• Feb2021 24 17:00 - 19:00

    FHSS Research Seminar Series - Going Home: An Exploration of Diasporic Identity

    IAMET 121

The School of International Communications invites you to the following talk on 24th February 2021. Please scroll down for more information. All are welcome!

Topic: Going Home: An Exploration of Diasporic Identity

Speaker: Prof. G D Jayalakshmi

Time & Date: 17:00-19:00 24th February

Venue: IAMET 121

The film (28 minutes) will be screened in IAMET 121, but due to Covid restrictions, Professor Jayalakshmi will not be in attendance and will be delivering her presentation virtually. You’re welcome to join us via Teams by accessing the link below.

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I am interested in diasporic identity, about what it might mean to belong to two cultures and about how we should think of ‘home’. So, as a filmmaker, I made a short film – Going Home. I am a South Indian who grew up in North India. Every year my family embarked on an epic three-day train journey, traversing the vast plains of India in order to ‘go home’. Forty years on, the same trains run at almost the same time. I embark on this journey once again, this time as a middle-aged woman who has made my life in the West.

The film addresses three key themes. The first is about modes of production and distribution. The film is an artefact that documents mediamorphosis where ‘past, present and emerging media blur into a simultaneous moment’, where past modes of production re-emerge in new ways in a new digital milieu and where the filmmaker re-invents herself while clinging to old identities. In terms of distribution, there is an attempt at audience participation across digital platforms and in providing a voice for ‘invisible’ voices. A second theme is representation in and through media – the film clearly addresses questions of gender representation and diasporic identity as opposed to rootedness. I think there has been a quiet revolution in the lives of ordinary Indian women, which I will further explore in the post-film talk. A third theme – culture and genre across media landscapes is addressed by examining the language(s) used in the film – visual, verbal and auditory. Thus, the film and the talk that follows investigates notions of identity – asking the question – whose identity and what kinds of participation do we permit in this new digital age?


Prof. G D Jayalakshmi (or Jaya as she is commonly known) is a filmmaker, academic and media consultant. She began her film-making career by working as a producer/ director for the BBC for over eleven years. During this time, she made over sixty documentary films for the BBC Arts and Education department and produced a major BBC 2 series – Art and Its Histories. Then she set up her own production company and moved from making documentaries to creating fiction films.

For the past fourteen years, she has combined her filmmaking with academic work, setting up film programmes and helping younger filmmakers realise their dreams. She is particularly interested in the relationship between theory and practice, and in how media practice can be taught within a formal University structure. Although she has mainly lived in the UK with her husband and triplets, she has now embarked on another adventure, helping media production students in Suzhou to explore their own creativity and preparing them to engage with the creative industries sector in China and globally.