Skip to main content
School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Centre for Film and Ethics

Still from Salarium, Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann, 2017


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.


  • To provide a focus and framework for expertise in moving image culture and ethics and its range of applications (practice, theory, aesthetics, history, memory and so forth).
  • To cultivate a research environment where, in the context of ethics, there is a dialogue between film practice (documentary, film essay, artists’ moving image and fiction) and film theory.
  • To attract and support research collaborations between film and the disciplines of law, medicine, drama, business, history, geography, and politics where ethics is variously treated, in order to think of ethics as a multi-faceted phenomenon.
  • To open up new avenues of collaborative practice with cultural institutions such as museums, archives, cinemas, arts centres, galleries, festivals, NGOs, charities, community groups, policy bodies and internal QM research centres.
  • To develop pedagogy around film and ethics appropriate to undergraduate and postgraduate students. 
  • To attract accomplished doctoral projects and postdoctoral researchers working in the field of film and ethics.
  • To build grant capacity by supporting activities and developing seed funding through the workshopping of new ideas to lead to successful grant applications.

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 croppedafter-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.


Peace Cinema

This project examines film in relation to acts of conscientious objection, pacifism, and anti-war protest. peach girl 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.



Upcoming Events:

‘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" (, 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 ( and especially to watch the 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. 


Past Events:

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:

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:


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!



Masterclass with Onyeka Igwe & Salon

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:

Meeting ID: 856 6697 4387
Passcode: 450084

PosterCentre for Film and Ethics Annual Lecture

Wednesday March 17, 2021

5-6:30 pm

Counter Images - A Lecture by NEOZOON

The relationship between living creatures has become an ambient noise of unnaturalness in the centres of civilisation. Instead of producing unnatural contra images once more, in their video works NEOZOON seek out those impressions in which humans already reveal themselves over-blatantly in their absurd relationship with other living creatures. With reality appearing as a kind of over-shaping, YouTube acting as a central source of resistant archival work and revealing itself in complex montages as an echo chamber of internalised behavioural patterns of the average population. (Dennis Vetter, film critic, 2019)

NEOZOON is a female art duo founded 2009 in Berlin and Paris. Their artistic work is based on the principle of collage and examines sociological questions dealing with speciesism in the Anthropocene. In their videos, the de- and recontextualization of found footage / YouTube material is a recurring element. Their work has been screened at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the HKW in Berlin and in international film festivals in Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Toronto and New York.
Hosted on Zoom
Register for free here:



Creative Industries Masterclass

Wed 13th March, 2019

4:30 - 7PM

David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University London,

Mile End

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.


Centre for Film and Ethics Annual Lecture

poster annual lecture CfFE

Tuesday March 5th, 2019

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:


  • Film Screening of A Northern Soul (2018)
    Followed by discussion with filmmakers Sean McAllister
    Tuesday 26 Februrary
    6:30 - 8:30 PM, Hitchcock Cinema, Arts 1, Queen Mary University, Mile End
    BAFTA nominated, Sundance winning documentarian Sean McAllister (Liberace of Baghdad; A Syrian Love Story) returns to his hometown, Hull, as curator of its’ UK City of Culture opening. Back living with his 90-year-old parents and reflecting on changes to a city hit by cuts in public spending and divided by Brexit, Sean is drawn to the fringes of town where he encounters Steve – a struggling warehouse worker with a dream.Join us for a discussion on film, working class representations and censorship in the UK today. 
  • Thursday 7th February: Film Screening & discussion
    Film Screening of Please Don't Beat Me, Sir!
    followed by discussion with filmmakers Kerim Friedman and Shashwati Talukdar
    6-8 PM, Hitchcock Cinema, Arts 1, Queen Mary University, Mile End
    Over sixty million Indians belong to communities imprisoned by the British as “criminals by birth.” The Chhara of Ahmedabad, in Western India, are one of 198 such “Criminal Tribes.” Declaring that they are “born actors,” not “born criminals,” a group of Chhara youth have turned to street theater in their fight against police brutality, corruption, and the stigma of criminality — a stigma internalized by their own grandparents. Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir! follows the lives of these young actors and their families as they take their struggle to the streets, hoping their plays will spark a revolution.
  • Centre for Film & Ethics Salon
    The Salon is an opportunity to share, learn & question.
    The Salon is open to everyone: students & staff; first years to professors.
    2-3 people give a 5 mins talk on an agreed subject from different angles – a provocation, response, or reflection followed by an open conversation.
    Theme: What do film ethics mean to you?
    Details here: salon poster pdf [PDF 2,226KB] 
  • Saturday 5th May Tate Exchange Residency:  Ashvin Devasundarum is involved in Refugee Arts - a collaborative project with the School of Geography, School of Business and Management, Phakama - a participatory theatre company based at QM, and partners in Athens. As part of the QMUL cross-department Tate Exchange residency, Ashvin coordinated a documentary screening of Bag Mohajer - about Athens-based Afghan migrants - and a post-screening discussion with director Adrian Oeser.
  • Saturday 4th November – Monday 6th November 2017 Toxic Cinema: Guy Westwell and Anat Pick host filmmaker John Gianvito, with the screening of Gianvito's complete diptych For Example, the Philippines at Close-Up Cinema (, followed by a masterclass with John Gianvito (1:00-3:00pm), and John Gianvito in conversation: Political Cinema in an Age of Toxicity (5:00-7:00pm). Please sign up for these events using Eventbrite: Masterclass,, In Conversation, For full details please see here.
  • Tuesday October 31st 2017 Ethics of the Face: The Centre has its first major international event when Libby Saxton, Lucy Bolton, Janet Harbord, Anat Pick and Steven Eastwood present a colloquium on 'Contemporary Ethics and the Face' at the On the Image Conference, Venice,
  • Thursday October 12th 2017   Ethics and Iris Murdoch: Lucy Bolton talks about Iris Murdoch, ethics and visual culture at the National Portrait Gallery. Details:
  • Thursday October 12th 2017 Armenians and World War I: Athena Mandis's documentary film, 'Testimonies of WAr', created as part of the UK Armenians & WW1 project, is screening at the Wiener library on October 12th.  It features testimonies and stories about the Armenian community's experience of the First World War and will be followed by a discussion and accompanied by a pop-up exhibition. Details:
  • Saturday 7th October UK premiere of Island at the London Film festival: Steven Eastwood's film Island premieres at the LFF LINK and the accompanying multiscreen video installation 'The Interval and the Instant' at the Fabrica Gallery, Brighton, 7th October – 26th November 2017. Details: and


To find out more about the Centre's work please contact the Centre’s convenor:

Dr. Alasdair King

smaller 2

Back to top