Kirsten Macleod

Kirsten Macleod

Dr. Kirsten Macleod



Dr. Kirsten MacLeod is a Lecturer in Film and Television, and is Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Television at Edinburgh Napier University. She has worked as a filmmaker and media practitioner for over 20 years in broadcast and community based media. She received a BA (Hons) Archaeology & Social Anthropology from Edinburgh University (1991) and an MA Visual Anthropology from the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester (1994). She received her PhD in Creative Media Practice from the University of the West of Scotland (2014), based on practice led research in community media contexts in Govan and the Isle of Bute.

She has collaborated extensively with Plantation Productions in Govan and developed projects and screenings with organisations such as The Gallery of Modern Art, National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive and the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival and the Glasgow Women’s Library.

As a practice led researcher Kirsten is interested in examining community media as a form of knowledge practice situating filmmaking as a form of enquiry though which knowledge emerges during the production process. This approach to filmmaking and research is ethnographically informed, connecting media practice to place and people as well as acknowledging the personal and subjective agency of filmmaker and participants. Her research emphasises the relations of production which emerge during production and how knowledge is recorded and shaped by this process.

Kirsten is especially interested in community media as a way of deconstructing & reconstructing the past, such as in projects on the the Spanish Civil War in Govan, campaigning women on Clydeside and her current research on the Armada in the Northern & Western Isles of Scotland.

Kirsten teaches across a range of modules on BA TV and BA Film. She coordinates many practical production projects and collaborations with organisations and industry. One such project in which students were involved was the HMP Polmont YOI Media Project which won a 2017 Herald Higher Education Award for Widening Access.

Kirsten has worked in television on a range of factual programmes and series. She began her career as a researcher on Warriors of the Disappearing World (Granada TV/The Learning Channel) and Mars & Venus with Desmond Morris (Discovery) and began filming and directing with Keeping the Dream Alive, a 30 minute obs doc for BBC2 series, United Kingdom! (Mosaic films, 1997). Production credits include Shooting Producer/Director on series Liverpool Mums (Bazal for Ch5); Red Light Girls (Granada/ITV/Sky); The Wedding (Ginger for BBC2); Can You Live Without…Your Mum? (Ch4, Fulcrum TV), Heir Hunters (Flame TV). In 2009 Kirsten was Series Producer for MnETV on BBC Alba series, Frapaisean chon chaorach (Sheepdog Trials) and Trom is Tapaidh (Heavies).



Public Engagement Activity

  • Community Media Practice Networking Day – producer, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. 2010.
  • Community Media Project Director: With a Song in your Heart – Participatory community based video production, Film Festival Screenings & Audience engagement. In association with Plantation Productions, National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive, Go
  • Film screening & Audience Engagement, Pearce Institute, Govan. You Play Your Part (Director & Producer) & Red Skirts on Clydeside. In association Glasgow University & Document Film Festival. (4/06/15)
  • Film Screenings & Audience discussion: The Only Way is Ethics Festival, Glasgow. - You Play Your Part & With a Song in Your Heart (produced & directed by me, with Plantation Productions) 30/11/15.- The Govan Banners (as above) 1/12/15.
  • Film screening & Audience Engagement, Pearce Institute, Govan. The Govan Banners (Director) as part of ‘Banners Tales of Glasgow’ Glasgow University research project. (27/05/15)


Invited Speaker

  • Community Filmmaking Conference, British Film Institute, 2014. “I film therefore I am: Mediating Island Identity through community based filmmaking.“
  • Explorathon 2017, "Video history in a Day" at Whale Arts Centre, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh
  • Pecha Kucha, "Career Journey", School Arts & Creative Industries, 12/10/17
  • Document Film Festival, 2017, Critical Forum panelist - Telling True Stories: Developing Human Rights documentaries, Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow
  • Seminar presentation at Centre for Film Studies, University of St. Andrews (1/11/17). "Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present"
  • SACI Practice Symposium (27/03/16) presentation: Participatory Community Media Practice & Research
  • Radical Film Network Un-conference, Glasgow University (30/04/16), presented practice & research in community and alternative media
  • Seminar presentation to Napier Centre for Media & Culture on Practice Led Research
  • Screen Studies Conference, Glasgow University (2016) – Radical Film Workshop panelist. "Developing & Engaging Radical Film Culture: practice as a filmmaker working with local communities.
  • Challenging Media Landscapes Conference, University of Salford (22/11/16). Presented paper, "Participatory filmmaking as documentary practice"
  • Doing Women’s Film & Television History, Norwich University. “We had never heard of feminism: Older women and the production of knowledge in participatory production.” (April 2014)
  • Doing Women’s Film & Television History, Norwich University. “We had never heard of feminism: Older women and the production of knowledge in participatory production.” (April 2014)
  • Spaces of (Dis)location, University of Glasgow, 2012, “What do you know? Collaborative documentary production as an epistemological social process.”
  • ‘Sites of Protest’ MeCCSA Protest Network, Canterbury Christchurch University. “The Caledonian Turn – People’s Protest and Alternative Media in the Run up to the Scottish Referendum, 2014.” (This conference paper was developed as a book chapter for Rowman
  • AVPhD /Documentary Now! London. “I film therefore I am.”
  • Women’s History Network, London, “You Play Your Part: Women’s History via Participatory Media – A Glasgow example.”
  • Knowledge, Culture, Social Change, University of Western Sydney, “I Film Therefore I am: Process, Practice & Participation in Community Media.”
  • Media Discourse Group, MeCCSA PG Network, 2012, De Montfort University, “You Play Your Part: an ethnographically informed, practice led approach to documentary knowledge.’
  • MeCCSA Annual Conference, University of Bedforshire. “We film therefore we are: Media made in communities - process, practice & participation.”
  • MeCCSAAnnual Conference, University of Bournemouth. “I did not want to make this film, this film wanted to make me: techniques of production in the representation of place - examples from the Isle of Bute Video Project.”
  • MeCCSA (Media Culture and Communication Studies Association) Annual Conference 2016, Canterbury Christchurch University. “Mediating Community – methodologies of research and practice in Govan”
  • MeCCSA Annual conference, University of Newcastle. “Lady Alba and the Hills Have Ayes – Reflections on Scottish Alternative Media and the Independence Referendum.”


Fellowships and Awards

  • Herald Higher Education Award, 2017 for Widening Access: Napier -Polmont YOI media project
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy


Membership of Professional Body

  • Aurora, Women in Leadership


Media Activity

  • "Young Offenders Though Students’ lenses" Edinburgh Evening News, 19th May 2017
  • "Hunt for the Spanish Armada Comes to Mull", The Oban Times, 11 May 2017. Interview & article on research project.
  • Interview BBC Radio Orkney with David Delday on Spanish Armada research and film project, 21/06/17
  • "Looking into the Legacy of the Spanish Armada" - article & interview in The Orcadian, 18/0517.
  • Radio: Sunny Govan Radio. Interview on research and community based practice in Govan. December, 2014.


Conference Activity

  • Women Working in Film & Television Networking Day, ENU, (6/03/16)


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Jury panel member Document Human Rights International Film Festival, Glasgow (21/10/16)