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Slade 150: No Film Is An Island

This autumn, the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, celebrates 150 years of fine art teaching and research with a varied programme of events which reflect on the past, present, future.

This evening event is an exploration of what happened when the Slade School of Fine Art became home to Britain’s first ever university film department. Led by Gaslight director Thorold Dickinson as “an experiment, a means of bombarding students with the art of film,” its legacies can be traced through artists’ moving image, cinema, and television; and through film culture more broadly. The story begins in the 1950s with the first films of Lorenza Mazzetti, an Italian survivor of Nazi persecution who talked her way into a place at the Slade, and involves an international cast of characters. Some are well-known, some unsung, but all were involved in making film into an accepted art medium in a way it had never been before. The introduction of film into British art schools transformed not only the art world, but the whole media landscape.

The evening will include rare short films and visual presentations by Slade Associate Professor Brighid Lowe and Sight and Sound critic Henry K. Miller, who will be joined by two special guests, Maysoon Pachachi (director of Our River…Our Sky, recently shot in Iraq) and Elizabeth Wood (Founder and Director of Bertha DocHouse), both Slade students in the 1960s, who will discuss their memories of being part of a pioneering moment in Britain’s film history.