Esther Johnson

  • Venue: Fine Art Lecture Theatre
  • Start: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 12:00:00 GMT
  • End: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:00:00 GMT

Esther Johnson is an artist and filmmaker working with moving image, audio and photography. She was awarded an MA from the Royal College of Art, London and is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. In 2012 she won the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Visual and Performing Arts for young scholars.

Asunder, which is being screened as part of this event, tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men abroad fighting and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories. Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers. The narrative moves from an Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress.

Her documentary portraits foster an engagement with the effects of progress and societal change on communities, and how the universal impacts on the individual. Projects include socially-engaged work that draws upon oral testimony, experience and politics – this work takes the form of portraits that focus on marginal worlds to reveal resonant stories that may otherwise remain hidden or ignored. Recurring themes include social narratives, personal histories, memory and testament, heritage, folklore, regeneration, and exploration of architectural vernaculars and the inhabited environment.  Screening and exhibition includes Barbican, London; BFI London Film Festival; CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; ICA, London; Hull 2017; International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam; Istanbul Biennial; Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Germany; Landscape Institute; NASA, California; Sheffield Doc/Fest; Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London. Film works have been shown on BBC and Channel 4, and audio works have been broadcast on ABC Australia, BBC Radio 4, Resonance FM and RTÉ radio.

She has curated film and artist moving image programmes for galleries and film festivals, and written for several arts publications. Work is held in the special collections of British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection, Central Saint Martins; Science Museum Group; Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, Buffalo and Yorkshire Film Archive. 



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