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Storyboarding the City - a film based research project for UCL Academy


  • Michael Stewart (Anthropology)

Main collaborator:

  • Nick Shepley (English)

This small grant will fund a series of cross-disciplinary, research workshops with Year 12 Students at UCL Academy, with the aim of inspiring the students to investigate how stories about their neighbourhoods might be told through film. 

The workshops will run as an after-school activity, with an intensive two-day half-term workshop. Students will learn the skills involved in storytelling and filmmaking, and these skills will be put into practice as the students devise, shoot and edit their own documentaries. Some of these films will then be selected to appear at the Open City documentary festival and will be available on the One Day in the City and MyStreet websites.

In the workshops we will explore how each of us engages with our local environment and how we might present and explore this interaction-relationship creatively. Members of UCL’s Departments of Anthropology and English will direct the workshops, the disciplines offer complementary skill sets which, when combined, offer students the opportunity to navigate their city with confidence and creativity. 

This whole project is an experiment in creating a space for cross-disciplinary research on the urban environment. We cannot say in advance what the films will deal with precisely but we will orient the work around explorations of the city and neighbourhood space.

The project seeks to combine the ‘raw’ vision of sixth formers with the more rigidly historical and evidence-based perspectives of academic researchers. It also seeks to further a dialogue between disciplines, which sets out to share and explore various methodologies and approaches used in anthropological and literary studies.