Skip to main content
School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

The Centre for Film and Ethics

Still from Salarium, Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann, 2017

The Centre for Film and Ethics facilitates interdisciplinary practice-based and theoretical work involving ethics in the context of moving image research. The centre operates as an international hub for exploring the interaction between film and ethics, in light of both traditional questions of moral philosophy and the complexities of the contemporary ethical landscape.   

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.


The Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin

Jenny Chamarette is Co-Investigator on this interdisciplinary project to develop new digital humanities methodologies to archive and analyse the work of experimental filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin. The project’s theoretical dimension examines Dwoskin’s lived body experiences and filmmaking in relation to feminist and critical disability studies. The research is supported by the AHRC.


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:

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:




Past events

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


The Centre is convened by Film Department staff Libby Saxton and Yasmin Fedda.


Our Advisory Board:

Lucy Brett (BBFC); Gali Gold (Barbican cinema) and Catherine Wheatley (King’s College London).


Members of the Centre are Film Department staff.


Undergraduate and postgraduate student representatives are recruited each year.

To find out more about the Centre's work please contact the Centre’s co-convenors:

Dr. Libby Saxton 

Dr. Yasmin Fedda


smaller 2

Back to top