Filmgeographies started in 2016 and has since been developed by filmmakers and academics from Italy, England and Philippines. Part of our remit is to screen films made for AAG Shorts. AAG Shorts is a short film screening festival that began in 2016 as part of the American Association of Geographers Annual meeting. Since November 2018 we are also pleased to announce the formation of the American Association of Geographers’ Film-making and Screening Specialty Group.

Digital video reaches an incredibly large audience – it will account for over 85 percent of global internet traffic by 2021 (Cisco, 2017). This offers new challenges and opportunities for all social scientists, including geographers, particularly in terms of their commitment to increasing diversity and embedding inclusivity into their practices. Opportunities because using video as a research method means we will be able to include more participants in our research, and screening our research will allow us to reach a wider audience for our findings. Challenges because it’s hard to keep up with technological advances and all the changes in the way people produce and consume this fast-moving networked medium.

Films can be essayistic in the structure, but they are not the same as texts. Films can relay arguments but also reflections and emotions. Part of the pleasure of making films is allowing people to watch them and reinterpret them according to their lived reality. From the academic point of view these films offer both an academic essay and something that people can write about in their own academic essays. From the external point of view Filmgeographies allows us to know more about local communities from all over the world through a wider range of perspectives.

We know that the concept of peer review is central to the process by which new research is recognised and validated by the scientific community.  While it has its critics, peer review is widely supported as a process by which appropriate standards are achieved prior to the publication of research, in relation to criteria of originality, rigour and importance to the academic field. However, there are both conceptual and practical challenges in applying this approach when the research artefact is something like a film (Berkeley, 2016).

Traditional peer review processes that work for text-based academic journals need to adapt to suit the needs of non-traditional, non-text-based forms of research inquiry. Filmgeographies is an interactive and collaborative network that is working to establish this new and exciting process and help scholars navigate their way.

Jessica Jacobs

The goals of our network are:

  • To publish films made by geographers and other scholars in a way that allows them to be peer reviewed.
  • To promote and coordinate film festivals, workshops and other activities that promote the use of film-making in the academy.
  • To promote the use of film-making as a method of teaching that allows us to make education more relevant to a wider and more diverse group of engaged students and staff.
  • To stimulate the exchange of information about film and film-making in geography and across the social sciences, arts and humanities.
Giovanna Ceno – Independent – Italy
Vitor Hugo Costa – Metalfilmes Portugal
Alexa Firat – Temple University – USA
Eric Laurier – University of Edinburgh
Jessica Jacobs – Queen Mary University of London
Joseph Pàlis – University of Philippines
Ciaran Reynolds – Independent – UK

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