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Joanna Byrne

Joanna Byrne is a filmmaker, photographer and creative educator, based in Leeds, UK. She is interested in what it means to use film in the digital era: the tactile and material properties of celluloid; working directly onto the film’s surface; and salvaging and repurposing ‘found’ footage.  In her expanded cinema performances, she intervenes into the projection machinery to create films that can only be experienced in the moment of their making. As well screening her own and others’ work, she teaches hands-on, experimental filmmaking to people from all walks of life.


MPhil Contemporary Art and Graphic Design: Expanding Cinema: New forms of production, organisation and exhibition of film and the moving image, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2011

BA (Hons) Graphic Fine Art, University of East London, 2002.

Recent projects:

‘Living Mural’: live projection workshop collaboration with Maria Anastassiou and Bedford Creative Arts

Unravel: the longest hand painted film in Britain

Unravel at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Between 2010-2013, Unravel created the longest hand-painted 16mm film in Britain (at a ratio of one frame per metre of the 874 miles between John O’Groats and Land’s End), via open access workshops with 3000+ participants in galleries, museums, film festivals and community venues across the UK. Unravel brought celluloid to new audiences in an accessible and hands-on way, stressing the experimental and tactile nature of collaborative camera-less filmmaking.

For the residency at the Whitney, Unravel facilitated workshops with seven different community groups and schools, and staged three large-scale open access workshop events for families, teens and Whitney members, alongside the Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016 exhibition. Footage produced during the workshops was edited into a short film for screening on the final day of the residency. Each frame of the film related directly to one square foot of the 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, where Dreamlands was installed.

Unravel Project Screenings and Installations:

2017: Rogue Cinema, Manchester | Research into Teaching, Leeds College of Art

2016: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2011-2012: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham | Firstsite Gallery, Colchester | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Berwick Film Festival, Berwick Upon Tweed | The Arnolfini, Bristol | Bradford Animation Festival, National Media Museum, Bradford | Document 9 Film Festival, Glasgow

Selected Performances, Screenings and Group Exhibitions

2017: On Residual Agencies, The Telfer Gallery/Edinburgh Art Festival | Leeds College of Art, Leeds: Pedagogy Cluster Show: Research into teaching.

2016: Leeds College of Art, Leeds: Embodied Language

2014: Star and Shadow, Newcastle | Jerwood Gallery, London | Whitstable Biennale Satellite Programme, Whitstable | Lo & Behold Gallery, London

2013: Rogue Studios, Manchester: Film Material Soup #8 | MK Gallery, Milton Keynes | Brown BCB, Athens, Greece | Latitude Festival, UK | National Portrait Gallery, London: Film Movement in Light – A Contemporary Expression | Misdirect Movies, The Royal Standard, Liverpool: Film Material Soup

2012: The Lighthouse, Wolverhampton: Flip Animation Festival | The Art House, Wakefield | FACT, Liverpool: Cellul-oko | Enjoy Artspace, Leeds: Come Find Us | Project Space Leeds, Leeds: GLAMOURIE – M1 < Dark Heart

2011: Granary Wharf, Leeds: Cinéma Corporel

2010: Temple Works, Leeds | The Plaza, Leeds: Cinema Povera

2009: Sheffield DocFest,  Sheffield: Attack of the 50ft Reels | The Exploding Cinema, London: Disposable Film

2008: Leeds International Film Festival, Leeds: EXP24/Kinetika! | ESA Patrick Studios, Leeds: EXP24 | Ways of Seeing, Leeds: EXP24 |

2006: Granary Wharf, Leeds: Light Night – EXP24 | Hull International Short Film Festival: Slack Video | Leeds Film Quarter/Short Circuits, Leeds: EXP24 | The Nursery, Leeds: Kicking and Screaming

2005: Berlinwindowlicker,  Berlin: White on White



2016: Unravel Residency at The Whitney Museum of American Art, for: Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905–2016, New York.

2012: Artist in Residence at Artspace, Leeds Art Gallery, for Fiona Rae: Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century, Leeds.

2011: Artist at Artforms, for Arts Carousels (artists’ continuing professional development programme), Leeds.



2012: Flip Animation Festival, Wolverhampton: P.O.V.

2012: Wakefield Mystery Tour, Wakefield: The Harrowing of Hell

2010: The Plaza Principle, The Plaza, Leeds: Untitled installation for two 16mm projectors

Creative Practitioner (Teaching)

2017: ‘Living Mural’ @ BedPop 2017, Bedford Creative Arts/The Higgins, Bedford

2016: Unravel @ the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York | Bedford Creative Arts/The Higgins, Bedford

2013: University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen: Sound Festival | Turner Contemporary, Margate | Dunoon Film Festival, Dunoon | The Kazimier, Liverpool

2012: Flip Animation Festival, Wolverhampton | Artforms, Leeds | Tate Britain, London | Firstsite, Colchester

2011: National Media Museum, Bradford: Drawing on Film | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Bar Lane Studios, York | Manchester Mela, Manchester | Tate Britain, London | Newsham Park Festival/FACT, Liverpool | Zion Arts, Manchester | FACT, Liverpool | Basement Arts Project, Leeds | Hot Bed Press, Salford: Sights From the Other City | ARTCH, London | MAC, Birmingham: Flatpack Festival, | Granary Wharf, Leeds: Cinema Corporel | Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester | IKON Gallery, Birmingham

2010: Impressions Gallery, Bradford | Red Eric Studios, Leeds | The Plaza, Leeds: Cinema Povera | Project Space Leeds, Leeds: Lumen: Body in the City | School of Art, Architecture & Design, University of Huddersfield |, London | Town Hall, Sheffield: Sheffield DocFest | National Media Museum, Bradford: Bradford Animation Festival | Gallery 42, Leeds: Leeds International Film Festival | Picture This, Bristol: Encounters International Film Festival | Chisenhale Gallery, London | Noise Lab, Manchester: Abandon Normal Devices | South Bank, London: The Big Draw

2009: East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, Leeds | School of Fine Art, University of Leeds

2008: East Street Arts, Patrick Studios, Leeds | Leeds College of Art | Leeds City Library, Leeds: Leeds Independent Media Exposition | Artlink, Hull: Hull International Short Film Festival


Anastassiou, M. 2018. ‘Silver Screens’ in: Tompouris, L. ed. Physical or Otherwise: Suggestions and Encounters. Glasgow: The Telfer Gallery, pp.32-49.