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Emerging Film Curators Lab 2023

Curators at a film panel discussion

Are you an emerging film curator looking to take the next step, who has a great idea for a public screening event?

We are looking for film curators (individuals, or collectives of up to three people) aged over 18, from a range of backgrounds and contexts, with limited cinema programming experience, who are interested in developing socially engaged, inclusive film events focusing on the theme of ‘Change' (see detailed brief below).

This Lab experience is an opportunity to pick the brains of experienced film curators and learn more about working with and programming for an arts organisation. You’ll get knowledge and insight from the Barbican Cinema’s press and marketing teams too, and hear from guest speakers from across the cinema exhibition sector.

Altogether, this training gives insight and practical information on how to imagine, plan, produce and sell a cinema screening. A few projects developed through the Lab will be selected for a public screening in the Barbican Cinema.

This is an open call. You don’t need to have a degree or be attached to an institution already – we are looking for you to demonstrate originality and practicality. We will not request a CV or letter of recommendation.

Ten projects in total are selected to take part in the Emerging Film Curators Lab. You must be a UK resident to take part.

Feedback from the 2022 Emerging Film Curators Lab

Charlie Clark - Curated Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema 

“The Emerging Film Curators Lab was a brilliant and formative experience. The team were incredibly generous with the time and knowledge that they shared. One of the most valuable things about the lab was the peer support network it gave us. Everyone in the group was so supportive. It felt like a really respectful and safe space for sharing and developing ideas. Overall, it was a very in-depth learning experience that will stay with me as I move forward in my career as a Curator.”


Abiba Coulibaly, Curated Crossing Voices

“The Barbican's Emerging Film Curators Lab provided a rare entry point into, and thorough overview of, the film curation process, during which I felt I was encouraged to exercise creative control rather than modify my idea in line with the expectations of an institution.”


Vicgina Law - Curated Taste: Hong Kong Identity in Food and Film 

“The Emerging Film Curators Lab was an invaluable experience that opened my eyes to the inner workings of the curatorial world. The Barbican team created a supportive and professional environment allowing me to develop my skills and gain the confidence needed to pursue my career in film curation. The Lab is an opportunity you don't want to miss.”

Harry Singh – Curated Pink Mirrors: Exploring South Asian Queerness 

“Applying to the Emerging Film Curators Lab remains one of the best decisions I have ever made! Having limited experience did not hinder my application, quite the opposite! The expert advice and industry guidance is invaluable. The environment is inclusive and highly supportive. The opportunities that have arisen as a result of the Lab are, frankly, fabulous. If you’re thinking of applying, do it!”


Ephraim Webber, Curated Black Cyclone: Africa and its Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle 

“Completing the Emerging Film Curators Lab helped carve my love of cinema into the position I now hold as Film Curator and Programmer at Bernie Grant Arts Centre. The Barbican’s cinema team provided experience, practical knowledge, advice, and support, all of which was supplemented by the invaluable sessions hosted by key industry figures.”

'Change' - Theme brief

We want to hear your idea for a cinema event that explores ‘Change’.

The world is changing. The last few years have seen astonishing changes in the social and political landscape, from major political movements and issues around climate change and human rights, through to dramatic technological changes and world crises such as the pandemic and warfare.

Since its birth, cinema has been invaluable in capturing, provoking and facilitating change. We would like you to submit proposals which explore the idea of change and the way it has been interpreted or realised on film.

We don’t want to impose any limits on how you define ‘change’ – the proposals can focus on films that explore any kind of change, be it positive or negative, contemporary or historical. Proposals for cinema event screenings of features or shorts, any modes of fiction films or documentaries, that explore the idea of change are welcome. Your proposed event should include a live element, such as a speaker, panel discussion, poetry reading etc. 

Please submit your response to this brief using the form below. 

Emerging Film Curators Lab Submission Form

Please submit your proposal by Tuesday 6 June, 5PM.



Propose a cinema event that responds to the theme of 'Change’. This needs to include a film screening in the cinema, as well as a live element, such as a guest speaker, panel discussion, poetry reading etc. You should mention potential film titles and guests. Explain your idea in a straightforward and engaging way.



In less then 100 words, please let us know if you have any experience in the following areas (although it’s absolutely fine if you don’t, just write 'N/A' in the boxes below):



If you have any trouble submitting your proposal in this format or have any access requirements, please contact us to see how we can help. Please email: [email protected].

No one receiving this email will be part of the group shortlisting the applications.

Important information about the application process

  • You must be willing and available to take part in all the Emerging Film Curator Lab sessions in July (see key dates above) and, if your event is selected for a screening in the Barbican Cinema, attend the event you develop as part of the Lab.
  • During the Lab there will be assignments you will be expected to complete as part of the development of your proposed event. 
  • Ten projects in total are selected to take part in the Emerging Film Curators Lab, after the interviews have taken place. Of these, a small number of projects will be selected for a screening in the Barbican Cinema between January and March 2024. We will let curators know if there event has been selected for a Barbican Cinema screening in August
  • Only projects submitted as part of the Emerging Film Curators Lab are eligible to be selected for the Barbican cinema programme: taking part is essential.
  • All proposed projects need to include a film screening with an additional live element, and last no longer than 2hrs 30 min total.
  • We offer a limited number of travel bursaries and childcare bursaries. If you progress to the interview stage, this can be discussed at that time.
  • All applicants must be UK residents.
  • All applicants (including all members of any collective) must be over 18 years of age.
  • If your event is selected for a screening in the Barbican Cinema, you are expected to be involved at all stages of production for your event; the lab is to develop your conceptual and practical skills alike.
  • Each project selected for Barbican Cinema programme receives a curatorial fee of £250, with an additional £350 available to cover the cost of event production, not including the screening fee.
  • The selection committee is made up of Barbican Cinema curators, members of the Creative Collaboration team and Barbican Young Programmers alumni. All proposals are evaluated on the merit of the project, originality, and how well it meets the criteria listed above.
  • Proposals received after the deadline won't be considered. 
  • You’ll be notified if you have been selected for the Lab in early July 2023.
  • We’ll contact all applicants to let you know if you have been selected for interview or not, but because of the high volume of applicants, we can't offer feedback for unsuccessful applications. 
  • If you have any queries about the application process or the Lab, please get in touch at [email protected]