Academic Staff Directory

Dr Catalin Brylla

Dr Catalin Brylla

Senior Lecturer in Film
Job title:
Senior Lecturer in Film
Higher qualifications:

BA (Hons) Film and Video (University of Wales, Newport), MA Documentary by Practice (Royal Holloway, University of London), PhD Media and Communication (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Professional organisations:
Journal of Media Practice (Editorial Board Member)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA)
Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI)
British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS)

I have worked in Higher Education since 2005. Before joining the University of West London I taught at the University of South Wales, Middlesex University and Goldsmiths, University of London. I have also served as external examiner at Coventry University, and I am currently a member of the school’s Research and Enterprise Committee, as well as the school’s Research Ethics Committee.

My research aims for a pragmatic understanding of film spectatorship with regards to experience, empathy and narrative comprehension. As a practice-led scholar I am interested in how representation impacts on society’s understanding of stereotyped groups, such as disabled people, women and African cultures, which I explore through cognitive theory, phenomenology and ethnography.

I welcome PhD applications (theory or practice-led) in the fields of documentary studies, cognitive film theory, spectatorship, disability studies, post-colonial theory, gender, visual anthropology, material culture and the everyday.

Research and scholarly output:
Edited Books

Brylla, C., Hughes, H. (eds.) (2017) Documentary and Disability. Palgrave Macmillan.

Brylla, C., Kramer, M. (eds.) (forthcoming) Documentary and Cognitive Theory. Palgrave Macmillan.

Book chapters

Brylla, C. (2017) A Phenomenological Approach to Filmmaking Practice. Conditions of Mediation: Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication (Eds: Tim Markham, Scott Rodgers) Peter Lang.

Journal Articles

Ayisi, F., Brylla, C. (2014) See Me, Know Me – Cultural Expressions of Cameroonian Women. Stimulus Respond – Africa, 25 (Autumn): 36-43

Ayisi, F., Brylla, C. (2013) The Politics of Representation and Audience Reception: Alternatives Visions of Africa. Research in African Literatures - Visibility in African Cultures. 44 (2): 125-141

Brylla, C. (2004) How are Film Endings shaped by their Socio-historical Context? Part 2. Image and Narrative. 5 (1)

Brylla, C. (2004) How are Film Endings shaped by their Socio-historical Context? Part 1. Image and Narrative. 4 (2)

Ethnographic Research Study

Ayisi, F., Brylla, C. (2013) Community Impact Study in Zanzibar -

Film Productions

June and Terry (2017) – documentary feature (as director)

Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (2015) – documentary feature (as director - co-directed with Florence Ayisi) – Screenings: Canadian Sport Film Festival, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Lisbon International Film Festival, TrueDoc Kiev Documentary Festival, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, Cambridge African Film Festival, Watch Africa – Wales African Film Festival, Arusha African Film Festival, Africa in Motion – Scotland African Film Festival, Britain Tanzanian Society Screening

Art of this Place: Women Artists in Cameroon (2011) – documentary feature (as editor – directed by Florence Ayisi) – Screenings: Stockholm Moderna Museét, Oslo Film Afrikana, Images of Black Women Film Festival

Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2008) – documentary feature (as assistant director and editor – directed by Florence Ayisi) – Screenings: SVT Sweden, Qatar TV, The Community Channel, Euskal TV, Goteborg International Film Festival, FESPACO, BFM Film Festival London, Hawaii International Film Festival, Oslo Film Festival

A Touch of Colour (2005) – documentary short (as director)  – Screenings: TV Brazil, Picture This Film Festival – Calgary, The Other Film Festival – Melbourne, Assim Vivemos Festival – Sao Paolo, Tel Aviv 100% Art Festival, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

Memories of March (2005) – documentary feature (as director) – Screening: Candid Arts Trust London

Self-Images (2002) – fiction short (as director)  – Screenings: Ffresh Film Festival, Pontypridd Film Festival, University of Maryland (Department of Social Psychology)

Conference organisation

Brylla, C., Hughes, H. (2013) Documentary and (Dis)ability Symposium University of Surrey

Conference papers

Pornography: The Musical – Performativity on the Margin.” Sex and the Cinema Conference. December 2016. University of Kent.

Embodied Experience, Disruptions and Failures in Documentary.” Embodied Methodologies Conference. November 2016. Royal Holloway, University of London.

Blindness, Sound and Documentary Spectatorship.” Sound and the Screen Symposium. November 2015. University of West London.

Cognitive Innovation in Documentary Film Practice.” Off the Lip – Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cognitive Innovation Conference. September 2015. University of Plymouth.

Documentary Film Praxis and Cognitive Film Theory.” Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Images (SCSMI) Conference. June 2015. Birkbeck, University of London.

Documentary Film Practice and the Alterity of the Disabled Individual.” Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies. July 2015. Liverpool Hope University.

Focusing on the Ordinary: Alternative Visions of Disability.” Rethinking Disability on Screen Symposium. May 2015. University of York.

An Ethnophenomenographic Approach to Subjectivity.” Directions and Connections across Anthropology. June 2014. University College London.

Documentary Practice and the Resistance to Cultural Norms.” (with Florence Ayisi). Football and Communities of Resistance Conference. June 2014. Manchester Metropolitan University.

The Domestication of Disability Stereotypes through Film.” Domestic Imaginaries: Homes in Film, Literature and Popular Culture Symposium. January 2014. University of Nottingham.

Blindness and the Everyday: A Documentary Perspective.” Ordinary/Everyday/Quotidian Conference. September 2013. University of York.

The Representation of Blindness in Media.” Documentary and (Dis)ability Symposium. Guildford, UK. September 2013. University of Surrey.

Development through trans-national Filmmaking.” (with Florence Ayisi). International Development Dialogue Day. Llandrindod Wells, UK. May 2013. Welsh Network of Development Researchers.

Conceptualising Practice-as-research in Media through cross‐disciplinary Approaches to Audience Reception.” Theorising Practice, Practicing Theory – Postgraduate Training Workshop. April 2013. University of Roehampton.

A Cognitive-hermeneutical Approach to Audience Reception of ‘Sisters in Law’.” (with Florence Ayisi). Women and Film in Africa Conference. November 2011. University of Westminster.

The Paratext in Dexter.” Television Narrative Symposium. May 2011. University of York.

Conference report

Brylla, C. (2013) Documentary and (Dis)ability Symposium Report Studies in Documentary Film. 7 (2): 169-171

Research degree supervision:



Role in team

Thesis title

Toyin Agbetu (University College London) Joint second supervisor

Visual Anthropology as Activism