Edel Robinson

Via Writing: Irish Missionary Films and Filmmaking 1930-1997 – A Study Search

Year: 2014

Keywords: , , , , , , ,


Institute of Art, Design & Technology
(at time of presentation)

Personal profile:

Edel Robinson has an MA in Visual Arts Practices from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Dublin. She has directed several films on 8mm, 16mm and 35mm formats and has received many awards from the Arts Council and other bodies. Her research interests include experimental/independent cinema; the importance of place and landscapes; and local history.


"Irish Missionary Films 1930-1997. A Study Search." Archives and Records Association, Ireland. Spring Newsletter, 2013. pp 19-21: pdf here

"Finding Your Way to Experimental Cinema; Rose Lowder and the Archive du film experimental d'Avignon." Film Ireland, No. 110 (May/June, 2006), pp 24-25.





See also:


On the Missions. Public conversation and screening with Sunniva O'Flynn, IFI Curator, Irish Film Institute, Dublin. 2013.

Via Writing. Irish Missionary Films 1930-1997. A Study Search. The Cube, at the LAB, Foley Street, Dublin. 2013. Information on this exhibition here.


As implied in the title it is by and through writing that patterns of filmmaking and narratives of the historical foundation and work of Irish missionary societies will be developed and passed on.

Since 2009 I have worked as an independent researcher in the IFI, Irish Film Archive, researching and cataloguing previously undocumented films made by and commissioned by Irish missionary societies. I have called on religious to participate in this Film Research Project and deposit their important film collections in the Irish Film Archive for research, preservation and safekeeping. The purpose of this work is to make a critical study of films and filmmaking by religious societies for publication.

There are eighty-four societies with registered membership in the Irish Missionary Union. To date thirteen societies have participated in this Project, providing more than one hundred films. Eight are societies of religious women. Irish Missionary Films are forgotten and neglected. The aim of this Research Project is to find them and to document them.

Key Questions

  • How do these films made by and commissioned by religious successfully cross the traditional boundary between ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’ filmmaking?
  • How might films made and commissioned by religious be unique and peculiar to Ireland and what is the significance of their contribution to Irish film and mission history?

It is planned to extend the scope of this Film Research Project to other missionary denominations on the island of Ireland.