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Where’s Deirdre?!! Media Studies Faculty Member Rounds the World This Summer

“Jet setting is not glamorous; it is hard work,” according to Media Studies’ Associate Professor Deirdre Boyle who traveled around the world this summer speaking at four conferences and conducting research on Danish documentary cinema. Boyle’s juggernaut—which included ten flights in 30 days—began in June when she was invited to present Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s little-known film, Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell, at London’s Documentary Now! Conference. She also presented the latest film from Portuguese filmmaker Salome Lamas at the Open City Documentary Film Festival. Lamas’s No Man’s Land was featured as part of the festival’s “Oppressor” focus on perpetrator films; it is an astounding portrait of a commando, mercenary, and state-sponsored anti-Basque assassin.

In August, Boyle travelled to Melbourne, Australia where she was invited to present her work on representations of the Cambodian genocide at “Aftermath,” a Jewish studies conference on post-Holocaust genocides sponsored by Monash University. Her paper was based on a longer essay that will be published next year in a new collection on documentary from Blackwell. She then shared her work with colleagues at the annual international gathering of documentary scholars, “Visible Evidence,” which was held this year in Stockholm, Sweden. Taking advantage of being in Scandinavia, she next traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark with support from the School of Media Studies to investigate the vitality of Danish documentary today, interviewing the head of documentary studies at The National Film School, the director of Denmark’s leading documentary film festival CPH:DOX, the programmer of DR TV’s popular weekly series “Dokumania,” as well as several leading filmmakers. Boyle, who served as Director of the School of Media Studies’ Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies between 2008-2011, also met with Danish graduates of this program, including Anders Birch whose new feature film, Denmark on the Prairie, aired on DR in prime time this summer and was seen by roughly 700,000 viewers.

Finally, Boyle traveled to Hong Kong where she was invited to speak at “The Conference on Asian and South Asian Documentary” sponsored by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Before it began, she offered a one-day workshop on Memory and Chinese documentary and participated in a public dialogue with Hong Kong filmmakers on the neglected history of women in Hong Kong cinema. While there, she reunited with some Media Studies graduates, such as: radio personality, poet, playwright, theater director and film professor Lo WaiLuk; acclaimed feminist videoartist Yau Ching; Chow Keung, producer of acclaimed filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke; and Jimmy Choi, co-founder of Hong Kong’s early activist organization Video Power, among others.

Boyle, whose dream of circumnavigating the globe was born in primary school when she first traced the routes of Magellan and Vasco da Gama, now understands the tragic relationship between the age of exploration and the spread of genocide worldwide. Meeting with colleagues from around the globe, she has forged new relationships with academics, researchers, archivists, and Media Studies alumni in Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, New Delhi, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, and throughout Europe. She is very glad to be home now and back in the classroom sharing her farflung adventures with new students and NS colleagues.

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