Woman In Focus Society | 1974-1993
Organized as part of the Women’s Office at the University of British Columbia, the Women in Focus Society (WIF) was established as a non-profit society in 1974. Women In Focus was a feminist, arts and media centre devoted to women’s cultural production in film, video and the visual arts. It produced original film and video, provided video production and post-production gear for members, and was a distributor of Canadian and international film and video produced and/or directed by women. Its Floating Curatorial Gallery operated a year-round schedule of women’s art exhibitions. WIF also produced a quarterly member newsletter called “Focus” and hosted public screenings of new acquisitions, performance evenings and lectures by visiting artists and producers.
In addition to its video and film productions, WIF maintained a significant print library related to women in the arts and media, magazines and newspapers about film and video, slides, and photographs. These were transferred to the Satellite Video Exchange Society on 21 March 1993 and now part of the CDMLA. The CDMLA holds the Disribution files of Women In Focus. Most other organizational files are part of the UBC Archive.
Women In Focus Print Library
WIF, like many art centres in the 1970s and 1980s, maintained a print library of periodicals, pamphlets, catalogues, and other outside publications for use by their membership. WIF’s Print Library has been incorporated into the Crista Dahl Media Library print collection.
Distribution Catalogues Women In Focus Audio-Visual Tape Library, 14 page catalog for tape distribution. No publication date. Estimated 1974-1975. Red cover. Women In Focus Audio-Visual Tape Library, 10 page catalog for tape distribution. Publication date: 1975-1976. Grey cover. Catalog for tape distribution. Publication date on white cover: 1976-1977. Women In Focus Video and Film Catalogue 1987 Woman In Focus Gallery Exhibition Catalogues “Woman Size: Large Scale Renderings of Women’s Imagery”, Marion Barling, Susan Moore, Jill Pollack (curators), Exhibition: March 17 to May 16, 1981. Artists (Fibre/Fabric Arts): Jean Affleck, Trudy Braidwood, Karen Chapnick, Cristina Estable, Marilyn Foubert, Barbara Heller, Jean Kamins, Julie Kemble, Eva Kupczynski, Pinky Lowe, Sys Richards, Truus Scott, Catherine Shapiro, Anabel Stewart. Floating Curatorial Gallery Exhibition Catalogues “Women, Art and the Periphery”, Diamela Eltit, Nelly Richard, Lotty Rosenfeld (curators) “Politically Speaking: Marcella Bienvenue, Rita McKeough, Mary Scott”, Christine Conley (curator) “Wanda Koop Northern Suite”, Grace Eiko Thomason (curator)
31 page catalogue with artists statements. 8 1/2″ x 11″ printed sheets in 3 ring binder.
Artists (Paper/Canvas/Multi-media): Judith Atkinson, Audrey Capel Doray, Josie Cook, Susan H. Eredics, Meredith Feldmar, Diana Kemble, Barbara Seamon, Phyllis Serota, Sandra Jane Shaw, Roberta Sutherland, Ingrid Yuille.
Artists: (Three Dimensional): Hinda Avery, Nora Blanck, Georgiana Chappell, Jean T. Higinbotham, Doreen Jensen, Sally Michener, Isao Sanami/Morrill, Marcia Pitch.
Women in Focus Society, Floating Curatorial Gallery. 1987, 27 pages
Women In Focus, 1988, 16 pages
Women In Focus, 1987, 12 pages.
Women In Focus Audio-Visual Tape Library, 14 page catalog for tape distribution. No publication date. Estimated 1974-1975. Red cover.
Women In Focus Audio-Visual Tape Library, 10 page catalog for tape distribution. Publication date: 1975-1976. Grey cover.
Catalog for tape distribution. Publication date on white cover: 1976-1977.
Women In Focus Video and Film Catalogue 1987
Woman In Focus Gallery Exhibition Catalogues
“Woman Size: Large Scale Renderings of Women’s Imagery”, Marion Barling, Susan Moore, Jill Pollack (curators), Exhibition: March 17 to May 16, 1981.
Artists (Fibre/Fabric Arts): Jean Affleck, Trudy Braidwood, Karen Chapnick, Cristina Estable, Marilyn Foubert, Barbara Heller, Jean Kamins, Julie Kemble, Eva Kupczynski, Pinky Lowe, Sys Richards, Truus Scott, Catherine Shapiro, Anabel Stewart.
Floating Curatorial Gallery Exhibition Catalogues
“Women, Art and the Periphery”, Diamela Eltit, Nelly Richard, Lotty Rosenfeld (curators)
“Politically Speaking: Marcella Bienvenue, Rita McKeough, Mary Scott”, Christine Conley (curator)
“Wanda Koop Northern Suite”, Grace Eiko Thomason (curator)
1. A 35mm slide collection documenting the work of several Canadian women artists and were used as educational tools.
2. B&W negatives and prints documenting the women who have worked as crew and administrators at WIF and interview subjects (such as Kate Millet)
3. B&W negatives and stills for film and video works in distribution.
4. A 35mm colour slide registry of 170 images of artwork by Women In Focus Gallery Artists. Includes Coral Arrand, Persimmon Blackbridge, Josie Cook, Jean Kamin, Ursula, Phyllis Serota, Elizabeth Shefrin, Diana Kemble, Collette French, Portland Frank, Valerie Pugh,Women’s Room, Fiona King, Marcia Pitch, Diana Seaward, Corrine Kingma, Catherine Shapiro, Claire Kujundzic, and Michele Waterman.
