The Flowing Image: The Ocean On-Screen

28-29th August 2024

Hybrid MS Teams


The University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton, UK

Deadline: 31st May 2024

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Dr Weixian Pan (Queen’s University, Canada)

Dr Paul Merchant (The University of Bristol, UK)

The Flowing Image will consider the significance of historical and contemporary representations of the ocean in digital, film and moving image works. Since the invention of the film camera, the sea is a site which has drawn great interest from both practitioners and audiences. We can trace this to the first experimentations with moving images, where in France, the Lumière Brothers in 1895 captured waves rolling and groups of people jumping from a dock into the ocean. This 30-second documentary was shown as part of the first ever cinematic screening. As the dynamism of depictions of the ocean continues to intrigue viewers, we must consider now more than ever what the ecological and social significance of the on-screen ocean is. During a time of climate emergency, we aim to consider the carbon footprint and socio-ecological impact of the film industry, streaming platforms and digital media. Additionally, in thinking back to the origin of photography and the moving image as entangled with continued imperial practices and structural inequalities, we invite scholars to think about how the (moving) image offers a space for subversion and resistance, thus calling for new ways of seeing. We invite scholars, practitioners, artists and activists exploring film and digital media as a mode for socio-political and scientific communication or those who use moving image works for oceanic research more broadly. To encourage intersectional and transdisciplinary discussion, we welcome scholars analysing and using film as a form of oceanic enquiry from disciplines including, but not limited to: Film Studies, Visual Cultures and Art History, Anthropology, Political and Social Sciences, International Relations and Development Studies, Earth and Ocean Sciences, History, Women and Gender Studies, Race and Indigenous Studies, Decolonial Theories, Music and Sound Studies, and Literary and Cultural Studies.

Abstracts are invited on topics and disciplines including, but not limited to moving-image representations of the ocean through:

  • Non-narrative film and shorts
  • Narrative film and shorts
  • Digital media
  • Experimental film
  • TV and film series
  • Video Games
  • Social media

We invite individual proposals for 20-minute papers, as well as proposals for panels (three 20-minute papers or four 15-minutes papers), roundtables, screenings or workshops and creative sessions. Please send an abstract (200-300 words), a brief biography (150 words) and 3 to 5 keywords to and by 31st May 2024.

Please let us know if for visa or funding purposes you might need an early response and/or an invitation letter, we will aim to prioritise these requests.