Dr May Adadol Ingawanij

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Westminster School of Arts | Department
Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media | Research

May Adadol Ingawanij is a moving image theorist, historian, teacher and curator. Her interdisciplinary research explores decentred histories and genealogies of cinematic apparatus and media ontology; potentialities of contemporary artistic and curatorial practices; aesthetics and circulation of artists’ moving image, art and independent films in, around and beyond Southeast Asia. She co-directs the University of Westminster's research centre CREAM.

May is the recipient of the British Academy’s Mid-Career Fellowship (2018-19) for her book and curatorial project Contemporary Art and Animistic Cinematic Practices in Southeast Asia. See 'research' section. She has won multiple research awards from the Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, EU Asia-Europe Foundation, among others. 

Her recent English-language publications include ‘Art’s Potentiality Revisited: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s Late Style and Chiang Mai Social Installation’ (2018); ‘Itinerant Cinematic Practices In and Around Thailand During the Cold War’ (2018); 'Exhibiting Lav Diaz's Long Films: Currencies of Circulation and Dialectics of Spectatorship' (2017), ‘Long Walk to Life: the Films of Lav Diaz’ (2015); 'Animism and the Performative Realist Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul' (2013); Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia (2012); 'Mother India in Six Voices: Melodrama, Voice Performance and Indian Films in Siam' (2012).

May writes in English and Thai on contemporary artists' cinema, art, and cultural politics for a wide range of print and online publications. Her writings have been translated into Portuguese, Norwegian, and Korean, among other languages. 

Her curatorial projects include Lav Diaz: Journeys (London, 2017); Southern Collectives (with Experimenta India, Arkipel Jakarta, Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento, Buenos Aires, 2016); On Attachments and Unknowns (with Sa Sa Bassac, Phnom Penh, January 2017); Comparing Experimental Cinemas (with Experimenta India, Bangalore 2014); Performance screening programme (Asian Culture Station, Chiang Mai, 2017); Forces and Volumes screening programme (BIMI Essay Film Festival, London 2015; Asian Artists Film and Video Forum, MMCA Seoul 2015); Reuse Retell screening programme (CIRCUIT, Auckland 2013); Bangkok Experimental Film Festival 2012: Raiding the Archives.

May supervises practice and written PhD projects on world cinema, artists' moving image practices, contemporary artistic practices, and experimental documentary practices. She regularly serves as examiner for both written and practice PhDs.

Current and recent PhD researchers for which she is Director of Studies include: 

  • George Clark, Displacement, Adaptation, Entanglement and the Moving Image: Raul Ruiz's Unfinished Film 'The Comedy of Shadows'
  • Khong Kok Wai, Exploring the Fantastic: Contemporary Malaysian Cinema
  • Gilherme Leal, Ruins of Progress: Destructive Effects of Development in Contemporary Brazilian Documentary
  • Treasa O'Brien, Town of Strangers: The Performative 'Making-of' Film and the Production of Reality

May is interested in PhD research proposals on histories and practices of contemporary art, cinematic arts, or the curatorial in, around, or entangled with Southeast Asia; world cinema or cinematic arts of the global south; artists' moving image histories, practices, and modalities of self-organisation or institutionalisation; grassroots, activistic or radical modes of curating cinematic arts and artists' moving image; among other topics. 

May is part of the teaching team for the MA in Film, Television and Moving Image, which has a number of specialised options including film programming and moving image curation, and Asian cinema. She has been Co-Director of the CREAM Doctoral Programme and Course Leader for the MA Film, Television and Moving Image. 

May's interdisciplinary research explores decentred histories and genealogies of cinematic apparatus and media ontology; potentialities of contemporary artistic and curatorial practices; aesthetics and circulation of artists’ moving image, art and independent films in, around and beyond Southeast Asia. Her research methods encompass creative uses of archival fragments, the curatorial, conceptual experimentation, and mediation of practices, ideas, and idioms in a multiplicity of languages, mediums and contexts. 

She is the recipient of the British Academy’s Mid-Career Fellowship (2018-19) for her book and curatorial project Contemporary Art and Animistic Cinematic Practices in Southeast Asia. The project experiments with conceptualising animistic cinematic practices as a model of mediation routed through Southeast Asia’s media, ontological and cosmological genealogies. It places contemporary artists' moving image practices, such as those of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lav Diaz, Ho Tzu Nyen, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, in the company of itinerant film projection rituals performed as an offering addressed to non-human presence in and around Thailand during the Cold War. The project’s curatorial method creates an assembly of resonant practices and artefacts, proposing this provisional grouping as significant non-western examples for exploring key present-day questions regarding the relationship between mediation, conceptions of life, and cosmological and ecological imaginaries. 

May has written widely on Southeast Asia's leading contemporary artists and moving image artists such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lav Diaz, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Anocha Suwichakornpong, and Nguyen Trinh Thi. She regularly collaborates and assists in the artistic research practices of the region's artists, and has substantial experience in supporting and mentoring emerging artists.  

May has also been the recipient of a number of research grants including: 

  • Strategic Research Fund, University of Westminster: Long Films in the Gallery: An Exhibition and Symposium on the Films of Lav Diaz (2017)
  • Strategic Research Fund, UoW: Southern Collectives (2016)
  • British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme: Comparing Experimental Cinemas (2014-2015)
  • Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship: Historicising Cinema Experience in Cold War Siam (2009-2012)
  • Asia-Europe Foundation Cultural Partnership Initiative: The 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival: Raiding the Archives (2012)

May is regularly invited to give keynote addresses and lectures on her research, and to contribute curatorial activities, at academic and arts institutions worldwide. She has substantial experience in mentoring early career researchers' projects and successful funding applications. 

