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Dr Angela Piccini

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.


Research projects