Changing Perspectives of Intellectual disability through the practice of film

Collin, Leonard (2023) Changing Perspectives of Intellectual disability through the practice of film. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This commentary argues that stereotypical representations of intellectual disability in cinema indirectly cause discriminatory behaviours towards people with intellectual disabilities that restrict their social interactions, agency and, in some cases, their human rights. These misrepresentations are so pervasive that they are accepted by many as truths. By acknowledging the medical model of disability, and application of the social and cultural models of disability, could an ethical approach to filmmaking practice be used in the creation of work that would inform, entertain, and change public perceptions of intellectual disability?

My methodology would employ the principals of "considered filmmaking". Using academic rigour to research, consult with, and accurately represent adults with intellectual disabilities, a feature film could be made that rejects stereotypical representations for faithful portrayals of people with intellectual disabilities by authentically casting actors with those disabilities. The result of this research question was Sanctuary (2016): a romantic comedy about the forbidden love shared between a man with Down's Syndrome and a woman with epilepsy.

Questions that evolved from the making, screening and distribution of the film informed the making of a documentary, Altered Thinking: An academic film essay (2020) which examines the context and history of ID in cinema, the methodologies of making Sanctuary and a critique of industry responses to inclusive and diverse film making.

The work in this portfolio is critically investigated for its contribution to new knowledge and understanding in the fields of filmmaking practice and disability representation. Can "considered filmmaking" change public perceptions of, and give greater agency to, people with intellectual disabilities?

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: disability representation, Down’s syndrome, performative works, cinema, screenwriting
Subjects: C800 Psychology
W600 Cinematics and Photography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy by published work
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2023 09:10
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 09:15

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