CENTRE FOR FILM AND ETHICS
Engaging Film in the World
The Centre for Film and Ethics facilitates interdisciplinary practice-based and theoretical work involving the intersection between film and ethics in the context of moving image research. The Centre operates as an international hub for considering both the complexities of the contemporary ethical landscape and the traditional questions of moral philosophy.
Across the work of our filmmakers and film scholars, there is a shared commitment to engaging with film’s place in the world, with the ways that the moving image helps us to understand the everyday, and where most needed, to help to make the argument for change. We recognise that the world with which we engage is one that demands diverse epistemological and conceptual approaches, one that challenges us to film sustainably and to think globally.
Our filmmakers have made award-winning films where the conversation between content and form informs their work, spanning subjects such as the ethics of care, neurodiversity, forced migration, armed conflict, extraction, land rights, environmental sensibilities, and climate emergency.
Our theoretical projects range from engagements with recent work across analytic, continental, eastern and Global South philosophical traditions, to extended and often pioneering projects in areas such as peace cinema and images of political violence, in how we image financialisation and debt, in ecocinema and film cosmologies, in decolonising film archiving and curation, and in autism and the cinema.
Follow us on @QMULFilmEthics on Twitter, and keep an eye on our events page.
Autism through Cinema
This project promotes an understanding of autism as a condition with benefits, seeking to deepen knowledge of neurodiverse experience through the optic of body language, its historical crafting in medical and commercial film, and its recreation in film form. The project is supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Iconic Images of Political Violence
This project explores iconic photographs of political violence and their after-lives on film. The research produced by the group seeks to situate iconic images in their originating national contexts and trace their migration into wider transnational/cosmopolitan/global spaces.
This project examines film in relation to acts of conscientious objection, pacifism, and anti-war protest. Guy Westwell has published initial findings in ‘Peace cinema: religious pacifism and anti-war sensibility in Friendly Persuasion (1956)’, Open Screens, 2019.
Iris Murdoch and Simone Weil
This project, led by Lucy Bolton and Anat Pick, explores the overlap between the thinking of Murdoch and Weil on shared topics such as attention and obedience, and the areas where they differ, such as suffering and God. Building on Bolton’s book Contemporary Cinema and the Philosophy of Iris Murdoch (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and Pick’s various publications on Weil, the research straddles the fields of philosophy, theology and politics.
Filming the End of Life
Island (2017) is a ground-breaking and award-winning feature-length documentary, the result of 12 months filming, during which time the director Steven Eastwood worked closely with persons nearing the end of life, in partnership with Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight. The Interval and the Instant (2017), also by Eastwood, is a multiscreen video installation directly addressing the act of dying and end-of-life care. The project is supported by the Arts Council England and The National Lottery.
‘Hologram Ethics’, a salon discussion led by Dr. Jenna Ng
Tuesday 29 November, 4.15 to 5.30pm, Arts One BLOC cinema
Ghostly, ethereal, limbic. From dead artistes "resurrected" onstage a la Tupac at Coachella to holographic protests on the streets of Madrid and Seoul to a young Queen Elizabeth II waving from the Gold State Coach at her Platinum Jubilee celebrating the then 96-year-old monarch's 70-year reign. To "ABBA Voyage", the Swedish pop group ABBA's long-awaited concert reunion not of the group as they are today, aging well into their seventies, but appearing as they had looked 40 years ago during their 1970s super stardom. Projections, avatars, animations, holograms -- we are surrounded today by virtual beings of the dead and of the past, even as we look towards the virtualization of ourselves in the metaverse soon to come. How, then, to understand this new reality of being? How might this reality relate to our contemporary politics as code, as language, as consciousness? In short, how should we live -- and die -- as virtual humans? Reflecting on her latest co-authored work, "The New Virtuality" (http://www.thenewvirtuality.com), a creative multimedia portfolio online piece of essays, fiction, image galleries, video and interactive work, Jenna Ng discusses this digital future of virtual being, heralding new confrontations, histories and literacies.
Jenna Ng is Senior Lecturer in Film and Interactive Media at the University of York. She has published widely on digital media and visual culture, with research interests as well in the philosophy of technology, the posthuman and computational culture. She is the editor of Understanding Machinima: Essays on Films in Virtual Worlds (Bloomsbury, 2013) and the author of The Post-Screen Through Virtual Reality, Holograms and Light Projections: Where Screen Boundaries Lie (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).
