Ms Anna Lucas

Job: Senior Lecturer Lens Based Media

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Visual and Performing Arts

Research group(s): Fine Art Practice Group

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8423




Personal profile

Anna Lucas is a London based artist predominantly known for her work with film and video.  She also makes drawings and still images. Her practice engages and develops from observations of social networks and individuals in response to specific geographic and architectural locations. Underlying these themes the work also refers to the processes of film-making and the materiality of film itself.

She is interested in the camera as a research tool and the simultaneous engagement and detachment that occurs in the moment of looking through a lens.  Her camera unobtrusively documents, distancing her subjects from the viewer, yet at the same time encourages a rigorous engagement with features of everyday life.

Her early films explored how the moment of filming fictionalises reality and the way in which people’s behaviour and interaction with a location is inevitably altered by the presence of the camera.

Her more recent 16mm films and videos often observe amateur experts and technicians – people who have a vernacular knowledge frequently related to the natural world, folklore or to pedagogical institutions.  It is how these people are absorbed in their own act of looking, studying, playing and praying, rather than the subject of their interest that is the focus of her work. She is also attracted by the functional architecture of escapism such as a hide, observatory, lab, studio and the connection these spaces have with the cinema or gallery experience. 

Anna Lucas’ blind carbon drawings collectively entitled Blind Movies were the starting point for Land of Silence and Darkness, a series of events around perception and neuroscience she organised as part of a Wellcome Fellowship at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford University in 2008. This ongoing enquiry into vision and perception informed the studio-based process for Things that had stories rubbed out 2010.

Anna Lucas has exhibited widely, with recent screenings and exhibitions at Latitude Festival, Outpost, Norwich, Tate Modern, Olsen, Leeds, Whitstable Biennale 2010.  Solo shows include FACT, Liverpool (2007), Adrift, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2004), Bud, Spike Island, Bristol and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2003). Her film Uncommon was screened in a pony box by pedal power on Powerstock Common, Dorset in June 2012. 

Anna Lucas’ work is distributed by LUX

Key research outputs

  • Land of Silence and Darkness
  • Little White Feather and the Hunter
  • Things that had stories rubbed out
  • River Rea

Research interests/expertise

Artists moving image, in particular the use of the camera and editing process as a tool for research.  Visual perception.  The documentary form in relation to human interaction with landscape, learning institutions and amateur expert knowledge.  Diegetic sound.  Non-verbal communication and learning. 

Areas of teaching

Fine Art Lens Based Media BA, MA


First Class BA Fine Art

Courses taught

Fine Art Lens Based Media

Honours and awards

  • 2009/2011 Paul Hamlyn Award Nominee
  • 2009 Residency at Arlington Arts Centre, Washington State, USA
  • 2009 Arts Council of England Grant
  • 2008 Commissions East commission
  • 2008 Wellcome Trust Fellowship, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art & Dept Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Oxford University
  • 2007 Film London Funding Award
  • 2002 Henry Moore Fellowship, Spike Island, Bristol
  • 1999 Clarks Bursary

Conference attendance

Powers of the False 

The French Institute, London
Co organised by Dr Steven Eastwood and Catherine Wheatley
I presented two films, Seventh Heaven and Demonstration 50.15 followed by a panel discussion:
Artists Moving Image
Demonstration 50.15 (Anna Lucas. 9.00); Desi're - the Goldstein reels (Romeo Grunfelder. 4.00);
Melior Street (extract, Charlotte Ginsborg. 20.00); The Girl with the X-Ray Eyes (Phillip Warnell. 23.00). Followed by a chaired discussion with Maria Walsh,

Review in Moving Image Review and Art Journal (Miraj) journal 
Full issue of Vertigo magazine devoted to the work presented coming soon.

Externally funded research grants information

Road for the Future, Commissioned by artist Anna Best. 

Funded by Arts Council, Dorset Wildlife Trust, West Dorset District Council. Supported by PVA Media Lab.

16mm film for a site specific project on Powerstock Common, Dorset. 

The film is an observation and portrayal of three men at work in the local countryside, a deer stalker and squirrel trapper and an activist who uses road kill skins.  This work focuses on the solitary activities the men pursue, and their relationship with animals and through the land.  The work asks subtle questions about the film’s subjects, manifesting the physical quality of their work, avoiding broadcast formats of storytelling or informing.  Who are they, why are we told so little, unanswered questions evoke a palpable atmosphere and take us to a place outside the verbal.
The work was first shown using a cycle powered cinema in a ponybox on Powerstock Common June 2012.  The event also included film and performance works by artists Adam Chodzko and Judith Dean.  These events were accompanied by a discussion around future use of the rural landscape hosted by Bridport Arts Centre and supported by PVA Media lab and facilitated by Sophie Hope. 

Tate Learning Research project.  Curated by Leanne Turvey, Alice Walton, Tate Learning. Funding sources through Tate.  With artists Jo Addison, Harold Offeh, Natasha Kidd, Emma Hart, Eitan Buchner, Alex Schady, Eve Peasnall, writers Dean Kenning and Richard Whitby. 

Tate Learning Curators research question is:

How can we work with artists and artists’ practice to genuinely inform content and structure of work on the TATE Learning programme?

The artists have been invited to respond to this question and are approaching the project in a variety of ways. 

My research question in this instance is the extent to which a new artwork can be a learning tool in itself.  As a practitioner working with moving image I have been using my 16mm camera as my research tool within the TATE moving image collection store where I have filmed a conservator maintaining projectors.  This new work entitled Gustav, Graham and Lee, is being screened throughout Tate Modern in different contexts.  To date this has been a screening to the Tate Learning team in The Starr Auditorium, and a two week screening in the context of Tacita Deans FILM with links to the Moving Image works on show at Tate Modern in Dec 2011.  The work should also become available on the Tate website.

