CSI PhD student, Denise Mok mined TIFF collection for research talk

August 2, 2019 by Denise Ing

Denise Mok, Cinema Studies Institute PhD student, recently gave a talk about her research on the Edith Nadajewski Scrapbook Collection at this year’s Film Studies Association of Canada conference in Vancouver. The scrapbook-maker, Edith Nadajewski (1920-2007), a Canadian originally from Germany, had built 1,902 star scrapbooks out of brown butcher’s paper. Each scrapbook was compiled thoughtfully and obsessively over a span of 80 years, with star images collected from mainstream print media and ephemera also spanning decades (1920s-2000). 

Denise first encountered the scrapbooks on a class tour of the TIFF Archive in Fall 2018 when a colourful Carole Lombard cut-out caught her attention. With an interest in Classical Hollywood, star studies and transnational stardoms, Denise proceeded to spend six months at the Library researching this collection. She decided to present her findings at the "Industry & Ephemera" panel, because she believed that the scrapbooks deserve a wider audience. Her research focused on the range of images found in the scrapbooks, the craft of personal curatorship, and how the scrapbooks transform these mainstream cultural products from which the images are sourced.

"Nadajewski’s scrapbooks inspire my 'detective work' as researcher and historian of star visual cultures," said Denise. "Professor Nic Sammond’s interest and encouragement in my pursuing this research helped me focus my analysis. Blending different print genres and timescapes in the lives of the stars on the same page, this vast scrapbook collection of heterogeneous star images showcases the complexity and everydayness of star labour and persona performance within 20th century pop-culture imaginary. My research is a joy to undertake, and it continues."