To prepare for the salon, an event format which brings together students at all levels and staff, participants are invited to explore Jenna’s co-authored multimedia portfolio (http://www.thenewvirtuality.com) and especially to watch the video essay (https://thenewvirtuality.com/video-essay/).
Research seminar – ‘Empathic Entanglements: The Ethics of Documentary Humanitarianism’, with Dr. Minou Norouzi
23 November 2022, 3.30-4.30pm
BLOC cinema, Arts One, Mile End campus
What is the role of documentary in framing, critiquing and challenging political narratives? Artist-researcher Minou Norouzi reflects on the creative-theoretical process of developing her essay film On the Tenderness of Men. She contextualizes this work-in-progress in relation to her theoretical research on the role of empathy in representing migrant experiences in documentaries.
Minou Norouzi is a filmmaker, film curator and film scholar based in London and Helsinki. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Film and Ethics.
‘Follow the Plants’, a lecture by Chris Dymond
Thursday 17 November, 11am to noon, Bancroft Building 1.01.1.
Part of the 'Visual Essay' undergraduate module but open to all, this lecture will explore the ethical relationships between humans and plants, conceived as creative companions and teachers able to impact filmmaking processes. It will consider why and how we should look at plants, examining some media made collaboratively with them. It will conclude by investigating what plants teach cinema.
Chris Dymond is completing a PhD at QMUL on plants, bacteria and fungi in cinema.
Suspirias Symposium – June 11th, 2022
Centre for Film and Ethics event Suspirias Symposium: Covering Trauma, Memory and the Body.
The one-day symposium will take place at Mile End campus on Saturday the 11th of June 2022 and will showcase the work of PGRs, early career researchers and established scholars, who will engage with questions of trauma, memory and the body in light of ways in which Suspiria (1977) and Suspiria (2018) negotiate both cinematic and lived history.
SUSPIRIAS SYMPOSIUM: 11AM Saturday, June 11th Hitchcock Cinema (G19) Mile End Campus, Queen Mary, University of London Link to register (please note that the event is in-person and that registration is essential) We are extremely grateful for the support of our sponsors the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS).
To find out more about the symposium and panels please go to the Eventbrite registration link and follow @QMULFilmEthics on twitter. Please do share the event and attached poster with any students you feel may be interested in attending (thanks to Cathy Lomax for the fabulous painting of levitating ballet shoes!).
Centre for Film & Ethics Annual Lecture – June 7th, 2022
The Centre for Film and Ethics 2022 Annual Lecture, ‘Telling True Stories in Virtual Worlds’ by May Abdalla, director of the internationally reputed ANAGRAM is taking place June 7th 2022 in the People's Park Palace and will be followed by a wine reception.
Free tickets are still available here: https://tinyurl.com/y4xkpt45
May will introduce the power of interactive storytelling and will explain the design process behind the studio's award-winning productions from Door into the Dark, a blindfolded immersive journey into what it means to be lost in an age of infinite information, to the Grand Jury Prize winning Goliath: Playing with Reality, their most recent work, a stunning VR experience about schizophrenia, gaming and connection. She will share her expertise on how technology, physicality and storytelling can combine to elicit emotion and connection. Reflecting on the new landscapes of live virtual non-fiction spaces in the metaverse, this lecture will explore the developing ethical questions emerging in this realm.
Screening and Discussion – The Earth is as Blue as an Orange – April 19 2022
A reminder that the Centre for Film and Ethics is screening Iryna Tsilyk’s documentary The Earth is Blue as an Orange (2020) tonight at 6PM in the Hitchcock Cinema, ArtsOne.
Exquisitely shot and bold in its approach, director Iryna Tsilyk’s documentary follows single mother Anna and her four children as they document their lives under siege in Donbass, Ukraine. Questioning the power of cinema and the magical world it helps create during times of disaster, this exceptional documentary, winner of the World Cinema Documentary Award in Sundance, observes, with miraculous insight, a family—and a filmmaker—cope with war using their cameras, working in tandem to create meaning out of a meaningless conflict as the ultimate way to stay human.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Jeremy Hicks, Professor of Russian Culture and Film (Queen Mary, University of London) and Vicki Thornton,
Senior Lecturer of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (London College of Communication) who will discuss the film in relation to the escalating events in Ukraine.
