Creative Practice

The video essay is – or should be – a form of creative practice research. It departs from the more classical academic approach, steeped in text and abstract thought, in favor of a practice-based strategy. It’s the hands-on way of researching visual culture, using as its means of expression the very visual format it studies.


The Shudder of a Cinephiliac Idea? (Catherine Grant)

In The Shudder of a Cinephiliac Idea? Videographic Film Studies Practice as Material Thinking film scholar Catherine Grant addresses the merits of the creative process that is the video essay. Starting from a couple of examples from her own (very prolific and varied) output of such video essays, Grant discusses the value such creative practice can have for film scholarship.

Read the text online or download a PDF version.


Professor of Creative Practice at UCC Jools Gilson wrote an article detailing the learning curve of three students who made their first video essay. These three essays were produced for the online scholarly journal The Cine-Files. Gilson’s account is a great case study of how students who are more familiar with the written word experienced the transition to an audiovisual mode of expression.

Read the text online.

The audiovisual essay as performative research (Catherine Grant)

It stands to reason that film scholar Catherine Grant has written extensively and repeatedly on this particular aspect of the video essay, in the light of her own output as a scholar and an essayist. In this particular text (an introduction to an issue of NECSUS which she curated), Catherine Grant specifically addresses the potential and pitfalls that film scholars have to navigate when conducting research in an audiovisual form.

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Culture Jamming as Critical Pedagogy: A Case Study in Remix Media Studies (Allison de Fren)

Film scholar (and notable video essayist) Allison de Fren combines theory and practice in her teaching. In this stimulating text, she writes about a particular instance of the use of media production in her classes, namely on remix media and culture jamming.

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Writing in Images and Sounds (ADRIAN MARTIN and CRISTINA ÁLVAREZ LÓPEZ)

Film scholars Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin discuss the potential and the pitfalls of the video essay and its claim to creative criticism. They start off with more general thoughts – almost a mission statement for the form – before segueing into detailed discussions (and critiques) of several examples and practitioners of the format.

Read the text online or download a PDF version.

Text vs. Context: Understanding the Video Essay Landscape (Jessica McGoff)

In a response to “Writing in Images and Sounds” (see above), video essay maker Jessica McGoff stresses the need for an institutional analysis when judging and critiquing examples of the format.

Read the text online or download a PDF version.

The Video Essay: The Future of Academic Film and Television Criticism? (Erlend Lavik)

The very first issue (dated July 2012) of the Frames Cinema Journal was dedicated to the question if moving image studies were bound to be born in digital form. This article by Erlend Lavik addresses the video essay’s (possible) role in that evolution.

Read the text online or download a PDF version.