Film Curation and/as Research: A Masterclass with London Migration Film Festival
On Thursday the 1st of July, we welcomed the founders and curators of the London Migration Film Festival, Laura Stahnke and Lily Parrott, to lead an online masterclass about curating migration cinema. The masterclass was attended by researchers and curators – and, above all, curators-as-researchers and – from places ranging from the UK, Australia, Bratislava, Canada, Sweden and the United States. Lily and Laura's presentation was remarkable for its breadth and generosity: they shared insights into each aspect of the London Migration Film Festival, from its origins as an activist project led by two MA students with lived experience of migration, to the continuous, reflective process that informs the festival’s programming each year. The speakers offered a valuable model of curation as research: an infinity circle of filmmaking, curation and audience, showing how practising and researching each informed the others and the festival’s programming (itself a source of practice-led research in all three areas). The presentation was followed by a lively audience discussion, which featured interventions from notable film programmers from nearby, such as Wendy Cook of the Hyde Park Picture House, as well as further afield, such as Zaira Zarza, researcher and the University of Montreal and programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival. The contributions made by researchers of all levels, including MA and PhD students, were incredibly valuable, culminating in a lively debate about the role of exhibiting migration cinema in facilitating social change.