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Research project

Calling the Shots: Women and contemporary film culture in the UK, 2000-2015

  • Research groups:
  • Lead researcher:
  • Research funder:
    Arts & Humanities Research Council
  • Status:
    Not active

Project overview

We conducted research into the numbers of women working in the British film industry and the collection of their career stories injected quantitative and qualitative evidence into debates about equality and diversity in the screen industries. We engaged the film industry through related public institutions and organisations, working professionals, filmmaking educators and film production students. Our research increased awareness of the reality of gender inequality and its intersection with ethnicity within the industry, facilitated discussion of these issues, and advocated for and contributed to policy change.

Key outcomes included the use of the project data by the British Film Institute (BFI) as evidence and support for new equality and diversity policies. The research helped many individual filmmakers to make the case for tackling gender inequality in their own roles and to influence others in this highly collaborative industry. Media attention to the project increased the public visibility of these issues, tying them to wider debates about equality while challenging the cinema and film-loving public to recognise the barriers facing women filmmakers and to think of ways they might better support them


Lead researcher

Professor Shelley Cobb

Head of Department

Research interests

  • Women filmmakers
  • Women's films/chick flicks
  • Gender and popular culture (esp Hollywood)
Connect with Shelley

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Shelley Cobb & Linda Ruth Williams, 2020, Women's History Review, 29(5), 890-902
Type: article
Shelley Cobb & Tanya Horeck, 2018, Feminist Media Studies, 18(3), 489-491
Type: letterEditorial