Film: an Ecology of Light

   School of Art and Design

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This PhD project weaves together film, ecology, and light, by addressing light as the filmic substance in the context of ecological discourse. Light remains the fundamental, yet elusive, material of cinema: it is controlled, captured, manipulated, and distributed in theatres and exhibitions to create new, shared experiences. Articulated by sound, the ‘material’ of light connects cinema to an exterior, ever-changing environment, offering a site for reflection. The two meanings of the term ‘reflection’ indicate that light and thought are intimately linked. From an interdisciplinary study of this relation, which may combine knowledge from a wide range of fields in the humanities and sciences, this PhD project adopts light and perception as active, creative forces, with the power to disrupt and bring forth change. Radical shifts in artistic practice and ecological thinking are urgently needed in a critical phase of declining biodiversity. How will light change in the cinema, and beyond, where natural environments are disappearing, and nature becomes an increasingly problematic concept?

In this PhD project, light forms the starting point from which to understand film and ecology as inseparable domains. For this PhD project we can support a wide range of film types: essay film, video art, expanded cinema, documentary, animation, experimental film, and all art forms that sit on the border with moving image practice. We support PhD projects via the traditional research degree consisting of an original written thesis, or, for those with a practice-based background, an original written thesis with a significant body of creative work. The successful applicant would be supervised by Dr Lars Koens, Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking, and Dr Marco Bohr, Associate Professor in Visual Communication. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Dr Koens at  for any enquiries.

The successful applicant would join one of the country’s leading art and design schools which has been influencing, inspiring and innovating for over 175 years. The school has a vibrant, forward-looking and expanding research community where collaboration and interdisciplinarity are embraced and encouraged. PhD candidates would have access to a number of highly relevant research groups mainly, though not exclusively, based within the Artistic Research Group and the Design Research Centre. As UNESCO City of Literature, Nottingham is a vibrant and exciting city considered to be one of the leading centres of the Creative Industries in the UK.

Anyone interested in applying for this PhD opportunity is welcome to send draft proposals of circa 1,500 words (excluding a bibliography) directly to Dr. Lars Koens for feedback and guidance. Under clear headings or subheadings, the proposal needs to contain the following information: the proposed title of the project, the research area, the research question(s) to be investigated including an explanation of why the proposed research area is likely to lead to high quality research outcomes, why the research area has been chosen, the methodology, the research context including references to other work in the field, the purpose and originality of the research as well as a full bibliography. Please see Research Degrees at NTU for further information.

Communication & Media Studies (7) Creative Arts & Design (9)

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