Researcher in Focus: Dr Lisa Shaw

Posted on: 14 September 2018 by Nick Jones in 2018 Posts

Lisa Shaw and residents at the Lar Sao Joao de Deus nursing home film club.

This month’s Researcher in Focus is Dr Lisa Shaw, whose research covers Brazilian cultural history and popular culture. She recently organised a film club at the Lar Sao Joao de Deus nursing home in the town of Itaipava in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Lisa Shaw is a Reader in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. She joined the University of Liverpool in 2005 after working as a lecturer and senior lecturer at the University of Leeds for 15 years.

Her research interests lie primarily in Brazilian cultural history and popular culture, and she is the author of monographs on Brazilian popular music (The Social History of the Brazilian Samba, Ashgate, 1999), cinema (Popular Cinema in Brazil, 1930s-2001, Manchester UP, 2004 and Brazilian National Cinema, Routledge, 2007, both co-authored with Stephanie Dennison), and film stardom (Carmen Miranda, British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

More recently her work has focused on early-twentieth-century popular theatre in the city of Rio de Janeiro, how popular performance in Brazil’s then capital engaged in trans-Atlantic and inter-American circuits and exchanges, and how the latter inflected the performance of ‘racial’ identity on stage. She was awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2011 that enabled her to carry out the archival research for her latest monograph, Tropical Travels: Brazilian Popular Performance, Transnational Encounters and the Construction of Race (Texas UP, 2018).

Keen to find a use for her large collection of Brazilian musical comedy films from the 1950s and Hollywood movies starring Carmen Miranda, and motivated by her father’s experiences of living with dementia, Lisa has been developing a ‘Cinema, memory and wellbeing’ project over the last four years. Initially funded by a University of Liverpool Knowledge Exchange Voucher, and later by ODA Research Seed Funding, as well as support from National Museums Liverpool’s HOP (Happy Older People) network, Lisa has organised interactive screenings of short film clips in care homes and community settings across Merseyside and in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She is exploring how short excerpts of films, featuring music, recognisable stars and locations, and narrative sequences, can stimulate reminiscence, interaction and improved emotional wellbeing among older people, including those living with a dementia diagnosis. She has also developed best-practice toolkits in English and Portuguese so that care professionals and volunteers can learn how to run similar ‘Cinema, memory and wellbeing’ events.

She is about to begin a partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust that will take the form of a weekly film club in a specialist dementia ward in a north Liverpool hospital, as well as training volunteers at the Trust’s Life Rooms in Southport, a centre for learning, recovery, health and wellbeing. She has just returned from the town of Itaipava, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she conducted a 5-week research project that centred on a weekly film club in a residential nursing home, the Lar São João de Deus.

For futher details of Lisa’s Impact work see:

Happy Older People: The University of Liverpool's 'Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing' project.

Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing in Brazil

Keywords: Researcher in Focus.