Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr Karen Pearlman writes, directs and edits screen productions and she researches and writes about screen culture, feminist film histories, distributed cognition, and creative processes.

Karen is a director of the multi-award winning Physical TV Company, through which she has developed, produced, directed, or edited numerous highly acclaimed short films, online and mobile productions and two short features. Karen’s 2016 film, Woman with an Editing Bench, won the national ATOM Award for Best Short Fiction, the Australian Screen Editors' Guild (ASE) Award for Best Editing in a Short and 6 other film festival awards. Her 2018 documentary ‘After the Facts’ was also honoured with an ASE Award for Best Editing, after its screenings at the Sydney International Film Festival, the Adelaide International Film Festival, the Perth Revelation Film Festival and the Antenna Documentary Film Festival. 

Karen's 2014 half hour documentary ...the dancer from the dance was a finalist for an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Screen, and also a finalist for an ATOM Award for Best Arts Documentary. Her recent film Digital Afterlives, made in collaboration with co-director of The Physical TV Company, Richard James Allen, has screened at over 30 international dancefilm festivals and picked up awards for editing and for innovation in U.S. dancefilm festivals. 

Karen is a senior lecturer in Screen Production and Practice at Macquarie University where her research has been supported by a Macquarie University New Staff Grant, a Faculty of Arts Themed Workshop grant, two Faculty Research Travel Scheme grants, and a Macquarie Research Seed Grant.

Before joining Macquarie, Karen held the post of Head of Screen Studies at AFTRS for 6 years and was a partner investigator in the ARC/Australia Council funded investgation Games and the Wider Interactive Entertainment Industry in Australia: an inquiry into sources of Innovation.  Karen is the author of Cutting Rhythms, Intuitive Film Editing (now in its 2nd edition with Focal Press/Taylor &Francis). In addition to Cutting Rhythms, her publications include editing Performing the Unnameable; An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts (Currency Press, 1999) and she has published academic essays and articles in the International Journal of Screendance; Participations Journal of Audience Research; Metro, RealTime, The Journal of Performance Studies, Projections, Apparatus, and other anthologies and journals.

Karen's work as a professional editor includes documentary, dancefilm and drama. She was the 2009-2010 President of the Australian Screen Editors Guild and enjoys her ongoing association with the guild as a full member and frequent public speaker. Before taking up filmmaking, editing and film studies, Karen had a distinguished career as a professional dancer - performing with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company on the Opera House stages of the world and directing two dance companies. She holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from UTS, two MAs - one from UTS and one from AFTRS, and a BFA in dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Research student supervision

Principal Supervisor

Jacob Gottlieb (Mres Current)

Cinema and Self: a theoretical and creative practice thesis examining and enacting concepts about film and post-human becoming


Michelle Mead (MRes 2020 completed)

'Can a superhero fight patriarchy? Challenging the ancient masculinisation of mythic heroism in modern superhero action cinema


Emmeline Dulhunty (Mres 2020 completed)

'The Aesthetics of Mood in Cinema'


Emma Watkins (MRes completed 2018, PhD current)

'Creative sign language, dance, and film editing - a series of tests in formal integration'


Kevin Lucas (MRes 2017 completed)

THE AGE OF THE ABORIGINAL AVATAR: reclaiming the sacred in a Virtual World


Margaret McHugh (MRes 2017 completed)



Margaret Meehan (Mres 2018 completed)

The Art of Mentoring: examining some practices of media mentorship in multicultural Australia.


Associate Supervisor

Saba Vasafi (PhD current)

Carolyn Strahan (PhD current)

Cleo Mees (PhD 2018)

Andrew Sully (PhD 2017)

External positions

Head of Screen Studies, Australian Film Television and Radio School

1 Mar 20091 Mar 2014

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Karen Pearlman is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 3 Similar Profiles

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Outputs

  • After the facts: These edits are my thoughts

    Pearlman, K. & Gaines, J. M., 2019, In : [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies. 6, 4

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • I want to make a film about women

    Pearlman, K., 2019

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputDigital or Visual products

  • On rhythm in film editing

    Pearlman, K., 2019, The Palgrave handbook of the philosophy of film and motion pictures. Carroll, N., Di Summa-Knoop, L. T. & Loht, S. (eds.). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 143-163 21 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Shaping edits, creating fractals: a cinematic case study

    Cutting, J. E. & Pearlman, K., Mar 2019, In : Projections : the journal for movies and mind. 13, 1, p. 1-22 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)


    Interdisciplinary Discussion Panel: Defining Ethnographic Film

    Max Harwood (Speaker), Robert Sinnerbrink (Invited speaker), Karen Pearlman (Invited speaker), Chris Houston (Speaker)
    9 Oct 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Merrily we go to hell

    Karen Pearlman (Speaker), Kathryn Millard (Speaker), Nicole J Anderson (Speaker), Catharine Lumby (Speaker), Intan Paramaditha (Speaker), Stefan Solomon (Speaker)
    26 Jun 20191 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Perception (Journal)

    Karen Pearlman (Reviewer)
    25 Nov 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Life Writing (Journal)

    Karen Pearlman (Reviewer)
    10 Jul 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Columbia University

    Karen Pearlman (Visiting researcher)
    Aug 2019 → …

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

    Press / Media

    London International Screendance Festival 2019

    Karen Pearlman


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Short stories on the big screen

    Karen Pearlman


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Discovering the uncredited woman editor of Soviet montage films

    Karen Pearlman


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Sydney Film Festival 2018 & representation of women

    Karen Pearlman


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Other