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Emerging Film Curators Lab 2022, open call for proposals

Barbican Cinemas’ free career development programme for fledgling film curators returns for a second edition. The Emerging Film Curators Lab 2022 is now open for proposals from UK-based film curators (individuals, or collectives of up to three people) from a range of backgrounds and contexts, with limited programming experience.

The lab is looking for proposals which explore the notion of ‘Community’ through film, which might include marginalised and underrepresented communities, local and global communities, collective art and filmmaking, community action and activism, and community living.

Proposals need to include a film screening in the cinema, as well as a live element, such as a guest speaker, panel discussion, poetry reading etc.

The 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. Participants will also get knowledge and insight from the press and marketing teams. Altogether, this training gives insight and practical information on how to imagine, plan, produce and sell a cinema screening. A small number of projects are selected for a public screening in the Barbican Cinema between Autumn 2022 and Winter 2023. 

The closing date for proposals is Mon 9 May, at 12pm (noon). Ten projects will be short-listed to take part in person and online from 8-18 June.

Says 2020 lab participant Grace Barber-Plentie, Film Programmer BFI Festivals, “The Emerging Curators Lab was such a great experience. The Barbican team were diligent in creating a lab that was intensive and informative without ever being too draining. It was such a great way to understand how the Barbican programming process works, and it really felt like we were supported by the team to develop our projects.

Says Ren Scateni, Head of Programming, Encounters Film Festival, “The Barbican's Emerging Film Curator Lab has been a formative stepping stone in my programming career so far. Thanks to the expert advice of the Barbican’s curators, marketing and communications teams the Lab gave me the necessary confidence and tools to step up my game and keep pursuing roles within the industry.” 

Says Gali Gold, Head of Cinema, Barbican, “I am thrilled that Barbican Cinema is offering this proven career-development opportunity for up-and-coming film curators for a second-time. At the Barbican we are committed to presenting the widest possible range of perspectives across the programme, and believe that this diversity should be exercised across film exhibition at large. We are therefore excited to hear from individuals or collectives who want to develop socially engaged, inclusive film events, to explore the notion of community.

It’s also important to stress that this is an open call and no formal qualification is required. Equal consideration will be given to those without a degree or institutional affiliation who demonstrate a high level of creativity, originality and other potential in their respective fields.

Each of the short-listed projects will receive a curatorial fee of £250, with £250 available to cover the cost of event production. The Barbican can offer a limited number of travel bursaries and childcare bursaries. For full information about the lab and how to apply, please see the Barbican website.