Stephen Connolly

Fine Art PhD student wins prestigious film award

Fine Art PhD student Stephen Connolly won a 2018 British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Award for his film, Machine Space.

He won the Moving Image category under Best Practice Research Portfolio for his essay film exploring a city as a machine; a place of movement and circulation. Using a kinetic approach, issues of space, race and finance frame the city of Machine Space. Residents testify in voice-over about how the city as a spatial and financial machine shapes their experience. The city is Detroit, a place that has changed from producing the means of movement to producing space itself.  The film uses formal representational devices to explore this content, and addresses issues of complicity of audiences in the state of affairs in the city. It is a visualization of the ideas of Henri Lefebvre, philosopher of space and urban life.

Stephen is an artist filmmaker and Kent 50 scholar who also lectures in Film Production at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, and works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Music and Fine Art.

He said: “The PhD has been such an amazing experience and deeply helpful for my practice, encouraging me to push forward towards publication. The process of academic research has allowed me to place the work in context and in conversation with other disciplines and artists. I aim to contribute to the further development of practice as research as a process of making moving image work in the arts.”

Stephen has also joined forces with Matthew Gibson, Arts GTA (Film) within the School of Music and Fine Art, and Patrick Brian Smith of Concordia University in Canada, to organise an inter-disciplinary symposium of scholars and media-makers on the topic of ‘Visualising Spatial Injustice and Exploitation’. The event takes place on Friday 8 June in Grimond Building on the University’s Canterbury campus and registration is now open.