Between the Frames – the life and work of Norman McLaren

18 Oct ‘13

1.15PM - 2.15PM
Speaker: Dr Nichola Dobson

Venue: Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, Pathfoot building, University of Stirling

2014 is the centenary of the birth of Norman McLaren, Scotland's most famous animator.  In Nichola Dobson's talk, she will present her recent research on McLaren, giving an outline of the background of this Stirling native who went on to be described as a genius in his field, despite being less well known at home.  The presentation will include screenings of interview clips and some of his films.

For an example of Norman McLaren's work, view his Oscar-winning short film Neighbours

Norman McLaren was one of the most innovative animators of the 20th century and is hailed around the world for his advances in animation and experimental film.  He developed new techniques for creating moving images combining a love of dance and music with a distinctive animation process.  Despite being one of the most oft quoted animators, when discussing what animation is, he is often missed out of the field of film and animation history.  There have been very few publications dedicated to the history of the man and his work and Nichola Dobson's book Between the Frames (Scarecrow Press, forthcoming), seeks to address this omission of a vital part of animation and film history.

Where there has been a focus, it has been concentrated on his work as the founder of the animation department of the National Film Board of Canada.  Though McLaren gained citizenship in 1952, it is generally forgotten that he was Scottish by birth, and indeed shared a hometown and personal connection with the celebrated documentary maker John Grierson.

The talk will examine his legacy by focusing on the influences in McLaren’s life, in terms of people, geography, politics and the arts, as well as those he influenced.  With direct reference to McLaren’s personal correspondence (much of which has been previously unavailable), the project will consider his life and work, largely in his own words. This will provide a unique insight into a true filmmaking pioneer.

Dr Nichola Dobson is a part time lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, a founder and editor of Animation Studies from 2006 until 2011 and the recently established new academic blog Animation Studies 2.0. She has published on both animation studies and television, and is currently working on a book on TV animation with Paul Ward for Edinburgh University Press and a book on Scottish animator Norman McLaren.  She began a new role as Vice President of the Society for Animation Studies in autumn 2011.

RSVP: To reserve a place, contact us on 01786 467033 or email:

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