Jessica Ashman (Experimental Short Film , 2020)Hold Tight 2018

Jessica Ashman

Shortlisted in 2020 for Experimental Short Film

Jessica Ashman is a moving image artist, animator and arts educator whose work examines gender, identity and race. Using traditional hand-made paper animation processes, Ashman explores what she calls the “unlimited narrative and textural possibilities of the animated world” – deconstructing traditional filmmaking tropes via a frame-by-frame image-making process.

Ashman’s practice has always centered around giving a voice to those who are ‘othered’ in society, such as her 2011 film Fixing Luka whose narrative was inspired by her experience of growing up with an autistic younger brother.

More recently Ashman has begun focussing on stories of immigration, survival, joy and celebration in her own experience as a working class, mixed-race Black woman. Her 2018 film Hold Tight considers the importance of summertime Caribbean carnival celebration and the sense of cultural belonging they give to the Black Caribbean diaspora in Britain.

Afro-futuristic science fiction has had a huge influence Ashman’s narratives. Daughter (2019) harnesses the notion of intergenerational time travel to address the power of ‘inherited’ trauma in the Black British consciousness, asking if we can ever truly escape histories of collective trauma. Ashman also engages in arts education, teaching her practice at a Goldsmiths and is currently a Schools Workshop Artist at the Tate Modern.