Holly Antrum

Research project: The film document and its veracity


The BFI's national film archive provides the primary context for The film document and its veracity. A practice-based and written analysis, this artist-filmmaking research project engages with and questions the existing language, grammar and truth-making of archival films.

See full project abstract (2018) at


Full project abstract will be updated with the re-opening of the British Film Institute (Autumn 2020).

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: The film document and its veracity
  • Research supervisor: Abbe Fletcher
  • Other research supervisor: Julian Rodriguez


 Working as a an artist, filmmaker and now as a researcher has taught me to recognise my writing as a creative practice, putting words where pictures are sought, and achieving images which speak to writing. This close creative attention to writing as an act of captioning, embedding, mark-making and envisioning, enters my filmmaking at numerous levels, behind the screen, through collaboration, through documenting the act of reading on-screen and in other notions of creating writing through gesture, and through experimentation. This practice has evolved through a grounding in printmaking and drawing, and made most apparent in a film called ‘Catalogue' (2014) working with artist and concrete poet Jennifer Pike (1919-2016). Since then I have worked both alone on written and film projects and in consultation with poets, artists, filmmakers, archivists. My work has been shown widely in the UK as well as internationally. My films are distributed by LUX Artists' Moving Image. 

Areas of research interest

  • Linguistic and cognitive functions of 'analogy' and 'ekphrasis'
  • Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution 1989, women's stories and feminist narratives
  • Translation in film and poetry: speech and mark-making, cursive mark, copy
  • Transnational archival practices
  • Film scanning - digital hybrid analogues
  • Camera movement and lens-led approaches to filmmaking
  • Inter-disciplinary fiction, close reading, reading group models, diegesis
  • Former Eastern-bloc graphic artist film posters and printmaking connected to filmmaking


  • MA Fine Art Printmaking (2011) Royal College of Art, London
  • BA(Hons) Fine Art Painting (2005) Wimbledon School of Art, University of Surrey (now UAL)

Funding or awards received

  • 'Edges of a Close Reading' - Techne (AHRC) student-led event funding (2018-19)
  • TECHNE (AHRC) PhD scholarship (Kingston School of Art and British Film Institute, 2018-2022)
  • Elephant Trust - 'Beech Avenue' film installation seed funding (2018-)
  • British Council and Writer's Centre Norwich - 'Eidolon' film commission funding (2017)
  • ACME Firestation 5-year Work/Live studio residency (2015-2020)
  • Elephant Trust - 'Catalogue' film funding (2013-14)
  • Arts Council England (Awarded production contribution within Bob Jubile programme of Bob Cobbing events funding, 2013)


Recent selected publications:

2020    ' Swollen Feet, False Sun' (PhD practice-based research featured), in Art Licks magazine, Issue 25

2019     ‘Mapping Catalogue – A Film', in Verbi-Voco-Visual (Tinted Window magazine) Issue 02

2016    Outside Noise, Ed. Holly Antrum & Jonathan P Watts (second edition), Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Edinburgh

2015    The London Open 2015, text by Daniel F. Herrmann, Whitechapel Gallery, London (exhibition catalogue)

2014   Outside Noise, Holly Antrum, Jonathan P Watts & George Vasey, Grand Union, Birmingham

2013    Flatness, curatorial project by Shama Khanna, editioned publication and website

Conference papers

2019 Contributor, co-presenter and co-researcher: '(Edges of) a close/d screening' - public reading group presentation in We Are Publication (CARC artist research-led exhibition), Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, London


2015  Presenter: 'Catalogue' (introduction and film screening): Symposium, 'Make Perhaps Sense Out of This Can You', Chelsea College of Arts, Univeristy of the Arts London, 2015. Organised by Cobbing, William and Cooper, Rosie and Grandal Montero, Gustavo and Toop, David.