was a significant challenge and change in approach to programming HOME’s cinema provision. As such, we feel that CWinGC has the potential to provide a model for large-scale, extensive and cross-connected programming initiatives that could be taken up across the UK specialised cinema exhibition sector.   

From the outset, it was imagined that CWinGC would be a more substantial programme than anything the venue’s Film team had presented before. So, following a series of discussions, the CWinGC curators concluded that, to do the area, justice it would need to be a significantly larger endeavour than any of HOME’s usual seasons. To that end, a year-long programme was decided upon. In turn, this conclusion led to further discussions about how that programme might look. It was decided that the year would be made up of a series of events that would in effect assimilate the more common structures of HOME’s film seasons. The concept was that CWinGC would create a number of small, medium and large-scale seasons that would co-exist under the all-encompassing name Celebrating Women in Global Cinema. This approach would allow for the year-long season to be curated in a manner that would allow it to go in a number of directions, some expected, some unexpected. As a curation team we were confident that the branding of events as part of CWinGC would allow for an identity to emerge that would cut across HOME’s established offer and unite a series of bespoke mini seasons programmed in-house and in collaboration with key partners. For this reason, the season’s title was a key element of the CWinGC initiative, as it provided a touchstone that audiences would be able to use to identify aspects of the season across the year. For this reason, it was the site of some discussion. 

3. The Name and The Brand

Early on the curation team realised that the season required a title, and accompanying branding, that would encapsulate the key tenets of the programme. The initiative stemmed from our curatorial focus on women filmmaking talent, so there was a sound basis for the inclusion of women in the title. However, we did not want to present a determinedly binary understanding of the term. The curated programme provided trans representation and space for trans curatorial voices, and this was laid out in our initial press releases and programme plans to ensure audiences, partners and stakeholders would understand our aims. Making sure that the programme offered space for a broad spectrum of representation and embraced a term that allowed for those self-identifying as women to be a part of the celebration was essential.

Primarily, we sought to promote achievements of women filmmakers, rather than focus on the historic or present lack of opportunity, although such issues did inform the discussions that circulated around the programme and were explored in a number of events. Curatorially, we approached this angle in terms of repositioning and rediscovering repertory films; showcasing contemporary filmmakers; and inspiring future talent and future audiences. We saw this celebratory approach as a key component of the season’s title. The idea for CWinGC was conceived prior to the far-reaching and important 2017 #MeToo Movement, and as curators we engaged with debates that followed the impact of that global movement. As part of that discussion, it was decided that we would retain the celebratory focus of our season as we felt that this would connect with the debates stimulated by the #MeToo Movement and work in a complementary way. In addition, it was also essential to convey the geographical scale of the project, as one that was not focused solely on UK, European or US work. This approach continued HOME’s commitment to presenting films and events from a wide range of countries and with a range of national and international partners and supporters. For these reasons, Celebrating Women in Global Cinema seemed to sum up the ambition and scope of the season. 

Another of the key early strategic decisions was the creation of branding for the season that would make it visible and instantly recognisable to HOME’s audiences, and would easily identify which films and events were part of CWinGC. Conversations with the HOME in-house Marketing and Communications Team and a PR freelancer saw the development of a logo – a visual representation of the elements of the season’s title discussed above – that the team felt could work as a stamp which would appear across HOME marketing materials. This strategy would become key as the season expanded its footprint across HOME’s activities. For the duration of the year, the CWinGC logo was also incorporated into the O of the HOME logo, embodying the initiative’s place within the organisation(see below).

Figure 1: CWinGC logo
Figure 2: CWinGC logo incorporated into HOME logo

As part of the audience development campaign, the Marketing and Communications Team also used the CWinGC branding in support of relevant new releases, expanding the reach of the programme and complementing the areas of curated work driven by the curators. The Marketing team also developed a suite of assets to highlight CWinGC to audiences, including a short sting that was played in the cinema ahead of every relevant film, including both new releases and titles from the curated seasons, during the delivery year. Other specially designed materials for the season included a limited edition tote bag, pin badges and specific printed materials for selected curated seasons.   

We made the decision early in the planning stages of the programme to not produce a dedicated printed brochure with all of the films included, as would be the case for smaller seasons, preferring instead to use options that would allow for the growth and evolution of the programme. In addition, the fact that the main printed materials for the bulk of the films were HOME’s standard marketing materials (bi-monthly brochure) firmly placed CWinGC at the heart of the organisation’s film activity.     

4. The Programme

As noted, HOME has a long-standing and ongoing commitment to diversity within its programming strategies. This is certainly the case within its film provision and has led to some of the venue’s (and its precursor’s) most significant programming initiatives. For example, in 2009 Cornerhouse presented a large-scale season of work made by women filmmakers from Hong Kong, titled Visible Secrets: Hong Kong’s Women Filmmakers (for more information see Willis, 2010). This season was curated by Sarah Perks (formerly Artistic Director at Cornerhouse and HOME) and Andy Willis, and provided a model for large-scale seasons that attracted outside funding (in this instance the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and the British Film Institute), and included a UK-wide tour of key titles to other independent cinemas. Subsequently, HOME offered two major touring seasons that reflected the knowledge gained during the delivery of Visible Secrets. These were CRIME: Hong Kong Style (2016)4 and States of Danger and Deceit: The European Political Thriller in the 1970s (2018).5 Across all of this work, a concern for presenting a diversity of filmmaking talent and on-screen representation has impacted directly on the curatorial decisions that were made. 

As well as collaborating on these major seasons, the curation team of CWinGC have worked together on various other small and medium-sized seasons. These have ranged from Albert Finney: Son of Salford (2018),6 a retrospective of the actor’s work, to Partition (2017),7 a series of films and related events investigating the partition of India in 1947 and its legacy, and Creative Visions: Hong Kong Film 1997-2017 (2017),8 HOME’s contribution to the international marking of the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China. This experience meant we were well-versed in the creation of film programmes and seasons, the like of which would form the foundation of the curatorial approach adopted for CWinGC. This background and experience also provided the confidence to begin to tackle the creation of a season as ambitious as CWinGC.

However, when we began to consider working together on another large-scale season, this time one focused on women practitioners, we began to realise that we needed to operate in a more challenging and innovative manner if we were to achieve our goal of representing as many of the achievements of women in the film industry as possible. Our initial discussions, utilising HOME’s established models of delivery and focusing on what might be the criteria for inclusion in such a season, quickly began to reveal that this mode of practice exposed severe constraints. This in turn suggested that we would need to find another, broader approach. Basically, we quickly realised that we had a large-scale idea that we didn’t want to let go of and, rather than compromise, we needed to think of an innovative approach that could accommodate its breadth. We decided that, given HOME’s control of its own programme and its in-house curation policies, we could offer a larger-scale approach than had previously been attempted by the venue. In this case, a year-long series of interconnected seasons and events that combined to present a meaningful celebration of women in global cinema.  For this initiative to work we knew that the curatorial vision would need to be clear and collaborative in order to offer a sense of cohesion across the season.

Whilst we were initially motivated by free-standing ideas focused on a variety of film practitioners, the first stage in this process was to look again at the breakdown of the in-house seasons produced by HOME across a calendar year and see how they could accommodate aspects of CWinGC. HOME’s key annual projects, such as British Screenwriters, ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival and Not Just Bollywood, were therefore drawn into the celebration. Our ability to do this reflected the venue’s wider commitment to CWinGC and it was decided that, through careful programming, each could offer a clear focus on women practitioners. 

Since HOME opened, each January there had been a retrospective that focused on British screenwriters. Although not initially the approach adopted, it had developed a strong commitment to showcasing the work of writers from the North West of England such as Jim Allen,9 Neville Smith10 and Jack Rosenthal.11 Taking on board the wider commitment to CWinGC, we programmed a season of work by Debbie Horsfield,12 a writer with a clear affinity to Greater Manchester, whose work is ground-breaking in its portrayal of working-class women. We were also delighted to welcome the writer to HOME for a Q&A following a screening of the first episodes of her landmark series Making Out (1989-1991) and Cutting It (2003-2005). This mini retrospective offered a model of delivery that we adopted across the season as explored further below, and proved to be a very successful start to 2019. 

