CFP: ReFocus: the films of Peter Watkins

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Worcester / University of Bristol



We invite chapter proposals (300-500 words) for an edited volume of critical essays dealing with film director Peter Watkins to be published as part of the University of Edinburgh ReFocus series (series editors Robert Singer, Stefanie Van de Peer, and Gary D. Rhodes) which examines overlooked international directors and brings them to a constellation of new discourses.

From beginnings in the short film and a pair of landmark docudramas for the BBC (Culloden and The War Game) to a rich and varied nomadic phase taking in narrative fiction, US production, embrace by Scandinavian nations, and capped by a fruitful and committed late career unbound by questions of duration and representational strategy – Watkins has been a touchstone director for film and documentary pedagogy, as well as influencing practitioners in the fictional and factual realms.

Watkins, who also taught at a number of institutes throughout his career as a practitioner, developed a parallel theory of the ‘monoform’ – the gradual and potentially irreversible elision of multiple media forms and flows into a mass hegemonic language. Though deeply self-critical and pessimistic in tone, how might we reinterpret Watkins and the contemporary media landscape through these ideas?

We are looking for proposals (300-500 words) for original chapters that either critically elucidates a work in the Watkins filmography, or finds an original intersecting context in which to analyse a number of Watkins’ works.

A non-exhaustive list of suggestions:

-        Possible futures in documentary

-        Docudrama and ‘the real’

-        Watkins and formal restriction and expansion: the short, the longform film, the collaboration

-        Peace and pacifism

-        Deconstructing and reconstructing public image

-        The collective protagonist

-        The BBC and creative freedom

-        The monoform and social media

Feel free to propose a different approach entirely. Final chapters will be between 6000-8000 words.

Proposed timeline

-        June 1 – deadline for abstracts/CVs

-        July 1 – response from editors

-        October 30 (all subsequent dates provisional) – submission of chapters

-        December 30 – returned with revisions

-        January 30 2023 – resubmission (if required)

Interested scholars should send a 300-500 word proposal and a 150 word bio by June 1st, 2022, to Daniel Brookes at:

Dr. Dan Brookes is a lecturer in film and television at the University of Worcester and the University of Bristol. He has an upcoming publication in Crime Fiction Studies regarding narrative form in the Netflix hit series Making a Murderer.