Dr Pratap Rughani

Reader and Course Director of MA Documentary Film

London College of Communication

Biography

Pratap is currently Course Director of the MA Documentary Film at the London College of Communication. He is an award-winning documentary film maker who has presented and written widely about the relationship between film, philosophy and the evolution of post-colonial thought.

He has been an innovator, committed to developing inclusive curriculum, who has worked extensively to promote cross-cultural interchange through teaching, research and documentary film practice. As an educator Pratap works with students as both collaborator and mentor and in doing so helps students to bridge the gap between study and professional practice.

For his individual excellence Pratap Rughani was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in 2013, by the Higher Education Academy, the professional organisation for higher education teachers. 

Research interests

Documentary film, ethics, subjectivity, post colonial, nationality, cross cultural, Kubrick, mediation, photography. 

Research statement

My practice embraces a range of documentary film and photographic practices. My documentary film practice finds homes in a spectrum of editorial, commissioning and exhibition environments. Much of my early work is in observational broadcast documentary modes, with twenty-five films for BBC 2 and Channel 4. More recent films explore the greater aesthetic freedoms of independent commissions for the British Council, or research-supported projects designed for exhibition in gallery spaces such as Modern Art Oxford. Many explore the dynamics of inter-cultural communication, conceiving documentary as a crucible in which people of radically different perspectives, cultures and politics come into relation, for example with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of the new South Africa. I am interested in examining and creating newer forms of inter-cultural documentary film cultivating the kinds of pluralized spaces through which newer understandings can evolve.

The unique power of what might be called the 'documentary charge' and its relationship to 'reality' is a key research area. I am interested in how the ethics of production decisions are made visible and interrogated, including the relationship of ethics and aesthetics, for example in creating and analysing images in the aftermath of atrocity of trauma (see research outputs). Academically, I am often working with the veracity of the documentary moment, contextualising this work in terms of how subjectivity re-positions documentary claims to representation, preferring in my work to uncover and juxtapose a matrix of authenticities rather than seek narrative closure.

Essential in any post-colonial context is the recovery of voices at the margins and understanding their centrality. My research interests are preoccupied by the construction of realities that documentary film uniquely signals. This territory is by turns experimental and relates to the digital contexts of new media. Philosophically I am interested in how exposure of the conditions of production and subjectivities of documentary teams shapes the 'observed' event - configuring realities in these moments of 'touch'.

Students

Onyeka Igwe, Unbossed and Unbound: How can critical proximity activate the Imperial Archive?

Cathy Greenhalgh, PhD by Published Work, Cinematography as Praxis.

Selected research outputs