08 Sep > 19 Sep 14


8 – 19 SEPTEMBER, 2014

COURSE LEADER: Birgitta Hosea 

She is a London-based media artist and works as Course Director of MA Character Animation and Research Leader for the Centre for Performance, Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London), where she recently completed a practice-based PhD in animation as performance. She is an Adobe Certified Expert and has taught in the UK, USA, China, Holland, Romania, Austria and Sweden.

Her practice in expanded animation ranges from video installation and animated performance art through to motion graphics and is included in the Tate Britain archive. She has been artist-in-residence in the Department of Animation and Digital Arts, University of Southern California and the Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon College of Art. Recent works include Traion I (collaboration with M. Foa), Centre d'Arte Contemporain, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris (2014), Medium, gHost IV and Exploding Cinema, London (2012), Chatter, Cinematic Arts Gallery, Los Angeles (2010), White Lines, Kinetica Art Fair, London (2010) and Out There in the Dark, British Film Institute, London and Mix 23 Queer Experimental Film Festival, New York (2010). In 2010, she was awarded an Adobe Impact Award, in 2009 a MAMA Award for Holographic Arts and in 2004 an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts (fRSA).  


Since the dawn of time and the invention of fire, human beings have been telling stories with shadows. Mixing ancient and modern techniques, students will work in groups to explore techniques of shadow character visualization, collaborative storytelling and object performance through the use of paper puppets and digital video to tell stories and rapidly create dynamic narrative images. They will be introduced to a range of approaches to shadow art – such the telling of tales in traditional shadow plays and the work of Lotte Reiniger; the visualization of the subconscious in German Expressionist theatre and film and contemporary artists who use shadow puppetry to confront difficult issues such as William Kentridge and Kara Walker. The course will include a field trip to the Baku Puppet Theatre. By the end of the course, students will have experienced a range of creative techniques such as the use of chance-based strategies and performance as process. They will have increased confidence in working rapidly and spontaneously, in publicly presenting their ideas, giving and receiving constructive feedback. Selected works will form the basis of an exhibition.


This course is suitable for art students, animators, film-makers and visual artists. Previous experience of drawing the human figure or creating character designs would be useful. Previous knowledge of digital video is advantageous, but not essential.


Week 1: Monday 8th September – Friday 12th September - 09:00 > 13:00

Week 2: Monday 15th September – Friday 19th September - 09:00 > 13:00

Week 1:


DAY 1: Introduction.

Screening and discussion: traditional shadow puppets in Bali and China, plot structures in folk tales, brainstorming and thumbnailing, screening of ‘The Adventures of Prince Ahmed’ by Lotte Reiniger (the first feature length animated film).

Workshop activities: allocate groups, equipment and materials; construction of low-tech shadow puppet screens; initial group brainstorm.

Outcome: students will have been introduced to the purpose and themes of the course. The first groups will be established and equipment set-up. The brief is set to create a story based on a traditional plot structure in a contemporary setting.

DAY 2. Shadow Characters

Screening and discussion: the ancient Greek myth of the first drawing, designing silhouette characters, the use of strong silhouettes in animation - screening of ‘The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello’ directed by Anthony Lucas.

Workshop activities: Brainstorming stories and character designs, creating puppets, rehearsing, introduction to the use of the cameras.

Outcome: Group projects will have been started and students should feel confident with recording on a digital camera

DAY 3. Introduction to Digital Video Editing

Demonstration: recording sound and editing video.

Workshop activities: Finishing the filming. Capturing and editing the footage. Adding sound effects.

Outcome: students will finish their first projects and present them for group critique at the end of the session.

DAY 4. On the Movement of Objects

Screening, discussion and practical workshop: introduction to different types of rhythm, direction and pacing of movement using Rudolph Laban’s system of ‘efforts’

Workshop activities: each participant to bring in a selection of objects with interesting silhouettes, form new groups, experiment with Laban’s different categories of movement.

Outcome: at the end of the session, each group to present a live performance from behind their screen using objects to demonstrate an understanding of Laban’s different categories of movement.


Visit to Baku Puppet Theatre


Week 2: Shadow Voices

DAY 6. Shadowgraphy

Screening and discussion: Traditional shadowgraphy, the work of Pilobolus Dance Theatre, full body puppetry and the puppet as body extension.

Workshop activities: form new groups, create puppets that extend the puppeteer’s body, explore the shadows within.

Outcome: Prototype full body puppets and start to create scenarios.

Day 7. The Shadow Within

Screening and discussion: Freud and the rise of psychoanalysis, the use of shadows in German expressionist theatre and film

Workshop activities: finish filming and editing videos. Add sound.

Outcome: each group to create a video that is screened for group critique at the end of the session.

Day 8. Contemporary artists and the shadow

Screening and discussion: the work of contemporary artists who work with shadow puppets such as Kara Walker, William Kentridge, Sue Noble and Tim Webster, the role of chance in creativity and surrealist games like exquisite corpse.

Workshop activities: form new groups, use exquisite corpse to create characters and story cubes to randomly generate plotlines.

Outcome: each group to present a live performance to the group from behind the screen at the end of the session for feedback and critique.

Day 9. Contemporary artists and the shadow II

Presentation of work by Rashad Alakbarov, followed by questions and answers

Workshop activities: form self-selected groups, work on self initiated projects.

Outcome: groups will form a plan for a self-initiated Shadow Voices project and start work on it.

Day 10. Shadow Voices

Workshop activities: film, capture and edit video. Add sounds.

Outcome: completion of Shadow Voices project, present to group for critique, final feedback and evaluation of the course.


Students will complete a number of live and filmed short pieces, which will be presented to the group for feedback and critique. Selected work will be included in a group exhibition at a future date.


Date for registration: 1 August

Deadline: 29 August

Please fill application form (AZEENG or RU) and submit a motivation letter (min 200 words) 

Your motivation letter can be written in Azeri, Russian or English depending on your preference.


Contact phone: ‪‪012 5051414

Only the short-listed candidates will be notified.

For application, submit a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 images of previous work.