Past Events

British Art in Motion: the PMC’s Undergraduate Film Competition

Call for Papers

  • 12 November 2021 to 27 January 2022

Are you an undergraduate student, and would you be interested in making a short film about a work of British art? If so, read on!

British Art in Motion is an exciting new film competition for undergraduate students, designed to generate creative and thought-provoking short films about significant works of British art or architecture, from all periods. It gives you the chance to explore the possibilities of film-making, and to experiment with the ways in which film can be used to offer new ways of engaging with and interpreting works of art.

The competition is geared to undergraduate art history, art, and film students in particular; but we also welcome applications from other UK-based undergraduate students.

For ten successful entrants, British Art in Motion will provide:

  • free, specialist training in film-making
  • funds to make a short film about a work of British art
  • the chance to show the resulting film at the Paul Mellon Centre’s new annual Film Festival
  • the opportunity of being named as the overall winner of the British Art in Motion student film competition for 2021–22
  • a prize of £1000 for the winning film, and prizes for the runners up

How to enter British Art In Motion

This competition consists of two rounds.

Round 1:

For the first round, you will be asked to submit a proposal for a film that:

  1. focuses on a single significant work of British art or architecture, from any period
  2. is between 8 and 10 minutes in length
  3. offers fresh perspectives and arguments about the selected work of art or architecture, and demonstrates evidence of extended thinking and research
  4. showcases creative ways of interpreting works on art in moving image media

This proposal will need to include:

  1. A 500-word film treatment, in which you offer a description of the film’s content, structure, and approaches
  2. A ‘mood-board’ made up of no more than 20 images, which is designed to give a sense of the film’s visual character
  3. A bibliography of no more than 500 words, listing the sources you’ve consulted in your research for this film
  4. A completed application form (downloadable from the bottom of this webpage)

Submissions should be sent to [email protected]

The deadline for Round 1 is 5pm on 27th January 2022

Round 2:

A panel of judges will assess the submissions from Round 1, and select a shortlist of ten proposals.

Should you have been one of the ten students who submitted these proposals, you will be invited to a two-day filmmaking and video production course with the specialist company Learning on Screen. This will take place in May 2022.

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge required to make a short film about a work of art. You will learn how to film archival materials and how to shoot artworks, as well as how to film interviews and make voiceovers.

Following this course, you will have until the end of the summer to make and submit your film. For this, you will be granted a film-making budget of £500. You will also be assigned a mentor, who will advise you in the making of your film.

The deadline for submission of your completed film will be 31st August 2022.

Paul Mellon Centre Film Festival

The ten submitted films will be assessed by an expert panel of judges in September 2022. The panel will select a winning film and two runners up.

All ten shortlisted films will be shown at a day-long Film Festival, which will take place at the Paul Mellon Centre in October 2022. The winning film, together with the two runners-up, will be announced at a special ceremony held on the evening of the Festival.

The winner will be awarded a prize of £1000

The two runners-up will each be awarded a prize of £500

The remaining shortlisted film-makers will each be awarded a prize of £250

Resources and further viewing

Some examples of the Paul Mellon Centre’s short films can be found here:

Paul Rousseau, James Boaden, Jonathan Law, Deakin: Double Exposures, British Art Studies, Issue 1,

Jonathan Law, Figure on a Staircase: History in the British Country House, Collection and Display: The British Country House,

Jonathan Law, George Shaw: An Introduction; Lily Ford, A Humbrol Art; Jonathan Law, Midland: A Collage; Jared Schiller, The Tribe:

Jonathan Law, Public Lecture Course: Artist in Focus: William Hogarth,

Films on a variety of art historical topics can also be found at:

Smart History: The Center for Public Art History,

Heni Talks,

Khan Academy,

Thinking about film as a methodology for research:

Lynda Nead and John Wyver, Bert Hardy: Exercises with Photography and Film, British Art Studies, Issue 15,


British Art in Motion is open to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled at a university in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands and are aged 18 years or older as of October 1 2021.

To qualify for entry, you must:

  • provide accurate details of your name, date of birth, address, university and undergraduate student status
  • provide a reference from a tutor verifying that your submission is your own work
  • ensure that your entry does not contain any plagiarised material
  • ensure that your entry does not contain any unlawful (for example, defamatory or obscene) material
  • abide by the word limits and image limits set out in the entry guidelines
  • submit only a single entry
  • submit your entry before the deadline

Further information

For further details, please contact Bryony Botwright-Rance on [email protected]