Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy Issue 3: Peer-Review Guidelines

These guidelines are adapted from and reproduce in part the Sightlines Peer-Review Editor’s note created by Dr Leo Berkeley in 2016


 We already have some good models for the peer-review and publication of research in the form of moving image works. Most notably we have taken inspiration from John Dovey’s model for Screenworks and the model offered by the Journal of Artistic Research, as they align with some of our intentions: to generate a dialogue amongst our community on the topic of evaluation of screen-based research; to leave the parameters around the evaluation criteria loose enough so as to create a space where new approaches might emerge and influence existing models of evaluation.

We have set out with a number of convictions, as apparent in the guidelines below, but we also want to know if others share our convictions. We would like this to be part of the dialogue. We want to remain open about how we might evolve this process and enable ever more complex publications/dialogues/questions to develop.

We think of screen-based research as having value both in terms of process and outcome, so we value processes even if the outcome may be a ‘failed’ attempt at a particular inquiry. For this reason we envisage Sightlines as a site where you can contribute such works, in a form that best exposes the practice as research.

A note on the peer-review process

We follow a dynamic peer-review model where two reviews are published online with the work. Reviewers will be asked to write a 500-word response that will be published alongside the work. The author of the work will be able to respond to the reviews prior to publication. This model is in the spirit of dialogue and conversation. Selected authors submitting work will be asked to also act as reviewers for other works submitted.

Some suggested guidelines for reviewers

Evaluate the work on the basis by which you have been guided by the practitioner-researcher. If you feel the practitioner-researcher has not provided an adequate guide, please discuss this. The following are other suggestions regarding the approach to reviewing, but you can choose to ignore them. Ignoring them is making a certain kind of philosophical choice, so do it with intent, and try to include this in your review.

  1. Which aspects of the submission are of interest/relevance and why?

Consider the submission’s subject matter, its methods, outcomes or any other aspect that you deem important.

  1. Does the submission live up to its potential?

Please reflect on the potential of the submission and the way it is realised. How might the submission be improved to better match its potential? This potential may directly relate to the artist’s own statement, but does not have to.

Note: We would like to further the debate around where research resides and how to make it more explicit so that it can be evaluated as such. The following suggestions respond to this intention:

  1. How does the submission expose practice as research?

You may like to consider the following:

– Is there evidence of a particular question, issue or problem that is explored?

– Is there evidence of innovation (in form or content for example)?
– Is the work contextualised within specific social/artistic theoretical fields?
– Is there evidence of new knowledge, interpretation, insights or experiences?

Note: we acknowledge the use of ‘evidence’ may be contentious, likewise the notion of evidence of ‘experience’. We encourage a debate around such issues.

If a submission omits any of the above, please state whether this omission matters. Ultimately, a submission may successfully expose practice as research despite disappointing conventional academic criteria for the assessment of research. If applicable, please state where the breaching of such criteria is detrimental to the submission, and where it gains power from such subversion.


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