Private Project

Our Own Pace

Through the quiet fields, rolling hills, and crowded parks of South West England walks a group of women. They trek long distances and shorter ones. They are laughing and joking and talking about life, their dreams, and their love for nature. Occasionally, they let a pensive silence linger between them.

This is the story of Bristol’s very own walking group for Black women and women of colour: Bristol Steppin Sistas. Get to know three group members—Sophia, Diana, and Sabrina—as they, together with their fellow Sista walkers, explore the rural and open spaces Bristol and its surrounding areas have to offer. Their stories are a powerful exploration of race and gender, social isolation, individual and collective healing, and the importance of nature. Traversing places such as Clifton Downs, Pensford, and Dundry Hill, Bristol Steppin Sistas proves itself an indispensable community for local Black women and women of colour. OUR OWN PACE shows us the importance of community and self-empowerment and, above all, that being in nature should play a key part in everyone’s lives.

  • Tamar Maria van Steijn
  • Tamar Maria van Steijn
  • Tamar Maria van Steijn
  • Sophia Brown
  • Sophia Brown
    Key Cast
  • Diana Rowe
    Key Cast
  • Sabrina Trusty
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Culture, Nature, Community
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 6, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Leiden University
  • Leiden University Visual Ethnography (LUVE) Festival 2023
    October 8, 2023
Director Biography - Tamar Maria van Steijn

Tamar van Steijn (Breda, NL, 2000)

is an aspiring filmmaker and ethnographer from The Hague, the Netherlands. Whenever her grandfather would reference something from his encyclopedic knowledge of films and actors from the 1950s until now, she grew increasingly excited about filmmaking. During her bachelor’s at University College Maastricht, she aimed to become a better writer, interviewer, and researcher, always choosing qualitative research over quantitative. With this passion for passing on people’s stories, she started and finished her MSc in Visual Ethnography at Leiden University between 2022-2023. For her MSc thesis, she did fieldwork in Bristol for two months, where she shot the ethnographic film: OUR OWN PACE.

By observing and listening to the people around her, Tamar aims to tell diverse stories and create inclusive and safe working spaces to critically reflect on social issues. She draws much creative inspiration from her Indo-Dutch heritage and is interested in the subjects of intergenerationality, youth culture, women with diasporic backgrounds, polarisation, music, food, art, literature, and collective filmmaking.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

(OUR OWN PACE was made as a Master's thesis film for the MSc Visual Ethnography at Leiden University.)

Hi, my name is Tamar.

This film is built on a combination of sheer coincidence, luck, trust, joy, and perseverance. Coming across the Bristol Steppin Sistas website mere months before having to start this thesis’ fieldwork period was a real blessing. Throughout the production of this film, I had the pleasure of joining the Sistas for two months on all their walks, becoming friends with them, and learning about their dreams and realities.

On paper, the subject of this film started as gender and racial diversity in the British outdoors community. In the field, however, the stories the Sistas told me gave way to a simultaneous widening and deepening of this subject; the personal became a key anchor point. Together with Sophia, Sabrina, and Diana, I explored family relationships, journeys through self-discovery, their deep love for their city and its (surrounding) nature, and how to have fun and find peace in times of inner (or outer) turmoil.

My goal with this project was to contrast the brutalist vastness of British nature with intimate stories of women who are passionate about walking and talking in nature. The quietude and action, the emptiness and crowdedness, the contemplative silences and passionate monologues come together, allowing you to walk alongside the Sistas through fields, across frozen puddles, and up hills. A window into their daily lives and where they go to escape their daily lives.

At their own pace, the Steppin Sistas make great strides toward a more inclusive outdoor space in the UK.

Thank you for watching OUR OWN PACE,

I hope you enjoy the film!