WHAT WE DO
BIMI (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image) is a unique place. An exciting research forum housed in a beautiful cinema, BIMI pursues an imaginative public-engagement agenda that combines original and ambitious film curating with top-quality academic research and creative interaction with the artistic and cultural community of London, UK, and beyond.
We programme about 70 events per year, spread over three terms from October to July. These include screenings, discussions, conferences, study days, lectures, book launches and performances, plus our annual international Essay Film Festival (in collaboration with Institute of Contemporary Arts), which has already become a key reference in the film festival circuit (www.essayfilmfestival.com).
All of our activities take place in the Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square, which features 16mm and twin 35mm projectors in addition to high-quality digital projection. The variety of formats and the quality of our facilities make BIMI an ideal location for research-led events focusing on the presentation of film, television and video materials from across the artistic and cultural spectrum, and drawing on the full historical range of moving image culture (including archival prints and even magic lantern shows).
We think of our Cinema as a laboratory for ideas, debate and experimentation, embodied by the projection of images and sounds that can move us, surprise us, and inspire us to thought and action.
Our programme is built principally around key thematic STRANDS, all of which involve collaboration with colleagues from across Birkbeck and beyond.
Some of these strands are termly: Guilt Group, Digital Animation, Cinephiles, LUX Artists Moving Image, Sci/Film, Urban Change, Fruitvale Film Club, Children’s Film Club. Others are annual, such as the Pittsburgh Lecture, Human Rights Cinema, and the AL Rees Lecture.
We also regularly programme Essay Film special events and preludes, in preparation for our annual Essay Film Festival.
In addition to these thematic strands, we organise many one-off events in response to proposals received from colleagues at Birkbeck and from the wider research community, as well as from cultural institutions and other creative partners.
WHO COMES TO BIMI?
Our events are open to everyone, and almost all of them are free.
As our programme addresses a variety of social, political and cultural issues related to academic research, we attract a broad range of people to our events, including academics, students, artists, curators, independent researchers, activists, and the general public.
Whilst we have a core audience of people interested in film and the moving image generally, and curious to see a variety of rarely screened films and other works, our public tends to change from event to event based on the topic. In some cases, the content of an event may attract a specific community, as occurred with events about pre-revolutionary popular Iranian cinema, the Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, the Brazilian works of Vivian Ostrowsky, and the essays films of Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab. In other cases, we may draw a crowd that is specifically interested in a political or social theme or an area of cultural practice, such as the Digital Animation strand, the Fruitvale Film Club, or our events around Urban Change.