Monday 24th February: ALICE IN WONDERLAND – the making of worlds and mapping children’s literature (FREE screening!)

19 Feb

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Please join us this coming Monday the 24th of February for a very special Passengerfilms event, curated by the Cultural Geography MA students at Royal Holloway, University of London…

We’ll be exploring the making of worlds and mapping in children’s literature through film and discussion. Our speakers include Caroline Lawrence (author of the very popular Roman Mysteries series), Dr Owain Jones (CCRI Senior Research Fellow and UWE) and Richard Lawrence (illustrator and designer). The program will include a series of shorts and ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ (1951).

6pm, Monday the 24th February, Student Union Building, Royal Holloway Campus, Egham (see map). To confirm your attendance and guarantee entry (the event is free but seating is limited!) tickets can be reserved here.

We are very much looking forward to a great evening exploring the worlds of children’s stories and mapping – please do join us!

Thursday 13th March: NINE ELMS – film as spatial critique (FREE event!) – SOLD OUT

12 Feb


Please note this event is now fully booked! Those on the waiting list will be notified on a first-come first-served basis if seats become available. If you have booked a place and can’t make it, please contact to let us know so we can allocate your seat to someone else. Many thanks! 

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce an upcoming event produced in collaboration with the Open University’s OpenSpace Research Centre

Join us in Camden on Thursday the 13th of March for a very special evening of presentation and discussion on the theme of film as spatial critique. The event brings together artist and researcher Matthew Flintham and filmmaker Patrick Keiller, whose separate studies of the landscapes of historic film intersect in the formerly industrial landscape of Nine Elms, the south London waterfront between Vauxhall and Battersea.

Flintham has recently researched Battersea’s appearances in cinema, notably in the 1960s and early 70s. Keiller’s project involved the assembly of a navigable ‘landscape’ of topographic film of the UK in circa 1900, the basis of an exhibition at BFI Southbank in 2007-8.

The two researchers will describe their respective studies, showing footage and other visual material, and will attempt some speculative interpretation of the moving-image landscape…

Matthew Flintham recently concluded the speculative project Cinematic Geographies of Battersea: Urban Interface and Site-Specific Spatial Knowledge, a collaboration between Liverpool, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, and English Heritage. Flintham is currently the Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence in the School of Geography at Newcastle University.

Patrick Keiller’s films include London, Robinson in Space and Robinson in Ruins, the latter followed by an exhibition The Robinson Institute at Tate Britain in 2012. His essay collection The View from the Train is published by Verso.

The event is free, but registration is required – email with the subject line ‘PASSENGERFILMS’ to reserve your place. Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided.

6.30pm – 8.30pm, Thursday the 13th March, OU Camden, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP (see map). Tickets are FREE, but please reserve a place to ensure you get a seat!

Friday 22nd November: Revisiting CHINATOWN – voices in contested water

3 Nov


Passengerfilms is back on Friday the 22nd of November, and we’re thrilled to be at a new venue: the Shoreditch Village Hall, a pop-up events space in Hoxton Square.

Join us to explore filmic voices and bodies contesting that most essential of human needs: water…

We’ll be screening Roman Polanski’s classic Chinatown (1974) – a story of murder, reservoirs, and the birth of Los Angeles – and reframing it with a selection of short films: The British Public Information Film Dark and Lonely Water (1973), Peter Nestler’s innovative early work Am Siel (1962), and Wanuri Kahiu’s dazzling Kenyan sci-fi short Pumzi (2009), which imagines society on a desiccated future earth.

With guest speakers:

Alex Loftus is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography at King’s College London. His research interests speak to the natures of the urban and their politics, and is author of Everyday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology.

Richard Bater is a PhD candidate in Geography at King’s College London. Richard’s research empirically and conceptually examines the government of the present, presently focussing on historical and contemporary approaches to water regulation in Central Asia.

Sophie Mayer is a film journalist, academic, and artist interested in the meeting between arts and social justice. Sophie is author of The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love.

Plus drinks and discussion as usual!

Friday 22nd November, 7pm. Entry £5 on the door. The Village Hall, Shoreditch Works, 33 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN (see map)

Wednesday 23rd October: BLACKFISH – film and the animal spectacle (FREE screening!)

30 Sep


After a summer break (and an award!), Passengerfilms is back with a new season of film screenings, starting on Wednesday the 23rd of October. We’ve teamed up with The Culture Capital Exchange‘s Inside Out Festival to bring you our first event of the season – this time at the Screening Room, Somerset House. This is an exciting opportunity to get a taste of what Passengerfilms does – the event is free (but you must still reserve your place…)

Join us to explore representations of the natural world, human/non-human interactions, and the captive animal on screen through an evening of film and discussion – featuring Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s critically acclaimed documentary Blackfish, “a mesmerizing psychological thriller” that follows the story of Tilikum, a performing whale that killed several people while in captivity, and investigates the ethics behind the multi-billion dollar sea park industry.

With contextual talks by five exciting researchers and theorists from geography, film, and animal studies:

Dr. Christopher Bear is a lecturer in human geography at Cardiff University. His research interests centre on the relationships between humans, animals and technologies. He has pursued these through studies of recreational and commercial fisheries, and of dairy farming. He is one of relatively few human geographers to have a focus on aquatic environments.

Professor Henry Buller is a professor of geography at the University of Exeter. He works principally in the area of non-human geographies, notably animal geographies.

Dr. Michael Lawrence is a Lecturer in film studies at the University of Sussex. His book on the film star Sabu is being published by the British Film Institute in 2014. He is the co-editor, with Laura McMahon, of the forthcoming collection Animal Life and the Moving Image.

Dr. Jamie Lorimer is a lecturer in the geography department at the University of Oxford. His research, teaching and writing explores environmentalism after the Anthropocene. Recent foci include rewilding, the microbiome, elephants and animals on film.

Dr. Anat Pick is a lecturer in film studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests include ecocinema, animals in film, documentary, and posthuman ethics. She is the author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film and co-edited the forthcoming book Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human with Guinevere Narraway.

Doors at 6:30 for a 7pm start, Wednesday the 23rd October, The Screening Room, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA (see map). Tickets are FREE, but please reserve your place HERE – seating is limited!

PASSENGERFILMS wins national award (again!)

23 Sep


Very exciting news: PASSENGERFILMS has won its second national award in a row for our work in education and public film curating…

Originally posted on Write off the map:

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passengerfilms bffs award 1

Last night the British Federation of Film Societies held their annual award ceremonies for innovative film exhibition, and I’m excited to say that PASSENGERFILMS - the cultural geography themed cinema which I founded three years ago, and have worked on with a team of other volunteer PhD students since – won the national award for Best Film Education Programme for the second year running. (Above – me on stage at NFT1, accepting the award!) Congratulations to the PASSENGERFILMS committee, Miranda Ward, Mia Hunt, Liz Haines, and Harriet Hawkins. This means our programme of cultural geography themed events over the last twelve months has once again been nationally recognised, thanks in no small part to the fantastic speakers, researchers, and guest curators with whom we’ve been collaborating. Full information on all of our previous screenings is on the blog here, and some photos of recent screenings follow below.

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16 May


Passengerfilms – the car-crash shipwreck of geography and film – presents ‘Sea Stories and See Stories’ on Tuesday the 18th of June.

Filmmakers leverage the ocean as a venue for seeing the worlds in which we live, from those of our inner psyches to the circulatory rhythms of global political economy. But in the process is the ocean as a space of matter and affect truly explored…or is its erasure merely taken to a new level? Indeed, is it truly possible to tell a narrative about the ocean, or is a ‘sea story’ necessarily about seeing something else?

We’ll be grappling with these questions through screenings of two films:

The Forgotten Space (2010, 112 min) by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, winner of the Special Orizzonti Jury Award (best feature-length film) at the 2010 Venice Biennale. An extension of Sekula’s 1996 photo-essay Fish Story, The Forgotten Space uncovers the hidden role of the ocean – and, in particular container shipping – in the global economy.

Ama (2012, 10 min) by Rona Lee (commissioned by the John Hansard Gallery and Arts Council England). Made as part of a larger body of work That Oceanic Feeling, created while Lee was Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence at the National Oceanography Centre, Ama adopts the lens of Oceanographic survey as a means of reflecting on difference, knowledge production and what might be understood by our attempts to ‘see’ into the environmentally vulnerable darkness of the most inaccessible and least understood environment on the planet – the deep sea.

The programme will conclude with a discussion regarding the links between vision, narration, knowledge, and the sea, featuring Rona Lee , Reader in Fine Art Practice at the University of Wolverhampton, Phil Steinberg, Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow in the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Alex Colas, Senior lecturer in International Relations at Birkbeck College, University of London.

About the discussants:

Alex Colas teaches international relations at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Empire (Polity, 2008) and co-editor with Bryan Mabee of Mercenaries, Pirates, Bandits and Empires: Private Violence in Historical Perspective (Hurst, 2011).

Artist Rona Lee is a specialist in critically engaged fine art practice, and Reader in Fine art Practice and Deputy Leader of the ‘Art, Critique and Social Practice’ research cluster at Wolverhampton University. Her work is research led and context responsive, encompassing a range of settings and forms of intervention and utilising fine art media in conjunction with technologies and techniques from non-arts disciplines. Exhibitions and commissions include work for: Beaconsfield, The Ikon Gallery, Tate Modern, Firstsite, Newlyn Art Gallery, John Hansard Gallery, Henie Onstad Museum, Oslo, San Francisco Art Commissions Gallery, La Chambre Blanche, Quebec City and The Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Phil Steinberg is Professor of Geography at Florida State University and Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written extensively on the forgotten and (in)visible spaces of the ocean (The Social Construction of the Ocean, 2001), the urban (What Is a City? Rethinking the Urban after Hurricane Katrina, 2008), the infosphere (Managing the Infosphere: Governance, Technology, and Cultural Politics in Motion, 2008), and the Arctic (Contesting the Arctic: Politics and Imaginaries in the Circumpolar North, 2014).

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(Images from ‘Ama’ courtesy of Rona Lee)

Monday 13th May: LOMAX THE SONGHUNTER – sounding place, placing sound

19 Apr


Passengerfilms are back on the 13th of May for an evening of film and discussion devoted to exploring and mapping the role of sound, music, and field recordings in place.

Featuring Roger Kappers’ documentary Lomax the Songhunter (2004, 90 mins), which traces the travels and encounters of the legendary Alan Lomax, who dedicated his life to collecting and championing folk music. Kappers tells Lomax’s story through interviews with friends like Pete Seeger, archival recordings of musical legends including Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, and footage of the settings where Lomax recorded sounds and songs.

The screening will be accompanied by talks:

Musicologist Jo Hicks (Oxford) will introduce the Hearing Landscape Critically research network – “an inter-disciplinary and inter-continental project addressing the intersections and cross-articulations of landscape, music, and the spaces of sound” – and speak on urban stasis and circulation in René Clair and Erik Satie’s short film Entr’acte (1924). Jo’s research is primarily concerned with late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century French music, especially music in and about Pari; this is overlapped by an interest in the politics and poetics of the audible landscape.

Writer and artist Justin Hopper will present and discuss his sonic poetry walking tours and their use of Anglo-American folk song to explore the hidden pasts and underworlds of urban landscapes. Justin’s work is rooted in his past as a journalist, but replaces traditional non-fiction with poetry as a way to approach truth in a fragmented world; he uses writing tied to specific locations to haunt them with myth.

Writer, radio producer and researcher in political geography Dr. Anja Kannigieser (RHUL) will discuss ‘Letting Atmospheres Speak’, introducing the speaking of atmospheres, both in terms of particular assemblages of spaces, infrastructures and sounds, and in terms of the voices that resonate to contribute to the feeling of a moment. With a background in performance and communication/sound studies, Anja’s interests intersect contemporary labour, voice, technology, collaboration and social movements. She holds an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship in geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and her first monograph, Experimental Politics and the Making of Worlds, will be released by Ashgate in Summer 2013.

Join us 7:30pm, Monday the 13th May, The Roxy Bar and Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB. Entry £5. See map.


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