All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

Experimental Folklore: Jack-in-the-Green 16mm Filmmaking

This unique 16mm camera workshop is being organised by and centres around the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green, a London May Day tradition. The workshop is an opportunity to learn the practicalities of using the Bolex 16mm camera, coupled with a creative and conceptual framework focussed around capturing folk traditions on film.

Experimental Folklore: Jack-in-the-Green 16mm workshop centres around the possibilities of recording, and representing folk traditions as live events on film. Worldwide, seasonal folk customs are an enriching means for communities to come together and perform unique historical and ritual acts across both rural and urban landscapes. Engaging, playful and idiosyncratic these rites are also a powerful way to resist authority and maintain local expression and community cohesion at a time of increasing regulation, de-personalisation, and privatisation of public space and institutions. The workshop examines how the sensorial aspects of these live traditions might be captured on film through the mechanics and optics of the 16mm camera, examining conceptual and practical concerns of the use of film, and the role of the artist filmmaker in the exploration of such performances.

Day One
The workshop begins with a conceptual screening of works centred around themes of performance, experimental ethnography, and the politics and ethics of documentary representation. To frame discussions and practical exercises, examples of the Rosalind Fowler’s and James Holcombe’s work will be screened, as well as examples from a range of filmmakers including Adam Chodzco, Ken McMullen, Cameron Jamie, Nicholas Phillpot, and Maya Deren. In addition to this examples from mainstream documentary and news footage will also be drawn upon. Participants will learn how to use a 16mm Bolex camera, and the different functions available on the camera such as single frame exposures, slow and fast motion, time lapse, long exposure and ways of moving with and holding the camera. In small groups, there will be some time to develop strategies for shooting on day two. Footage shot will be hand processed and screened before the session finishes.

Day Two
Participants will apply ideas and technical knowledge gathered from day one ‘in the field’ to shoot the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green. The footage will be processed and digitised after the event, and if you wish you can obtain a file copy of the footage to further edit or manipulate on your own using your own resources.

Day Three
Participants are invited to present the results at in an informal salon style setting, led by Rosalind and James on Saturday May 17th 2014 from 2 – 6pm.

This workshop is suitable for both newcomers to 16mm filmmaking and those with previous experience. It would benefit those interested in folk traditions but also those interested in exploring ideas surrounding experimental ethnography and performance in their work.

Rosalind Fowler is an artist filmmaker with a background in film, cultural geography and visual anthropology. She recently completed Folk In Her Machine, an AHRC-funded film on performative folk traditions and wider themes of place and belonging in contemporary Britain. The film recently premiered at PLACE: Occupy, a cross-platform festival in Suffolk curated by Gareth Evans (Whitechapel gallery), and was screened at the William Morris gallery as part of a late night opening of Jeremy Deller’s Venice biennale touring piece English Magic. She is currently working on an alternative filmic portrait of Chelsea, seeking out the hidden and esoteric in a neighbourhood associated with extremes of wealth and privilege.

James Holcombe makes both single screen and performative works using film and video, exploring the medium of film within its performative and material qualities. James teaches the workshops onsite at and is currently working on a film about the Tyburn Gallows in London, which ties together the history, politics, superstitions and folklore of the gallows in relation to early English capitalism, drawing parallels with the times in which we live. James also actively curates and performs expanded sound and image work across London as part of the live event series Unconscious Archives.


Fowlers Troop & the Deptford Jack in the Green
The Deptford Jack in the Green goes out in South East London and the City every May Day.

The Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green was revived by members of Blackheath Morris Men and friends in the early 1980s. It is a revival of a Jack in the Green from about 1906 which was taken out around Deptford, South East London on May Day by the original Fowlers Troop.

Further Information

To book a place or for more information use THIS LINK are kindly offering existing members of The Company of the Green Man a discount on this course. For more details log into the members area via the tab at the top of this blog.



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