2020 Research Forum – Call for Participants

February 4, 2020

APPLY HERE: To apply to the 2020 Images Research Forum, please submit a sample of your work and a statement of intent on the form here.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 — 11:59pm

NOTIFICATION DATE: Tuesday, March 3, 2020



Established in 2015, the Images Research Forum is a place for discussion and collaborative learning within the context of the 33rd Images Festival (April 16–22, 2020). With a cohort of six participants, this makes for an intimate space of reflection and dialogue through daily discussions and activities specifically designed around the interests of the group.

The Forum Lead and participants will convene at the Research Centre daily to dive into what they have seen, or plan to experience in the programs. In addition to periods of group discussion, the cohort will also meet with invited guests of the festival who will elaborate on their contributions to the program and their practices at-large, as well as make visits to exhibitions and local media arts organizations.

A recommended schedule will be provided by or before the first session attended by all participants on Thursday, April 16. In dialogue with the Forum Lead, the recommended screening schedule may shift as the discussions and dynamics of the cohort evolve.

The primary venue for Research Forum meetings is the Research Centre located in The Commons on the fourth floor of the 401 Richmond building. The venue is wheelchair-accessible.


Participation includes:

  • $400 allowance for each participant
  • 3-month subscription to the online archive on VUCAVU (vucavu.com)
  • Shared accommodation for participants who live outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
  • Festival Pass (includes entry to all screenings, live performances, artist talks, VIP receptions, after parties and other social events)
  • A reading list curated by the Forum Lead in relation to the program and guest speakers
  • Up to four guest seminars with local, national, and international festival guests operating in a range of practices, from filmmaking, expanded cinema and installation, to criticism, research, curation, programming, and other forms of cultural work. Invited speakers will be selected in accordance with the interests and goals expressed by participants in their applications.
  • Organized visits to local cultural organizations of the Toronto area that collaborate with the festival; this will include tours of exhibitions featured in the OFF Screen program, as well as partnered organizations dedicated to the production, distribution, archiving, and presentation of film and moving image works.
  • Designated space to meet, study and relax at the Research Centre at 401 Richmond; open from 2–4PM (scheduled seminars and meetings may take place within this window).

Images Research Forum is an active space that cultivates critical development within the festival’s ecology. In the past, participants have delivered significant critiques, offered meaningful commentary during Q&A’s, fostered collaborative relationships between our local, national, international visitors, and gone forward to undertake curatorial and discursive roles within the festival and Toronto’s broader arts community.


Forum Lead

This year, the Research Forum will be facilitated by curator, archivist and writer Almudena Escobar López (Research Forum Participant, 2018). Almudena has programmed internationally at Anthology Film Archives, VTape, Vdrome, UnionDocs, Baltic Analog Lab, and other spaces. Her writing has been published at MoMA Magazine, Walden, MUBI Notebook, The Brooklyn Rail, Afterimage, among others publications. She is a member of the collective screening project On-Film and co-curated the 2018’ Winter/Spring Flaherty NYC series ‘Common Visions.’ Since 2017 she has served on the Board of Trustees of the Visual Studies Workshop, and currently works at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, where she curates the Media Arts Watch installation program.



Images Research Forum has expanded over the years to include national and international facilitators, guests and participants beyond the Greater Toronto Area. Please note that Images does not have the budgetary capacity to cover the travel costs of international applicants.

If you are an international applicant, or an applicant living outside the Greater Toronto Area, please consider your local, state/provincial, and national arts councils for options to fund travel to participate in Research Forum. Upon request, Images Festival can issue letters of support for applications to fund travel to Toronto.


Selection Process

Successful applicants will be selected to convene a diverse range of practices, stages in professional development, and engagement in various formats of moving image and its discourse. Overall, the applicants should have an expressed interest in the potentials of a focused and collective dynamic within the context of the festival.

Images Festival is an equal opportunity provider that is committed to an environment free of discrimination and harassment. We work with personnel without regard to age, class, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, geography, indigeneity, physical or mental ability, financial ability, race, religion, sexuality, sexual orientation, and statehood.


Contact Us

If you have any questions, need assistance with your application, or have an accommodation request, please come see us at 309-401 Richmond St West, Toronto, ON; email us at images@imagesfestival.com; or give us a call at 1 416 971 8405.

The Research Forum is supported by VUCAVU.