Moving Image

Contemporary Art Practice

The Moving Image pathway was established in 2013 as a new study route within the School. The creation of the pathway reflects moving image as a major form within contemporary art and within global culture, and it formally recognises the long-standing presence of film and video within the RCA’s School of Arts & Humanities.

Already well-established, the pathway has the distinction of being one of the few postgraduate courses in the UK to be driven by a fine art approach to moving image.

Students on the pathway are expected to intuit new forms and make important new contributions to the discipline. The ambition of the pathway is that it becomes a global focal-point for the discipline and a place where key ideas and future forms of moving image are harnessed.

A diversity of practices is encouraged from potential applicants: we welcome applications from artists using film and video installation, and we also encourage applications from practitioners working in the areas of documentary, abstract film, and script-driven narrative cinema – artists who wish to draw upon, challenge and re-map established realms. This diversity is the new reality of contemporary film, challenging the primacy of the screen, reflecting the evolving landscape of the digital image. We want to see the broadest range of practices flourish on the Moving Image pathway and, crucially, we want to see divergent practices cross-pollinate and feed each other.

Importantly, we encourage an intensive, collaborative and critical environment. The pathway offers students the opportunity to work ambitiously and intensively with a group of practitioners who are interested in the diversity that film and video can offer.

The pathway attracts key contemporary artists as visiting staff, and we invite guest lecturers from leading organisations in the field such as Tate, Whitechapel Gallery, ICA, Lux Artists Moving Image, Film & Video Umbrella, Photographers’ Gallery, Arts Council England, BFI London Film Festival, Animate Projects, Film London Artists Moving Image Network, British Council and many others.

To apply for the Moving Image pathway please select 'Contemporary Art Practice' as your programme and tick the 'Moving Image pathway' box within that.

Moving Image pathway offers these strands of activity:


Moving Image pathway students have access to Moving Image facilities, including equipment loans and bookable edit suites. Crucially, students have access to one-to-one technical support in camera, sound, studio, lighting and postproduction from in-house Technical Instructors.

Visiting Lecturers

Moving Image pathway students have their own bespoke series of one-to-one tutorials with a range of visiting artists, curators, critics and leading figures in the field.

Seminar Series

The pathway’s Theory-Practice Seminars explores various themes associated with artists' moving image, cinema, film theory and philosophy. The seminars invoke a range of critical theory models and are structured around screenings of contemporary and historical work.

Pathway Workshops

The pathway’s teaching workshops cover a range of subjects and processes, such as 16mm film, script-writing and production and socially engaged collaborative film-making. These are also designed to give students insight into the history of film technology, the politics of the camera, the dynamics of working collaboratively, the issue of ownership and editing, and so on.

Group Crits

We run a series of intensive group crits across the two years, each of which is an in-depth critical look at the work of several students in the pathway. Students self-install and curate their work for each crit in order to develop rigorous experiences of the exhibition of moving image and other media.

The Film Theory Network

This is a series of professional practice events run as part of the School of Arts & Humanities school groups, offering students the opportunity to gain extended knowledge of funding, exhibition, commissioning, distribution and sales for moving image practices. A guest panel features at each session. This is a series of lectures, workshops, and site visits, looking at film theory and practise across a variety of methodologies. The aim is to provide students with specialist insight into different areas including film and psychoanalysis, video activism, working with archives, etc.

Recent visiting artists and speakers include:

Erika Balsom, Sebastian Buerkner, Ben Cook (Lux), Steven Cairns (ICA), Shezad Dawood, Steven Eastwood, Gareth Evans (Whitechapel Gallery), Elisabetta Fabrizi (Tyneside Gallery), Beatrice Gibson, Charlotte Ginsborg, Susan Hiller, Mikhail Karikis,  Melanie Manchot,  Anna Mandlik (Arts Council England), Kate McGarry, Karen Mirza, Mark Leckey, Andrea Lissoni (Tate), Anna Lucas, Nikki Parrott (Tigerlily Films), Lindsay Seers, Laura Sillars (Site Gallery), John Smith, Gary Thomas (British Council / Animate Projects), Zoe Whitley (Tate).


Our Moving Image Pathway alumni have exhibited and screened their works at South London Gallery, the Jerwood Space, Whitechapel Gallery, Whitstable Biennale, the Oberhausen Film Festival, Aesthetica Film Festival and the Mario Merz prize.