Kirsten MacLeod

kirsten macleod 1

Dr Kirsten MacLeod

Associate Professor


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 is part of a University of St. Andrews led AHRC/ESRC GCRF Networking team collaborating on research and practice around community based media and gender equality/gender based violence in the Pacific.

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).




Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Royal Television Society (RTS) Scotland Awards Panellist -Invited to be a jury panellist for the awards category - Factual - Documentary and Specialist Factual: Arts
  • Advisor to AHRC funded project at University of St.Andrews, Centre for Film Studies and Centre for Pacific Studies on Community Filmmaking for Gender Equality in the Pacific. Presented in relation to my practice and research methodology.
  • Document Film Festival, 2017, Critical Forum invited panellist - Telling True Stories: Developing Human Rights documentaries, Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow
  • Jury panel member Document Human Rights International Film Festival, Glasgow, 2016. Invited to be panellist for the category - International Documentary.


Conference Activity

  • Co-ordinated Women Working in Film & Television events, ENU, bringing industry professionals to Napier to speak to students and staff promoting gender equality in Film & TV industries


Fellowships and Awards

  • Nominated for theNapier Above and Beyond Awards, 2018 for my work as part the Polmont Media Project, a collaboration between ENU and Scottish Prison Service. The project facilitates students working with inmates at Polmont YOI to produce films and photogtraphy.
  • Herald Higher Education Award, 2017 for Widening Access for Napier -Polmont YOI media project. Supported stdents and coordinated project whereby they worked with inmates at Polmont YOI to produce short films in the prison.
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Teaching Fellow, Edinburgh Napier University


Invited Speaker

  • Paper presentation, "Documentary Processes of Knowledge & Creative Practice" at MeCCSA (Media Communication and Cultural Studies) Conference, 2018 (London South Bank University). Presented interim research from Asylum Project on local knowledge and documentary practice and on documentary production as research methodology
  • "Co- Creative Filmmaking: Process, Representation and Ethics” invited speaker at Document International Film Festival 2018
  • Explorathon 2017, "Video history in a Day" at Whale Arts Centre, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. Facilitated research and practice project with students of BA TV Community Media module who filmed with young people and families on subject of local history at the Whale Arts Community Centre. The event was sponsored through Beltane Network of EU University Researchers.
  • Presentation Pecha Kucha style,on "Creative Media practice, research and TV production - a Career Journey" to School Arts & Creative Industries staff and students.
  • Seminar presentation at Centre for Film Studies, University of St. Andrews on "Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present." Paper presented my practice and research in community media production to staff, UG & PG students.
  • Seminar presentation - Centre for Film Studies, St. Andrews University - "Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present."
  • MeCCSA (Media Culture and Communication Studies Association) Annual Conference 2016, Canterbury Christchurch University. “Mediating Community – methodologies of research and practice in Govan.” This paper is part of work towards a journal article on researcha nd practice methodologies based on my research in community media in Govan.
  • SACI Practice as Research Symposium presentation, "Participatory Community Media Practice & Research." Paper and discussion on practice as research methodologies in media production research.
  • Radical Film Network Un-conference, Glasgow University. Invited to participate and host seminar at Radical Film Festival Un-conference on practice & research in community and alternative media in Govan and broader contexts of participatory production, communities and alternative media.
  • Seminar presentation to Napier Centre for Media & Culture on Practice Led Research in Community Media production and how I have applied these in my work, including on documentary and archive project in Govan, Glasgow, "With a Song in your Heart." The production was produced in association with Plantation Productions and National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.
  • Screen Studies Conference, Glasgow University (2016) – invited to contribute to panel "Developing & Engaging Radical Film Cultures” on my practice as a filmmaker working with local communities in Govan.
  • Challenging Media Landscapes Conference, University of Salford (22/11/16). Presented paper, "Participatory filmmaking as documentary practice"
  • MeCCSA Annual conference, University of Newcastle. “Lady Alba and the Hills Have Ayes – Reflections on Scottish Alternative Media and the Independence Referendum.” This paper was based on research I carried out during the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 into grassroots media and campaigning activity.
  • Paper presentation at Community Filmmaking Conference, British Film Institute, 2014. Paper, “I film therefore I am: Mediating Island Identity through community based filmmaking“ presented research on community media and Scottish islands. Conference part of BFI funded research into community media in UK.
  • Paper presentation at Doing Women’s Film & Television History Conference, University of East Anglia. “We had never heard of feminism: Older women and the production of knowledge in participatory production” was based on research from community media production in Govan working with older women and developed into critique of broader context of older women in media production.
  • Becoming Scotland: Screen Cultures in a Small Nation Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Paper on "Process, place and the person: mediating experience and identity through community-based and alternative media in Scotland."
  • Paper presentation at ‘Sites of Protest’ symposium, MeCCSA Protest Network, Canterbury Christchurch University. “The Caledonian Turn – People’s Protest and Alternative Media in the Run up to the Scottish Referendum, 2014” based on research from the 2014 Scottish Referendum into participation and protest.
  • Spaces of (Dis)location, Practice as Research Network, University of Glasgow, 2012. Invited to present paper, “What do you know? Collaborative documentary production as an epistemological social process.”
  • 'Knowledge, Culture, Social Change' Conference, University of Western Sydney, Australia. Invited to present paper on practice led research in community and participatory media and knowledge in Scottish island and urban contexts - “I Film Therefore I am: Process, Practice & Participation in Community Media.”
  • Presented paper at Women’s History Network 20th Annual Conference, London Metropolitan University, “You Play Your Part: Women’s History via Participatory Media – A Glasgow example.”
  • AVPhD /Documentary Now! Brunel University, London. Invited to present paper to Audio Visual PhD conference on preliminary PhD research into documentary production, participatory media and knowledge - “I film therefore I am.”
  • 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.”
  • 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)


