Shannon Walsh is a filmmaker, writer and Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia. She is writer and director of the feature documentaries Illusions of Control (2019), Jeppe on a Friday (2013), St-Henri, the 26th of August (2011), and H2Oil (2009). She premiered her first nonfiction VR, Disappearance: Hong Kong Stories (RIDM 2018), and finished a short doc, Matsutake Hunters (AmDocs 2019), for TELUS Originals.
Her fiction screenplay, Unidentified Minor, was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and participated in the Stowe Story Lab, and Women in the Director’s Chair “Story & Leadership” lab. In 2017, the script won Best Low-Budget Screenplay at the 15th Female Eye Film Festival, shortlisted for the CBC-TIFF Diverse screenwriting award, was semi-finalist in the Cinequest Screenplay Competition, quarterfinalist in the Shore Scripts competition, amongst others.
Walsh’s films have been theatrically released in Canada, the UK, and South Africa, and played in over 70 film festivals worldwide such as Hot Docs, Visions du Réel, Beijing, La Rochelle, Rome, Paris Cinéma, Durban, Bergen and others. Her documentaries have been broadcast nationally and internationally on Netflix, CBC, Discovery, Al Jazeera, Fox Africa, SABC, Télé-Quebéc, Global, and Canal-D, as well as in museum spaces, including the 56th Venice Biennale and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Her work has been supported by the National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm, SODEC, Vision du SudEst, CALQ, the Gauteng Film Commission, and Canada Council for the Arts, amongst others.
As a theorist, she has published in a range of research areas, largely focused on South Africa, with more than 35 journal articles and book chapters in spaces such as Educational Philosophy and Theory, Area (Royal Geographic Society), Review of African Political Economy, and Feminist Media Studies. Walsh has won numerous fellowships and awards, with research supported by SSHRC, the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, the FQRSC, AWID, amongst others. Walsh received a PhD in anthropology and education from McGill University in 2010, and completed a post-doc in the South African Research Chair in Social Change at the University of Johannesburg in 2013. From 2013-2016 she was an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
Walsh was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020. She was a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies for 2017-2018, and a Leading Scholar at Green College for 2017-2019. Her edited volume, The Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa, co-edited with Jon Soske, and released by Wits University and NYU Press.
Feature Documentary Films
2019. ILLUSIONS OF CONTROL, Feature, 87 min
2013. JEPPE ON A FRIDAY, 87 min, with Arya Lalloo
2011. À ST-HENRI LE 26 AOÛT, 85 min
2009. H2OIL, 76 min
2018. Walsh, S., Unidentified Minor, Feature Drama (supported by SODEC)
2014. Walsh, S., Man Bitch, Feature Drama (supported by Canada Council)
2016. Walsh, S. and Soske, J. Eds. The Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa. Johannesburg: WITS University Press/ NYU Press.
Select Journal Articles
2017. Walsh, S. “Under the Umbrella: Stories from the margins of the movement” Educational Philosophy and Theory. Routledge.
2016. Walsh, S. “Critiquing the politics of participatory video & the dangerous romance of liberalism” Royal Geographical Society, Area.
2015. Walsh, S. “The Philosopher and his Poor: The Black as object of political desire in South Africa” Politikon. 42(1), 123-127, 2015.
2015. Walsh, S. “Addressing sexual violence and rape culture: Issues and interventions targeting boys and men” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equality. 29(3), 2015.
2013. Walsh, S. “We won’t move: The suburbs take back the center in urban Johannesburg.” CITY: Analysis of urban trends, theory, policy, action. Taylor & Francis. 17(3), 400-408, 2013.
2012. Walsh, S. “We are prepared to die on this land: Race and land occupation in Crossmoor settlement.” Oriental Anthropologist. Volume 12(2), 2012.
2012. Walsh, S. “‘We grew as we grew’: Visual methods, social change and collective learning over time.” Special issue, Visual Methodologies in Educational Research, South African Journal of Education. Volume 32(4), November 2012.
2009. Walsh, S. “The Smell of Money: Alberta’s tar sands”. The Commoner: A web journal for other values. Winter 2009.
2008. Walsh, S. “Uncomfortable Collaborations: Contesting constructions of the poor in South Africa”. Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE). London: Taylor & Francis. Issue 116, June 2008, 255-279.
2006. Walsh, S., Mitchell, C. “‘I’m too young to die’: HIV, masculinity, danger, and desire in urban South Africa” Gender and Development. London: Oxfam. 14(1), March 2006, 57-68.
Select Book Chapters
2018. Walsh, S., In Defense of Forgetting, in P. Tortell, M. Turin, and M. Young (Eds) Memory. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
2016. Walsh, S. and Wilderson, F., Afropessimism and Friendship in South Africa: An interview with Frank Wilderson III, in S. Walsh and J. Soske (Eds) The Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa. Johannesburg: WITS University Press.
2016. Soske, J. and Walsh S., Thinking friendship and race in South Africa, in S. Walsh and J. Soske (Eds) The Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa. Johannesburg: WUP.
2015. Walsh, S., Lalloo, A. and J. Mistry, On Collective Practices and Collective Reflections, in J. Mistry and A. Schuhmann (Eds) Gaze Regimes: Film and Feminisms in Africa. Johannesburg: WITS
2014. Walsh, S., Speak for Yourself: The cultural politics of Participatory Video, in E. Winton and S. Turnin (Eds) Screening Truth to Power: A reader on documentary activism. Montreal: Cinema Politica.
2014. Walsh, S., The Nomad, Refugee, the Developer, and the Migrant: Four stories of inner-city travelers in Johannesburg, in G. Lean, R. Staif, and E. Waterton (Eds) Travel and Imagination. Surrey, UK: Ashgate.
2013. Walsh, S., Forced Integration: A Chatsworth Shack Settlement, in A. Desai and G. Vahed (Eds) Chatsworth: The making of a South African Township. Durban: UKZN Press.
2013. Walsh, S., Managing Crisis and Desire in South Africa in M. Dawson and L. Sinwell (Eds) Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-first Century South Africa. London: Pluto Press.
2012. Walsh, S., Challenging Knowledge Production with Participatory Video in Milne, E-J, et al Handbook of Participatory Video. London: AltaMira Press.
2010. Walsh, S. and Desai, A., Knowledge and Power in South Africa: Xenophobia and survival in the post-apartheid state in Aziz Choudry and Dip Kapoor (Eds) Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan.
2010. Walsh, S. and Stainsby, M. The Smell of Money: Alberta’s Tar Sands in Kolya Abramsky, George Caffentzis, Sergio Oceransky, Ramon Fernandez Duran and Massimo De Angelis (Eds) Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. Oakland, CA: AK Press.
2009. Walsh, S., Ethnography-in-Motion: Neoliberalism and South African shack dwellers’ movements in D. Kapoor and S. Jordan (Eds) Education, Participatry Action Research, and Social Change: International Perspectives. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan.
2008. Walsh, S. and C. Mitchell, I’m too young to die: HIV, masculinity, danger and desire in urban South Africa. In Welbourn, A., with J. Hoare (Eds) HIV and AIDS. Oxford: Oxfam.
2007. Walsh, S., Power, Race and Agency: Facing the Truth with Visual Methodologies in DeLange et al (Eds.) Putting People in the Picture: Visual methodologies for social change. Netherlands: Sense Books.
2006. Walsh, S., Mitchell, C., Weber, S., From Behind the Lens: Digital Data. in G. Knowles, L. Neilsen, A. Cole and T. Luciani (Eds.) The Art of Visual Inquiry. Toronto: Backalong Books.