Placement Scheme Case study - Stephen Hills (UCL)

Placement organisation: Derek Jarman Lab

Stephen Hills, LAHP-funded UCL student, undertook a six-month placement with filmmakers at the Derek Jarman Lab to produce a short documentary on his research and learn the technical skills required for filming and editing. As well as working on this project, Stephen accompanied the filmmakers on their own projects, assisting with both camera and sound production. He also researched his film in their offices, forming professional links with members of their team.

The training he received has enabled him to get an insight into videography work (through the Lab). Working with a number of academics and filmmakers throughout the placement allowed him to develop professional connections in the industry. Although the documentary is not yet complete, as its post-production has unfortunately been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Stephen hopes to be able to screen and stream it once access to the editing software resumes.

The placement has been a fantastic opportunity for Stephen, introducing him to the world of filmmaking to which he would not otherwise have had access. The Director of the Jarman Lab, Dr Bartek Dziadosz, was extremely passionate and knowledgeable, and provided Stephen with a wealth of practical instruction, theoretical insights and a passion for cinema.

The placement also helped Stephen with his PhD research which focuses on the popular and intellectual responses to Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning in Britain. The research that he conducted for the documentary has formed an important part of his thesis and allowed him to look at his argument from a different perspective. For example, Stephen interviewed several neuroscientists for the documentary, which allowed him to expand the reach of his project by discussing it with academics from outside his immediate field.

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