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Lecturer in Film Practice, Newcastle University

Alastair is a Lecturer in Film Practice. He is a documentary filmmaker and practice based researcher, with his current work focusing on inquiries situated within linguistic anthropology, social linguistics, multilingualism, and language rights, as well as elements of documentary film practice, including subtitling, translation and editing. His work aims to embrace the potential of creative documentary film as a uniquely valuable, public facing research methodology, and one that can foster new insights into humanities research related to the social and political aspects of language use.

His current research includes the Screen Scotland, BBC Alba and ESRC funded project Iorram (Boat Song)(2021) exploring the relationship between Scottish Gaelic and fishing in the islands of Outer Hebrides of Scotland through sound archive and contemporary observational filmmaking techniques. The feature film will premiere at the 2021 Glasgow Film Festival, and will be followed by a UK cinema release over spring 2021 and broadcast on BBC later in 2021. More about the project is available at

His previous feature documentary film, Colours of the Alphabet (2016), has screened at over 40 international film festivals, won various awards and was shortlisted for best newcomer at the 2016 Greirson Documentary Film Awards. It has also and has been released across Africa in 30 languages. The film is the major output of a research project focusing on themes of multilingualism, childhood, mother-tongue education and minority language rights in Zambia. It is also the centre of the international impact project focusing on indigenous language film translation, through subtitler training and Africa wide film distribution and resulting in the release of the film across Africa in 30 languages, as well as launch of the African Film Translation Network. You can read more about the film project, and see the latest screenings and release information on its website

Alastair’s previous short films have screened at festivals around the world, including twice at Cannes Critics Week, and have been broadcast in 26 countries. Further to his documentary film practice, Alastair has led projects which engage with traditional music and live cinema scores. His written scholarship engages with both documentary film practice, and the themes of the research inquiries of his work.

Alastair holds a Ph.D in Trans-Disciplinary Documentary Film from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as a M.Sc (Distinction) in Social Anthropology (Edinburgh) and B.A and B.Com (Otago). He has worked as a documentary film maker in Scotland, across Europe - including Italy, Finland and the Balkans, as well as in Zambia and South Africa. He previously taught at Edinburgh Napier University, The University of Edinburgh and as a guest lecturer in filmmaking at Shanghai Normal University.

You can see more about Alastair's work at and find him on Twitter at @TongueTiedFilms.


  • –present
    Lecturer in Film Practice, Newcastle University