Community Filmmaking for Gender Equality in the Pacific

The prevalence of violence against women in the Pacific region is among the highest in the world, whilst women’s parliamentary participation is amongst the lowest in the world. This international research network involving collaborations between UK and Pacific film, legal and anthropology scholars takes up the question of how to address rights-based issues within a communal society and in culturally sensitive ways, and aims to contribute to finding new approaches to the challenges of gender inequality in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

Film studies and ethnographic research each have distinctive ways of understanding how people engage and portray the world in their own cultural terms, and this project aims to bring these insights into dialogue. With PNG and Samoan filmmakers’ recent development of culturally effective participatory methods and ethnographic evidence that Pacific gender differentiates relational roles not biological difference, this international research network opens a new space for dialogue in which UK and Pacific academics and non-academics can collaborate in re-thinking the current paradigms in development policy and practice.

Through an expanded international research network and collaborations beyond the academy, we seek to investigate the specific problem of community understandings of gender inequality issues and representational genres to support homegrown efforts towards change through inter-disciplinary collaboration and co-creation on participatory film-making, with the specific outcome of a culturally sensitive model with direct impacts for development which enables people as the primary agents of their own responses by grounding research in vernacular understandings and customary, national and international legal frameworks.