Reproductive Labour: An exhibition exploring the work of Cinenova

Reproductive Labour centres around the films, videos, politics and discussions that make up Cinenova – a volunteer-run, charitable organisation dedicated to preserving and distributing the work of women/feminist film and video makers.

The exhibition sees Cinenova’s films, videos and paper materials worked on and displayed in a number of ways. Invited selectors have nominated a work from the collection for a daily feature throughout the seven-week run:

Week one
Week two
Week three
Week four
Week five
Week six
Week seven

Bringing these together with a series of further screenings and events, this is a rare opportunity to watch and research pivotal works from the history of feminist, black, queer and experimental film and video, and together consider how they activate the present.

Through the course of the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to use the Cinenova catalogue and paper archive to find out more about certain films and videos, and to select titles that they’d like to see during the exhibition. It is also possible to request a tape or DVD from the workers of Cinenova and The Showroom, who are in the space at all times. In some cases, the only existing copy of the film is a film print, stored elsewhere, but all efforts will be made to facilitate a viewing. It is also possible to photocopy some of the paper materials on display, and to ask the person present to help.

Visitors are invited to contact the Cinenova working group if they want to organise a discussion or screening in the space or elsewhere.

Faced with closure since 2001, due to lack of funding, Cinenova has been run by volunteers dedicated to the constellation of films, histories and politics that make up Cinenova, believing in the necessity of keeping the collection together and autonomous, rather than dispersed into larger and more general archives or distributors. In 2009 these volunteers became a more formalised ‘working group’. Reproductive Labour, organised by the group, intends to make public and urgent Cinenova’s actual situation with regard to its ability to preserve, promote and distribute the work in the collection.

The exhibition presents the case of Cinenova as a site that gives rise to reflections on the desires and problematics of collective cultural work, along with the practicalities and labour involved in maintaining such an organisation. These reflections are crucial to the thinking of Reproductive Labour, where it is hoped to make visible, and thereby transform, these processes.

Whilst the current landscape is vastly different to that of Cinenova’s beginnings – on the one hand the demise of the ‘new social movements’ especially the feminist movement; and on the other a revolution in media technologies – the continuous presence of Cinenova is a collective and critical project which intends to provide tools and meeting points in the present. The exhibition Reproductive Labour is informed and inspired by the content and structure of Cinenova and how it offers us an important angle on history.

Cinenova Working Group: Melissa Castagnetto, Megan Fraser, Emma Hedditch, Henriette Heise, Karolin Meunier, Emily Pethick, Irene Revell, Sandra Schaefer, Kate Stancliffe and Marina Vishmidt

This project is supported by Arts Council England and the additional generosity of Cinenova’s supporters.


We use cookies to remember if you logged in or if you’ve interacted with the newsletter subscription form.
Pages that have embedded media such as YouTube videos or Spotify playlists require third party cookies to function.