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The movie is not the map is not the movie

Exploring the relationship between cartography and cinematography

In his recent book ‘Cartographic Cinema’ Tom Conley claims that the language of cinema and map converge in creating a mimetic effect, conjuring up an imaginary correspondence between reality and its graphic representation through similar devices. At the same time he argues that while ‘a map underlines what a film is, it also opens up a rift or brings into view a site where a critical and interpretive relation with the film can begin’.

In this programme, a collaboration between Passengerfilms and Livingmaps Network, we are setting out to explore the limits and conditions of that critical space with a panel who are as enthusiastic about movies as they are about maps. The evening will open with some illustrative intersections between story, place, journey, map and movie, and a short panel discussion engaging with Tom Conley’s arguments. After a break this will be followed by a screening of the feature film ‘Lion’ based on the autobiographical story by Saroo Brierley of his journey of remembering and self-discovery.


Phil Cohen is research director of LivingMaps, and many years ago wrote film criticism for Cambridge Review and initiated the Cambridge Documentary Film Festival. He will be leading the #LDNSHOKCTY salon event at the Museum of London later this year which will use interactive workshop situations and time-based media to create a ‘popup museum of the future’ which interrogates the pasts of London’s future and the future of Londons past.

Katherine Stansfeld is a postgraduate researcher whose work focuses on mapping vernacular geographies in places of super-diversity, exploring how, in the context of ‘super-diversity’ and multicultural London, the ‘vernacular geographies’ of different people represent both cultural complexity and shared spaces of encounter and civic culture. Katherine is based at Royal Holloway and is also of PASSENGERFILMS… ‘The car-crash of cinema and geography’.

John Wallett is design director of Livingmaps and a founder member of the East Anglian popup cinema project ‘Moving Image’. He is currently working with the Science Museum Group and Aura Films on a film / ethnography project about exploring deep archives, and will be part of the Livingmaps team delivering the #LDNSHOKCTY salon event at the Museum of London later this year.

This event is jointly curated by PASSENGERFILMS and Livingmaps Network and is hosted by the Development Planning Unit at UCL

Tickets: £10 / £5. Book online now through Eventbrite

Venue: Room 731, UCL Institute of Education