Call for Proposals: Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: the Work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen

Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: the Work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen.

A student-led symposium: Saturday 29 June 2019

Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the Essay Film Festival is inviting proposals from doctoral students for a one-day student-led symposium about the work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen. The symposium will be the culmination of a programme of events dedicated to Mulvey and Wollen, taking place at Birkbeck from 22 March to 24 May 2019.

The programme is in three parts: an exhibition entitled “Art at the Frontier of Film Theory” which, according to the curators, Oliver Fuke and Nick Helm-Grovas, “uses the gallery space to refract the work of Mulvey and Wollen through the prism of art”; a retrospective of Mulvey-Wollen’s collaborative films, including Riddles of the Sphinx, and Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons; and a series of public talks and workshops on topics such as “Film as Theory” and “Feminist Film Curating”. Information about the exhibition, the film season, and the public talks, is available from the CHASE website and from the website of BIMI and the EFF.

The symposium will take place on Saturday 29 June 2019, in Birkbeck Cinema. This is more than a month after the end of the programme, and therefore the idea of the symposium is to provide a space for critical reflection and debate, with a certain detachment from the programme itself.

Proposals are now welcome from doctoral students wishing to engage with any aspect of this programme of events, or indeed with aspects of the work of Mulvey and Wollen which are not covered by the programme.

Students with interests in any of the following fields may wish to put forward proposals: critical theory, feminism, sexual politics, film theory, experimental film, art practice, history of art, curatorial studies (art or film), cultural history, and others.

In addition to conference papers, the symposium will be open to presentations that take the form of video essays, sound compositions, visual studies, and other creative interventions in the debate around the legacy and contemporary relevance of the Mulvey-Wollen corpus.

We would also like to hear from CHASE students interested in taking an active role in the organisation of the symposium, and/or in the realisation of the actual programme as it unfolds – whether that be assisting with the preparation of certain events, or reporting on them in the form of written blogs or other forms of critical reflection (photography, video, sound).

Deadline: 22nd May – Expressions of interest and conference proposals should be sent to the following address, marked “Mulvey Wollen Programme”:

On behalf of Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the Essay Film Festival: Matthew Barrington, Leila Nassereldein, Michael Temple.

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Laura Mulvey: Towards Other Cinemas – Sat 16 Sep, 6pm


Launching their series Towards Other Cinemas, writer and filmmaker Sue Clayton and film theorist and writer Laura Mulvey will present some of their early works. They will be joined by Helen de Witt to discuss these, and their recent editorial collaboration on the book Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s. They will discuss the boundaries between making and writing, and consider the ways in which histories are reconceived over time. An anthology of essays, Other Cinemasincludes voices both established and new and explores strands, theories and politics as well as works important to this rich context. As a series, Towards Other Cinemas, aims to re-activate conversations about experimental film and video making in 1970s Britain which are both historical and new, recognising the diverse achievements of this time.

Sue Clayton and Laura Mulvey will be in conversation with Helen de Witt between screenings of AMY! and Song of the Shirt.

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Laura Mulvey: Towards Other Cinemas – Sun 17 Sep, 11:30am – 6pm

Towards Other Cinemas

Exploring the dynamic artists’ and experiential moving image work of 1970s Britain, Towards Other Cinemas is a series of screenings and discussions, exploring the renewed interest in diverse strands of experimental film and video works made in this period. Curated by Laura MulveySue Clayton, and Claire M. Holdsworth and featuring Steve PresenceLucy Reynolds, and Kodwo Eshun, we bring together works made in 1970s Britain and explore how younger generations are re-activating this recent past.

The series coincides with the publication of Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and Experimental Film in the 1970s (IB Tauris, 2017), edited by theorist Laura Mulvey and writer and director Sue Clayton.

In partnership with LUX, London.

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CFP: Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture – Deadline 15 November

Following the screening of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s groundbreaking avant-garde classic film ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ [1977], introduced by Mulvey, and held in the new Curzon Goldsmiths in September, I am writing to announce the call for papers for this year’s annual GLITS symposium, ‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture.’ Marking a continued interest in the cinematic and critical works of Laura Mulvey and their application, this symposium seeks interdisciplinary responses to her work and its legacy. Please see below for the CFP.

We invite abstracts of 350 words or less for 20 minute presentations; submissions will be open from now until November 15th. The symposium will take place on December 9th (venue to be confirmed and will be formally announced shortly).

Cambridge Scholars have expressed an interest in publishing the proceedings of this event and abstractsalong with a series of invited essayswill be considered as an element of a book proposal following the symposium.

Please address all abstracts, alongside a brief biographical note, to, or contact for further information.

‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture’

This conference seeks to explore the ways in which the political “act of looking” in Laura Mulvey’s writing and its legacies can be extended to a broader discussion of narrative and critical cultures in contemporary society.  Whether we are exploring the nature of academic discourse and authorial identity, the function of autobiography and confession in contemporary literary culture, or the determinacy of canon and the anxiety of influence, the conflict between active and passive renditions of criticism relative to the force of narrative can be everywhere encountered. Mulvey’s work amplifies such collisions and, given her interest in the power of entertainment technologies, she offers an insight that is as relevant today as it was to the development of film criticism in the 1970s.

