Professor Pratap Rughani
BiographyLondon College of Communication's (LCC) research in Screen, Media and Design including the relationship of Teaching and Knowledge Exchange to Research is central to Pratap’s work at LCC where he leads the Research Department for staff and students. This includes UK and international research partnerships that develop LCC’s unique research emphasis and its focus on social justice and inclusion.
Pratap has extensive experience as Course Director of MAs, including writing and leading MA Documentary Film. He is an award-winning documentary film maker with over 30 credits on films for Channel 4, BBC TV, the British Council and fine art spaces including Modern Art Oxford.
He presents and writes widely on documentary practice and ethics; documentary as a key to broker dialogue; inter-cultural decolonial and post-colonial futures; Stanley Kubrick; listening and mediation in communication. He is a member of UAL's research centre in Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN).
He is an innovator, committed to developing inclusive curricula, and works across Teaching, Knowledge Exchange and Research 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 connect study, research and professional practice.
KEYWORDS: documentary practices (especially in film & photography); ethics of practice; freedom of expression; intersectional subjectivity; post colonial & decolonial perspectives; nationality; intercultural communication; peace studies & art for mediation; Kubrick; South Asian art; photography. He writes on documentary ethics & the philosophy and vision of inter-cultural documentary.
For his individual excellence Pratap Rughani was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) in 2013, by the Higher Education Academy, the professional organisation for higher education teachers. He served as Deputy Chair of the NTF's committee 2015-18. In 2019 he became Chair of the Editorial board of Media Practice & Education, MPE, a leading academic journal for practice-based research.
He writes "My practice embraces documentary film and photographic practices from journalism to artists' film. 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 films 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 evolving inter-cultural documentary film, cultivating the kinds of pluralized spaces through which difficult dialogues and newer understandings can evolve.
The unique power of 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). How subjectivity positions documentary truth claims and the significance of 'visible evidence' is a time of fake information is key to my documentary practice. 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'."
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.
Grants and awards
(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Artists' Moving Image Research Network, £33,834.00, (2010-2012)
- Rughani P. Design for Dialogue: Valuing Doubt in an Age of Conviction (2020)
- Akomfrah J, Rughani P. Interview. John Akomfrah in Conversation with Pratap Rughani at the AHRC Artists’ Moving Image Research Network (2013)
- Rughani P, Russell B, Russell C, Wright C, Balsom E. Round table discussion: Documentary, ethnography and the avant-garde (2013)
- Rughani P. Where Three Dreams Cross (2011)
- Rughani P. Born again in the light of Buddha (2007)
- Rughani P. For the conscientious objector, it is better to die than to kill (2002)
- Rughani P, Raban W, Al-Maria S. The Creative Stance (2016)
- Baddeley O, Mahurter S, Rughani P, Coldwell P, Collins J, Putnam J, Kim J. Into the Archive. Re-Viewing Kubrick (2016)
- Rughani P. Kubrick's Lens: Dispatches from the Edge (2015)
- Rughani P. The Dance of Documentary Ethics (2013)
- Rughani P. The Art of Not Knowing (2013)
- Rughani P. Are you a vulture? Reflecting on the ethics and aesthetics of atrocity coverage and its aftermath (2010)
- Wakulenko I, Rughani P, Tan V, Dahl G, Gaudenzi S. Ethics for Making (2020)
- Rughani P. Towards Intercultural Documentary (2014)
Current research students
- Martina Judah Atille, Africandescence: How does a Sankofa aesthetic function in a British black female reading of avant-garde films? (Joint supervisor)
- Alessandra Ferrini, The Libyan Crisis: expanded documentary, real-time news, and the historicisation of the present (Lead supervisor)
- Cathy Greenhalgh, PhD by Published Work, Cinematography as Praxis. (Joint supervisor)
- David Robert Morris, ‘Schizo-Culture in its Own Voice’ (Lead supervisor)
- Rufini, Francesco, Towards Trans-Representational Cinema through Critically Revisiting Nanook of the North and its Legacy (Lead supervisor)
Past research students
- Onyeka Igwe, Unbossed and Unbound: How can critical proximity transfigure British colonial moving images? (Lead supervisor)
Animation, interactive, film and sound
Curation and culture
Journalism, PR, media and publishing