Skip to main content

About us


Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) is a unique central London space for discovering the history of cinema, television and video, plus new directions in moving image culture. Our versatile 70-seat cinema was created in 2007, winning a RIBA award for its innovative design, carved out of a former library bookstack, and providing full wheelchair access from Gordon Square pavement. We have 35mm projection, suitable for showing archive prints, as well as high-quality digital projection, able to show DCPs and other formats and excellent sound. We also have a piano, to accompany silent-era films and regular Magic Lantern shows.

As the first true cinema venue opened within a British university, BIMI has pursued an imaginative public engagement agenda, combining original programming with academic research events and creative interaction with the artistic and cultural communities of London and far beyond. Students on Birkbeck’s MA Film Programming and Curating gain experience through working in the cinema, which also hosts other film and media course screenings and classes.

BIMI is one of three Birkbeck research institutes, along with Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities (BIH) and Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR). It was launched in 2013, with Laura Mulvey as founding Director, succeeded by Michael Temple in 2015, and currently Ian Christie. Since 2016, BIMI’s programme has been managed by Matthew Barrington. We co-operate with departments across Birkbeck, as well as other institutions and creative partners. These have included a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, and the Essay Film Festival, organised in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts and cultural institutes around London. Currently we are hosting screenings organised by Birkbeck’s Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies among other series.

Our audiences

Most of our events are free of charge and open to the public, although pre-booking is advisable. As our programme addresses a variety of social, cultural and political issues related to academic research, we attract a broad range of people to our events, including academics, students, artists, curators, independent researchers, activists, and the general public. We are open to proposals from members of our audience, and welcome suggestions for future directions of programming.