College: Robinson College
Supervisor: Dr Leila Mukhida
Research topic: ‘Movement is Power’: Aesthetics and Politics of Motion in East German Experimental Cinema
About: Matt Parry is a first-year PhD student at Cambridge Film and Screen, with a secondary affiliation in Cambridge’s Department of German. Before beginning his PhD, he earned a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages (First Class) and an MPhil in Film and Screen Studies (Distinction) at St John’s College, Cambridge, writing dissertations on Konrad Wolf, Walter Ruttmann, and Lutz Dammbeck. During this time he also completed a 1-year Erasmus placement at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Matt is currently Judy and Nigel Weiss Scholar in the Arts and Humanities at Robinson College, Cambridge (generously co-funded by Robinson and the Arts and Humanities Research Council) and is a member of the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership.
Matt’s research largely centres on German experimental, avant-garde, and non-narrative cinema. His doctoral project focuses on the experimental cinema of the GDR (which is largely underdiscussed in anglophone scholarship), and explores how the East German avant-garde’s unique and highly intermedial aesthetic of motion functioned as a way for filmmakers to engage in the various discourses of motion which formed the basis of much of East Germany’s social and political debates. The project’s interdisciplinary focus on motion aims to open up new understandings of how avant-garde cinema interacts with the wider environments in which it is made and performed, both within and beyond a specifically German context.
Selected Scholarships/ Prizes
Judy and Nigel Weiss Studentship [Full Funding] (AHRC and Robinson College, Cambridge, 2023)
Larmor Award (St John’s College, Cambridge, 2021)
Alfred Hall Prior Scholarship (St John’s College, Cambridge, 2021)
Marsh Prize for best undergraduate dissertation in German (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge, 2021)
Tiarks Junior Scholarship (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge, 2020)
‘Moving Between Media: Lutz Dammbeck’s REALFilm as Intermedial Cinematic Exhibition’, Screening Politics: Film Festivals, Archives and Cinematic Exhibition in the Cold War, University of St Andrews/German Screen Studies Network, November 2023
Other activities and roles
Alongside research, Matt has worked for the edtech accessibility start-up Audemic, volunteered as a music programmer for German-language student radio, chaired the inaugural jury for Best Experimental Film at the Watersprite Film Festival, and is a keen rowing coach.