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Emerging Film Curators Lab 2023, open call for proposals

The Barbican’s free career development programme for film curators is open for applications. Now in its third year, the Emerging Film Curators Lab 2023 is calling for proposals from UK-based film curators with limited experience. The programme is open to individuals or collectives of up to three people, from a range of backgrounds and contexts. 

The Lab is an opportunity to collectively workshop ideas with experienced curators and other Lab participants, to create socially engaged, inclusive film events.  

The theme for the 2023 Lab is ‘CHANGE’, inspired by the last few years when we 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. Proposals can focus on films that explore any kind of change, be it positive or negative, contemporary or historical, and the way it has been interpreted or realised on film. Proposed events can include screenings of features or shorts, any modes of fiction films or documentaries, and should include a live element, such as a speaker, panel discussion, poetry reading, etc. 

The Lab, which is open to anyone over 18-years-old, will give insight and practical information on how to imagine, plan, produce and sell a cinema screening, as well as pick the brains of marketing and communications professionals, and guests from the cinema exhibition sector. 

Testament to the impact and success of the Lab, the 2022 alumni describe the experience: 

The opportunities that have arisen as a result of the Lab are frankly, fabulous. If you’re thinking of applying, do it!, Harry Singh, curator of Pink Mirrors: Exploring South Asian Queerness.

The Lab was a brilliant, formative experience” Charlie Clark, curator of Rolling in the Deep: Mer-Creatures and Mythology in Global Cinema. 

“(the programme) provided a rare entry point into the film curation process” Abiba Coulibaly, curator of Crossing Voices. 

Completing the Lab helped carve my love of cinema … it provided experience, practical knowledge, advice, and support, all of which was supplemented by the invaluable sessions hosted by key industry figures” Ephraim Webber, curator of Black Cyclone: Africa and its Diaspora’s Love for the Bicycle. 

The closing date for proposals is Tuesday 6 June at 5pm. Ten projects will be shortlisted to take part in the Lab, in person and online, from 15-29 July. The Barbican can offer a limited number of travel and childcare bursaries.

Gali Gold, Head of Cinema, Barbican, saysI am thrilled that the Barbican is offering this platform for up-and-coming film curators. It’s important that the Barbican uses its resources and expertise to drive career-development and programming opportunities for new and diverse film curatorial voices in cinema exhibition.   

“At the Barbican we are committed to presenting the widest possible range of perspectives across the programme; we are therefore excited to hear from individuals or collectives who want to develop socially-engaged, inclusive film events exploring the notion of ‘change’. We are looking for emerging curators who demonstrate high level of creativity and originality.  It’s also important to stress that this is an open call; no formal qualification is required.”  

Following the Lab, a small number of projects will be selected for a public screening in the Barbican Cinema between January and March 2024. In order to develop conceptual AND practical skills, curators of these selected projects will be involved at all stages of the production for their public-screening event. Each of these projects will receive a curatorial fee of £250, with £350 available to cover the cost of event production.

Supported by Arts Council England.

Introduction to the Emerging Film Curators Lab by Gali Gold, Head of Cinema, Barbican

For full information about the Lab and how to apply, please see here.