Derek Jarman Lab – Essay Film Course: 10-13 November 2017

For all those interested in using film in their research, the Derek Jarman Lab offers a short course in essayistic filmmaking. The dates are 10th – 13th November.

Essay Film Course

An intensive 4-day course in all aspects of audiovisual production related to essayistic and research-led filmmaking. Students work in small groups and learn how to use widely available DSLR cameras and popular editing software to create professional looking and intellectually engaging videos. At the end of the course they complete a short training film. This gives them an opportunity to put their new skills to use immediately and experiment with the form of the essay film in a stimulating environment and with the support of the Lab’s team. Key elements of the course are:

  • introduction to film theory,
  • session on making an impact with research,
  • tips on production management,
  • hands-on skills in lighting set-ups,
  • recording sound,
  • using cameras (Canon and Panasonic DSLRs, Blackmagic Cinema Camera),
  • a supervised location shoot,
  • editing theory
  • editing on Adobe Premiere Pro.

Courses are designed to cater for a variety of levels of experience and to consider the different ways in which moving images can be used. An integral part of the training is discussing students’ research interests and how to make the best use of film in an academic context. We explore the conventions of documentary film making but also talk about its alternatives, such as the essay film. The focus of this course is on films which combine an artistic form with an argumentative structure. We also engage with the concepts of visual methods of disseminating and conducting research in the humanities and social sciences.

The sessions take place in our offices:

The Derek Jarman Lab
36 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

The training begins at 10am on each day of the 4-day course, and we aim to finish around 6pm.

The cost of the course for Birkbeck students and staff is £300.

If you are interested in enrolling, please send an email to

More information about the lab can be found here: