CMCI hosts ‘Visual Methods: Film and Photography as/in Research’ on 23 & 24 March

Registrations are now open for the ‘Visual Methods: Film and Photography as/in Research’ LAHP funded event. This features a series of presentations, roundtables and workshop on visual research methods and their application, opportunities and challenges in Arts and Humanities.

It has been curated and organised by Dr Estrella Sendra, Lecturer in Culture Media and Creative Industries Education (Festivals and Events), from the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London, and supported by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).

It brings together practitioners, artistic researchers and innovative educators in order to share and exchange practices. It aims to inspire innovative research design, making it more inclusive and accessible. It seeks to offer tools and guidance to postgraduate researchers and early career researchers to conduct research in Arts and Humanities, enhancing the audiovisual opportunities of photography and video.

It thus invites researchers to challenge and contest the privileged position of the written ‘text’, when this is just understood as the written word. Ultimately, it encourages more self-reflexivity, by embracing positionality and emphasising effect. It thus has a decolonising potential, offering diverse and inclusive ways of producing, disseminating and accessing research.

This event is open to all postgraduate researchers, particularly LAHP PhD candidates, as well as early career researchers from partner institutions affiliated with King’s College London, SOAS, University of London, and Learning on Screen. However, due to the venue capacity and the interactive dimension of the sessions, places are limited to 45 participants, so registration is needed through the Eventbrite pages for each of the events. Participants are welcome to register in as many events as desired, as long as there’s space for it.

It will be held in person in the REACH space (Research and Engagement in the Arts, Culture and Humanities) at King’s College London on 23 and 24 March 2023.

The events will be recorded, allowing participants outside of London or unable to attend, to benefit from the initiative once it has already taken place. They will be uploaded to the CMCI Research Blog and CMCI YouTube Channel.

The two-day programme includes:  

Thursday 23 March
10.00 – 10.10 amWelcoming Words by Dr Estrella Sendra
10.15 – 11.15 amFilm in/as Research: a presentation by Dr Estrella Sendra (King’s College London) and Lily Ford (Birkbeck, University of London) In this introductory presentation, Dr Estrella Sendra will offer an overview of the series.  This will be followed by a dialogue with filmmaker and historian Dr Lily Ford. They will both share insights on the way in which film can enhance and be understood as research, illustrated with examples from their own practice. 
11.15 – 11.30 amTea break
11.30 am – 12.30 pmPhotography in/as Research: a presentation by Dr Meghan Peterson (King’s College London) This presentation will offer an overview of diverse ways in which photography can serve as a creative and inclusive research tool. It will identify different photographic techniques and uses, and address the opportunities and ethical considerations to take into account when photographing in research.
12.30 – 1.00 pmLUNCH BREAK (provided for all participants)
1.00 – 3.00 pmDecolonising Research through Film: a multi-modal roundtable with the Screen Worlds collective (SOAS, University of London) Artistic researchers and filmmakers Dr Nobunye Levin and Dr Michael W. Thomas, will discuss and share extracts from their research films as part of their work on the ERC-funded research project Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies, led by Prof Lindiwe Dovey at SOAS, University of London. Dr Nobunye Levin will speak about, Reverie, a collaborative project, which lies at the nexus of the essay film and videographic criticism, made with South African filmmaker Palesa Shongwe. Reverie is a work in process assembled from “pieces” – film fragments, fragments of text and conversation, and out-takes – to reveal a feminist love praxis in the collaborative life of the two filmmakers and to consider reverie as a political concept for “emancipatory dreams” (Verges, 2021) and dreaming. Dr Michael W. Thomas will share extracts from his documentary film Cine-Addis, also approached collaboratively, with Ethiopian filmmaker Yidnekachew Shumete. This examines love in Ethiopian movies and Addis Ababa’s film and cinemagoing culture.
Friday 24 March
10.30 – 11.30 amCopyright considerations, fair and creative (re)use: a workshop by Bartolomeo Meletti (Learning on Screen) The workshop ‘Copyright considerations, fair and creative (re)use’ will explore how existing materials such as films and photographs can be reused creatively and lawfully for research purposes under UK copyright law, with a focus on copyright exceptions and other provisions that enable the use of protected materials without permission from the copyright owners.
11.30 – 12.30 pmBring Your Own Lunch Break
12.30 – 1.30 pmVideo-Essays: An overview of their production and dissemination: a workshop by Dr Estrella Sendra (King’s College London) Informed by the Introductory Guide to Video Essays, Estrella Sendra will offer an overview of the process or producing and disseminating video essays. This seeks to be a starting point for researchers of all levels interested in videographic criticism and practice research.
1.30 – 2.00 pmClosing remarks by Dr Estrella Sendra (King’s College London)
About the speakers facilitating the events (in alphabetical order):

The project engages diverse staff members from the Culture, Media and Creative Industries Department in King’s College London (Sendra, Wreyford and Peterson), Learning on Screen (Meletti), SOAS, University of London (the Screen Worlds collective, led by Prof Lindiwe Dovey), and Birkbeck (Ford). These bring both editorial, practical and theoretical perspective, offering participants to access tools, examples and exchange visual research practices.

