Jill Craigie photographed from below as she is seated with a cup and saucer. She is looking up into the sky and there are clouds behind her.


Independent Miss Craigie

Hosted by LSE Library and LSE Gender

Old Theatre, Old Building, United Kingdom


Professor Lizzie Thynne

Professor of Film at Sussex University


Dr Sadie Wearing

Associate Professor, Department of Gender Studies, LSE

Join us for a free film screening of Independent Miss Craigie followed by Q&A with director Lizzie Thynne.

Independent Miss Craigie uses its subject’s own films extensively as well as other fiction and propaganda of the period to reflect on, and contextualise, her life and career. It draws on the director’s unseen papers, along with her films, letters, and photographs to reveal her energetic struggles to get her radical films made and distributed. Dual narrative voices – from actual interviews and from a script performed by Hayley Atwell – evoke the split between Craigie’s persona as a young, apparently confident film-maker and her later dismissal of her work. The film echoes Craigie’s hybrid mix of drama and documentary and use of the first person to represent women’s experiences and subjectivities, previously marginalised within the British Documentary Movement. The film is narrated by Hayley Atwell and directed by Lizzie Thynne (93 mins).

More about this event

Jill Craigie (1911–1999) was one of the first women to direct documentaries in the UK. Working outside the British Documentary Movement in the 1940s and early 1950s, her films such as To Be Woman (1951) on equal pay, and Out of Chaos (1944), the first film about artists at work, featuring Henry Moore and Paul Nash, broke new ground. Jill Craigie’s work is often eclipsed by her marriage to former Labour party leader, Michael Foot in 1949. The challenges of supporting her husband, while retaining her own goals and identity, were a challenge faced by many women in the media business, then and now.

This film was produced as part of a four-year research project, Jill Craigie: Film Pioneer, generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, led by Lizzie Thynne with Sadie Wearing, Yvonne Tasker, Hollie Price, Adele Tulli. The project drew on Jill Craigie’s archive held in the Women’s Library at LSE Library.

Watch the film trailer.

Find out more about the project.

Meet our speaker and chair

Lizzie Thynne is a film-maker and writer on media and film. She is Professor of Film at Sussex University. Her work often focuses women’s life histories and has been widely shown in galleries, exhibitions and festivals and on television. Her feature documentaries include On the Border, 2012 (on her Finnish mother’s history) JMP Screenworks 4 and Brighton: Symphony of A City, (Brighton Festival 2016) Symphonic Visions, (Metier 2018) and Playing a Part: The Story of Claude Cahun (2005).

Sadie Wearing is Associate Professor in gender theory, culture and media at the Gender Studies Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests are in gender and cultural production and in feminist and gender theory, with a specific focus on aging, memory and temporality. She has published extensively on these themes in relation to both popular culture (film and television) and literature in both contemporary and historical contexts. She is the author with Niall Richardson of Gender in the Media (Palgrave, 2014) and the co-editor of The Sage Handbook of Feminist Theory (Sage, 2014). She is a member of the editorial collective for Feminist Review.

Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSEMissCraigie.

The British Library of Political and Economic Science (@LSELibrary) was founded in 1896, a year after the London School of Economics and Political Science. It has been based in the Lionel Robbins Building since 1978 and houses many world class collections, including The Women's Library.


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