Bevis Bowden appointed as Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts, 2023-24

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Bevis Bowden to the college in October as our eighth Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts. He will hold the position for a year.

Bevis Bowden is an innovative, commissioned filmmaker, creating films with a focus on documentary, natural history, and the arts. He has made films for national and international broadcasters, arts organisations, museums and individual artists. His films have been shown at festivals including Arts à Bord, France; Banff Mountain Film Festival, Canada; Cannes Lions Festival, France; Hinterlands Film Festival, England; Kendal Mountain Film Festival, England; International Festival of Ornithological Film of Menigoute, France; MONA FOMA Festival, Hobart, Tasmania; New Networks for Nature, England, and the Venice Biennale, Italy.

Bevis trained at Central Saint Martin’s College, where he earned a degree in Fine Art, specialising in Film and Video. A trained mountain instructor and experienced Telemark skier, Bevis made his first  film, Réalisé en Montagne, during the first ascent of an unclimbed peak in the Indian Himalayas. A portrait of life and landscape in Spiti, Northern India, Réalisé en Montagne was subsequently selected for the Kendal Mountain Film Festival and the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Gaining experience in all aspects of filmmaking, Bowden held a multidisciplinary role for six years as Head of Production for Film and Video Umbrella, working alongside emerging and established filmmakers and artists. Subsequently, as an independent filmmaker, Bowden’s first solo commission was an Arts film, John Cale's Dyddiau Du / Dark Days, which represented Wales at the 53rd Venice Biennale. His more recent films have been natural history films, motivated by the desire to use his filmmaking skills to document the landscape and the natural history in specific locations. A current project, Observations from Isfryn, is a filmmaking record of a single location within a working Welsh hill farm, offering a rare opportunity to capture observations of wildlife and farming within the landscape that they inhabit.

During his tenure, Bevis will run a project, Remote Water, that will use documentary and natural history film techniques to explore the complex habitats of the River Isis and its meadows as it runs through Oxford. Remote Water will offer the Merton College community a window into the processes of making a film, allowing participants to experience first-hand the creative thinking and skills involved in filmmaking. Bevis will draw on his experience of mentoring and delivering workshops to involve participants in a programme of exchange and screenings. We are thrilled to have Bevis bring his ideas, depth of experience and unique perspectives on filmmaking to Merton, and for the opportunity for involvement in the Remote Water filmmaking project.