5. Slide/Sound Project
Reclaiming Ourselves: A Feminist Perspective of Pornography (1979) Comprised of 280 35mm slides, audio cassettes
Produced by Women Against Violence Against Women, Vancouver, 30:00
Description from 1979 WIF catalogue: This presentation examines the connections that exist between the objectification of women as show in sexist advertising, magazines and movies through to its logical conclusion – the glorification of rape, mutilation and death of women for male titillation. It advocates women speaking out and acting against this form of oppression.
Available for 3 systems:
a) Audible chime on tape, for Kodak Carousel slide projector
b) Wollensak inaudible beep on tape, for Kodak Carousel slide projector
c) Inaudible whistle on tape for Electrosonic lapse dissolve unit for two Kodak Carousel slide projectors
Original Formats: 1″ Open Reel, 1/2″ Open Reel / 3/4″ Umatic The following videotapes are in the process of being digitized for preservation and will be accessible for viewing at the CDMLA. We are currently raising funds for this effort. 1979 1975 1974 1977 1975 1976 1976 1975 1980 1975 1980 1975 1977 1976 1975 1976 1975 1976 1975 1980 1975 1974 1975 1975 1975 1976 1980 1975 1982 1974 1976 1975 1976 1974 1977
Betty Kaplowitz: Blues Singer
Betty gives a dynamic rendering of the blues and talks about her life.
Feminist Folk Songs: Beware Young ladies
Canadian folk singer, Eileen Brown, sings and talks about her songs.
Bisexuality: Dr Pepper Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz talks about her research on bisexuality.
Caroline Herschell: Astronomer 1750-1848
Caroline Herschel was an important 18th century scientist. This videotape presents an historical dramatization of her early life and the discovery of her first comet. Through Herschel’s liaison with her brother, William (discoverer of Uranus), she developed a career, first in music and then in astronomy. Her work included the discovery of eight comets and although she received much acclaim and recognition in her lifetime, subsequent historical and scientific annals frequently overlook her achievements.
Conversation with Ti-Grace Atkinson
No description available. Atkinson is a Louisiana born feminist author and activist. She was the founder of “The Feminists”. Her most renowned book was “The Amazon Odyssey published 1974.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
Martin and Lyon discuss their work and perspectives on important lesbian issues with interviewer Margo Dunn.
Dr. Dorothy Smith: An Interview
Dr. Dorothy E. Smith, sociologist, discusses how women have been excluded from forming the knowledge and ideas of our society.
Fashion as a Social Control
This tape takes an in-depth look at the history of women’s fashions in Canada from the mid-1800s to the 1930s. It examines the social meaning of women’s dress codes: their relationship to social classes, economic and historical conditions, and the status of women. It also looks at women’s attitudes toward their bodies and the physical effects of wearing restrictive clothing. The tape encourages an on-going examination of fashion experiences now.
Two feminist actresses, Svetlana Smith and Miriam Weinstein, discuss what it means to be a feminist in the world of theatre. The problems of being Women and artists. Includes a short presentation of their work and a discussion on how they see the future of feminism theatre groups.
Kate Millet: Women and Violence
Kate Millet discusses the nature of violence against women. She gives an overview of how rape in patriarchal society was and continues to be used as a weapon of fear to control women.
Interview With Margaret Mead
World famous anthropologist Margaret Mead talks about her experiences and feelings of being a professional and a family woman. She talks about the women in her own family and their influence upon her life.
It’s Not Your Imagination
This tape examines the problem of sexual harassment of women in the workforce. Five women discuss their experiences on the job, and 2 union reps give their definition of sexual harassment and examine the obligations of unions to protect their members from this form of discrimination.
Karate And Self-defence For Women
This tape is a teaching aid for women to learn the basic techniques and skills of self-defence. It also shows a Women s Karate group in action, as they demonstrate some of the basic moves and steps in the art of karate.
Karen: Women In Sports
Karen, a poised young woman who loves to play soccer, joins the local soccer league. “But I thought she was a boy,” her teammates confess when they learn there’s a girl on the team and Karen is demoted to a younger league. This film documents the feelings of Karen and her mother Nancy concerning women and sports. The mother advocates a change in society’s attitudes to ensure that her daughter will remain strong, aggressive and active.
Looking for a Job?
This program offers practical advice, including a seven-step formula, to aid women in getting the job they want. It gives special advice to women seeking jobs in alternative, non-traditional fields.
Margaret Atwood: An Interview
In this lively and personal interview, Atwood recounts anecdotes and experiences with great wit, yet also deals with the serious side of being a woman author. Atwood discusses the writing process, poetry, and the special problems of women writers. She explains some of the reasons behind Canadian Nationalism, linking the transmission of culture and identity through literature and low percentage of Canadian paperbacks on bookstore shelves.
Marie-Claire Blais: An Interview
Quebecois author and playwright. She has written over 20 novels, several plays, collections of poetry and fiction, as well newspaper articles. Blais won two Guggenheim Fellowships and numerous other honours.
Mary Norton: Socialist Suffragette
Mary Norton, a Vancouver suffragette, reminisces about the Canadian womens’ movement.
Women Within Two Cultures
A look at the situation of the BC West Coast native woman and the early white pioneer woman, from a white but feminist perspective.
The Paris Commune
The workers’ revolution of Paris, 1871, and women’s contributions to the revolution are the subjects of this tape. It also raises questions about women’s strategies within other social movements. Although women were an integral part of the political evolution, government, defense and maintenance of the Commune, their demands for civil rights, and improved conditions were not taken seriously by their male counterparts.
A Respectable Lie
This tape examines the imagery and messages of pornography and attempts to make a connection between pornography and violence against women.
Rape Is A Social Disease
This tape is a presentation of the historical process of rape, followed by a more recent approach of current studies that reinforce Rape Relief’s own statistics.
A member of Vancouver Rape Relief talks about the problem of rape and the organization’s work.
Ruthie Gordon: Folk Singer
Feminist folk singer Ruthie Gordon sings a selection of folk songs concerning the struggles of women, Third World people and workers to change their situation. She gives background history to the songs and talks about how the songs reflect her experience and feelings as a woman and a singer.
Sexism in the Schools
Linda Shuto of the B.C. Teacher’s Federation Status of Women Task Force outlines evidence of sexism in the school system.
Stone Symposium 1975
Three internationally renowned sculptors discuss their art and lives: Joan Gambioli (Canada), Anna-Maria Kubach-Wilmsen (W. Germany), and Olga Janic (Yugoslavia). The International Stone Symposium for sculptors held at the Van dusen Gardens, 1975.
Sylva Gelber: An Interview
No description available. Gelber’s 2003 obituary states “During the heady years of pioneering in gains for women’s rights and Medicare in Canada during the 1960s and 70s, she travelled the country, never shrill and always reasoned in her campaign for equality for women in the country’s labour force. She took this pragmatic approach to the United Nations where she represented Canada on the UN Commission for the Status of Women between 1970-74.”
That’s Not me They’re Talking About!
This videotape looks at the presentation of women in TV, movies, advertising, music, fashion and the visual arts, decoding the images and examining the connections between them and women’s lives. The problems created by these images are discussed along with suggestions for improving the portrayal of women in the media and therefore the quality of their lives.
A Vancouver Grade 12 Drama group create and present a series of dramatization depicting today s male and female stereotype roles. They also act out short scenes using a role reversal technique in order to communicate an important message for International Women s Year.
Wallflower Order is a feminist women’s dance theatre collective, formed in 1975. The collective also incorporates theatre, music, comedy, martial arts and sign language into multi-dimensional pieces with impact. Members of Wallflower discuss their creative and political processes as collective performers.
What Will I Be?
Vancouver’s two leading authorities on sexism in the school system, Linfa Shuto and Reua Dexter, relate their opinions on the problem and some solutions that they are working on. The tape also includes a short historical look at women s position in education and a critical discussion on sex stereotype roles by Grade 6 students.
This tape presents classical women composers from the middle ages to modern times, and the social barriers which have prevented women from devoting their time to musical pursuits. Examples of modern women composers are included along with a live performance by Vancouver composer Anita Sleeman.
Women in the NDP
Two long-time associates of the N.D.P., Eileen Sufrin and Olga Nunn, discuss the contributions of women to the party.
Women’s Rally For Action
Excerpts of speeches and lobby reports from the Women s Rally For Action march on Victoria, including highlights from Gene Errington’s and politician Rosemary Brown’s speeches. This tape is a comment on International Women s Year and the marginal position women s issues hold in the world of politics.
Women discuss women’s studies courses and the problems of teaching and studying such a subject.
Women’s Suffrage Movement In Canada
Made in conjunction with members of the B.C. Women’s Research Centre, this tape examines the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the women who were active at this time and some of the most controversial issues: temperance, motherhood and its obligations, and the vote. Parallels are drawn between the feminist movement today and its roots in the early feminist and suffrage movements. The presentation includes slides, photographs, dramatizations, and interview with special guest Vancouver Suffragette, Mary Norton.
Original Formats: 1″ Open Reel, 1/2″ Open Reel / 3/4″ Umatic
The following videotapes are in the process of being digitized for preservation and will be accessible for viewing at the CDMLA. We are currently raising funds for this effort.