At its core the Humanities asks the perennial question, what does it mean to be human? The answers not only change over time and depending on context, they are also enriched and expanded by our creative engagement with new storytelling tools and technologies. The Arts and Humanities thus become fundamental to the challenge of how we make sense of our collective futures.
Nick Higgins is the Director of the Creative Media Academy and Professor of Media Practice at the University of the West of Scotland. He joined UWS in September 2013 from the University of Edinburgh where he established the MSc in Media, Culture and Society and the PhD in Transdisciplinary Documentary Film Research programmes. He is the Research Lead for Arts and Media in the School of Business and Creative Industries and represents UWS on the board of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.
Nick originally studied Philosophy and International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, undertaking fieldwork in East Africa for his dissertation that was later published. He followed this with doctoral research at the Centre for Conflict Studies at the University of Kent that involved extended periods of fieldwork in Mexico with the support of grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. This experience of fieldwork led towards Nick’s interest in how non-fiction filmmaking techniques could become a method for conducting research. This interest was further nurtured over a period of several years in the early 2000s when Nick attended the MEDIA funded Eurodoc and Archidoc documentary filmmaking workshops, including a period at the French National Film School, La Femis, where he studied with Patricio Guzman, Harun Farocki and Peter Forgacs.
Since that time, Nick has produced 4 award winning feature documentaries and several short documentaries, receiving a BAFTA Scotland nomination for the mass-participatory documentary project, We Are Northern Lights and the BACC/SIGNIS Best Human Rights Film award for A Massacre Foretold. His interest in the impact of non-fiction narratives has resulted in experiments with both production and distribution models, leading to collaborations with the Scottish Mental Health Foundation, the Black and Ethnic Minorities Infrastructure for Scotland (BEMIS), UNICEF and UNESCO. In 2017 he launched UWS Immersive, a multi-disciplinary research group that focuses on immersive virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies (XR). Since its inception, the group has delivered 3 international research symposia and public engagements events including the curation and exhibition of the Immersive Virtual Reality programme at the Glasgow Short Film Festival (2017 & 2019). Nick is founder and programme leader of the Masters in Filmmaking degree delivered from Film City in Glasgow’s media quarter.