Regent’s lecturer explores how ‘obstinate memory’ affects documentary film practice

Lecturer in Directing, Dr Ken Fero, who leads the MA in Media & Digital Communications course at Regent’s, has conducted research on the importance of documentary film in helping to form collective memory, when dealing with trauma.  

The paper entitled 'Obstinate Memory: Documentary as trauma in disrupting state narratives on racial violence' has been published in Viewfinder Magazine by Learning on Screen - the British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council. 

Positioning documentary practice in the context of the more transient nature of news and social media, the research explores how the role of the news is to report a crisis, whilst the role of documentary is to question the source of the crisis in depth. 

Focusing on state racialised violence, documented in Ken’s films such as Injustice and Ultraviolence, the research outlines how memory allows the emergence of patterns and the documenting of a modern history of social justice campaigns.  

Dr Ken Fero states: ‘The role of documentary memory to release trauma and disrupt state narratives on racial violence cannot be underestimated. Now, a generation of young people have emerged who are questioning the very fundamentals of society. Whether it is Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion or the #MeToo movement there is a growing interest in the social struggles of the past to learn lessons. Obstinate documentaries that focus on resistance, it seems, may be coming of age.’ 

Read the full paper here