In a similar fashion, the programme for ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival also offered a clear engagement with the idea of CWinGC. With the festival co-ordinator Jessie Gibbs, we were able to select a number of films that involved key female practitioners for the festival programme that could be branded as part of CWinGC. As the HOME website’s ¡Viva! listings declared:

Coinciding with our year-long Celebration of Women in Global Cinema, the work of female directors, writers, producers and stars receives special attention. Look out for the logo throughout the festival.

Not Just Bollywood, curated by Rachel Hayward and Omar Ahmed, is another of HOME’s annual seasons.13 To embrace CWinGC it was decided that its 2019 edition would offer only films made by women, such as Waiting by Anu Menon. It is worth noting that admissions for the CWinGC-driven version of Not Just Bollywood were up by 28% on the previous edition in 2018, showing that the brand and programming constraints did not impact negatively on the audience’s willingness to discover new work from the sub-continent. We considered this another successful intervention in HOME’s ongoing film provision, further reflecting the manner in which CWinGC was able to become an all-encompassing initiative. 

As a curation team, beyond HOME’s core seasons, we decided early on that CWinGC would offer spaces for audiences to discover or re-visit work by under-valued filmmakers from across the globe who had worked or were working in different production and socio-political contexts. Crucially, we chose to look beyond just directors, though they would remain important as they resonate with HOME’s core audiences. In order to spread this across a whole calendar year, we decided to strategically create seasons that would be short and punchy alongside the more normal HOME small seasons of 6-8 screenings. These ‘mini seasons’ were interspersed across the year, providing a regular structure for the season, and were clearly branded as part of CWinGC. They included a mixture of foci on better-known and less familiar names, such as Yasmin Ahmed,14 Ngozi Onwurah,15 Angie Chen16 and Lina Wertmüller.17 We were also happy to collaborate with other organisations on work that could be labelled as part of CWinGC. To this end we programmed work by Margarethe von Trotta (working with the Independent Cinema Office, who had organised a UK tour we were happy to be part of18) and Euzhan Palcy19 (joining forces with The Barbican who were also looking at screening her work).20 Reflecting our firm commitment to move beyond directors, we also programmed a mini season that focused on the work of producer Rebecca O’Brien. This included a visit from O’Brien to introduce work and take part in a Q&A after a screening of Friendship’s Death (1987).21 

Moving away from a focus on individual practitioners, we curated more thematic seasons that were also programmed under the banner of CWinGC. A good example of this was Women, Organise!22 which marked a collaboration with the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) Education Trust to acknowledge their 120th anniversary. This season, which was delivered around May Day 2019, focused on a variety of representations of women’s activism and involvement in trade unionism. It included documentary films that covered particular campaigns, such as I Am Somebody (1970), fiction films that offered reflections on women’s experiences in the workplace, like Cart (2014), and some rare examples of Hollywood films that offered a sympathetic view of organised labour, for example Norma Rae (1979) and North Country (2005). The wider aim of the season was to raise questions about women’s roles in the workplace, how they have battled to organise themselves, and the ways in which their experiences have been shown on screen. 

Another bespoke season designed for CWinGC was The Original Ass-Kickers: Hong Kong Cinema’s Female Action Heroes from Shaw Brothers and Beyond.23 Continuing HOME’s commitment to showcasing films in Chinese languages, this collection of archive work considered women’s contribution to the rich history of Hong Kong action-based cinema and focussed on a number of ground-breaking stars such as Cheng Pei Pei, Kara Hui and Michelle Yeoh. Also exploring issues of representation within genre cinema, the season marked the 10-year anniversary of Visible Secrets and coincided with an international academic conference that was hosted by HOME and the University of Salford and explored Women in East Asian Cinema.24 The season was supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London who were, as with other partners, happy to collaborate with CWinGC. 

