Screen Cultures – The Private, the Personal, the Communal: Intimate Materialities of Screen Consumption

Date & Time:

27th November, 16:00


C284, 2nd floor Curzon Building, 4 Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7BD


Screen Cultures – The Private, the Personal, the Communal: Intimate Materialities of Screen Consumption

Darren Kerr and Donna Peberdy (Southampton Solent University): Research, Engagement and Public Scholarship

Sex on screen and sexual cultures still remain a sensitive, taboo and occasionally offensive subject, in spite of a relatively well established history of academic research. The Screening Sex project emerged after the conscious development of a distinctly public-facing blog that offers a space for research-informed work to move beyond the limitations of academic publishing, stimulate debate on marginalised matters and endorse the desire to see public benefit emerge from such scholarship. This civic responsibility towards addressing sexual screen cultures through Screening Sex has consequently taken the form of academic endorsement via the British Association of Film and Television Screen Studies, having a role in community facing public events, a forthcoming book series and a policy impact plan working with local arts and cultural organisations.

In this talk, we will introduce the Screening Sex project and our attempts to engage in public scholarship in light of several contexts, which situate the work we’re doing: the current research environment; the academic study of sex on screen; and public opinion regarding sex on screen. We’ll consider in relation to these three key contexts and conclude with our reflections on our public scholarship journey so far.

Adrienne Evens and Miriam De Rosa (Coventry University) Domestic, Familial, Private: Intersecting concepts and connections

In this discussion, we present formative ideas that build on our separate work on the domestic, familial and private, in an attempt to formulate new theory. For us, these notions already overlap in multiple ways, in both popular and academic discourse; however, few accounts bring them together in dialogue. Briefly mapping out what they mean in our own work, we first discuss an interpretation based on film theory, through which these terms are shaped by the blurring of an apparatus that moves us from identity to flow. Second, we turn to the way these terms have been conceived in feminist theory, as ensuring a gender power relation in which public and private spheres of life are repeatedly challenged, but in ways that redirect us to the reassuringly normative and conventional. A significant overlap between these two ways of conceiving of the domestic, familial and private, then, is in observing a new fluidity, one that for both of us, in different ways, is connected to the ‘postdigital’. In picking up on this point, our discussion explores the implications for how we understand pleasure, space and place, performativity, nostalgia, habit and subject/body formation, with a view to outlining a new approach to these terms, located at the intersection of film, media, cultural and feminist theory.

Gemma Commane (BCU) Reflections from the frontlines of Birmingham’s first feminist porn fest

In the summer of 2018, we held ‘Bean Flicks,’ Birmingham’s first feminist, ethical, queer and kink-positive porn festival. In this presentation, we outline and critically reflect upon how this event constituted a form of feminist praxis in its ambition to engage the public in spaces that are sex and kink positive. Bean Flicks arose from and forms part of the activities of ‘The VQ,’ a larger women’s health, sex and pleasure pop up initiative based at Birmingham City University. The VQ brings together researchers, artists, community organisations, and social enterprises to create safe, sex-positive spaces for women of all ages and backgrounds to learn about and discuss matters of (sexual) health. We will use the event as a case study to explore institutional ‘blind spots’ in public engagement endeavours. We argue that the social positioning of the academic (and the subject of her research) mediates the public’s and the media’s reception of such work, especially feminist work engaged with matters of pleasure and sexuality. We will also say a few words about the inaugural Bean Flicks: Ethics of Desires, which is happening on the 14th and 15th of February 2020 at CENTRALA. The inaugural event is funded by the BFI Film Hub Midlands Pitch Pots. Please see Eventbrite link for the full abstract.

About the speakers:


Darren Kerr is Head of Film and Digital Arts at Solent University Southampton. He is the co-editor of, on the editorial board for Porn Studies and trustee of film education charity City Eye. He is co-editor of Hard to Swallow: Hard-core Pornography on Screen (2012), Tainted Love: Screening Sexual Perversion (2017) and co-editor of the new Edinburgh University Press “Screening Sex” book series. Darren’s other research interests include horror, violence and adaptation.

Dr Donna Peberdy is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television at Southampton Solent University. She is the author of Masculinity and Film Performance: Male Angst in Contemporary American Cinema (2011) and co-editor of Tainted Love: Screening Sexual Perversion (2017). She is the co-editor of and co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press “Screening Sex” book series. She is particularly interested in the relationship between screen acting and the performance and politics of identity.

Dr Miriam De Rosa is Research Fellow in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University, UK. She researches and publishes on film theories, experimental cinema, artists’ moving images and screen media arts. She is the author of Cinema e Postmedia (2013), the editor of Post-what? Post-when? Thinking moving images beyond the postcinema condition (with Vinzenz Hediger, 2016) and of the volume forthcoming for Edinburgh University Press Film and Domestic Space.

Dr Adrienne Evans is Reader in Media in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University, UK. Past research explored sexiness; current work develops accounts of (post)digital intimacy, postfeminist masculinity and healthism. Her co-authored books include Technologies of Sexiness: Sex, Identity and Consumer Culture (Oxford University Press, USA, 2014) and Postfeminism and Health (Routledge, 2018), and her forthcoming books include Postfeminism and Body Image (Routledge) and Gender, Affect and Digital Subjectivity (Palgrave).

Bean Flicks are a group of gender and sexuality researchers and advocates based at Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham. With the support of Film Hub Midlands (, we’re organising ‘Bean Flicks’ an ethical, feminist, queer, and kink-positive porn festival. For this, our inaugural festival, we have adopted the theme ‘Ethics of Desires’ and are planning a series talks, ethical porn screenings, and interactive events that will lead to and inform a Sex Positive & Inclusivity Manifesto for Birmingham.