Call for Papers - Eye International Conference 2019

The 10th Women and the Silent Screen Conference hosted by the 5th Eye International Conference

Once a year, Eye Filmmuseum is the venue for an international conference attended by film scholars, archivists, curators and restorers. The conferences are organized in collaboration with national and international partners from both the academic world and the field of film heritage. In 2019, the 5th Eye International Conference will host the 10th Women and the Silent Screen Conference.

Women and the Silent Screen (WSS), a biennial international conference, has been a hub for the exchange of research focused on all forms of women’s involvement during the earliest decades of film history. Having first convened in Utrecht in 1999, the conference returns to the Netherlands in celebration of its twentieth year of activity. The theme of WSS 10 is SISTERS, to be explored both literally and figuratively, and is open to consideration using different methods and from a range of historical and theoretical angles.

In her essay “A Room of One’s Own,” Virginia Woolf speculated about what might be “if Shakespeare had a sister,” painting a grim picture of the cultural and economic circumstances that perpetuated inequality between men and women and restricted women’s participation in literary and public life. Woolf’s essay, written during the heyday of silent cinema and first drafted in the form of addresses to other women, still speaks to us today, echoed in ongoing struggles – both material and representational – in the film industry and in media historiography. In the spirit of Woolf’s pioneering feminism, her attention to women and the varied attachments between them, and her curiosity about cinema’s potential “if left to its own devices,” we propose taking Woolf’s provocation as a departure point by making sisterhood the main theme of the conference.[1] 

The concept of sisterhood, taken in its broadest understandings of kinship and kindredness, suggests a wide range of subjects, and we welcome presentations in a wide range of formats, including the following:*

  • Academic paper presentation: in the classical academic conference format; 20 minutes, excluding general Q&A.
  • Show-and-tell: short presentation of a case study or an archival material, including but not limited to a historical document, a short film or video (fragment and/or video-essay), a photograph, etc. followed by a general discussion. This format is geared towards a more open-ended discussion over an unidentified or newly discovered archival material; max. 10 minutes, including Q&A and/or discussion.
  • Pre-formed panel: formed around a single, or similar research focus; consisting of 3-4 speakers; may include a moderator; max. 90 minutes, including Q&A and/or discussion.
  • Pre-formed roundtable discussion: formed around a single research focus, consisting of 3-4 speakers, responding to each other; may include a moderator; max. 60 minutes, including Q&A and/or discussion.

*The programme committee reserves the right to propose alternative formats to the proposed presentation format. 


The presentations may engage with the concept of sisterhood from a wide range of historical and theoretical angles, including but not limited to the following:

Sisters on the screen and behind the camera
We invite papers on films in which sisterhood is a theme, or in which sisters on screen are featured. In addition, papers might address the adaptation of well-known male characters by female performers: thus, adapted/adopted sisters. Similarly, we invite papers that focus on women who were active in the film industry as collaborative kin.

Sisterly attachments
We invite explorations of cinematic networks and attachments between women, both imagined and existing. These could include political, strategic, and tactical sisterhoods in media historiography, viewership, and production across women of diverse classes, races, generations, and national and ethnic origins, as well as queer attachments and bonds expressed in film historical scholarship or practices.

Feminist historiographic practices
The conference aims to further open to discussion other forms of feminine lineages, linkages, and inheritances such as matrilineal narratives, oral history practices, and questions in feminist revisionist historiography as a field.

Archival siblings and imitation kin
This subtheme addresses copies, remakes, re-prints, and dupe prints in the first decades of filmmaking. It also includes archival practices, including collection practices, restoration, and institutional collaborations. Submissions might include explorations into the categorization within film archiving of sibling collections, object relatedness, or gendered kinship or heredity as they appear in the organization of film archives.


These subthemes are certainly not exhaustive and the conference warmly welcomes papers that address perspectives not mentioned here. Please send an abstract of 500 words and a short bio of 50 words to no later than December 7, 10:00 (CET). Please clearly state the proposed format of your presentation.


Practical info:

  • The Eye International Conference 2019 will take place at Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from Saturday 25 May to Tuesday 28 May 2019.
  • Attendees are also invited to the Eye Collection Day, highlighting recent projects from the Eye Collection, on Saturday 25 May.
  • There are no parallel sessions in this conference. 
  • The conference language is English. Simultaneous interpreting services are not available.


This conference is organized by Eye in collaboration with Women and Film History International (WFHI), University of Amsterdam (UvA), and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA).






[1] Woolf, Virginia. "THE CINEMA." Sight and Sound, vol. 23, no. 4, Apr 01, 1954, pp. 215.



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