HOME’s wider commitment to the CWinGC initiative meant that, in addition to the bespoke seasons created for the programme detailed above, the curation team were able to put a CWinGC focus on other things across the year. For example, the British Film Institute had initiated a series of ‘Blockbuster’ major programming initiatives in the autumn of 2014. These were designed to have a nationwide impact and in that year the focus was on science fiction (Days of Fear and Wonder, 2014), with subsequent iterations focussing on romance (LOVE, 2015), Black acting talent (Black Star, 2016), the thriller (Who Can You Trust, 2017), and comedy (Comedy Genius, 2018). In 2019 the focus was on the musical, under the title, The Greatest Show on Screen). In line with previous years, HOME’s programme team offered its own take on the theme alongside the creative offer from the BFI. This included a season of Hollywood films from the 1930s entitled The Backstage Musical: celebrating popular culture in times of struggle.25 One of our main concerns was to find a way for CWinGC to be a central component of HOME’s contribution to the BFI season. For this we offered a season of work by an under-appreciated contributor to scripts for a number of classic musicals, Betty Comden and the Hollywood Musical.26  HOME’s website made its status as part of CWinGC clear, stating that:

Given that throughout 2019 HOME has been celebrating women’s contribution to world cinema, it seems wholly appropriate that as part of our focus on the musical we salute the work of twice Oscar-nominated writer Betty Comden. In collaboration with her writing partner Adolph Green, Comden was a leading figure on Broadway, writing an array of award-winning liberetti, scripts, songs. Together they were also major contributors to some of Hollywood’s most loved musicals. This short season offers the opportunity to come along and enjoy some of the most striking and innovative Hollywood musicals of the post-war era. 


The season included The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), On the Town (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) and Bells are Ringing (1960).

By having a clear commitment from the outset that CWinGC needed to be global in focus, we were able to seek subjects beyond Europe and the US, to ensure that across the season there was a sense of the unfamiliar as well as the familiar. In addition, the curating team were able to identify overarching themes and concerns that allowed a coherence across such a long programme of linked screenings, events and engagement activities. A number of the seasons offered as part of CWinGC were put together in collaboration with partners, such as New Women’s Voices in Lebanese Cinema28 and the work with the Chinese Film Forum UK (CFFUK),29 an organisation that had grown out of Cornerhouse’s Visible Secrets season. This greatly assisted in filling gaps in terms of women in global cinema that the curation team perhaps had. 

5. Internal Collaborations

Both internal and external collaborations were crucial to achieving the curatorial aims of CWinGC. Such partnerships also developed new areas of the programme, broadening the original concept. HOME’s Talent Development, Engagement (both of which have a cross-art form, organisation-wide remit) and Visual Arts teams responded exceptionally well to the opportunity of collaborating on this Film Team project and developed the season in their own areas of work.  

In our delivery year, HOME’s annual Artist Film Weekender30 was curated by Alice Wilde and Jamie Allan, who presented a programme of work from pioneering female artists and filmmakers. Highlights here were an opening programme that included a performance with VR, film and poetry; a screening of iconic German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger’s Freak Orlando; and masterclasses with 2019 Jarman Award nominee Beatrice Gibson and Liverpool Biennial 2020 artist Laura Huertas Millán. The selected filmmakers were from eight different countries – Colombia, France, Barbados, Germany, Cyprus, Nigeria, Vietnam and the UK. This inclusion of the HOME Visual Art team in CWinGC furthered HOME’s ongoing approach to working across art forms and provided a cohesive organisational approach to programming for audiences.     

CWinGC also took over all the Engagement evening and day courses delivered in 2019, with classes on Women in Film Comedy31 and Women in Science Fiction32 being taught by academics who were new to the HOME Engagement programme, thus broadening our connections to local speakers for future activity. Established Engagement collaborators such as Roy Stafford and Peter Krämer also came on board to present events on Ida Lupino, Jane Fonda and a One Hour Intro on Barbra Streisand and American Popular Culture.

Our Talent Development team presented a themed version of their open-submission, audience-curated programme of short films ‘Filmed Up’,33 which they called Women in Local Cinema; organised by Isabelle Croissant, this was one of the most popular editions of Filmed Up and was moved into HOME’s largest screen due to audience demand. Again reflecting the impact of the year-long programme, the successful CWinGC model will be replicated for other programme areas for future themed editions of Filmed Up. 