2018

Art's Potentiality Revisited: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook's Late Style and Chiang Mai Social Installation (2018)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2018. Art's Potentiality Revisited: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook's Late Style and Chiang Mai Social Installation. in: Teh, David and Morris, David (ed.) Artist-to-Artist: Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992-98 London Afterall Books in association with Asia Art Archive and the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. pp. 252-263
Nguyen Trinh Thi's Essay Films (2018)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2018. Nguyen Trinh Thi's Essay Films . in: Reynolds, L. (ed.) Women Artists, Feminism and the Moving Image I.B. Tauris.

2013

Animism and the performative realist cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2013)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2013. Animism and the performative realist cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul. in: Pick, A. and Narraway, G. (ed.) Screening nature: cinema beyond the human Oxford Berghahn Books.

2010

Blissfully whose? Jungle pleasures, ultra-modernist cinema and the cosmopolitan Thai auteur (2010)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2010. Blissfully whose? Jungle pleasures, ultra-modernist cinema and the cosmopolitan Thai auteur. in: Harrison, R.V. and Jackson, P.A. (ed.) The ambiguous allure of the West: traces of the colonial in Thailand Hing Kong Hong Kong University Press. pp. 119-134

2006

Transistor and temporality: the rural as modern Thai cinema's pastoral (2006)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2006. Transistor and temporality: the rural as modern Thai cinema's pastoral. in: Fowler, C. and Helfield, G. (ed.) Representing the rural : space, place, and identity in films about the land Detroit Wayne State University Press. pp. 80-100

2018

Itinerant Cinematic Practices In and Around Thailand During the Cold War (2018)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2018. Itinerant Cinematic Practices In and Around Thailand During the Cold War. Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia. 2 (1), pp. 9-41.

2017

Exhibiting Lav Diaz's Long Films: Currencies of Circulation and Dialectics of Spectatorship (2017)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2017. Exhibiting Lav Diaz's Long Films: Currencies of Circulation and Dialectics of Spectatorship. Aniki: Portuguese Journal of the Moving Image . 4 (2), pp. 411-433.

2015

Long Walk to Life: the Films of Lav Diaz (2015)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2015. Long Walk to Life: the Films of Lav Diaz . Afterall . 40.

2014

Figures of Plebeian Modernity: Film Projection as Performance in Siam/Thailand (2014)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2014. Figures of Plebeian Modernity: Film Projection as Performance in Siam/Thailand. SEAP Bulletin . Fall, pp. 10-16.

2012

Mother India in six voices: melodrama, voice performance, and Indian films in Siam (2012)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2012. Mother India in six voices: melodrama, voice performance, and Indian films in Siam. Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies. 3 (2), pp. 99-121.

2007

Nang Nak: Thai bourgeois heritage cinema (2007)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2007. Nang Nak: Thai bourgeois heritage cinema. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 8 (2), pp. 180-193.

2006

Un-Thai sakon: the scandal of teen cinema (2006)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2006. Un-Thai sakon: the scandal of teen cinema. South East Asia Research. 14 (2), pp. 147-177.
Blissfully whose? Jungle pleasures, ultra-modernist cinema and the cosmopolitan Thai auteur (2006)
Ingawanij, M.A. and MacDonald, R.L. 2006. Blissfully whose? Jungle pleasures, ultra-modernist cinema and the cosmopolitan Thai auteur. New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film. 4 (1), pp. 37-54.

2004

The value of an impoverished aesthetic: the iron ladies and its audiences (2004)
Ingawanij, M.A. and MacDonald, R.L. 2004. The value of an impoverished aesthetic: the iron ladies and its audiences. Spectator: University of Southern California Journal of Film and Television Criticism. 24 (2), pp. 73-81.

2017

Performance (2017)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2017. Performance. Asian Culture Station, Chiang Mai
Lav Diaz: Journeys (2017)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2017. Lav Diaz: Journeys.

2016

Southern Collectives (2016)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2016. Southern Collectives. Buenos Aires

2015

Forces and Volumes (2015)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2015. Forces and Volumes .

2017

On Attachments and Unknowns (2017)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2017. On Attachments and Unknowns.

2014

Comparing Experimental Cinemas (2014)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2014. Comparing Experimental Cinemas.

2013

Catalogue of the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival: Raiding the Archives (2013)
Ingawanij, M.A., MacDonald, R.L. and Clark, G. Ingawanij, M.A. (ed.) 2013. Catalogue of the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival: Raiding the Archives. Bangkok, Thailand Aan Publishing.

2012

Glimpses of freedom: independent cinema in Southeast Asia (2012)
Ingawanij, M.A. and McKay, B. (ed.) 2012. Glimpses of freedom: independent cinema in Southeast Asia. Ithaca, NY Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications.

2007

Hyperbolic heritage: bourgeois spectatorship and contemporary Thai cinema (2007)
Ingawanij, M.A. 2007. Hyperbolic heritage: bourgeois spectatorship and contemporary Thai cinema. PhD thesis University of London London Consortium

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