Listen with Your Eyes; Towards a Filmic Geography


Correspondence address: Jessica Jacobs, School of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK. E-mail:


The use of film-making as a research method and film as publication currently sits rather awkwardly in the social sciences. While some disciplines situate film (and video) production within a visual sub-discipline, this approach risks diminishing the non-visual and ‘more than visual’ elements of film. Filmic publication has also been hampered by the assumption that it is less theoretical than text and incompatible with the peer and editorial review process of the journal article. Today, technological innovations have made the processes of production, editing and storage of films (as digital videos) easier and cheaper, and the Internet has opened up new platforms for dissemination. The ability of film to creatively cut across a diverse range of academic and non-academic networks chimes with the general call to reach new audiences and engage more directly with policymakers and the communities we work among. This article looks at geography's uneven relationship with film and proposes that the online digitisation of the research and learning environment is challenging our reliance on text. The growing ubiquity of sound-driven and image-driven media calls for a rise in filmic literacy and the development of a digital filmic geography that is not only theoretically rigorous but also creative, collaborative and practice-led.