As part of my role at UWE, I teach filmmaking and creative media to undergraduates, masters and PhD students. Over the years I have seen many of our students achieve great things and this continues to be a very rewarding part of what I do.
You can read about my early days of teaching at UWE in this published paper or in this archive and watch a more recent short video piece of me talking about my approach. In this part of my blog, I will be posting about the interesting things that my graduates are up to.
I have been working with the Oxford Anthropologist, Professor Wendy James on her long term ethnographic archive from the southern part of the Sudan for a number of years. Our collaboration began as part of my PhD studies in interactive documentary and has grown from there into an ambitious plan to narrate the archive. Our first outcome was a website to support her most recent book about her fieldwork, which was published in 2007, and there is a peer reviewed paper available on-line about our subsequent work.
I have presented our wider ideas about database narrative and the cultural transmission of memory at a number of international conferences and have also written several further articles about our work. Some of these are as a single author, some are written with Wendy, and others with Paul Matthews who has been working with us on the computing side of things. For more information about this work, with the full text of my thesis and links to my publications, please go to my AcademiaEdu pages.
This project is currently on hold, due to the political situation in the region and my own wider business. Wendy is, however, still active as a Sudan specialist and I am building skills which will be applicable to this work as and when the time is right.
i-Docs is a research strand within the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE Bristol. It began with a Symposium – the first dedicated to interactive documentary – convened by myself, Jon Dovey and Sandra Gaudenzi in March 2011. We convened two further Symposia in 2012 and 2014 (with additional involvement from Mandy Rose) and edited a special edition of Studies in Documentary Film on i-Docs. Another symposium is proposed for 2016 and we are currently working on several collaborative projects.The i-Docs website has developed to become key UK resources in the field. Alongside the symposium and website we also run events as part of i-Docs Presents. I co-founded i-Docs because of my ongoing research into using computers and film to communicate multiple points of view in new ways. It goes back to my involvement with the BBC Interactive Television Unit in the early 1990s when videodisc was king. Even if things have moved a long way since then, it’s fair to say that some of the core principles haven’t changed.
This is an ongoing project in which I have been working as a creative/executive producer alongside singer-songwriter John E Vistic and multi-instrumentalist-composer Adam Coombs to create a live multimedia show inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic novel The Master And Margarita. I began working on this with my MA and BA students in Filmmaking and Creative Media at UWE over two years ago and it has now evolved into a large scale project involving a whole host of my graduates and other industry professionals.
As it currently stands, the show incorporates a rock band, 40 piece choir and orchestra, cinematic sequences and on stage acting. It was performed over three nights to a sell out audience in Colston Hall, Bristol in January 2013. There is much more that we would like to do with the show, however, and we are currently exploring our options for further development with the Bristol Old Vic. For more information on the project, go to our website or watch a short video interview about my inspirations for the live show.
This is the listing for my current project for the Bristol Proms 2014: Associate artists at Bristol Old Vic The Sacconi Quartet, follow their performance of Schubert’s Quintet in C (Bristol Proms 2013) with Beethoven’s great Quartet opus 132, performed in the intimate environs of the Old Vic Studio. Collaborating with Judith Aston and her colleagues from the UWE Filmmaking department, the performance will experiment with cameras, multiple projections and VJ-ing to explore how a cinematic environment can be created to help evoke the imagination and emotion that comes with the music.
After my initial conversations with the Quartet and The Old Vic, I have invited Michael Sides and James Gates from the Russian Winter film crew to work alongside me. We had our first workshop with the Sacconis two weeks ago when they came to Bristol to play for us and discuss their approach. I was immediately struck by their body language and the shapes that they create, both as individual musicians playing their instruments and as a quartet playing together. It is these subtle shifts and more obvious transformations that occur through the performance of the music that we intend to capture on film.
The performance will be in the Bristol Old Vic Studio Theatre on Weds 30th July.
Last autumn, I worked as academic partner on a Future Documentary Sandbox project with artist filmmaker, Jeanie Finlay. We came up with a new term to describe the approach we developed towards her forthcoming feature film – ‘wraparound filmmaking’.
You can read more about this on the I am Orion Future Documentary blog that documents our process and on the new Orion: the movie website that embodies this approach.
I have finally taken the plunge and set up a blog as a place to document my various excursions into 21st Filmmaking.
I am a Senior Lecturer in the Creative Industries Department at the University of the West of England in Bristol, coming out of a professional background in film, interaction design and anthropology. My role here is to introduce our Filmmaking students to the world of experience design and to inspire them to think about new contexts for their moving image work. As a key part of this, I also maintain my own practice-led research and professional practice.
My current project is to create a cinematic setting for a live performance of Beethoven’s 15th String Quartet. This is with the wonderful Sacconi Quartet for the Bristol Proms 2014: http://www.bristololdvic.org.uk/bristolproms2014.html#SACCONI. I am also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the interactive documentary community i-docs.org and Executive Producer of the Russian Winter live multimedia show.
I shall be documenting my process and thoughts on a reasonably regular basis. I hope you enjoy what I have to say.