Dr Judith Aston

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  • Qualifications:MA Cantab, PhD RCA, PGCertHE, FRSA, FRAI, SFHEA
  • Position:Associate Professor - Interactive & Immersive Media
  • Department:ACE - Film and Journalism
  • Telephone:+4411732 84773
  • Email:Judith.Aston@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: LinkedIn logo Twitter logo

About me

I spent the first eight years of my working life developing pioneering creative technology projects in the UK's fledgling interactive and immersive media sectors. Based in Cambridge, I worked on projects with the University, Apple Computing, the BBC, Cambridge Multimedia, Eye Film and Television and Virgin Publishing. At UWE, I continue to work in this sector, working across academia and industry to build interdisciplinary teams for teaching and research.

I have developed and continue to teach into BA, MA and PhD programmes in UWE's Filmmaking Department. I also conduct practice-led research through the University's Digital Cultures Research Centre

I am a Founding-Director of i-Docs (the leading centre in Europe for research into evolving documentary practices) and I continue to Co-curate the now bi-annual i-Docs symposia, having set up the first one in 2011. I have a well-respected international profile based on this work.

Qualifications: 

  • BA/MA in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • PhD in Anthropology, Film and Interaction Design, Royal College  of Art

Professional membership and roles:  

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Member of the Royal Anthropological Institute's Film Committee
  • Editorial board member for the Journal of Media Practice and Education
  • Experienced PhD supervisor and examiner - nationally and internationally
  • Experienced national and international reviewer for research bids
  • Consultant for the Open Society Foundation and other such  bodies

My core research interest is in the application of different approaches to narrative to interactive and immersive media. I am interested in ways of knowing across both Western and non-Western cultures, having grown up in the multicultural city of Leicester, conducted ethnographic fieldwork in India, and lived and worked in Indonesia and Spain. Promoting multi-perspectival thinking and transcultural understanding is a key driver behind my work.

I am particularly keen to apply my skills to the development of transformative narratives which can help to tackle 21st century challenges such as climate emergency, social justice and ideological polarisation. I am always interested to talk to potential research collaborators and am actively seeking PhD students with a shared interest in my areas of interest and expertise. See below for my publications and practice-led projects.

Area of expertise

Research Projects - current

On Being Emplaced - Creator of an interactive/immersive film project which is using 360 film, one shot VR and interactive authoring tools to explore the dynamic relationships between a parrot, its owners and the wider community within which they reside.

The Poetics and Politics of Polyphony - Co-convenor of an ongoing collaboration with i-Docs colleagues to explore the application of Bakhtin's work on diversity and multiperspectival thinking to evolving documentary practices.

Theatre in a Box – working with theatre design consultants, Charcoal Blue, to explore possibilities for linking my animated multi-perspectival model of the Bristol Old Vic to virtual augmentations, in order to further explore ways to evoke the magic of the theatre's immersive perceptual characteristics.

Research Projects - previous

Theatre Within a Theatre - Lead Artist and Researcher for an experimental immersive artwork about the audience, stage and different sightlines at the Bristol Old Vic theatre. Displayed at the RWA, Bristol as part of their Centre Stage exhibition. 

Sacconi Quartet at the Bristol Proms - Director and Lead Researcher for a visually enhanced experimental performance in the round of Beethoven's Opus 132 working with live vj-ing, multiperspectival projections and mood enhancing lighting. 

Orion: Behind the Mask - Lead Researcher on AHRC REACT Future Documentary project using creative technology and live performance to design a multiplicity of wraparound experiences to accompany Jeanie Finlay's film 'Orion the Movie'.  

The Russian Winter - Lead Producer and Researcher for an experimental immersive performance inspired by Bulgakov's Master and Margarita involving multiperspectival film projections, live acting, a choir, a rock band and a forty piece orchestra. 

Voices from the Blue Nile - Postdoctoral Investigator on an
interactive documentary project with Prof Wendy James to convey multiple perspectives in relation to her audiovisual recordings from the Sudan/Ethiopian which span over 40 years.

Uduk Interactive - AHRC small grant to create interactive materials to support my PhD case study with Professor Wendy James. An offshoot of the HEFCE funded Experience Rich Anthropology project based at the University of Kent. 

I also maintain a research blog at: 21stcenturyfilmmaking.com​ 

Publications

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