“The camera is yours. The microphone is yours. Now tell the bastards exactly what it’s like…”  Ruby Grierson. 

You’ll know that Ruby Grierson was the sister of the John Grierson, the Scot who coined the term “documentary”, but did you know she trained as a teacher then went on to pioneer some of the documentary techniques we now take for granted? She put the empathy into documentary, by for example, allowing the subjects of the documentary to speak for themselves, to camera.  She and John argued over this technique, which she called “breaking his goldfish bowl”.

September marks the 80th anniversary of Ruby’s passing.  She died during WW2 when a torpedo hit the boat she was filming on.  To celebrate her achievements, we partnered with the brilliant Invisible Women to make this short video about Ruby’s life and to ask for your video messages to her. We’d like to share these with our community of documentary makers and enthusiasts around the world.

If you’d like to join us in this little act of respect please

  1. Record a simple 1 – 2 minute video (it can be on your phone – nothing fancy is needed).
  2. Start your video by telling us who you are and what you do.
  3. Let Ruby know how you feel her legacy lives on. It can be anything you’d like to share – e.g. your experiences of making documentaries or why we need more women like Ruby making documentaries and upsetting the status quo!
  4. Email it to us at women@scottishdocinstitute.com *by 23 October*, tell us your social media handles and we’ll tag you when we put it online.
  5. Pass the opportunity on to another person you think would like to help – maybe by sharing your video post and tagging them in.

We hope to see you soon!

If you’d like to read more about Ruby Grierson please check out the work of the Invisible Women, Sarah Neely and Dr Isabel Seguí.