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Money, Space and Cinema, first screening.

This dialogue was more ‘public’ than the last, meaning that although the audience was still invited, they were made up of many people who I had never met, but had reached through networks of networks. It was a somewhat diverse audience, including artists, academics, activists, financial advisers, film-makers, architect and graphic designer.

The dialogue was divided into three stages; the first involved a screening of the film Money Puzzles, (Chanan, 2016). This was followed by a Q and A with the director Michael Chanan, led by Rod Stoneman, which opened into an audience discussion. Finally there were informal conversations that took place at the end and in the pub next door.

The content of the documentary concerned events following the near financial collapse of the Greek economy in 2015 and the earlier default in Argentina (2001), with some reference to matters in Spain. This, together with the presence of the director, meant that the focus of the discussion was largely on economics and finance.

The audience consisted of 7 men and 9 women. 5 of the men participated in the discussion with the director, but only 2 of the women, one of whom began by saying that she wanted to input a feminine perspective into the proceedings. The reasons for this imbalance in terms of voices are unclear, there was no obvious or deliberate exclusion. The chairperson invited contributions from whoever put their hand up to speak.

It is impossible not to think of feminist critiques of the gendering of the public sphere, from its foundations in Ancient Greek and Roman times right up to the present. Normative behaviours can be incredibly difficult to grasp as they are happening. They don’t necessarily emanate from one group of people in a situation; they are part of a dynamic in which everyone participates.

As a piece of action-research, this first semi-public dialogue in a series of four threw up something both unexpected and yet well-known in relation to the public sphere, which is the way in which it can generate a shadow of exclusion that can go unacknowledged. It’s a relevant area of inquiry and something that I will continue to observe and try to address in different ways in subsequent events.

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