Phones: An Open Discussion – a short film by young artist Niamh

Young artist Niamh joined one of our City as Studio online film-making residencies in February 2021. The group explored DIY film and music-making techniques to create work about the issues they care about.

Using some of these new techniques, Niamh created a short film about phones, media and our experience of self in the current climate.

Words and film by Niamh


Hi my name is Niamh!  I’m very new to the film game, which is exactly why I took part in this course. It was a great opportunity for people of all abilities to develop their skills in a range of different techniques, in a supported and friendly environment.

Our brief was to create a short film that reflects what it means to us to be a citizen of the universe – which is quite convenient, because that’s basically where I live. 

Lockdown exposed the world’s reliance on technology and social media. Whether it was the science we needed for a vaccine or social platforms we used for human contact, there was no way of avoiding its impact on our lives.

I wanted to explore how technology’s involvement in our lives has affected what it means to be a modern citizen of the universe.

Due to the covid restrictions, the course was completely online, which meant that every element from directing and filming to editing and story boarding was down to me. Although daunting at first, I quickly found myself relishing the challenge and picking up techniques from a range of roles. Not only did this give me a taster of many careers within the film industry, it also massively enhanced my confidence and leadership skills.

The biggest achievement wasn’t the final outcome of the film, but the learning journey I took to get there. The research sessions and group discussions gave me the ideas I needed to explore what the brief meant to me. Moreover, the technical skills like camera angles and stop motion, gave me the tools to translate those ideas effectively to film. 

One of my favourite parts was experimenting with household audio-recordings, to form a sound collage. It was something I had never done before and gave me a new perspective on the boundaries of art and how audio could enhance my overall piece. By the end of the session, I was enjoying the sound of reverberated spoons falling in the sink and was inspired to continue transforming everyday sounds into art. 

If I could do the project again, I would try to make it more abstract – incorporating things like sound collages to illustrate my ideas rather than using literal words.

Another part of the program, that made it so enjoyable, was working collaboratively with other creative and freethinking people, on the course. Their feedback enabled me to develop my ideas and gain new perspectives, that would ultimately help to improve and shape my final piece.

Although I’m only at the beginning of my film journey, I’m so excited to continue and see where I end up, armed with the experience and inspiration that the course has given me 🙂


Find out more about City as Studio, here.

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