Interviews

"In the audiovisual world, all women in general suffer discrimination"

 

Ainamar Clariana Rodagut, a pre-doctoral researcher

15/04/2021
Laura Villate
Ainamar Clariana Rodagut, a pre-doctoral researcher in the IN3's Global Literary Studies (GlobaLS).

 

During the interview with Ainamar Clariana Rodagut, member of RAMA (Latin American Women's Audiovisual Research Network), we asked about the role of women in the audiovisual field and the evolution this role has had. In addition, she told us how she became a member of the network and a researcher at the UOC on the Social Networks of the Past: Mapping Hispanic and Lusophone Literary Modernity 1898-1959 ERC Starting Grant project.

We know you have a special interest in studying film societies as cross-border social and cultural networks. Where did this interest come from?

Film societies interest me for their social potential, because somehow they take in the relationship between art and society through the audience. I have already worked on this subject previously, the role of people who see cinema as a determining factor when building the meaning of a work, instead of the work being something closed, with an imposed meaning, seeing it as a work under construction, that is created and recreated with every viewing. From the field of sociology, film societies could be that space in which cinema is shown, where the viewer plays an active, participative role, instead of a passive role, as it is traditionally understood.

In addition, Diana Roig-Sanz, the coordinator of the ERC project Social Networks of the Past: Mapping Hispanic and Lusophone Literary Modernity 1898-1959, on which I am currently collaborating, proposed film societies as one of the key topics of the research. 

What role do women play in the audiovisual field in Latin America? Has it evolved over time?

What I can say with certainty is what I believe research can provide in this regard, which is to generate a change, making the role of women visible, not just contemporary women, but also in the past, within the audiovisual field. The role of women in audiovisual is still invisible today. In fact, it is enough to merely look at the amount of prizes awarded to men and to women within the audiovisual field. For example, if we talk about the Oscars, as an imposed global paradigm that everybody wants to access, in the hundred years since they began, only one woman has won the Oscar for best director, the most prestigious prize. 

Perhaps the difference between before and now is that now there is an attempt to recover the names of women and make their work visible, which is what the RAMA network and I are doing, but until these names are recovered it is impossible to value their roles, because the context they are in, in which they are emerging, in which they work, has not yet been sufficiently explored.

What participation do cis and trans women have in the audiovisual world? Is the role of these women accepted in this field?

What I believe is that their participation is valued more or less depending on the context, in other words, in more sexist contexts their participation is more concealed than in other less sexist contexts. Specifically in the audiovisual world, with its power structures, the public face of women has always been related to women as the object of desire in their role as actresses. However, in other types of roles sometimes their names have not been directly noted, because they have worked on tasks historically considered non-creative, such as script editor or corrector. For example, in the 1930s there were more female film critics than now, and this was because working as a film critic was not considered a prestigious job; it was very precarious. At that time men did not want to do it; and when it became a highly-regarded job, men started to take over this space and the women were gradually relegated. 

I think the ideal situation would be that we did not even have to think about the participation of women, that this inequality did not even exist, but the truth is that their participation is precarious in all areas, and this does not depend on the continent or latitude we are talking about; it is a global issue. Simply because they are women, their work is more invisible and disparaged. Obviously, for trans woman it is even more difficult to gain respect. In the audiovisual world, all women in general suffer discrimination.

How did you join the RAMA?

I was at a congress in Belgium in 2019. There I met Isabel Segu; the two of us were talking precisely about Latin American women in the audiovisual world in our presentations. She was talking about a more contemporary figure, Beatriz Palacios from the Ukamau group (Bolivia) and I spoke of someone more historical, Lola lvarez Bravo (Mexico). We saw we had similar interests and she asked me to be part of this initiative. The network is quite new; Isabel Segu started this initiative in 2019 with Marina Tedesco and Elizabeth Ramrez. I find it very interesting and am very happy to be part of it.

What has been the most useful aspect of being part of this network?

As people with similar research interests, the idea is to have a space in which to share our knowledge, methods and forms of research to increase visibility in some way for women in the audiovisual field. We still have not talked about many things, but two initiatives are being considered at the moment: one is a special report called "Documentos para una historia feminista del cine latinoamericano" (Documents for a feminist history of Latin American cinema) which will be published in a special issue of the journal Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas. The report will cover documentary sources for research into cinema made by women in Latin America. Similarly, a series of discussions will be held to boost mutual knowledge and strengthen intergenerational links within the field of research into cinema made by women in Latin America.

How did you discover the UOC?

When I was about to finish my first thesis, during my research period at the Institute of Aesthetic Research (IIE) of the Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico, a colleague who worked as a course instructor at the UOC mentioned the UOC. He told me that work opportunities often came up because the institution was growing. Then, when I finished my thesis, one of the first places I looked for offers was the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

What I like most about the university is the flexible structures it has as it is a newer university, in comparison with others. I was used to studying at older universities, with structures that were a little more hierarchical, that made the relationship between teachers and students more distant. I also really like the UOC's focus on all things digital and new digitization processes. This focus means that research groups such as GlobaLS, of which I am a member, make methodological efforts from different disciplines toward new ones, opening up fields, which makes it a university designed for the future, for what is coming, and not anchored to what it has been until now.