Media Activity

  • "Young Offenders Though Students’ lenses" Edinburgh Evening News, 19th May 2017. Interviewed for article about Napier led media project with BA TV students working in Polmont YOI with young offenders, which won Herald Higher Education Award for Widening Access, 2017.
  • "Hunt for the Spanish Armada Comes to Mull", The Oban Times, 11 May 2017. Interview & article on on Asylum Armada research and documentary film project.
  • Interview on BBC Radio Orkney with David Delday about my Spanish Armada research and documentary film project, "Asylum Armada" (21/06/17). The interview publicised the research and encouraged members of the public to get in touch & take part.
  • "Looking into the Legacy of the Spanish Armada" - article & interview in The Orcadian newspaper, (18/05/17) relating to Asylum Armada research and documentary film project, encouraging local poeple to get in touch with stories and knowledge of the Armada in Orkney.
  • Radio: Sunny Govan Radio. Interview on research and community based media production practice in Govan. Recorded as Christmas edition with my choice of playlist. (Glasgow, December, 2014). December, 2014.


Membership of Professional Body

  • Aurora, Women in Leadership
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy
  • MeCCSA (Media Education Communication and Culture Studies Association) Practice Network


Public Engagement Activity

  • Produced and coordinated Community Media Practice Networking Day at CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), Glasgow. Practitioners, partiicpants academics and public invited to share experience and discuss contexts and practice of community media production in Scotland.
  • 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)
  • 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


Public/Community Engagement

  • Havana Glasgow Film Festival - Screening and public discussion of "The Govan Banners" documentary
  • "With a Song in your Heart" community media film presented for permanent exhibition at NLSMIA, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
  • 'Regenerating Govan through film' - screenings of my documentary films and presentation to public audience as part of Radical Film Festival, 2016



33 results

The Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium – Doing Impact and Engagement during a global pandemic

Presentation / Conference
MacLeod, K. (2021, July)
The Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium – Doing Impact and Engagement during a global pandemic. Paper presented at 2021 MPE/MeCCSA Practice Network Symposium, Solent University, Southampton
The presentation will discuss initial reflections on a UKRI funded impact and engagement project in the Pacific, aimed at addressing community based and participatory media pr...

Bleeding Free

Digital Artefact
MacLeod, K., Morgan, L., & Cochrane, R. (2021)
Bleeding Free. [Digital video]
A documentary film about period poverty and menstrual health. The film focuses on the importance of free access to period products and how this improves the life chances for w...

Safe environment? Understanding the housing of asylum seekers and refugees during the Covid-19 outbreak

Presentation / Conference
Guma, T., Maclean, G., Sharapov, K., & MacLeod, K. (2021, April)
Safe environment? Understanding the housing of asylum seekers and refugees during the Covid-19 outbreak. Paper presented at BSA Annual Conference 2021: Remaking the Future, Online

Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium

Digital Artefact
MacLeod, K., Sar, L., Crook, T., Ryle, J., Boodoosingh, R., & Montgomery, N. (2020)
Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium. [Website including Video content]
A website showcasing the work of filmmakers, known as The Pacific Filmmaking Consortium. Consolidating this network of filmmakers, funding a slate of films and distributing th...

Film4Gender - Online Launch

Exhibition / Performance
MacLeod, K., Ryle, J., Crook, T., Sar, L., & Boodoosingh, R. Film4Gender - Online Launch. [Online event]. 1 December 2020. (Unpublished)

MacLeod, K., Ryle, J., Crook, T., Sar, L., & Boodoosingh, R. Film4Gender - Online Launch. [Online event]. 1 December 2020. (Unpublished
Online launch of the Film4Gender films by the Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium. Event to bring together the consortium filmmakers, shared discussion of the films, with...

Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium: Film4Gender

MacLeod, K. (2020)
Pacific Community Filmmaking Consortium: Film4Gender.
A Collection of Short community based films (1hour 25 mins) by Pacific Filmmakers focused on gender, gender based violence and local responses to the Covid -19 pandemic. The ...

Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present

Presentation / Conference
MacLeod, K. (2017, November)
Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present. Paper presented at Centre for Film Studies, University of St. Andrews
Seminar presentation at Centre for Film Studies, University of St. Andrews (1/11/17). "Community Media Practice: Filming local knowledge past and present". Presentation of int...

Practice led Research Methodologies

Presentation / Conference
Macleod, K. (2017, March)
Practice led Research Methodologies. Paper presented at School of Arts & Creative industries Research Seminar, Edinburgh Napier University
The research question and methodology that I will talk about today sit around a project I’m currently developing, known as Asylum Armada Documentary & Research project, based ...

Event: Women Working in Film & Television

Macleod, K. (2017)
Event: Women Working in Film & Television. Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh
Annual Networking and panel events to enhance gender diversity and promote women’s careers in film & Television. Held on International Women’s Day in School of Arts & Creative...

Havana Glasgow Film Festival - Screening and discussion of "the Govan Banners" (12/11/2016)

Exhibition / Performance
Macleod, K. Havana Glasgow Film Festival - Screening and discussion of "the Govan Banners" (12/11/2016)
Exhibited at Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow. 12 November 2016 - 12 November 2016. (Unpublished
Havana Glasgow Film Festival - Screening and discussion of "the Govan Banners" (12/11/2016). "The Govan Banners" (2010) which I produced and directed with Plantation Producti...

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