Call for Papers

Sensing the Archive 
Exploring the digital (im)materiality of the moving image archive
Issue 19, Winter 2022

Guest Editor: Catherine Russell

Co-Editors-in-Chief: Lucia Szemetová & Jacob Browne
Book Review Editor: Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal

Shrunken film strips, faded footage, distorted sound, and a harsh vinegar scent; such lamentable deterioration exposes the material vulnerabilities of audio-visual heritage which often determine the work of archivists and conservators. With constant changes in the technology of access have come profound changes to the world of dusty boxes, narrow strip-lit and high-stacked aisles, and data stored in obscure and obsolescent formats. At the same time, audio-visual materials offer new sensory modes of historiography.  What kinds of historical knowledge lie within these resources and how can they be revived?

Mass digitisation has transformed the ways in which we can access, understand, and interact with histories stored in audio-visual media. Digitisation highlights the tangibility of the medium, and the fluidity of the material. Archives have always had their absences and lacunae, but digital materiality – or immateriality – produces new instabilities that require novel ways of approaching audio-visual heritage. How does our sensory experience of film history change due to the digital turn? What kind of research behaviours and patterns can this process enhance, and what kinds of research are inhibited?

Media scholars have examined how the digital turn has enabled a new circulation of moving images, challenging traditional film historical narratives by disrupting the exclusivity of physical access and written documents as the prerequisites for conducting film history. Building on this body of work, Issue 19 of Frames Cinema Journal seeks to examine the sensorial experience of archival instabilities to consider the implications of digital audio-visual archives. Frames invites considerations of the sensory properties of archives as well as their relation to cultural histories and archival studies to contribute critically to the flourishing academic discourse on digital humanities.

Topics to discuss and analyse phone footage may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Archival materiality and preservation
  • Archives and sensorial experience
  • Archive footage and the sense of place
  • Anarchival materiality
  • Archives and modes of film practice, including ethnographic, fiction, and experimental.
  • Absences in the archive
  • Archival footage in fiction films
  • Amateur film archives
  • Paratextual archives
  • Interface and the archive
  • Curatorial practices
  • Climate and the archive
  • The archive and the post-pandemic world

Notes for Contributors:

Proposal abstracts should be no more than 250 words and must be accompanied by an indicative bibliography. A brief third-person bio of approx. 150 words should be provided along with the abstract. Abstracts for video essays are especially encouraged, and should follow the same guidelines. The bibliography should include anticipated sources for moving images.

Abstracts should be sent through as Word Documents and titled “Frames Issue 19 Author First name Author Surname” (e.g. Frames Issue 19 Esther Shub).

Please submit your proposal to Lucia Szemetová and Jacob Browne at

Frames accepts a variety of written pieces for submission, such as:

  • Feature Articles, which are research essays that engage in theoretical, practical, pedagogical, and/or historical analysis of the visual narrative in film or related digital media. Feature Articles are typically between 5,000-7,000 words in length, inclusive of footnotes, but exclusive of the bibliography.
  • Point-of-View (POV) Featurettes, which are shorter research essays which seek to examine or express a specific critique about a theme in a more succinct fashion. These could include experiences with moving-image archives in digital or material contexts. Point-of-View (POV) Featurettes are typically between 1,000-3,000 words in length, inclusive of footnotes, but exclusive of the bibliography.
  • Film Featurettes, which are shorter research essays, discuss and review one film in detail. Film Featurettes are typically between 1,000-3,000 words in length, inclusive of footnotes, but exclusive of the bibliography.
  • Book Reviews, which are essays that provide a scholarly critique of the latest texts in the field. The text choice may range from the theoretical and the practical to the pedagogical and the historical. Book Reviews are typically 1,000-1,500 words in length, inclusive of footnotes, but exclusive of the bibliography. If you would like to publish a book review, please contact our Book Review EditorAnushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal, at

Frames also accepts video essay submissions:

  • Video essays can be of varying length and should be discussed with the editors on a case-by-case basis. Video essay submissions must be sent to the editors in the form of a link using an online platform (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).

All submissions to Frames should not be under consideration elsewhere, and should be original and previously unpublished.

Please refer to our Submissions page for more details.

Timetable for Issue 19:

Abstract Proposal Deadline: 17/09/2021
Abstract Decision Announcement: 27/09/2021
First Draft Deadline: 21/11/2021
Editorial Review: 22/11/2021 – 12/12/2021
Final Copy Deadline: 21/01/2022
Intended Publication Week: 30/01/2022

Abstracts are to be submitted no later than Friday, September 17, 2021, as they will not be considered after that. Authors should expect to be notified of the editorial committee’s decision by Monday, September 27, 2021.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at

Lucia Szemetová and Jacob Browne
Twitter: @FramesJournal