Starting out as a research biologist, Susi left the laboratory nearly 40 years ago to make documentary films. She specialised in education and international development, working in production, direction, writing, camerawork and editing. Training and mentoring was often part of productions, and sometimes a job in itself. Coming back to her roots as a scientist, she’s now working as a Carbon Literacy Trainer, and collaborating on art/science exhibitions.
As a film-maker, freelance television contracts interleaved with a wide range of other work: camera on BBC documentaries in Nepal and Pakistan, public information films for the govt. in Papua New Guinea and Kenya, p/d on Channel 5 children’s programmes in India and Jordan, helping teenagers make films in the Arctic, website films with British Universities and training videos for an international FAO initiative. Channel 4 Schools, and then ‘Teachers’ TV’, were frequent clients.
Training in PRA/PLA has informed Susi’s collaborations and participatory projects, and at least one trainee in Kenya has become a professional film-maker herself.
More formal teaching experience includes time with LCC/University of the Arts London, the participatory video MA at Reading University, and adult education in documentary film-making at CityLit. She’s been an Honorary Reader in Visual Anthropology at Manchester in the 90s and 00s, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. Most recently she’s been a visiting lecturer on documentary film at the University of Westminster, and collaborated with their School of Life Sciences on a research project for exhibition (three shows in London galleries, plus 2020 British Phycological Society conference, University of Plymouth).
A range of consultancies and writing experience includes a children’s book on Indonesia for Oxfam/Heinemann, an ecology reference text for the Niger Delta, re-configuring an EU forestry conservation project in the Philippines, a strategic re-evaluation of BBC World Service Trust (now ‘Media Action’) in Bangladesh and a quantitative look at Children’s TV in UK for International Broadcasting Trust.
Susi often works alongside her photographer husband Crispin Hughes – primarily on creative projects for art galleries and museums, but also on paid commissions and training work (including UK, Nepal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Romania and India).