The University of Exeter and the London Film School have struck a new five-year partnership to enable doctoral film students to hone filmmaking skills alongside their academic work.

The pact was signed at the University of Exeter on Jan 9 by University of Exeter Registrar and Chief Executive David Allen and Mike Leigh, Chairman of the London Film School. They were joined by Professor Nick Kaye, Dean of the College of Humanities, Ben Gibson, Director of the LFS, and Alan Bernstein, Head of Studies at the LFS.

The institutions will launch the groundbreaking Exeter-London Film School Doctoral Programme, which will work across the institutions to ensure that students show the “scholarly research required of a doctorate but also professional craft excellence through the creation and submission of a finished film.”

Mike Leigh, Chairman of the LFS said: “Our new relationship with the College of Humanities at Exeter is very exciting. It’s gratifying to be working with kindred spirits, and I’m confident that this doctoral programme will play a vital role in the serious, innovative cinema of tomorrow.”

Dean of the College of Humanities Professor Nick Kaye said: “We are hugely excited to be embarking on this exceptional journey with the London Film School. By combining our strengths we are able to offer innovative and exciting opportunities for postgraduate research that will not only benefit students, but also the film industry. I look forward to a very fruitful partnership.”

LFS director Ben Gibson [pictured] added, “As a School, we’re committed to finding the right ways for filmmakers to develop their ideas and their craft. This is the first time that a PhD programme based on practice has been able to take the craft element at its full value, and to balance the process and the outcome in a way that will make the fruits of research visible. Our colleagues at the College of Humanities are ambitious and radical. This will be an important Partnership.”