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Biography

Erika Balsom is a Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of TEN SKIES (2021), An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea (2018), After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video in Circulation (2017), and Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013). She is the co-editor of Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989 (2019) and Documentary Across Disciplines (2016).

In 2018, she was the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize and the Kovacs Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

She holds a PhD in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University, an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College, and a BA (Hons) in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto.

Before joining King’s in 2013, she was Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Research Interests

  • Experimental and artists’ cinemas

  • Documentary

  • Film theory

  • Feminist filmmaking

Erika Balsom’s research focuses on the histories, aesthetics, and politics of nonfiction cinemas. She has published extensively on the intersections of art and the moving image, often focusing on questions of technological change and/or examining the relationship between artistic practices and their institutional contexts, including distribution, exhibition, and criticism.

Recent articles include a study of Polaroid’s failed instant-film format, Polavision; a trilogy of texts concerning the embrace of observational strategies in contemporary documentary; and essays on the “female gaze” and feminist film criticism. Her most recent book, TEN SKIES (2021), is a monographic study of James Benning’s 2004 film of the same name.

In addition to her academic scholarship, Erika is a member of the London Film Critics Circle and writes regularly for publications such as Artforum, Cinema Scope, and 4Columns. She has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues, including recent texts on Christian Marclay, Amar Kanwar, and Sarah Sze.

In 2020, together with Grégory Castéra, she curated the film programme “Shoreline Movements,” for the Taipei Biennial, and in autumn 2021, together with Robert Leckey, she will curate a retrospective dedicated to Peggy Ahwesh at Spike Island, Bristol. She is a member of the collective The Machine That Kills Bad People, which programs a bimonthly screening of films by women at the ICA.

Erika Balsom welcomes PhD theses on any topics related to her research, including experimental film, moving image installation, film theory, new media, and documentary.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Teaching

Erika Balsom has taught modules on moving image art, digital cinema, film theory, contemporary art, and documentary cinema.

Dr Balsom will be on leave from teaching from 2019-21, funded by a Leverhulme Prize.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Erika Balsom has lectured widely, including recent invited talks at the Hasselblad Award symposium (Gothenburg), NTU (Singapore), Princeton University, Goethe Universität (Frankfurt), and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh).

From 2012–15 she was co-chair of ExFM, the experimental film and media scholarly interest group at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is a former trustee at LUX and a member of the ICA Independent Film Council. She is a contributing editor at Discourse and a member of several editorial boards, including the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies and the Whitechapel/MIT book series Documents of Contemporary Art. She has served on numerous film festival juries, including Punto de Vista (Pamplona), CPH:DOX (Copenhagen), Open City Docs (London), and Images Festival (Toronto).