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Ms Hilary Smith

  • Overview



    Hilary Smith is a teaching-focused lecturer in film studies. She has received a Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship Award, awarded by Birkbeck for ‘an outstanding contribution to teaching and learning’. She is the recipient of a Birkbeck Students’ Union Award for Best Lecturer, for which nominations are made by students. In addition she has been nominated and shortlisted in the category of Best Personal Tutor.

    Hilary has extensive experience as a film curator, arts administrator and lecturer. She is the former Deputy Head, and Programming and Education Manager, of BFI Southbank (previously known as the National Film Theatre) for the British Film Institute, and has held various curatorial, managerial and administrative positions at BFI Southbank, the London Film Festival, Whitechapel Gallery and Arts Council. 

    She has curated and commissioned numerous film seasons and managed the delivery of high-profile retrospectives such as the British Film Institute's pan-Institute programmes on Jean-Luc Godard and Luchino Visconti and the first major survey in the UK of modern Iranian arthouse cinema; for the latter season she also co-ordinated the publication Life and Art: The New Iranian Cinema. One of her many areas of interest as a curator has been the role of women in front of and behind the camera, including staging an Ida Lupino retrospective. She has hosted on-stage interviews with filmmakers and has written and broadcast on various aspects of cinema.

    Hilary has taught at City, University of London; Imperial College London; Arcadia University; Bishopsgate Institute, and as a guest speaker at cultural institutions. 


    • BA Fine Art, University of Reading
    • Diploma Film and Media Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
    • MA Film and Television Studies, University of Westminster
    • Certificate Further Education Teaching, City Lit, London

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Deputy Director, BA Film and Media | BA Film and Media Practice | BA Film with Screenwriting | BA Film, Media and Language
    • Coordinator, BA Final Projects: Film, Media and Journalism
    • Admissions Tutor
    • Personal Tutor
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Supervisor for film-focused undergraduate Final Projects


    Hilary has diverse specialist interests in film, reflecting her cinémathèque and film festival background working in depth across a breadth of cinema past and present. These interests are expressed through the number and variety of film courses she has devised and taught in the Higher Education and Adult Education sectors. These include:

    • courses undertaking an historical survey of a particular national cinema, including the cinemas of America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, plus courses devoted to a selected aspect, such as American independent cinema, British cinema of the 1980s, Hollywood cinema of the 1970s, and Warner Bros. in the studio system era
    • short courses on specific genres and film movements, including the British New Wave, film noir, the French New Wave, Hollywood musicals, and Italian Neorealism
    • study days devoted to the work of a particular director, including Pedro Almodóvar, Wes Anderson, Alfonso Cuarón, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell with Emeric Pressburger, and Martin Scorsese
    • surveys of the British studios Ealing, Gainsborough, and Hammer
    • thematic courses, including London on film, propaganda and cinema, Sight & Sound's poll of 'the greatest films of all time', and women film directors. 


    • Approaches to Cinema History (FFME020S5)
    • Cinema Today (ARMC231S4)
    • Contemporary European Cinema (FFME036S6)
    • History and Theory of Screenwriting (ARMC044H7)
    • Introduction to Cinema (FFME002S4)
    • Working with Film Sound (ARMC254S5)
    • Final Projects:
    • Project BA Arts and Media Management (ARMC261S6)
    • Project BA Digital Culture and Media (ARMC265S6)
    • Project BA Film and Media (FDME001S6)
    • Project BA Journalism and Media (ARMC147S6)
    • Project BA Media and Culture (ARMC216S6)