Culture Lab Newcastle

Staff Profile

Dr Alastair Cole

Lecturer in Film Practice

Background

Alastair is a Lecturer in Film Practice at Film@CultureLab, and the Degree Programme Directror of BA Hons Film & Media and BA Film Practices programmes. He is a documentary filmmaker and practice based researcher, with his current work focusing on inquiries situated within linguistic anthropology, social linguistics, multilingualism, and language rights, as well as elements of documentary film practice, including subtitling, translation and editing. His work aims to embrace the potential of creative documentary film as a uniquely valuable, public facing research methodology, and one that can foster new insights into humanities research related to the social and political aspects of language use.

His latest feature documentary film, Colours of the Alphabet (2016), premiered at the 2016 Glasgow Film Festival and is currently screening internationally. The film is the output of a research project focusing on themes of multilingualism, childhood, mother-tongue education and minority language rights in Zambia. You can read more about the project, and see the latest screenings and release information on its website, and Facebook and Twitter pages.

Alastair’s previous films have screened at festivals around the world, including twice at Cannes Critics Week, and have been broadcast in 26 countries. His written scholarship engages with both documentary film practice, and the themes of the research inquiries of his work. 

Alastair holds a Ph.D in Trans-Disciplinary Documentary Film from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as a M.Sc (Distinction) in Social Anthropology (Edinburgh) and B.A and B.Com (Otago). He has worked as a documentary film maker in Scotland, across Europe - including Italy, Finland and the Balkans, as well as in Zambia and South Africa. He previously taught at Edinburgh Napier University, The University of Edinburgh and as a guest lecturer at Shanghai Normal University.

You can see more about Alastair's work at www.tonguetiedfilms.co.uk and find him on Twitter at @TongueTiedFilms.


Research

Alastair’s current major research interests include:

  • Documentary film practice, history and theory.
  • Film-based practice research methodologies. 
  • Documentary film editing and non fiction narrative construction.
  • Linguistic anthropology, social linguistics, language ideologies as well as their filmic representation. 
  • Subtitling and translation in film. 

He is interested in supervising PhD projects in areas related to these, as well as practice based PhDs in documentary filmmaking, especially those with strong intersections with subjects related to anthropology and cultural studies. 

Teaching

Alastair is teaching on: 

MCH 2086 - Analysing Documentary Practices.

MCH 2082 - Making a Short Documentary.

MCH 3084 - Final Film Practice Project.

MCH 1038 - Introduction to Documentary Film.

Publications