The Diasporic Family in Cinema

Key information

9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
Khalili Lecture Theatre

About this event

The list of speakers is confirmed in the programme

From Visconti’s classic tale about urban migration in Rocco and His Brothers and Coppola’s Godfather Trilogy, through mainstream family romances such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge to popular or critically acclaimed depictions of diasporic domesticity in East is East, Inch’ Allah Dimanche and Die Fremde, the family assumes a prominent place in cinematic narratives about the dynamics of postmodern multiculturalism and transnational mobility.

The conference will provide a platform for dialogue with filmmakers and other media professionals who engage with issues of cultural diversity. It aims to explore how media practitioners negotiate between their artistic ambitions, the demands of the public funding bodies and the market in their construction of diasporic family life on screen and how these films intervene with ongoing media debates about hegemonic and minority cultures in Western societies.

Contemporary cinema attests to the crisis of the institution of the family in the Western world. Films about the diasporic family suggest that this particular type of family is under even greater pressure. Displacement and dispersal, the rupture of cultural and familial ties, language barriers, social exclusion, racism and negotiations of the multi-layered politics of belonging in the host and home countries are frequently shown to lead to a destabilisation of family structures and identities. Conversely, however, many films also foreground the benefits of non-Western family values and kinship networks and thereby offer a critique of the Western cult of the individual and the alleged superiority of the hegemonic white family.

Already confirmed conference speakers include:
  • Dr Feo Aladag, independent filmmaker
  • Professor Stella Bruzzi, University of Warwick
  • Professor Rachel Dwyer, SOAS, University of London
  • Gareth Jones, Scenario Films
  • Dr Sarita Malik, Brunel University
  • Dr Claudia Sternberg, University of Leeds
  • Sandhya Suri, independent filmmaker
  • Professor Carrie Tarr, Kingston University


For a copy of the draft programme please click here .  Changes may be made to the programme between now and May.


For further information please contact:

Film Screenings

The conference will be accompanied by a public screening of a film that offers a view of diasporic family life.

When We Leave (Feo Aladag, Germany, 2010), a multi award-wining film and Germany’s Oscar nomination for 2011, will be shown at the Ciné Lumière at 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A session with the director.

Far Flung Families In Film

The research project  examines the representation of the diasporic family in contemporary cinema. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain. The website aims to provide information about relevant films and resources and forthcoming events, such as conferences and film screenings. Click here for further details.

The conference is co-hosted by the Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway , the Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS , and the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS .

Sponsor: Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway and AHRC