Dr Alison Kahn

BA (Hons), MA (London), MPhil (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies


Alison Kahn trained to be a documentary filmmaker, museum curator and anthropologist at Goldsmiths and Oxford University. She has worked as a producer and director for several broadcast channels including Discovery Channel with her own commissioned series, PBS, (USA) and the BBC.

She is a specialist on visual and material anthropology, as well as media and digital approaches to the representation of culture. Her doctoral research was the first anthropological analysis of the Vatican Museum’s ethnographic object and photograph collections.

She digitized 16mm film footage from the Pitt Rivers Museum in a project called Captured by Women: connecting the objects of the Pitt Rivers Museum to its film archives. The documentary produced as part of this project funded by the National Digital Archive Fund and Screen South is available on-line at www.prm.ox.ac.uk/kahn.html. This has led to further study of amateur cinema and the rewriting of film history from a subaltern/feminist perspective. This new study will culminate in a reader aimed at studies of material culture, anthropology and film: Captured by Women: other histories of documentary film.

She is CEO of The Oxford Academy of Documentary Film, which is an initiative to bring media literacy to the academic world. She has recently applied for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a virtual memory room for the preservation and conservation of objects and memories from the 1970s. The research output is to be used as a tool of therapy and memory stimulus for Alzheimer’s patients with focus groups in the U3A and Age UK. She is also applying for funding from Brookes Social Entrepreneurship Award Scheme for a web-based study using geo-mapping technology to recreate the visual world of the 20th century place-by-place with and a view to create i-books for teaching.

Alison's mission is to use filmmaking and image-making to connect the unconnected, be they objects or people, with an aim to use technology to provide a means of expression for those who have been forgotten or have no voice.


School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP