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Birkbeck Creative Practice Lab

Birkbeck has a long history of championing the creative arts, from its vibrant theatrical and operatic productions at the turn of the 20th century to its innovations in digital media, film, writing and performance in the present. Birkbeck’s Creative Practice Lab supports this rich tradition by cultivating teaching, research, knowledge exchange and public engagement in the creative arts and design industries.

Based in the School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication, the multi-disciplinary Lab is composed of BIMI (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image), Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, the Derek Jarman Lab, the Peltz Gallery and the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology. Academics work across disciplines with artists, the creative industries and policy makers, to ask questions and produce responses to issues affecting the cultural sectors and the wider world.

Our facilities

Birkbeck Cinema and BIMI

Birkbeck Cinema and BIMI features 16mm and twin 35mm projectors, in addition to high-quality digital projection (DCP). It forms part of BIMI (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image), which pursues an imaginative public-engagement agenda that combines original and ambitious film curating with top-quality academic research and creative interaction with the artistic and cultural community of London, UK, and beyond. It programmes about 70 events per year including screenings, discussions, conferences, study days, lectures, book launches and performances. It also organises the annual international Essay Film Festival (in association with Institute of Contemporary Arts, but also other cultural institutes like Goethe-Institut), which has already become a key reference in the film festival circuit.  

The Derek Jarman Lab

The Derek Jarman Lab combines practice and research in making documentary films and teaching. It offers an aray of training and support for researchers and students who would like to include filmmaking as part of their practice. It also supports the research activities of Birkbeck colleagues, with recent project including Lily Ford’s gallery films A Humbrol Art: The Paintings of George Shaw (2018) and Fallen Women (2016), Dr Will Viney and Edmund Bolger's Leverhulme-funded Twins on Twins (2017), Professor Luciana Martins’ project on a a nineteenth-century botanist with Bea Moyes, The Many Lives of a Shield (2016), and Professor Fiona Candlin’s AHRC-funded Mapping Museums project. It has a track record in making and producing films, including The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, premiered at the 2016 Berlinale.  

Peltz Gallery

Peltz Gallery invites artists, academics and audiences to re-examine the world through art. Based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Bloomsbury, our exhibitions combine artistic practice and academic research, and are uniquely driven by questions about culture. We profile the work of emerging and established artists from the UK and internationally, bringing rare and underexplored subjects to public view, and we showcase the creative, interdisciplinary and experimental research of the School's academics and postgraduates. Recent exhibitions include Lessons from Lockdown: Learning from the Pandemic, Refugees, Newcomers, Citizens: Migration Stories from Picture Post,1938-56Leonardo da Vinci and Perpetual Motion: Visualising Impossible Machines, and Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen – a range of topics characteristic of the Peltz's eclectic programming. The Peltz Gallery was founded in 2013 with the help of a generous donation from Elizabeth and Daniel Peltz. It is at the heart of the creative hub of Birkbeck's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which also includes the RIBA award-winning cinema, and a dedicated performance space. 

Performance Space (G10)

Our Performance Space houses is a multi‐purpose studio space. It is used for theatrical performance, installation and sound art in multiple configurations, and functions as a teaching space for workshops and seminars.  The Performance Space is a central resource for the activities of Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, which programmes research, knowledge exchange and public engagement events throughout the year.

Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology

The Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology is a highly distinctive research centre. Not only does it maintain strong links to researchers and centres in the USA, the Far East and Europe, host a lively cycle of symposia and conferences that strengthens these ties, and assist and initiate funding applications, but it thrives due to its digital lab housed at Gordon Square. The Vasari Centre maintains and digitizes important analogue material, is currently examining the emerging area of 3D scanning, VR and Artificial Intelligence in Museums, Galleries and Higher Education as well as the development of Open Educational Resources in the Arts. The Vasari Centre also maintains digital equipment and resources ranging from VR headsets to podcast kits to high end computer workstations capable of advanced computer graphics and AI work. The Centre provides students, visiting artists and fellows and research staff with critical digital experience, training and infrastructure.