A series of discussions held bi-monthly has been held and documented to be presented as a publication in 2013.  The work will be presented at a conference in June 2013 as part of the Tate Tanks series at Tate Modern.

Things that had stories rubbed out, Commissioned by Whitstable Biennale. Researching visual perception and decision-making through studio based film-making in collaboration with a range of creative practitioners to make a 16mm film colour stereo with photographic prints installed in a garden shed in Whitstable.  Production Sept 2009 – June 2010 Exhibition 19 June- 4 July Continued web presence, Co-exhibitors included Emma Hart, Karen Mirza, Olivia Plender, Phil Coy, Adam Chodzko and others. More information is available on the Whitstable Biennale website.

Little White Feather and the Hunter, Commissioned by Commissions East, Funded by Essex County Council.  Research investigating knowledge hierarchies and their representation, challenging the documentary form, in particular pace and the voice over using contemporary USA and UK as the backdrop to a re-telling of the story of Native American princess Pocahontas.  Book and DVD with essay by Lisa Le Feuvre, Edited by David Wright and Ben Eastop, Published May 2009.  Artist film-maker.

Land of Silence and Darkness, Demonstration 50.15 and Blind Movies, Commissioned by Wellcome Trust with Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing, additionally funded by Arts Council England.  Research into visual perception within the Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics Department at Oxford University.  In particular investigating a blind movie drawing process alongside use of camera as a tool for learning and the visual challenges of censorship in the anatomy lab.  October 2007 – Dec 2009, Artist film-maker curator. Land of Silence and Darkness contributions from Writer and academic Dr Kate Tunstall, Neuroscientist Dr Wyeth Bair, Film writer and academic Dr Silke Panse, Film cameraman (Filmed Werner Herzogs Land of Silence and Darkness) Jorg Schmitt-Reitwein, artist Lindsay Seers.

Begail Foxwell Whip, 16mm film, colour stereo 7mins as part of Holy Hiatus – Ritual and Community in Public Art, Commissioned by artist curator Ruth Jones.

Funded by AHRC through Land2 at University of the West of England.

The film is the outcome of research into the interaction between expert young people and working animals in rural West Wales as part of a continued interest in unsupervised young people, amateur experts and the value of non-academic knowledge.  Using the camera and moment of filming as a tool for investigation, alongside non-sync voice recordings.  The film was first presented in a café exhibition space in Cardigan, West Wales.

A symposium including live presentation of work and conversation with Anthrozoo-ologist Samantha Hurn of University of Wales in Lampeter developed into Holy Hiatus, a hardback book with published conversation from symposium alongside other artists work and essays, Jan 2008 - May 2008 Production, May 2008 Exhibition and Symposium, Jan 2011 Publication.

Internally funded research project information

The River Rea Commission 

Funded by Arts Council England and a variety of smaller local sources including heritage and nature preservation support.  Some funding through De Montfort University.

The project is curated by artist Jony Easterby in collaboration with Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham.  The work is centred around an investigation and celebration of the River Rea that runs through central Birmingham and passes the Midlands Arts Centre.  Collaborating artists include Alec Finlay, Ulf Pederson, Mark Anderson and Power Plant and Kathy Hinde. 

Research has taken place in September 2011.  This included a presentation to MAC staff, funders, local historian and interested parties in Birmingham, followed by a three day practical experiment on the banks of the River Rea at MAC to support the funding proposals and to help shape the intentions of the forthcoming production phase.  The outcome will be part of MAC birthday celebration September 2013.

This project offers an opportunity to make a new 16mm film work extending my ongoing interest in observing amateur experts and technicians– people who have a vernacular knowledge frequently related to the natural world, folklore or to pedagogical institutions.  In this case I will film the young team of staff who look after a miscellaneous collection of small exotic animals in the Nature Centre in Birmingham. 

Production beginning July 2012

Small funds from DMU supported

2011 Kaff Mariam and Una de Gato Phoenix Square, Leicester, UK

This was a six week exhibition of two existing films first commissioned by FACT and funded by Film London.

2010 Things that had stories rubbed out, Commissioned by Whitstable Biennale.  See above for details.  This project was majority funded by external sources.

Professional esteem indicators

Journal Refereeing information:

Retfaerd, International Lawyers Magazine published in Sweden. Environmental issue Cover image from Una de Gato and Kaff Mariam with text by Retfaerd editor Ole Hammerslev

Case studies


2010 The Times Newspaper 27 June 2010 Whiststable Biennale Waldemar Januczek

2009 Kaff Mariam/Una de Gato, Niels Herbert The World’s Disorder, Kultur, Arbetarbladet, Sweden 

LUX, Distribution of my work by LUX who are the main UK distributor of artist film and video works

Commissioned essay by Melissa Gronlund, writer and editor of Afterall magazine

Presentation of my film Seventh Heaven as front page of the LUX website

Presentation of my film Demonstration 50.15 at Whitechapel Art Gallery, as part of New Work UK, and ongoing presentation highlighted within curators section of LUX website 

Presentation of Little White Feather and the Hunter by Larry Syder, director of The School of Sound, in UK and Switzerland regarding the unusual use of voice-over and spatial use of sound.

Tate Learning team using my working process as a way of explaining and investigating learning within the gallery

Representations of the work have appeared in Vertigo magazine (Artists Centrespread for Kaff Mariam/Una De Gato) alongside screenings to accompany the magazine launch. 
Anna Lucas

Search Who's Who

Anna Lucas - Demonstration 50.15 (Film still)Land of Sileanna-lucas-hlwfh


News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events at DMU

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.