Dr Simon Payne

Senior Lecturer, Communication, Film and Media Studies

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Creative Industries

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Film, media and communication studies

Courses taught: Film Studies, Film Studies and Media Studies

Simon is an experimental filmmaker, whose work has shown in cinemas, museums and galleries worldwide. He teaches various practice and theory modules across our film and media studies courses.




Simon’s films have been shown at Anthology Film Archives, the European Media Arts Festival, the Media City Film festival and at the Rotterdam, London and Edinburgh film festivals several times. His work has also shown at Tate Modern, the Camden Arts Centre, the Serpentine Gallery and numerous other film, media and arts venues. His work typically explores fundamental aesthetics of film and digital imaging by way of quick cutting, abstract forms and solid colour fields.

He has written widely on experimental film and video for Sight and Sound, Millennium Film Journal, Senses of Cinema and Sequence, which he edited between 2011-2016. In 2016 he published with Nicky Hamlyn and A.L. Rees the first English language book on the seminal avant-garde filmmaker Kurt Kren.

He has also introduced film programmes at various venues including Tate Modern, The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, and Modern Art, Oxford. Since 2014 he has been curating the series Contact, which makes connection across contemporary experimental media arts. In 2013 he was the co-curator of Assembly: A Survey of Recent Artists’ Film and Video Made in Britain, which showcased over 90 artists’ work in a series of 25 programmes at Tate Britain.

Research interests

  • Experimental film and video
  • Expanded cinema and media
  • Avant-garde arts of the 20th century
  • Practice-based research in film and video


  • PhD (Practice-Based) Materiality and Medium-Specificity: Digital Aesthetics in the Context of Experimental Film and Video, Royal College of Art
  • PgDip Electronic Imaging, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee University
  • BA (Hons) Time-Based Media, Kent Institute of Art and Design, Maidstone

Selected recent publications

Hamlyn, N., Payne, S.R., and Rees, A.L. (eds.), 2016. The Structural Films of Kurt Kren. Bristol: Intellect

Payne, S.R., 2016. Images on the Threshold: Malcolm Le Grice. Sight and Sound (July)

Payne, S.R., 2016. Negative Light: Contemporary British Experimental Film and Video. Senses of Cinema, issue 78

Payne, S.R., 2014. Framing Forces: Models of Cinema Expressed by Films that Frame Painting. Journal of Contemporary Painting, 1(1).

Payne, S.R., 2012. Smooth Movement/Frenetic Motion/Flicker: Vice Versa Et Cetera. Animation Practice, Process and Production, 1(2).

Payne, S.R., 2010. Edgy Colour: Digital Colour in Experimental Film and Video. In: Inflexions, 4, http://www.inflexions.org/n4_paynehtml.html.

Selected Citations

Cate Elwes, C., 2015. Installation and the Moving Image. Wallflower/Columbia University Press

A.L. Rees, A.L., 2013. Physical Optics: A Return to the Repressed. Millennium Film Journal, no.58 35th Anniversary Edition

Small, E.S. and Johnson, T., 2013. Direct Theory: Experimental Motion Pictures as Major Genre, 2nd ed. Carbondale: University of Southern Illinois

Rees, A.L., 2011. A History of Experimental Film and Video. 2nd edition. London: BFI

Ball, S., 2011. Conditions of Music: Contemporary Audio-Visual Spatial Performance Practice Post Expanded Cinema. Expanded Cinema, edited by Duncan White et al., London: Tate

Hamlyn, N., 2003. Film Art Phenomena. London: BFI