About Me

PORTRAIT
GILLIAN MCIVER BY TUNDE VALISZKA

I’m Gillian McIver, writer, author, curator, filmmaker.

I love to write about Art, Cinema and History – and go to interesting places. Based in London, I’m a frequent visitor to the most divine city of Cairo, but pieces of my heart remain in Toronto, Berlin, Lisbon, Moscow,  Paris and Madrid. 

Author


I wrote Art History for Filmmakers: The Art of Visual Storytelling (Bloomsbury Press 2016). It’s the first book of its kind, both a rich journey into the history of art and film, and a practical guide to using visual art from the past to stimulate and enrich contemporary filmmaking.

Listen to my interview about the book with Kirsten Ellsworth of the New Books Network. Listen here

My second book, Art and the Historical Film: Between Realism and the Sublime (Bloomsbury 2022) addresses the ways that we ‘learn’ about history from popular entertainment and how visual storytelling works to convey and challenge accepted ideas about the past. 

Writer

I work as a freelance writer and a consultant to writers of non-fiction and screenplays. See the Consultancy link above for more info. Some of the books I have contributed to include Critical Cities, Screening the Art World, Scenography and Art History, The Palgrave Handbook of the Vampire, ReFocus: The Films of Abel Ferrara. My published articles are available on https://www.clippings.me/users/gillianmciver

Stage and Screen Writer

I am the writer of the play Apologia, about the life of Count Alessandro Cagliostro, which will premiere in 2024 at the Camden Fringe Festival.

I wrote the screenplay for Zippo, directed by R.V. Williams, and the text for Postindustrial Baroque.

Researcher

I do original research on a variety of subjects, but principally in the Art and Design field. My PhD research explored the theoretical area of Visual Rhetoric, which is the study of how images communicate. I have strong expertise in Visual Storytelling, and how to create or decode persuasive visual materials. 

Filmmaker

My most recent film as director is “Taking Over The King’s Land” (2014), about London’s biggest solo-artist street art project, which involved covering a condemned East London housing estate with murals.


I co-produced the documentary Image Matters (directed by Rozy Sarkis, 2012), a feature documentary about the culture of cosmetic surgery in Lebanon.


I worked as a camera operator and also participated as a performer in the acclaimed feature doc “Estate A Reverie” and the short “Towards Estate,” both directed by Andrea Luka Zimmerman (2015).

Artist and curator

I’m currently curating a big project for the Bloomsbury Festival in London autumn 2924.

My most recent curatorial role was for the exhibition ‘Alchemy!’ in London 2022.

Passionately inspired by Urban Exploration, I directed the short film “Postindustrial Baroque” (2009), which explores abandoned urban spaces. Some of my art projects are here at www.artsite.org.uk

I am a co-director of the commissioning agency Creative City. I have curated many exhibitions and I ran the award-winning East London gallery and screening room STUDIO75 (2009-2013). I run the website sitespecificart.org.uk which features many articles written by me and articles I commissioned by others. In 2018 I co-hosted the symposium ART AND THE URBAN at the University of London.

Please use the menu to learn more about what I do and see some of my work.

Have fun!