6. External Collaborations

As a curation team, we also understand Talent Development to include increasing skills and opportunities around curation and additional engagement activity. As such it was essential to allow space for different voices within CWinGC, and to bring together external partners with internal HOME opportunities. In order to do this we set out to expand our roster of regular speakers and offer curatorial and co-curatorial opportunities throughout the programme. For example, this included more in-depth work with HOME’s Young Film Programmers to create peer engagement materials for the ¡Viva! festival tour and the introduction of a PhD curatorial placement which led to the programming of a feminist TV screening and accompanying event: Pandora’s Box,34 curated and delivered by Isabel Taube35 for CWinGC. In addition, members of the HOME Film team at the time, including Jessie Gibbs, Fraser Elliott and Jen Hall, mentored Isobel Taube and the Young Film Programmers through their film programme or event curation process, again creating personal development opportunities. 

HOME, and previously Cornerhouse, has a long history of working with local, national and international organisations, many of whom are regular, longstanding collaborators. Developing CWinGC allowed new, regular and expanded existing external partnerships to flourish, and the resulting collaborative programming added to the diversity of content and audiences. There were two parallel approaches to engaging partners: firstly, a more thematic approach where partners had perhaps not previously focused so intensely on women filmmakers; and secondly, work with partners who primarily focused on female filmmaking talent and had values already closely aligned with CWinGC, such as Club des Femmes.36 

Some key examples of the first approach were Women, Organise!, as previously described and Beyond the Berlin Wall.37 The latter began as a proposal from the University of Manchester to present films to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This came to us at the mid-point of the year and the proposers from the university, and their partners and funders, were fully supportive of our conditions for accepting their idea – that the resulting programme had to wholly fit the CWinGC criteria. Together we worked to develop their idea and the programme, which had its public screenings in October 2019, showcased two films made by women directors in the immediate aftermath of the seismic events of 1989 and featured an in-person Q&A with director Pia Frankenberg following a screening of her Never Sleep Again (1992).  

There were also incredibly positive responses to the aims of CWinGC from HOME’s existing programme partners, who we invited to come on board with the season concept. Our regular collaboration with some of these partners involves HOME being a receiving venue – sometimes annually – for touring programmes they originate. Where there was a HOME curatorial input regarding touring programmes, we worked together with the programmers to identify the most exciting range of films to screen as part of CWinGC from their touring selection. For example, for The Japan Foundation’s annual tour,38 all of the new films we presented at HOME fitted our CWinGC criteria, an artistic decision which The Japan Foundation were very happy to accommodate. 

The touring model is a very effective method for venues to share content, grow audiences, and increase their PR profile and press reach, therefore maximising the success of curated projects. With these benefits in mind, and with valuable funding support from the BFI, we took CWinGC outside HOME to 14 other UK venues in the form of the ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival Tour.39 The films chosen for the tour all featured female creative talent in the role of director, writer, producer or star. This tour allowed us to forge new links with venue partners as well as re-ignite existing relationships.   

For CWinGC we also developed a range of screenings and events with other partners whose creative work and artistic and social concerns, often expressly centred on women in film, aligned with the aims of the programme.  Collaborations such as these served to increase the impact of both partners’ work. The extended duration of the CWinGC project provided an opportunity for new outside partnerships to be developed, some of which were designed to fit within the delivery year of CWinGC, such as the Girls on Film podcast, which recorded a number of editions at HOME, and others which are more open-ended, such as the Women over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF).40 

One of HOME’s regular co-programmers, the University of Manchester’s Sexuality Summer School, presented a special event led by speaker So Mayer,41 and also expanded our collaboration by providing curatorial assistance in other programme areas such as the Artist Film Weekender.  Other longer-standing partners such as Birds’ Eye View provided valuable ongoing programming and support across the exhibition sector which we were able to dovetail with across the year. Trans Creative developed a programme of work for CWinGC and, having previously worked with other teams at HOME, they are now an ongoing collaborator with the Film team for events, providing engagement activity for non-CWinGC work.  

As with all successful partnerships, it was essential that the CWinGC collaborations be supportive of both parties’ work. A key example of this was HOME’s new, and now ongoing, partnership with WOFFF. For CWinGC we partnered with the festival to present two co-curated programmes of work and accompanying events. In addition, the HOME Press team were also able to get Nuala O’Sullivan, Director of the festival, a slot on BBC Breakfast to talk about the festival, which expanded the reach of WOFFF, HOME and CWinGC.     

