In 2021, I published an article in the Journal Alphaville called “Archivally Absent? Female Filmmakers in the IFI Irish Film Archive”, which described the contribution of women to the collections of the Irish Film Institute and identified ways in which the IFI Archive could highlight the work of female filmmakers within its collections.

Acknowledging our limited research resources, I called for academic partners to assist us in developing tools to achieve this aim. Answering that call was Keith M. Johnston of the University of East Anglia and Sarah Arnold of Maynooth University, resulting in a collaborative research project ‘Women in Focus: Developing a Feminist Approach to Film Archive Metadata and Cataloguing’ the aim of which was to develop a new approach to cataloguing the creative contribution of women filmmakers in local, regional, and national archives.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Irish Research Council (IRC), as part of the UK-Ireland Digital Humanities scheme, the project is a UK-Ireland collaboration between the University of East Anglia, Maynooth University, and the University of Sussex, with the IFI Irish Film Archive and East Anglian Film Archive as archive partners.

The first part of the project culminated with the publishing of a cataloguing toolkit that will allow any archive with a moving image collection to create more effective, useful and accessible records about women filmmakers.

The follow-on project called “Empowering Archivists: Applying New Tools and Approaches for Better Representation of Women in Audio-Visual Collections” will see the practical application of this toolkit across the UK and Ireland through a series of workshops and demonstrations. The toolkit has been designed so that it can be adapted to improve the visibility of other overlooked or under-represented groups and can also be applied to non audiovisual collections, something we hope to explore in the future.

– Kasandra O’Connell, Head of IFI Irish Film Archive

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland