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Dr Angela Piccini

Dr Angela Piccini

Dr Angela Piccini
B.A. (UBC), M.A. (Sheffield), Ph.D.(Sheffield)

Reader in Screen Media

Office R6.92
The Richmond Building,
105 Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1LN
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+44 (0) 117 331 8776


KEYWORDS: practice-as-research / film & video archives / documentary film & TV / artist film / place & space / media archaeology / archaeologies of the recent past / community-university collaboration / material culture / heritage media

I am interested in relationships between the moving image and place. I work specifically with the ways in which film and video and the material traces of the past co-create place, land, belonging, exclusion and I am interested in how the moving image can produce new imagined and real places. My research focus has been developed through interdisciplinary, collaborative research that links academic practices with the practices of industry, communities and the public sector. I enjoy working with different publics as a curator-producer-artist and am involved in a number of collaborative research projects that involve film and artists' cinema.

With Dan Hicks, I co-founded the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory Group (2003-date). With Kayle Brandon, I co-founded the Association of Unknown Shores (2018-date). The first phase has been seed-funded by the Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol Research Fund and University of Bristol International Strategic Fund.

Publications include The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World (2013, co-edited with Paul Graves-Brown and Rodney Harrison), 'Media Archaeologies of the Olympic City' (2016, Public 53), 'The Cube: A Cinema Archaeology' (in Goodall and Roberts eds, New Media Archaeologies, University of Amsterdam Press, 2019) and Imagining Regulation Differently: Co-creating Regulation for Engagement (co-edited with Morag McDermont and Tim Cole, Policy Press, in press).

I’m on the Management Committee of Bristol UNESCO City of Film and am on the editorial boards of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology and Landscapes, I'm a Fellow of both the Royal Anthropological Institute and Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). I am a member of Bristol Expanded and Experimental Film (BEEF) and Cube.

My PhD (Sheffield, 2001) and early research outputs used multi-sited ethnography, interviews and visual methods to understand how heritage media (factual television, museums, heritage sites, the material culture of tourism, curricula) perform both archaeological and contemporary ‘Celtic’ identities. After joining Bristol in 2001, my research focused on art-making (dance, film and video, performance) as knowledge-producing. Work on practice-as-research involved digital humanities and eScience approaches to archive and visualising networks of practice.


Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement (PI, Morag McDermont, School of Law). This Connected Communities project (2013-18) co-produced research with Cardiff University and seven community organisations in Bristol and South Wales.

Know your Bristol on the Move (PI Prof Robert Bickers, Historical Studies). This AHRC Digital Transformations project (2013-15) was a follow-on project from Know your Bristol. The project aims to enable people to explore, research and co-create Bristol history, heritage and culture using digital tools. As a Co-Investigator, I lead Work Package 4: Exploring Models of Community Co-production. @knowyourbristol

University of Local Knowledge (PI: Mike Fraser, Computer Science) This RCUK Digital Economy 'Research in the Wild' project (2011-12) was a collaboration between University of Bristol, Knowle West Media Centre, The University of the West of England, Arnolfini, BBC and the National Centre for the Coordination of Public Engagement. The project emerges out of an initial collaboration between US artist Suzanne Lacy, Knowle West Media Centre, BBC and Arnolfini. The University of Local Knowledge brings together KWMC and the Knowle West community with a team of academics, artists and educators to study the deployment and use of technologies and techniques to develop knowledge collaboratively in order to enhance our understanding of the relationships between physical and digital communities.

The AHRC-funded Into the Future: Sustainable Access to the National Review of Live Art Digital Archive (PI: Prof Simon Jones; CIs: Paul Clarke and Angela Piccini; RA: Amanda Egbe) project (2011-12) preserved the digitised National Review of Live Art archive using the Performing Arts Documentation System (PADS) and the Semantic Tools for Arts Research System (STARS) to enable public participation in the production of user-generated metadata, interactivity and the curation of performance documents (including video) across the whole range of the Theatre Collection. Rethinking ways of delivering and processing the archived information using these web technologies generates new forms of understanding, both of the documents and records themselves, but also of the methodologies for online use of other kinds of archival materials.

The AHRC-funded Connected Communities project Know Your Bristol (PI: Prof Robert Bickers) was a partnership between University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and a number of community groups. The project is hosting a series of free public events about local community heritage. Each event has allowed people to explore the local history and culture through the eyes of the community. My role has been to focus on people's home movies as they provide information about Bristol's changing built environment. The project works with Peter Insole and Bristol City Council's Planning Department to develop further the Know Your Place web tool.

In 2009 and 2013, I was Visiting Scholar at University of British Columbia, located in the Centre for Cinema Studies and the Anthropology Department.

From 2007-09 I collaborated with Bristol's Institute for Lea rning and Research Technology and Watershed Media Centre on the JISC-funded STARS (Semantic Web Tools for Screen Arts Research) project.

From 2006-08 I was principal investigator on an AHRC Landscape and Environment Network (with UWE and University of Aberystwyth) exploring transdisciplinary and mixed-mode research approaches to site, with a specific focus on the performative processes of emptying.



I have followed an unconventional path through academia. Although I have always focused on the lively materialities on and of the moving image, I first pursued this through a BA in English / Art History (1990) from University of British Columbia, then via an MA (1993) and PhD in Archaeology from University of Sheffield (2001, Celtic Constructs: Heritage Media, Archaeological Knowledge and the Politics of Consumption in 1990s Britain, supervised by Professor Mike Parker Pearson), and a post-doctoral research post in Geography at Swansea (1995-97, 'The Social Construction of Heritage and its Meanings in Modern Wales'). I also worked in public sector heritage, commissioning photography, making postcards and designing guidebooks for Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments (1997-2001). I joined Bristol's Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television as a postdoc in the Practice-as-Research in Performance and Screen project (2001-05) before becoming an Academic Fellow in Performativity, Place, Space (2005-09) and then Senior Lecturer in Screen Media in 2009 (promoted to Reader in 2015 in the new Department of Film).

I'm a member of the UNESCO City of Film Management Committee and a Fellow of both the Royal Anthropological Institute and Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). I am on the Board of Plymouth Arts Cinema. I am a member of Bristol Expanded and Experimental Film (BEEF)Cube Cinema and Contemporary Art Membership Plymouth (CAMP). I also make work through Association of Unknown Shores and ButCH.

Before becoming a first-generation academic, I was the child of Italian and Anglo-Chilean immigrants and grew up swimming at urban beaches and feeding mussels to sea anemones in Vancouver, Canada - the unceded shared territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

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As an educator, I co-directed the MA in Archaeology for Screen Media (2002-12), which was an industrial partnership between the Departments of Archaeology, Drama: Theatre, Film, Television and Channel 4's Time Team series. Graduates of that programme now work across the broadcasting and creative industries and in the third and public sectors. Within that programme I taught Archaeological Theory, Heritage, Project Development, Media Archaeologies and the practice-based dissertation.

I led the co-design with staff and students of the 2011 Drama curriculum and was part of the team led by Ki Cater that designed the suite of MArts and MSc degrees in the new Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In Film & Television, In Film I teach on the practice-based Practical Project, Documentary Histories and Practices, Experimental Film, Creative Technologies, and Project Development & the Creative Industries units and the Industrial Placement and Written Dissertation units. 

My teaching practice encompasses:

  • Small-group tutorials and seminars to allow close analysis of critical texts and media practices;
  • In-class screenings to provide access to practices and space for collective discussion;
  • Lectures to heighten the communication of key information and complex ideas;
  • Practical workshops and critical responses to create spaces in which students can explore and expand their critical and creative skills and knowledge towards the production of practical work;
  • Online environments to encourage students to extend their tutorial and seminar work, to lead debate and to generate critical questioning and are useful for practical project development and documenting process;
  • Fieldwork to provide students with the opportunity to locate their practices in broader cultural contexts and to develop practical research methods and community-based practices shaped by appropriate ethical concerns.



Laura Aish is undertaking a practice-based PhD, following the successful completion of her MPhil (2016). She is working on video archive, experimental film and place in Taunton (2nd supervisor, Nariman Massoumi)

Myung-hye Chun is a PhD student in Film. I co-supervise her project with Professor Simon Jones (Theatre). Her Phd explores Krzysztof Kieslowski’s late films and philosophies and practices of care.

Joe Lewis is undertaking a practice-based PhD, funded through the SWWDTP CDP with National Museum of Wales (Dr Mark Lewis) and Southampton University (Professor Stephanie Moser). He is exploring the use of moving image media to produce new understandings of colonial relations between Wales and the Romans.

Marta Rychter is undertaking a practice-based PhD, exploring the potential contributions to film theory as such that experimental film can make. She is working with the films of Maya Deren and Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible franchise, with a specific focus on choreography, the body, time and space.

Lisa May Thomas is completing a practice-based PhD in Theatre, exploring presence and immersivity through choreography and technology. Professor Simon Jones is her primary supervisor.

Pamela Woods is undertaking a practice-based PhD, co-supervised by Tyrell Carter in Politics. She is exploring late 1960s counter-cultures, activism and the impetus for personal and political change, via documentary practice.



Greg Bailey's Views and Soundings: Marking Boundaries for Archaeological Practice (awarded 2018) is a practice-based PhD, based in Archaeology & Anthropology and in Film. It develops Greg's research from his MA in Archaeology for Screen Media to investigate how different media practices produce contemporary archaeologies. Greg is concerned with the means by which archaeologists can effectively, creatively and critically communicate the urgent political and social relevance of archaeology in contemporary culture through the moving image.

Greg Bond was a PhD student in Geography, attached to the Connected Communities-funded Productive Margins project. His project explored arts practices and public spaces and was located with Coexist. I was on his supervisory committee with Naomi Millner, J D Dewsbury and Jamie Pike. His PhD was awarded in 2019.

Will Finch was a PhD student in Music. I co-supervised his project with Guido Heldt. His PhD project explored music in the award-winning BBC documentary series Arena - the means by which Arena constructs ideas about music, and the uses the series itself makes of music. His PhD was awarded in 2020.

Vesna Lukic was a DEAS Scholar, undertaking a practice-based PhD, co-supervised with Prof Tim Cole (Historical Studies) on the WW2 Kladovo Transport along the Danube. She is now a Lecturer in Documentary Production at Middlesex University. Her PhD was awarded in 2019.

Molly Niu's PhD research was concerned with remediation and the affordances of transnational digital compositing as it impacts on editing and post-production processes in both industry-facing and independent film. This was co-supervised by Dr Charlotte Crofts (UWE). Her PhD is being awarded in 2020.

Sy Taffel was awarded his PhD in 2013, in systems-based and ecological theories in the understanding of digital media forms. His research discusses the materiality of networked media, ecological blogs and the performativity of software. Sy's research was co-supervised by Professor Jon Dovey, Director of REACT, UWE. Sy is now Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand.

Yuyu Zhang was awarded an MPhil in 2016 for her practice-based work on expanded cinema. She's now a filmmaker and producer in Beijing.



Department of Film and Television

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