Opening Hours

Full opening hours


Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Phone +353 1 6129900

View Map

Find us by

IMMA presents a powerful exhibition exploring the women-led film collective the Derry Film and Video Workshop

Sara Greavu & Ciara Phillips, We realised the power of it – Derry Film and Video Workshop (2021), 39th EVA International Guest Programme. Courtesy Sara Greavu & Ciara Phillips. Photography Shane Vaughan.

IMMA presents We realised the power of it, an exhibition-project by Sara Greavu and Ciara Phillips, that deals with the history of the radical film collective, Derry Film and Video Workshop (DFVW), opening on Saturday 30 March 2024.

DFVW was a woman-led film production company established in Derry in 1983 that operated until 1990. Its members, most of whom had no prior experience of filmmaking, came together with a sense of urgency to make films addressing overlapping political tensions around gender, class, the Irish national question and legacies of colonialism.
We realised the power of it includes raw footage, photographs, and archival documents that trace a partial history of the workshop and its practice. Working through the archive and with former collective members Anne Crilly and Margo Harkin, the research begins to uncover the organic, reactive, and experimental methodologies of the collective. It considers the highly-charged context in which they were working, as well as the overarching political principles and energy that bound them together.

A DFVW document from 1988 states its purpose “Derry Film & Video Collective was legally formed as a Company in June 1984 as a logical extension of an idea which was being developed by a small group of people in the North West of Ireland. We observed that the North of Ireland had become one of the most media-biased areas of the world over the preceding fifteen years and that, for the most part, this media coverage was sensationalist, superficial, interventionist and censored. Derry Film & Video was formed, therefore, to make an indigenous contribution to media representation of our lives”.  

DFVW produced a number of films, including Stop Strip Searching (1984); Planning (1986); Mother Ireland (1988); Hush-a-Bye Baby (1990), as well as enacting various forms of cultural education including community screenings and filmmaking courses. Working to counteract the ‘slow violence’ of British TV news and cinema stereotyped depictions of the north of Ireland, members of DFVW sought to tell a different story about their lived political and social realities. The intersections and fractures between feminism and republicanism were the key area of interest that shaped their output. In doing this work of representation and crafting both documentary and fiction films, they learned methods of researching, filming, logging, collating, scripting, and editing through doing, driven by a sense of the pressing political need to speak on their own behalf.

We realised the power of it was originally commissioned for the Guest Programme of the 39th EVA International, curated by Merve Elveren.

– ENDS –

For further information and images please contact:   
Monica Cullinane E: [email protected]  T: 086 2010023 
Patrice Molloy E: [email protected]  T: 086 2009957 

Additional notes for Editors

We realised the power of it – Derry Film and Video Workshop 
30 March – 22 September 2024  
Admission Free

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10am – 5.30pm.
Wednesday: 11.30am – 5.30pm.
Sunday: 12noon – 5.30pm.
Webpage: We realised the power of it – Derry Film & Video Workshop – IMMA 
About the project  
We realised the power of it is part of a long-term, ongoing research process that has involved working with former members of the collective, their supporters, peers, and fellow activists; helping to preserve, digitise, and archive the videotapes that only existed in their original U-matic format; and working with an extensive document and image archive that was preserved by former collective member, Margo Harkin. Other members of the collective, at different points in time, included Anne Crilly, Trisha Ziff, Geraldine McGuiness, Jim Curran, Stephanie English, Tommy Collins, Therese Friel, Brendan McMenamin, and Jamie Dunbar.

Receiving the bulk of their funding from Channel 4, the workshop was one of the companies formed under the terms of the 1982 Workshop Declaration (1), an initiative that sought to democratise the process of filmmaking and broadcasting, and amplify the voices of those who were marginalised on the basis of race, gender, geography, sexuality and class. As a newly established ‘publisher broadcaster,’ Channel 4 provided both significant financial support for production and the platform to distribute their works.

The work of DFVW amounts to more than its filmic outputs. Revisiting and reframing the project provides an opportunity to think beyond notions of the filmmaker-auteur and to think through practical and administrative aspects of this work as well. Within a broader frame, it is possible to consider context, infrastructure, physical space and those allies who were willing to hold political space for the work to be made. It admits, for instance, the stories of surveillance and raids, speaking as much to the increased administrative burden that this state oppression engenders as to its injustice. It points to the experience of being both incorporated and disavowed through financial and distributive dependence on a British broadcaster—albeit the most progressive of these, at that time. It touches on their story of collective organising, of the horizontal and equal distribution of resources among collective members; of the way that organising in collective structures and sharing resources equally amounts to a kind of speculation about what the future could be, prefiguring and proposing a different way of working.

(1) An initiative of The Independent Filmmakers’ Association, the British Film Institute, and ACTT (the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians).

Sara Greavu (she/her) lives and works between Derry and Dublin. A researcher, writer and organiser, she is the Curator of Visual Arts at Project Arts Centre, Dublin. In 2024, with Project Arts Centre, she is curator of Ireland’s Pavilion at the 60th International Venice Biennale, presenting Eimear Walshe’s work, ROMANTIC IRELAND.  

Ciara Phillips is an Irish and Canadian artist born in Ottawa, Canada in 1976. Her work has been exhibited in public institutions, artist-run spaces and private galleries worldwide including: Ciara Phillips at Trykkeriet in Bergen in 2019; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; The Model, Sligo; Kunsthall Stavanger; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Benaki Museum, Athens; TATE Britain, London; and Hamburg Kunstverein. She is the initiator of many collaborative projects including: Workshop (2010 – ongoing); Poster Club (2010 – 2017); Press Room (2019); and Åpent Trykkeri (2018 – 2019). In 2014, Phillips was nominated for the Turner Prize, and in 2020 she was awarded the Queen Sonja Print Award in Oslo. She is a Professor at the University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design.