The impact of CWinGC also extended the curatorial team’s practice, with Rachel Hayward being invited to be a guest curator for the Sea Change Film Festival42 in Scotland during September 2019. At that edition she chaired a Q&A with Dirty Gods lead actor Vicky Knight and introduced a screening of Louisa Wei’s documentary Havana Divas. 

7. Conclusion

As we have explored, with its clear-sighted curatorial vision, CWinGC marked a very different approach to curating a major film event at an independent cinema in the UK. By drawing on a range of knowledge bases alongside internal and external collaborators, the curatorial team were able to sustain the project across a whole year, providing a strong brand and identity that allowed audiences to invest in the project and support its aims and objectives. In addition, in striving for an alternative to the more usual ‘short-term solution’ approach to more diverse programming, our approach to curating CWinGC offers something that can be seen as innovative within the UK exhibition sector and that could be replicated again at HOME and beyond. In that regard, we firmly believe that CWinGC offers a model that could be utilised across the independent cinema sector in the future to address other gaps and omissions within the UK exhibition landscape. Finally, as evidence of this, we would argue that the CWinGC project has helped ensure that, across its ongoing programme, HOME continues to highlight and celebrate women’s contributions to global cinema. 


Willis, Andy. (2010) ‘Cinema curation as practice and research: the Visible Secrets project as a model for collaboration between art cinemas and academics’, Screen 51:1, pp. 161-167.

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  1. For more on the season see: https://homemcr.org/event/celebrating-women-global-cinema/
  2. For more on the BFI diversity standards see: https://www.bfi.org.uk/inclusion-film-industry/bfi-diversity-standards
  3. For more on HOME see: https://homemcr.org
  4. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/crime-hong-kong-style/
  5. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/states-danger-deceit-european-political-thrillers-1970s/
  6. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/salford-lad-albert-finney-screen/
  7. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/partition/
  8. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/creative-visions-hong-kong-cinema-1997-2017/
  9. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/jim-allen-a-retrospective/
  10. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/neville-smith-a-retrospective/
  11. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/jack-rosenthal-jack-rosenthal-street/
  12. For more information see:  https://homemcr.org/event/debbie-horsfield-retrospective/
  13. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/not-just-bollywood-hindies-the-indian-film-industry/
  14. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/gently-challenging-the-films-of-yasmin-ahmad/
  15. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/ngozi-onwurah-season/
  16. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/angie-chen-hong-kong-film-pioneer/
  17. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/lina-wertmuller-the-director-in-the-white-glasses/
  18. For more information see: https://www.independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/tours/margarethe-von-trotta/
  19. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/euzhan-palcy-retrospective/
  20. For more information see:  https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2019/series/hidden-figures-euzhan-palcy
  21. For more information see:  https://homemcr.org/event/rebecca-obrien-season/
  22. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/women-organise/
  23. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/the-original-ass-kickers-hong-kong-cinemas-female-action-heroes-from-shaw-brothers-and-beyond/
  24. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/app/uploads/2019/09/WEACConf-draft-schedule.pdf
  25. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/the-backstage-musical-celebrating-popular-culture-in-times-of-struggle/
  26. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/betty-comden-and-the-hollywood-musical/
  27. https://homemcr.org/event/betty-comden-and-the-hollywood-musical/
  28. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/new-womens-voices-in-lebanese-cinema/
  29. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/chinese-film-forum-uk/
  30. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/home-artist-film-weekender-2019/
  31. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/course-women-in-film-comedy/
  32. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/course-women-science-fiction/
  33. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/filmed-up-sep-2019/
  34. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/film/pandoras-box-tv-series/
  35. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/pandoras-box-tv-series-panel-discussion/
  36. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/film/double-bill-i-am-somebody-red-skirts-on-clydeside/
  37. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/beyond-the-berlin-wall/
  38. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/the-japan-foundation-touring-film-programme-2019-people-still-call-it-love-passion-affection-and-destruction-in-japanese-cinema/
  39. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/viva-festival-2019-uk-tour/
  40. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/women-over-50-film-festival/
  41. For more information see: https://homemcr.org/event/the-sexuality-summer%E2%80%A8-school-presents-dialogue-d-for-dyke-disruption-a-queer%E2%80%A8toolkit-for-blowing-up-the-film-canon/
  42. For more information see: http://screenargyll.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/sea-change-programme.pdf