City as Studio: Moving Image

During last year’s successful City as Studio project Modern Art Oxford worked with over 50 young people (16 – 18 years old) from two local state schools and a college to create photographic journeys through the city of Oxford from the perspective of the students. This year, working with Oxford Sixth Form College, Oxford Spires and Cheney School, the project has a new group of students who will focus on filmmaking, taking inspiration from Penny Woolcock: Fantastic Cities and Akram Zaatari: The Script. The students will take part in a series of workshops from January to June 2019, and will work in groups to create a series of art films.

Lead Artist Kate Mahony answers three introductory questions about the new project.

What are you most excited about at the start of City as Studio: Moving Image?
I am excited at the prospect of starting a dialogue with students who live and are growing up in Oxford, hearing about their daily life experiences and how we can translate that visually. I want to share my knowledge of artists and filmmakers that got my attention and made me want to make things when I was studying. I am looking forward to an exchange, to find out what the students are watching, making and listening too, I am keen to learn from them and witness their own approach to making things happen.

What do you hope that the students will learn and experience throughout the project? 
My aim is to empower the students, so I am trying to focus the process down to using tools and equipment they already have. We are filming on their smartphones and using free editing software. I hope overall the students will leave knowing they do not need lots of money and access to expensive equipment to make interesting art. I am drawn to experimental DIY methods of making so in the workshops I am combining technical filmmaking skills with performance art references and exercises. I hope the students will learn and experience from these workshops how to conceptualise their ideas and start to interrogate their surroundings as all potential material to respond to and work with.

Why do you think this kind of project is important for students? And how is it specifically important for students living in Oxford?
A project like City as Studio is so important as it enables students to be given the tools and knowledge to express, challenge and depict their surroundings from their own point of view. Oxford is an incredibly famous, filmic city, a lot of people can recognise it instantly and associate it with Oxford University. To me, Oxford is a city of transit. A lot of people commute to and from Oxford for work or to study, so the population and atmosphere of the city drastically changes throughout the year. As someone who did not grow up in this city, I am interested in visualising the unseen, unknown places of life in Oxford and to encourage the students to have sense of ownership and a voice in their city.

Kate Mahony is an artist and filmmaker whose practice seeks to question and subvert established frameworks. Her artworks, films and performances often focus on process-driven explorations of societally performed behaviours. Particularly, Mahony is concerned to enable herself and others to work out ideas in front of people and to create new platforms for discussion and exchange.

Mahony studied Art Practice at Goldsmiths College and completed her MFA at The Ruskin School of Art. Her work has been included in over 20 group shows nationally and internationally including institutions such as UCIA, Grand Rapids; Nottingham Contemporary; The Bluecoat Gallery; The Freud Museum; and the ICA. Her first solo show Storage was exhibited at Ladette Space, Peckham in 2014.

City as Studio is part of MAO Studio which offers professional development opportunities for young people aged 16-21 and creative experiences for children aged 8-16. Find out more at

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