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Shireen Shortt

Shireen Shortt

P: +353-1-4027129
Campus: Aungier Street

Research Topic: Stigmatised Youth From Inner-City Dublin Speak Back: A Participatory Media Collaborative Ethnography

The public image of Dublin's Inner City Community is largely negative and hinged on stereotypes. The dominant media messages show those represented as being of low ability, no values, negative personality and character traits and contributing little or nothing to society.

These Dubliners represent those who are demarcated by class. Bounded, I believe, by class, or ideas of class. My curiosity lies in how this cohort of society, which can be described as less powerful in relation to their middle and upper class counterparts, understands its own identity. The power imbalance I am particularly interested in is in relation to the production and dissemination of media messages. Through creative and visual/audio-visual methods I intend to explore how selected members of this community would choose to represent their own identities if production were in their hands. What values, interests, elements of history, family, community and so on make them who they are, and who they wish to express themselves as? Do they see themselves in the same ways as dominant media channels depict them, or will their self expression reveal a seldom explored dimension? Do media messages contribute to the way they understand themselves, and to what extent? In terms of audiences, can outsiders to the group - can 'others' - see them in a new way through their creative expressions of self? Can attitudes shaped by previous cultural 'knowledge', by media information and by social prejudices be challenged by layered, textured, multi-dimensional and personal expression when members of opposing communities come 'face' to 'face'.

My background and qualifications are in various aspects of media production. My undergraduate research dissertation examined representations of the people of Sub-Saharan Africa in documentaries broadcast in Ireland, and the relationship of those representations with public perceptions. After graduating, as part of a producer/director team, I received funding for a documentary project proposal informed by the research in my undergraduate dissertation. We travelled to Sefu, in Zambia and shot a short documentary with local teenagers. The objective of the documentary was to produce a multi-dimensional and nuanced representation of the lives of the villagers of Sefu and to offer another perspective on people that are typically represented by repetitive, stereotypical visuals and categorised by continent before nation. The documentary was filmed was screened in several international festivals (see below). As an example of previous work, this project best represents my values in terms of social documentary practice. I believe in the importance of understanding cultural and media theory and perspectives, of reflecting on the ethics of representation and creating media stories that meet the standards set by that knowledge.

Selected Conferences

'Stigmatised Youth From Inner-City Dublin Speak Back: A Participatory-Media Ethnography', Theorising Practice, Practicing Theory - A Postgraduate Training Workshop, University of Roehampton, London (April).

Selected Productions and Screenings

Snapshots of a Village (Zambia, Co-Director/Producer, 15 mins documentary. Part funded by the Simon Cumbers Media Challenge Fund (

Queens International Film Festival, New York (November).

5th International Short-Movie Exhibition of Unioeste, Brazil (November).

Detroit Independent Film Festival (March).

San Diego Black Film Festival (January).

Our Lives Radio Documentary Series for Dublin South FM (Producer,covering various topics including mental health, conservation, education, emmigration).

Tina (Ireland, Camera, 15 mins documentary).

Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival,Winner in Best Short Category.

Galway Film Festival.

Selected Exhibitions and Awards

Portraits of Sefu - Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards.

Kade Visions of Africa Photography Exhibition, Group Exhibition.




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