Date(s) - 07/10/2017 - 01/12/2017
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Great North Museum: Hancock Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT

Box office contact
0191 208 6765


General pricing info
Free admission


Great North Museum: Hancock presents Freedom! a new work by Newcastle University’s scholar-filmmakers Ian McDonald and Geetha Jayaraman. Freedom! is a three-screen documentary installation that celebrates the political energy of Martin Luther King Jr and underscores the ‘fierce urgency of now’.

Directed by Ian and produced by Geetha, Freedom! takes the visit of Dr Martin Luther King to Newcastle University 50 years ago to receive an honorary doctorate as the setting for an exciting visual collocation of the visit alongside and against archive material and contemporary visuals. A response to his acceptance speech, Freedom! deliberates on the three interlinked evils of capitalism that he spoke about. Archival footage is combined with footage from original shoot with an immersive soundscape to weave into the story of racism, poverty and war, portrayals of protests and activism in the UK and USA today. Freedom! moves from the streets of New York, voices in Memphis, marches in London, activists of Newcastle to Martin Luther King in Kings Hall in Newcastle University, workers in the Dunlop factory in Gateshead and Enoch Powell’s visit to Newcastle all in the late 60s and back. Threading the visit with the radical legacy of Dr King, Freedom! prompts the viewer to ask questions about freedom: What is freedom? What is the relationship between freedom and activism? How do we achieve freedom today? It also offers a space for meditation as we move to the fourth screen to a place where the three oceans meet at the tip of India, to see the sun setting and moon rising at once, to hear the echo of Dr King: when it seems that all light has gone all we need to do is look up to see another light emerging in the darkness.

An award-winning filmmaker, Dr Ian McDonald is the founder-director of Film@CultureLab, a new state of the art centre for film practice based in Media, Culture and Heritage at Newcastle University, UK. As a documentary filmmaker whose work is characterized by a seemingly effortless ‘way of seeing’ based on the ‘sociological imagination’, Ian McDonald has honed a distinctive form of film practice that transcends the boundaries between documentary, visual sociology and art. His aesthetically innovative non-fiction films in the independent film space like Melancholic Constellations (2010) on the politics of artistic practice with William Kentridge and Willem Boshoff: Reflections of a South African Artist (2010) on an artist ‘at odds’ with himself, with his own people, and with Apartheid were the beginnings of more expressive work that defies the documentary and the art-film genres. They also paved the way for his much-celebrated Algorithms (2012) on young blind chess players of India. His long-time collaborator and award winning producer Geetha J joins him to not just work on the production process but also the aesthetic tone and technical nuance of the work at every stage of its development. Together, they have worked on the political and the personal, surprising viewers with unusual visual richness, unique take on a subject and humanity of treatment. Their films have been screened at film festivals, galleries, campaign-meetings and in cinemas around the world.

Produced by Interventions with the support of Great North Museum: Hancock and Arts Council England, Freedom! is fortunate to have the acclaimed filmmaker and artist, John Akomfrah as an advisor to the project.