Attendees will be able to make voluntary contributions to The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk. The Coalition responds to cases of persecution or threats to the personal safety or liberty of filmmakers at risk as a result of their work. ITCFR is currently seeking donations to its emergency fund, to assist with legal fees and temporary relocation expenses for filmmakers at risk in Ukraine. If you cannot attend the screening but would like to donate, please donate via the following link: https://icfr.kentaa.nl/donate
Screening & Salon – The Missing Picture – 24th Feb 2022
Salon around The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013) will take place in the ArtsTwo Senior Common room on the 24th of February from 12-1.15PM, where's we'll be discussing how the film establishes a basis for empathy. The salon features initial responses from Addison Marry (MA Film Studies), Alex Widdowson (Film Studies PhD student and documentary filmmaker) and Dr James Harvey (Lecturer in Film Studies), followed by an open discussion of the film.
Salon + Screening. Woman at War – Dec 2nd 2022
Screening and Salon of Woman at War (Benedikt Erlingsson, 2018). The screening will take place in ArtsOne G19 Hitchcock Cinema at 6.30PM on Thursday the 2nd of December. The follow-up salon discussion will feature responses from Emmeline May (3rd year UG), Giulia Rho (PhD student) and Lucy Bolton (reader in film) and will take place at the updated time of 12-1.15PM on Tuesday the 7th of December in the ArtsTwo Senior Common room.
Salon – First Cow – Nov 2nd 2021
The Centre for Film and Ethics warmly invites you to this year’s first discussion salon, which will address the themes of environmental ethics and human-nonhuman animal relationships in the film First Cow (Kelly Reichardt, 2021). The event will take place on Tuesday the 2nd of November, from 3.30-4.45PM in the Queen Mary chaplaincy. A pre- salon screening of the film is taking place in the Hitchcock Cinema this Thursday at 6PM. We will listen to responses to the film by Sebastian Mylly (final year undergraduate), Guy Westwell and Anat Pick (Readers in Film), with another speaker to be confirmed. We will then open up the discussion to everyone. Please see the attached flyer for further info- please share this with any student you feel may be interested in the event. Some tea and coffee will be available; please bring your own mug if you can!
March 2, 2021
11am - 1pm
Themes: decolonising film, documentary practices and education
Onyeka Igwe is an artist and researcher working between cinema and installation, born and based in London. Through her work, she is animated by the question ‘how do we live together?’, with particular interest in the ways bodies, architecture and Othered ways of being and knowing can provide answers.
Join via zoom:
Wednesday March 17, 2021
Counter Images - A Lecture by NEOZOON
Wed 13th March, 2019
4:30 - 7PM
David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University London,
Join us for an exciting masterclass and panel discussion with renowned creative industry experts Edi Smockum (Director of thinkBigger!) and Asif Hasan (Commissioner/Producer/Filmmaker with BBC, Channel 4, ITV).
Documentaries have the power to challenge the way the public see the world, to shine a light on issues, and in so doing bring about change. In a world of ‘fake news’, and ‘half truths’ the ethics of how we produce and tell factual stories has never been more important. With a greater amount of content now being produced and made available outside the highly regulated television Industry, there is a greater responsibility on factual content producers to maintain their own ethical standards.
To book free tickets:
Tuesday March 5th, 2019
Centre for Film and Ethics Salon
3:30 - 4:30 PM, Sentior Common Room, Arts 2
You are warmly invited to the second salon of the Centre for Film and Ethics, on Tuesday 5 March at 3.30pm in the Arts Two Senior Common Room. The subject this time will be violence and form, in anticipation of the Centre's annual lecture later that day by Eugenie Brinkema, who will join the salon. There will be several brief presentations followed by open discussion.
6-8pm, followed by reception.
The Violence of Fascination: on Martyrs, Torture and Form By Eugenie Brinkema
Eugenie Brinkema is Associate Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Masssachusetts Institute of Technology
David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Bancroft Building
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, London, E14NS
To book a ticket: http://tinyurl.com/y8ltkalk
To find out more about the Centre's work please contact the Centre’s convenor:
Dr. Alasdair King