Exploring identity in the domestic space: Young artist Matt on film-making as an art medium

Matt joined our online City as Studio film-making residency in February 2021. After learning just a few simple DIY film-making techniques, Matt was able to apply his own art practice to film-making, and create work that explores identity, cultural heritage, consumerism and the domestic space. 

Matt shares a bit more about the experience of the residency and film-making as an art medium.

Words and film by Matt


I first saw the advertisement for the City as Studio residency on Instagram and I signed up on a whim, to be entirely honest my main incentive was improving my uni applications, but i still thought that it would be interesting to learn about film-making, a medium which i’d never previously explored. However my experience across the week massively surpassed my expectations in more ways than one.

The first was the film-making. It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to try, but never had the facilities or technical know-how to access. Across the week we learnt various film-making techniques, basic shots, stop motion animation, soundscapes and collaborative film.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that having the most expensive technology was by no means a prerequisite for making high quality films. I also really enjoyed applying myself to the tasks, and starting to seriously consider different aspects of each shot or composing my different shots into a final video.

What was probably the most gratifying experience for me was discovering how my art could be applied to the medium, what i liked was that we all learnt the same manual techniques or worked from similar stimuli but our creative products were completely unique, it was a very useful experience from the perspective of solidifying my holistic art practice. 

The stimulus for our films was taken from various newspaper clippings we received in that were sent to us before the residency, and we all worked from various topical themes and their application to the theme of ‘citizen of the universe’. Throughout the week most of my work focussed on themes such as identity politics, identity consumerism and cultural heritage. I especially enjoyed one of the tasks about using found items. After that a lot of my filmmaking focussed on personal symbolism in domestic spaces.

The second thing that I took away from the experience was the amazing people that took part. All the staff were lovely and very helpful regarding film-making, but also completely approachable to discuss other related topics such as university which was quite apt for the age range of the residency, and especially useful for people like me where I’m a first generation uni prospective, let alone art student.

Everyone else who was participating was absolutely incredible, and a massive inspiration. I loved just working in a creative environment and sharing our ideas and films. One of my favourite parts of each day was when we would reconvene after tasks and share our work. Everyone had so many ideas, and by the end of the week I felt that I knew everyone really well and it was difficult to fathom that I’d been so nervous about meeting everyone.

Apart from that there were also lots of other great opportunities, the Silver Arts Award for one, getting to meet and talk to the staff at Modern Art Oxford and getting such an insight into the creative industry, and of course having our work displayed publicly. Overall it was a useful thoroughly enjoyable experience, which I would highly recommend. 


Find out more about City as Studio, here.

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