When we consider the role of culture in contemporary society, similar concerns plague the author and the academic—apprehensions about gazing backwards rather than broaching new territory, or the anxiety of influence as inveighing on original perspective proves to problematize conceptions of originality, authenticity and creativity in contemporary critical and creative practices. Often, the attempt to wring originality from existing traditions results in the inescapable realisation that critical work is contingent on second hand material. Conversely, criticism resumes to be perceived as a creative action that is unique to the personality engaging with the object of their attention. In this conference, we aim to encourage reflections upon the significance (and definition) of ‘originality’ and authorship in film, literature, and criticism. This approach ought to cast the role of the critic in renewed light, resulting in a reassessment of the standing that film and literary criticism dons in present-day narrative cultures.

This conflict is crucial to our self-definition in the academy—we let our interests define us, to then be defined by our interests, readily identify personality with product, and professionalize an engagement with culture. Scholarly response is either a product of its source or a procreant and provocative exercise that reclaims, reframes, and unsettles tradition. These polarised views of the critic are central to the work of Laura Mulvey in her exploration of active and passive manifestations of critical observation in cinema. In her canonical essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975), Mulvey explores the segregation of the director and their audience – the cinema and its spectator – to underscore the manner in which representation on and off the screen is determined by an intermingling of social and personal pressures that, in turn, mould our reading of the text.

We invite 20 minute presentations on subjects including, but by no means limited to:

  • Academic culture, authorship and authorial or critical identity
  • Film, and the evolution of film criticism in the twenty-first century
  • Creative responses to film and literature (for example, adaptation, commentary, or novelisation)
  • Realism, authenticity and originality in literature, cinema and popular culture
  • Documentary as intervention versus creativity as intervention
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CFP: Replacement Conference – Deadline 30 May 2016

Please see attached

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Juliet Mitchell, Laura Mulvey, Naomi Segal, Naomi Tadmor

Please send proposals for a 20-minute paper (or for a panel of three 20-minute papers) to the two organisers, Jean Owen ( and Naomi Segal ( Deadline: 30 May 2016. A proposal should comprise your name, email address & academic affiliation if any; the title, a 300-word abstract and a 100-word mini-bio.

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Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen: Beyond the Scorched Earth of Counter-Cinema: 12 May – 22 May 2016

Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen: Beyond the Scorched Earth of Counter-Cinema

12 May – 22 May 2016

The Whitechapel Gallery presents a season of film and discussion exploring the individual and collaborative films of film theorists Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen

Here is the link to the main page:

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The Body and the Machine Screen Studies Group 10th Annual Postgraduate Training Day, Saturday 27 February 2016

Body and the Machine

Still from Mato Atom’s Seagulls, 2013

Venue: Woburn Hall, Ground Floor, Senate House
Date: Saturday 27 February 2016
Time: 9:30am – 4:30pm

This day is dedicated to the investigation of the relationship between our bodies, the various screens we encounter and the images they bring us. Our gestures large and small, our habits, our ready adaptation to the infiltration of gadgets call up a series of questions as to how to approach research of Screen Media.



Registration: 9:30-10:00

10:00   Welcome, Rachel Moore (Goldsmiths), Laura Mulvey (Birkbeck)

10:30   Tea & coffee

11:00   Morning Panel: The Ephemeral Object of Study
Jenny Chamarette (Queen Mary): ‘What am I looking at? Phenomenological approaches to the moving image in the age of digital media.’
Lucy Reynolds (Central St Martins): ‘Disciplining Ephemeral Practices’

1:00 – 2:15   Lunch break

2:15   Afternoon panel
Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths): ‘Just Fun Enough to go Completely Mad About: on games, procedures and amusement’
Richard MacDonald (Goldsmiths): ‘Projecting for the Spirits’

4:30   Reception


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Essay Film Festival 2016: ‘Orlando Fertito’, Friday 12 February 6-9pm


Essay Film Festival 2016, Prelude #2

UK premiere of Orlando Ferito, Vincent Dieutre, 2013, digital, colour, 115 minutes

With Vincent Dieutre in conversation with Laura Mulvey after the screening.

Tickets £6 or £4 on sale at:

Friday 12 February, 6-9pm, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1


Set in Palermo, and making extensive use of the traditional Sicilian puppets known as “Pupi”, Dieutre’s essay film draws its inspiration from Pier Paolo Pasolini (Disappearance of the Fireflies, 1975) and Georges Didi-Huberman (Survival of the Fireflies, 2009), to paint a personal picture of contemporary Sicilian society and, more broadly, the state of politics in Italy and by extension Europe today.

Vincent Dieutre is known for his first person essay films which explore the limits of documentary and autobiographical fiction (Desolate Rome, 1995). Orlando Ferito is the third film in Dieutre’s Films d’Europe series (Tenebrae Lessons, 2000, and My Winter Journey, 2003), which examines the European subconscious (cultural, sexual, political) from a radically subjective angle (see also Bologna Centrale, 2003).

This event is organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image/Essay Film Festival in collaboration the Institut Français, London.


For more information about BIMI and the Essay Film Festival:


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