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Contested Conditions screening: Unrest (Jennifer Brea, 2017)

Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image

Friday, 14 June 2019 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)

Contested Conditions screening: Unrest (Jennifer Brea,...

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Contested 78 Tickets 14 Jun 2019 Free  

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Event Details

Unrest (Jennifer Brea, 2017)
Friday 14th June, 6-9pm

Suddenly afflicted with a debilitating illness, director Jennifer Brea is eventually diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Frustrated by doctors’ insistence that her condition is psychosomatic, Brea makes contact from her bed with an activist community engaged in lobbying for further research into the disease. Spanning the categories of documentary, personal testimony and activist intervention, Unrest offers insight into a little-understood chronic illness, and explores what role the movie camera might play in giving image and voice to people living with the condition. 

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Louise Kenward, Raju Rage and Daniella Valz Gen.

This screening is part of the Contested Conditions film screening and discussion series, which runs at BIMI throughout the 2018-2019 academic year. The series asks how so-called ‘invisible illnesses’—including multiple chemical sensitivity, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression—have been visualised on film, and aims to foster reflection and discussion about the relationship between medical evidence and cinematic form. How do the genre codes of documentary, horror, melodrama, and science fiction push us to rethink the relationships between evidence and experience, the body and society, and the visible and the invisible in the realm of health and illness?

Panel Biographies

Louise Kenward is an Artist, Writer and Psychologist. Working as an Applied Psychologist and Psychotherapist for nearly 20 years in various NHS in-patient and community teams, Louise has spent most of her career working with the internal worlds of others. Louise returned to art school as she began her Cognitive Analytic Therapy training in 2002 and gained an MFA at London Metropolitan University in 2011, in the same year gaining accreditation as an Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy Supervisor. She has worked as a Freelance Artist since this time, facilitating projects with Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund support. Having developed an energy limiting illness at the end of 2011, she has more recently turned to her psychotherapy practice of letter writing and her experience of liminal spaces in art projects to develop a dialogue with her body. She has written for the BMJ Medical Humanities blog and University of Sussex Life Writing Projects, and continues to research ideas of liminality in chronic illness. @LouiseKenward

Raju Rage is an interdisciplinary artist who is proactive about using art, education and activism to forge creative survival. Based in London, they primarily use their non-conforming body as a vehicle of embodied knowledge; to bridge the gap between dis/connected bodies, theory and practice, text and the body and aesthetics and the political substance. They work in performance, sculpture, soundscapes and moving image, focusing on techniques of resistance and utilising everyday objects and everyday life experiences in communicating narratives around gender, race and culture. A current group exhibition is 'Take Care' at La Ferme Du Buisson, Noisel Paris.

Daniella Valz Gen is an artist and a poet born in Lima and living in London. Daniella's work explores alterity and liminality with an emphasis on embodiment. Her essay, Naked Tangle Self / #SelfCare, can be accessed here. Her open access resource on living with chronic pain and endometriosis is available here.


This event series is supported by an ISSF grant funded by Birkbeck and the Wellcome Trust. 

A guide to disabled access at the venue is available at AccessAble. Please get in touch with the organiser with any queries or requests regarding access.

For more information, contact the organiser, Dr Sophie A. Jones, at


Do you have questions about Contested Conditions screening: Unrest (Jennifer Brea, 2017)? Contact Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image

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When & Where

Birkbeck Cinema
43 Gordon Square
WC1H 0PD London
United Kingdom

Friday, 14 June 2019 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)

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Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image

Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) is a response to the growing interest in film and the moving image across the College. Through public events and academic research initiatives, BIMI will address a wide variety of contemporary issues, particularly those relevant to its interdisciplinary structure.  Working closely with the Birkbeck Cinema, BIMI programmes public screenings and special seasons, making use of 35 mm film in addition to the Cinema’s high quality DVD projection.

We will be running a busy calendar of events from research seminars to film screenings. Please check these pages for further details in the coming weeks.

BIMI is funded across three schools at Birkbeck: the School of ArtsSchool of Law, and School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy.  The University of Pittsburgh is also a partner and co-funder.

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