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Hello! My name's Lizzie and I'm a final year Anthropology student at the University of Kent.​ This year I have studied two modules on Visual Anthropology, the first examining the theory behind the discipline and the second challenging us to produce our own Visual Anthropology project. This involved creating an 8-12 minute film on a topic of our choice. We were encouraged to tell a story about something that mattered to us. For me, there was no question: the film had to be about Mum.

My mum, Karen, was born January 26th 1959 in Scunthorpe. She lived with her parents until the age of 20, when she left her home town and moved to Leeds to live with her boyfriend of two years. They separated when Mum was 30 and two years, in 1991, she met my dad, Nick, through mutual friends on a night out in Leeds. They were married in January 1995 and I was born in November 1996. Just before my second birthday we moved out of the house that my parents had lived in for six years, and into Mount Royal which was to be our family home until May 2017, when my parents officially separated. By June 2017, me and mum had moved into our new house in a new town. The house had previously been owned by a 90-something year old man who had lived there all his life and no work had been done to the property since the 1970s. In August 2017 I began my year studying abroad at the University of Copenhagen, leaving my mum to live in our new home on her own.

This was the first time in her life that Mum had lived alone. The house needed renovating from top to bottom: new electrics, new boiler, new floors, new windows, new bathroom, new kitchen, plastering...the list went on. She was able to keep herself busy, but managing these projects and the builders needed to complete them on her own is an ongoing challenge. Having spent the last 38 of 40 years in two long term committed relationships, my mum now finds herself single, which has its own challenges as she now has to actively reach out to people to ask for support and companionship. Lastly, this year (2019), my mum turned 60 - a time typically associated with slowing down, the decade in which people become "elderly".

My film focuses around the challenges my mum has had to overcome in the last few years: settling in to her new identity, finding her independence and battling obstacles alone. Alongside the stresses of divorce, a child leaving home, and moving into and renovating a new house, my mum also faces the question of what kind of woman she wants to be as she enters the year of her 60th birthday. We draw comparisons between me at 22 and Mum at 60: both women learning who we are and how to navigate the world alone as we both begin new stages of adulthood. Using photographs to look to the past, my mum vows that in the future she will use her newly-realised strength and independence to challenge herself to seek new adventures and live for herself.

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