Key facts about the artist

It for Others 1
It for Others (2013)

Constructs documentary-like films from archival footage
Ulster and Glasgow
Turner Prize Nominee 2014
Venice Biennale


Video: Scotland + Venice 2013: Duncan Campbell Interview

Video: Scotland + Venice 2013: Duncan Campbell Primer

Video: Duncan Campbell - Artist in Conversation, Tramway, 2010 - Part One

Video: Duncan Campbell - Artist in Conversation, Tramway, 2010 - Part Two

About Duncan's work

Filmmaker and artist Duncan Campbell works in many ways including constructing documentary-like narratives from archival footage. He often builds up profiles of significant public figures, while interspersing found film with material he shoots himself. In several of his films Campbell has investigated subjects and people closely associated with Northern Ireland and the country’s social and political history, revealing a side to the subject not commonly portrayed in the mainstream media. 

Campbell’s 37-minute film Bernadette (2008) portrays socialist and former Northern Irish MP Bernadette Devlin during the 1960s and 1970s. When elected at the age of twenty-one, Devlin became the youngest female Member of Parliament ever to have been elected to Westminster. Campbell’s depiction of Devlin reveals the dynamics of documentary filmmaking itself. He blurs fact and fiction and mixes archival and new footage to construct and unravel representations of his subject. Making use of the distance that the passage of time allows, he creates a portrait of Devlin that is free from the political partisanship that has surrounded many depictions of her. To similar effect, John DeLorean (1925–1975) – the maker of the DeLorean car, famous to most through its appearance in the 1985 feature film Back to the Future – is the subject of Make It New John (2009). Campbell’s film follows DeLorean through childhood to the events surrounding the production of the infamous car in Northern Ireland and the factory’s subsequent closure in 1982. 

The starting point for Campbell’s recent film It for others (2013) was the French filmmakers Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’s early collaboration Les Statues meurent aussi (Statues also Die) from 1953. Marker and Resnais’s black-and-white essay film captured the objectification and fetishisation of African artefacts and the impact of colonialism on African heritage. Similarly, It for others features an array of related artefacts and archival footage, examining the question of how artefacts and artworks are valued, exchanged, collected or displayed. A choreographed sequence composed in collaboration with dancers from the Michael Clark Company is captured from a bird’s-eye view, and seeks to illustrate, in the manner of a moving diagram, how value is accumulated. Here, Campbell acknowledges the old and the new, while capturing the contemporary contexts within which his new film is born.


Duncan Campbell (born 1972 in Dublin) received a BA from the University of Ulster in 1996 and an MFA from The Glasgow School of Art in 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include the self-titled show at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh in 2012; Arbeit at Hotel, London in 2011; and Make It New John, which was staged in 200911 at London’s Chisenhale Gallery, Glasgow’s Tramway, Sligo’s The Model, Belfast Exposed, and New York’s Artists Space. Campbell also participated in the British Art Show 7, which toured venues in Nottingham, London, Glasgow and Plymouth in 201011. In 2013 he participated in Scotland + Venice at the 55th Venice Biennale. He has been nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize. He lives and works in Glasgow.

More information

Martin Herbert and Melissa Gronlund, Duncan Campbell, Film and Video Umbrella, London and Tramway, Glasgow, 2010