Who's Watching Who now?
Film, Exhibition and Curation graduates Camilla Baier and Lauren Clarke tell us about screening ‘Writing Ensemble’ as part of the Being Human festival of engagement with humanities research.
With its focus on ‘origins and endings’, this year’s Being Human festival is the ideal context for a new screening of ‘Writing Ensemble’, Susan Kemp’s documentary about the process of creating a piece of verbatim theatre set in the fallen East German state.
As well as being joint Programme Director of the Film, Exhibition and Curation MSc programme in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), Susan is also an ex-BBC filmmaker who works with colleagues to engage public audiences in research.
In the case of ‘Writing Ensemble’, the research is by Professor Laura Bradley (Personal Chair of German and Theatre in LLC), with the film following the progress of award-winning dramatist Peter Arnott as he writes a play based on her exploration of censorship and East German theatre, a collaboration known as ‘Who’s Watching Who’.
In a new collaboration for Being Human, graduates Camilla Baier and Lauren Clarke are screening ‘Writing Ensemble’ in an event asking ‘What light does the history of censorship and surveillance in East Germany shed on contemporary debates about privacy and freedom of expression?’
"It was great to see the idea come to fruition"
“Earlier this summer, Susan got in touch with us about producing the event” explain Camilla and Lauren, when asked how they got involved in Being Human. For Lauren in particular, “it was an exciting opportunity for me to revisit the film, as I had written a festival strategy for it in 2016. Entering it to be part of the Being Human festival was a suggestion I’d made, so it was great to see the idea come to fruition.”
As well as a screening of ‘Writing Ensemble’ and ‘The Cyclist’, a short film about the Stasi surveillance of GDR photographer Harald Hauswald, the event involves a post-screening discussion with Laura Bradley, Susan Kemp and Peter Arnott. It also extends to an invited focus group bringing together teachers, students and industry practitioners to explore how ‘Writing Ensemble’ relates to the school curriculum in Scotland and England.
Camilla and Lauren tell us “We will be drawing on the expertise of the participants in the focus group to discuss the ways in which the film could be repackaged as an educational resource and how it could it utilised over multiple disciplines. We’re both extremely passionate about film education and how film can be harnessed within the classroom. Developing the workshop was something we’d never done before and we jumped at the opportunity to try something new. ”
See 'Writing Ensemble' and ‘The Cyclist’ for free at the Scottish Storytelling Centre at 2pm on Sunday 18th November. The event is part of Being Human and is funded by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
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More about Who's Watching Who
A research-led collaboration between Laura Bradley, Peter Arnott and Susan Kemp, Who's Watching Who has also involved colleagues and students in Playwriting, German, and Film, Exhibition and Curation. It was developed in collaboration with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and LLC.