Filmmaker Margaret Tait: A Woman’s Voice in Context.

Peters, Camilla Filmmaker Margaret Tait: A Woman’s Voice in Context. Doctoral thesis, Falmouth University and University of the Arts London.

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Abstract / Summary

My thesis is inspired by the recent restoration of the short films made by the Scottish filmmaker Margaret Tait (1918-1999) between 1951 and 1998. Tait, who was also a doctor and a self-published poet, recognised that film had the potential to reverberate with audiences’ imaginations. Her oeuvre includes a range of indigenous voices, field recordings, actuality sequences and modernist film techniques, in films which observe and capture the everyday and the overlooked in her locality. It reflects on the interconnectedness of people and their environment and contributes to the ways in which we understand ourselves in the world. I engage with prevailing responses to Tait’s work, archive research, biographical information and interviews with Tait’s colleagues. I also analyse her films within the historically specific contexts of modernity and local short film production of her time to uncover the dialogues that her films formed with the social and cinematic discourses in experimental and standard film culture. I show how Tait can be included among those who have made a significant contribution to the film and cultural discourses of the modernist era. Petrolle and Wexman suggest that feminist research reveals ‘formerly unknown principles at work in the lives and psyches of women’ (2005: 5). This has opened new levels of inquiry and analysis to suggest that women filmmakers typically engage with prevailing discourses and creative practices as individuals who articulate perspectives and ideas from differing standpoints. I use feminist and contemporary film theories to examine key aspects of Tait’s work within the circumstances of modernism’s approach to women. I also draw on theories emerging from Derrida’s concept of ‘différance’ (1997: 60-64) to examine the ways in which Tait used film to negotiate meanings and express her personal perspectives in ways that differed from, but did not discount, other viewpoints and film practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Film & TV
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Film
Depositing User: Ailsa Poll
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2023 09:52
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 09:52


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