The Diaspora Screen Media Network (DSMN)

By Rajinder Dudrah on September 30th, 2019

The Diaspora Screen Media Network (DSMN) is an AHRC-funded research network which aims to explore the exciting developments taking place in Black British and British Asian Cinema and TV brought about by new media and the internet. The network will bring together creative practitioners, cultural hubs, educators, students and members of the public to create new conversations about the innovative changes in the ways that media is produced, disseminated and consumed. Our expanding network includes partners in Northamptonshire and the East and West Midlands working in the media industries.


The DSMN will explore how selected diaspora screen media texts including documentaries and short films engage with new media and the digital world of the internet to create new global forms of visual awareness considered as ‘glocal imaginaries’. Building on recent work that traces the global mobilization of culture, the project will fill a gap in current research by using British Asian and Black British screen texts as case studies in identifying how ‘glocal’ formats of the new media align with or juxtapose national, regional or transnational perspectives of today’s increasingly fluid visual culture (i.e. here routed through Birmingham and Northampton).

The network events will explore diaspora screen media texts’ engagement with contemporary ‘media ecologies’ (Fuller 2005) in order to shape new understandings of the locatedness and mobility of diasporic audiences. It will provide an arena for dialogue between the educational sector, creative professionals and the general public including student groups and migrant communities with which participants have affiliations.

In defining ‘glocal’ imaginaries (e.g. in media examples and their distribution), the project will examine how the work of representative filmmakers, cultural practitioners and writers is viewed by the public who use social media, and together create an open reciprocal relationship that redefines and represents diaspora themes (e.g. cultural identity, relocation, cultural translation, home and belonging, religious beliefs and practices). Methodologically the network will articulate new cross-cutting debates on diasporic media cultures, address recent modes of access to diaspora screen media texts, and communication through social media. In identifying the changing landscape of film and online media production, reception, and promotion it asks:

1. How are diasporic screen media changing in terms of social impact through modification of themes and issues via interventions by new media?
2. Does new media’s remapping of diasporic screen texts’ traditional concerns encourage a more nuanced ‘glocal imaginary’ and how might this be defined?

The network intends to collate people’s personal memories and mementoes of Black British and British Asian Cinema and these will be hosted in an online exhibition on the project’s website (forthcoming).

PI: Professor Janet Wilson, University of Northampton
Co-I: Professor Rajinder Dudrah, Birmingham City University
Start Date: 30 Sept 2019 (duration 18 months until 2021)