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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

Margaret Mead (MRes current)

Emmeline Dulhunty (Mres current)

Emma Watkins (MRes completed 2018, PhD commenced)

Kevin Lucas (MRes 2017 completed)

Margaret McHugh (MRes 2017 completed)

Margaret Meehan (Mres 2018 completed)


Associate Supervisor

Saba Vasafi (PhD current)

Carolyn Strahan (PhD current0

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.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
editor Social Sciences
entertainment industry Social Sciences
knowledge gap Social Sciences
Editing Arts & Humanities
research policy Social Sciences
production process Social Sciences
working group Social Sciences
action research Social Sciences

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

Projects 2014 2021

Research Outputs 1999 2019

production process
teaching situation

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 journalArticleResearchpeer-review


After the Facts

Pearlman, K., 10 Jun 2018

Research output: Non-traditional research outputDigital or Visual productsResearch


Creative editing: Svilova and Vertov's distributed cognition

Pearlman, K., MacKay, J. & Sutton, J., Aug 2018, In : Apparatus: Film, Media and Digital Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. 6, 1.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Distributed Cognition
Cognitive Systems

Digital Afterlives

Pearlman, K. & Allen, R. J., Apr 2018

Research output: Non-traditional research outputDigital or Visual productsResearch

Activities 2018 2018

  • 4 Invited talk

Creative practice, cognition and feminist film histories

Karen Pearlman (Speaker)
13 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Woman with an Editing Bench

Karen Pearlman (Speaker)
18 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Rhythmic Thinking: Svilova and Vertov's Extended Mind

Karen Pearlman (Speaker)
Mar 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Meet the Artist

Karen Pearlman (Speaker)
24 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Press / Media

Woman with an Editing Bench: How do film editors think?

Karen Pearlman & Lauren Carroll Harris


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Other