Prof Lindiwe Dovey is Professor of Film and Screen Studies at SOAS, University of London. She is a researcher, teacher, filmmaker, and film curator, and her work aims to combine film scholarship and practice in mutually enlightening ways. From 2019 to 2024, she is Principal Investigator of the project ‘African Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies’ (www.screenworlds.org), which is funded by a European Research Council grant. From 2023 to 2025, she is SOAS Research and Knowledge Exchange College ‘A’ convenor and Chair of the SOAS Research Culture Committee. As a filmmaker, Lindiwe is currently completing two documentary films, about the Kenyan filmmaker Judy Kibinge and the South African film producer Bongiwe Selane, as part of the Screen Worlds project.  

Dr Lily Ford is a filmmaker and historian based in London. She is interested in combining film and research, both with her own projects and collaborating with artists and academics. Her PhD was on the history of flight in the 1920s; her book Taking to the Air: An Illustrated History of Flight was published by the British Library in 2018. Her current interest is in the women behind the scenes of aviation in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century and she has made two research films in this area, Aerial Bodies (2022) and Dear Ella (2020). As a filmmaker, she has worked with academics and artists to make several films including Chasing the Revolution: Marie Langer, Psychoanalysis and Society (2021) and A Humbrol Art: The Paintings of George Shaw (2018). She produced the feature-length documentary The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger (2016) which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival. Most films are available to watch at lilyfordresearch.com/films

Nobunye Levin is a filmmaker, scholar and lecturer. Nobunye’s filmmaking practice and research is concerned with the politics of aesthetics and decolonial feminist and anti-racist thought and practice as it relates to and is realised through film praxis. Her work is informed by the epistemic, poetic and political possibilities of cinematic experimentation. She is preoccupied with feeling and thinking in, and through, film practice to produce politically affective cinematic experiences. Nobunye completed a practice-based PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her PhD research is an exploration of feminist love praxis that is imagined in the different “enunciations” that take place in politically sensuous spaces formed through the film and written work, which spill over into each other to create a relational film and written world. Nobunye is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in decolonising screen worlds in the ERC-funded Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies project, situated at SOAS University of London. 

Bartolomeo Meletti is the Education and Research Executive of Learning on Screen, a charity and membership organisation specialised in the use of moving image and sound in education and research. Bart also works as Creative Director for CREATe, the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre at the University of Glasgow, where he is currently completing his PhD thesis. Since 2012, he has led the development of CopyrightUser.org, an independent online platform intended to make UK copyright law accessible to everyone.

Dr Meghan Peterson works a Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. Her work in academia and industry has taken her around the globe to use art as a means of connecting people and communities through projects, programmes, workshops and exhibitions she designs, implements, evaluates and researches. She is the Founder of 21 Artists, a consultancy focused on fostering, documenting and evaluating art and social change through artist development, social impact and research. Beyond 21 Artists, Meg has extensive experience working in industry in the US, UK, South America and Africa as a consultant, educator, curator and artist, encouraging learning and collaboration through exchange programmes, research projects, courses, workshops and seminars with universities and other institutions. Her research centres around cultural entrepreneurship, combining business model innovation with social entrepreneurship and cultural policy to develop a new model for innovative value creation in the creative industries. She is also currently an Honorary Associate Research Fellow at University of Exeter’s Business School.

Dr Estrella Sendra is a researcher, filmmaker, video-essayist and festival organiser, working as Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries Education (Festivals and Events) at King’s College London. Estrella has published on festivals, film, creative industries in Africa and video essays. She is the co-principal investigator of the “Decolonizing Film Festival Research in a Post-Pandemic World”, New Frontiers in Research Fund. In 2018, she completed her doctoral thesis from SOAS, University of London, on contemporary festivals in Senegal. Her debut documentary film Témoignages de l’autre côté / Testimonials from the Other Side (2011) was awarded the national European Charlemagne Youth Prize in Spain (2012). She is Associate Editor in Screenworks, the peer-reviewed online publication of practice research in screen media, and the co-author of the Introductory Guide to Video Essays (2020) and author of Video Essays: Curating and Transforming Film Education through Artistic Research (2020). She is an Editorial Board member in the Journal of African Media Studies, an Advisory Board member of the ERC-funded research project ‘Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies’, led by Prof Lindiwe Dovey, and of Film Africa in London.

Michael W. Thomas is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ethiopian Screen Worlds at SOAS, University of London on the ERC funded project ‘African Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film Studies’. He is a researcher, writer, filmmaker, curator and lecturer with expertise in popular culture, screen media, film and cinema. A pioneer of scholarship on Ethiopian cinema, Mike is the author of Popular Ethiopian Cinema: Love and Other Genres (2022) and the co-editor of Cine-Ethiopia: The History and Politics of Film in the Horn of Africa (2018); the first two peer-reviewed book-length studies to be published on the experiences of cinema in Ethiopia. He works alongside colleagues from across the world in efforts to open up theoretical and practical film curricula to African, and specifically Ethiopian, experiences of cinema and television. He is always eager to share his passion for cinema in any way he can, whether it be in a conversation over coffee, producing written commentaries, curating film events or through the making of films themselves. His documentary Cine-Addis (2023) invites viewers to experience the cinema and film culture of Ethiopia on screen. 

An event funded by the: