Prof. Julia Knight

Three Issues for Experimental Moving Image in the Era of Digital Distribution


The paper will highlight some of the ways digital technology is impacting the distribution of experimental moving image.  Firstly, it will look at some of the implications for and challenges that face a distributor like Lux, Britain’s largest distributor of experimental film and video work.  These include what to do with original 16mm/video copies of transferred work, costs of transfers, dealing with fast changing formats, artists working with HD, the role of curation, and how todevelop sustainable economies.  Secondly, it will flag up the blurring of the traditional roles of archives (to preserve by limiting public access) and distributors (to actively circulate work to viewing publics) as an increasing number of archives make work available online.  This raises the issue of the constraints that come into play when making work available online, as well as the internet’s inability to preserve work or guarantee its long term availability.  Lastly, it will consider viewing habits in the digital era, the role of real world/offline visibility in building audiences, and how to persuade people to watch and engage with non-mainstream moving image work.

Bio:  Julia Knight is Professor of Moving Image at the University of Sunderland and co-editor of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.  She has recently published Reaching Audiences: Distribution and Promotion of Alternative Moving Image (2011) and the AHRC funded Film & Video Distribution Database (, both co-authored with Peter Thomas.  Both were based on a three-year AHRC funded research project examining artists’ and independent film and video distribution in the UK, 1966–2000.

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