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CFP: Genoa Unconference 2021

Radical Film Network – Call for Unconference participants, Genoa 21-26 June 2021


After a forced hiatus in 2020, Genoa will host the Radical Film Network Festival/Unconference from Monday 21st to Saturday 26th June 2021. It's no accident that we've decided to host it here, as the summer of 2021 will mark 20 years since the Genoa G8 protests. We'd like this to be an opportunity for the RFN not only to look back at the role of radical film culture in the mobilizations surrounding that event, but also (and especially) to reflect on and organize radical film practices in the strange present we're going through and in years to come. The Festival/Unconference will build on the success of past RFN gatherings, in particular Glasgow in 2016, the first meeting to use the ‘Festival and Unconference’ model, as well as Dublin, Berlin and Nottingham in 2018 and 2019, which placed a welcome emphasis on the transnational dimension of the RFN.


The Festival/Unconference will be a space for activists, academics, filmmakers, producers, distributors, exhibitors, and anyone with an interest in radical film culture to come together, share knowledge, experiences, and practices, and build connections between the different dimensions of radical film culture as well as between radical film culture and a public, emancipatory approach to social sciences, across borders and language barriers. The event will be in English and Italian (with translation), but those who can contribute to debates and sessions in English are invited to do so to ease the pressure on our volunteers. The unconference model was successfully used in Glasgow and we’re looking to combine this inclusive, horizontal approach with a ‘slow conference’ model. This will allow us to take time to listen to things that we’d normally have to skip in favour of what’s more directly linked with our research/practice, thereby reclaiming a space where a productive dialogue can happen across the various subjects that have become involved in the RFN through the years. Having a ‘Slow Unconference’ is also an attempt to disrupt – however temporarily – the rhythms of the models of education, knowledge sharing, and filmmaking dictated by neoliberal values.


The organising committee invites proposals from anyone interested in participating in the discussions. Sessions for discussions will be timetabled, but the focus of each session will be decided by the participants based on their interests and it will arise from the films we’ll have seen and the discussions we’ll have had the day before. The screenings will be organized around six thematic areas:

  • Climate justice

  • Digital and video-activism 20 years after the Genoa G8

  • Feminism and LGBTQIA+ activism

  • Gentrification and touristification

  • Migrations and borders

  • Work, anxiety and precarity

The Unconference format is intended to create spaces in which participants can share practical experiences, research, skills, and insights on radical film culture and film in the context of a public, emancipatory approach to social sciences, including

  • Your/your organization’s practice as filmmakers, producers, distributors, exhibitors, researchers, activists, etc.

  • Film festivals and community cinemas

  • Limits of and opportunities offered by new technologies and digital platforms

  • Political filmmaking

  • Education and radical film practices in film studies and beyond

  • Critical perspectives on the representation of marginalized groups

  • Radical film history, culture, theory and practice

  • Video-activism and the relationship between film and political movements past and present

  • Visual sociology and film anthropology

Possible forms of participation include

  • Short illustrated talks (between 5 and 10 minutes)

  • Workshops

  • Digital or printed material that can be distributed at the event


We will consider proposals for other formats. While 10 minutes may sound too short for academics who normally deliver 20-minute papers, consider that the discussions will offer opportunities to develop ideas introduced in your talk in a productive exchange with other participants, which is what we’re trying to promote with this format. Also, we encourage everyone to think about the mixed audience that will take part in the event and prepare their contribution accordingly, choosing an approach that will help your message get through to participants outside your ‘bubble’ (academic, activist, filmmaking, etc.).


The Festival/Unconference will take place at the University of Genoa, in public outdoor spaces across the city, and in a range of participating venues including independent cinemas and local organized squats. In all indoor spaces masks will be required, a maximum capacity will be set to ensure that physical distances can be kept, and there will be appropriate ventilation. Some sessions will be broadcast online to allow those who won’t be able to come to Genoa to join us remotely. While face-to-face participation can’t be replaced by online meetings, we wish to be as inclusive as possible and offer everyone the opportunity to take part, whatever your age, health condition, and other reasons for not wanting to travel at this time. The Festival/Unconference venues will be fully accessible and some free no-frills accommodation and urban camping with basic facilities will be available on a first come first served basis. Please contact us if you require childcare or have any other access questions.


We’re going to require a set 125€ registration fee from participants who have access to financial support from their institutions/organizations, but we will operate a pay-what-you-can registration system for all self-funded participants, and registration will be free to all unwaged participants.


Please send a proposal including the following information to rfngenova21@gmail.com by Friday 8th January 2021

  • Name and Surname

  • Institutional affiliation or other organization (if applicable)

  • Brief outline of your proposal (max 150 words)

  • Technical requirements

The Festival/Unconference is organized by Laboratorio di Sociologia Visuale (Visual Sociology Research Group, DISFOR, University of Genoa), Corso di Laurea in Scienze della Comunicazione (Media and Communication Programme, DISFOR, University of Genoa), and Associazione Culturale Oblò, which is going to take care of the logistic aspects of the organization, in collaboration with the Radical Film Network.

Advisory Committee: David Archibald (University of Glasgow, Scotland) Mª Soliña Barreiro (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Galicia), Elena Boschi (Independent scholar and curator, Italy), Luca Caminati (Concordia University, Canada), Massimo Cannarella (Università di Genova and Associazione Oblò), Enrico Fravega (Università di Trento), Erik Gandini (Filmmaker and producer, Sweden) Luca Giliberti (Università di Genova), José González Morandi (Filmmaker, Catalunya), Frances Higson (Producer and filmmaker, Scotland), Gabriella Petti (Università di Genova), Luca Queirolo Palmas (Università di Genova), Steve Presence (University of the West of England), Federico Rahola (Università di Genova), Victor Ribeiro (Documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Bombozila, Brazil), Luisa Stagi (Università di Genova).

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