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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Film Philosophy

film philosophyOur Film Philosophy group, known in-house as Think Tank, brings together those of us in the Film Studies Department at Queen Mary, University of London, whose research lies in the field of film philosophy. We meet to discuss research and teaching in this field, and to consider texts that impact upon our thinking about film as philosophy. We hold study days that bring together leading thinkers in specific areas in order to assess how aspects of film philosophy are developing and to offer graduate students and early career researchers the chance to engage with the work being done at the cutting edge of this rich and varied approach to cinema, which is both highly contemporary and as longstanding as film itself.

Past events have included two phenomenology study days, a postgraduate symposium on spectatorship and the gaze, and a symposium on feminist activism and the moving image in France and beyond. Think Tank also hosted a visit by the filmmaker Katrin Gebbe, with a screening of her film Nothing Bad Can Happen (2013), followed by a Q&A and a masterclass with students. The Screening Nature Network continues to hold events and collaborative encounters: see

Think Tank consists of Dr Lucy Bolton, Dr Jenny Chamarette, Professor Janet Harbord, Dr Alasdair King, Dr Ros Murray, Dr Anat Pick, Dr Libby Saxton and Dr Guy Westwell.

The Think Tank reading group, open to all, takes place three times a term. Previous texts include work by Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben and Simone de Beauvoir. Contact Oliver Kenny for further details:

Highlights from the Think Tank Research Group

  • Lucy Bolton was discussing ‘Who do you think you are, Marilyn Monroe?’ at the BFI  with Jemma Desai, Bonnie Greer and Jacqueline Rose, and gave the keynote at Teaching to Transgress conference celebrating 20 years of Women’s Studies at the University of Oxford:
  • Jenny Chamarette co-curated the exhibition ‘Drawing Breath’ at the gallery and belfry spaces of St John (Bethnal Green), and was in conversation with participating artists at the Whitechapel Gallery.
  • Janet Harbord was a judge of the Kraszna Krausz Book Award 2015, and discussed the film Blind (Eskil Vogt, 2014) with the director on Radio 4’s The Film Programme:
  • Alasdair King presented research on finance aesthetics at the Political Screen conference at the LSE, and was awarded DAAD funding for a visiting fellowship at the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany:
  • Anat Pick delivered the opening keynote address ‘Why not look at animals?’ at the 25th annual Screen Conference in Glasgow, and was part of a successful funding bid ‘Digital Animalities’, with Jody Berland (York University, Canada):
  • Libby Saxton delivered the keynote address ‘Movement, Stillness and Convulsion: Turning to Icons of Political Violence’ at the postgraduate conference ‘Orientation(s)’ at Techne, and discussed the film Concerning Violence (Göran Olsson, 2014) at the Goethe Institute.
  • Guy Westwell spoke about ‘Peace Films’ at the University of Warwick, and reviewed Unbroken (Angelina Jolie, 2014) for The Conversation.
  • Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow Ros Murray organized a one-day conference at Queen Mary reconsidering Shulamith Firestone’s groundbreaking book, The Dialectic of Sex Past and Present, co-organized with Sophie Mayer, visiting lecturer Spring 2015.
  • Former doctoral student Nick Jones was successfully awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to research 3D special effects starting in September 2015.
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