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Themes of displacement, migration and hospitality have been at the heart of Marc Isaacs’ films for many years. From his documentation of refugees in Calais to his detailed studies of xenophobia among English communities, Isaacs has turned his camera on the complex lives and contradictory attitudes that surround us. A recent feature in Sight and Sound describes Isaacs’ filmmaking as capturing “a sense of transience and instability that is universal.” His films are “set in nebulous or liminal spaces” that take us deep into the lives of others. For this year’s Colson lecture, Marc will show clips from his films that deal most closely with themes of displacement and hospitality, discussing ethnographic representation and the process of documentary filmmaking with Tom Scott-Smith, RSC Director.

About the speaker

Since 2001, Marc Isaacs has made more than sixteen creative documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. His films have won Grierson, Royal Television Society and BAFTA awards as well as numerous international film festival prizes. In 2006, Marc had a retrospective at the prestigious Lussas Documentary film festival in France and his work has been included in numerous documentary books and academic studies. In 2008, Marc received an honorary doctorate from the University of East London for his documentary work. Marc has been a guest tutor at numerous universities and film schools in the UK and overseas including the London Film School and the National Film and Television School. A complete box set of his films was released by Second Run DVD in 2018.


Registration is required for this lecture. Please register at: 

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

All enquiries should be directed to

Download the lecture poster.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA