Louise Milne
Louise Milne

Prof Louise Milne



Louise Milne is a visual anthropologist, a film-maker and a leading scholar in comparative mythology and the history of dreams. Born on Lewis, Louise studied at King's College Cambridge and Boston University, Mass. She has been working and teaching in Edinburgh since the mid-1990s, playing an instrumental role in the development of various undergraduate and graduate programmes, at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Napier University. Since 2015, she is Associate Professor of Film at Napier. Among her scholarly contributions is Carnivals & Dreams: Pieter Bruegel and the History of the Imagination, a comprehensive study on the 16th century artist, the research for which was funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship. A second fully revised edition, in preparation, has funding from the Carnegie and Scouloudi trusts.

Alongside her academic work, Louise makes experimental films and documentaries. Her first film, Lanterna Magicka was supported by the BFI and Channel 4. Subsequently, her films have been selected for international festivals, in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and the Americas; she is a regular contributor to the Alchemy Film Festival in Scotland, and the Maine Film International Festival, which screened a retrospective of Lanterna Magicka films in 2017. Her documentary about a Lewis fishing boat, A Boat Retold (2011), was short-listed for a Royal Anthropological Institute Film Prize. Her most recent filmwork includes a trilogy of experimental films (Mnemosyne, Eidolon and Hypnos) shot largely on Super8, the feature-length documentary Charlie Chaplin's London (2019), and two films on Andrei Tarkovsky, commissioned by Criterion, Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev: A Journey (2018) and The Dream in The Mirror (2021).

Appointed to the Board of the International Association of Comparative Mythology, she is also an editor of the Journal of Comparative Mythology, Chief Editor of Cosmos, and President of the Traditional Cosmology Society. She has represented the University at public events and festivals, and appeared as a BBC broadcaster.

Research Areas



Conference Organising Activity

  • Co-organiser: 15th IACM, Serbian Academy of Sciences & Arts, Belgrade, June.
  • Presenter: Humans and Animals: Paradoxes of Mutual Relationships, St Petersberg.
  • Co-organiser, presenter, A Voyage to Arcturus and Beyond: David Lindsay’s Visionary Imagination. International symposium, with Dr Steven Sutcliffe, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Seán Martin, PhD Candidate, SACI, and Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
  • Chair, co-organiser, 13th IACM Annual Conference: Mythology of Metamorphoses: Comparative & Theoretical Perspectives, (Estonian Literary Museum), Tartu, Estonia, 2019
  • Co-organiser, 12th IACM Annual Conference: Myths of the Earth and Humankind: Ecology and the End of the World (Tohoku University), Sendai, Japan
  • Organiser, Curator, Presenter; Tarkovsky: Cinema of Dreams, One-day film festival &conference, Summerhall, Edinburgh.
  • Co-organiser, 11th IACM Annual Conference: Creatures of the Night: Mythologies of the Otherworld and Its Denizens University of Edinburgh
  • Co-organiser, 10th IACM Annual Conference: Time and Myth: The Temporal and the Eternal (Masaryk University), Brno, Czech Republic
  • Organiser/presenter, international symposium Shamanism & Cunning Folk
  • Co-organiser, 9th IACM Annual Conference: Power and Speech: Mythology of the Social and the Sacred (Nicolaus Copernicus University), Toruń, Poland
  • Co-organiser, 8th IACM Annual Conference: Fighting Dragons and Monsters: Heroic Mythology, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia, 2014
  • Chair/moderator, keynote address with Prof Robert Segal - The Myth of Gaia, Middle East Festival Forum on Religion: Violence and Ecology
  • Co-convenor, Maths Meets Myths, 2nd International Workshop
  • Organiser/moderator, Myth and Science, Traditional Cosmology Society
  • Co-organiser/moderator/presenter public symposium, Representing Spiritualities & Cosmologies in Art, Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, TCS/School of Celtic and Scottish Studies/University of Edinburgh
  • Co-organiser/moderator/presenter, public symposium Representing Spiritualities &Cosmologies in Art, Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, Traditional Cosmology Society
  • Co-founder, Maths Meets Myths, International Workshop
  • Chair, Programmation orientée art, Centre de Recherches d’Esthétique du Cinema et des Arts Audiovisuels, Sorbonne, Paris
  • Organiser/moderator/presenter public symposium, Before & After Science: Witchcraft, Art, Techne, at ECA. with Prof. Ted Cowan, Lizanne Henderson, Prof. Bob Morris, Susan Hiller, Prof. Grant McCracken and others.


Editorial Activity

  • Associate Editor, Studia Mythologica Slavica: Charms and Charming. Studies on Magic in Everyday Life, Ljubljana, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences
  • William Blake: Visual Culture in Britain, Guest Editor
  • Editor-in-chief, peer-reviewed journal, Cosmos; President, Traditional Cosmology Society, Edinburgh
  • Editor, peer-reviewed Journal of Comparative Mythology


Invited Speaker

  • Presenter: Encountering Emotions in Folk Narrative and Folk Life 18th BNN/ISFNR, Zagreb/online
  • Keynote Presenter, Postgraduate Conference, Glasgow University, Dreams and Dream Culture in the Visual Arts
  • Guest speaker, Making Sense of Absence: Obliteration in Art, Culture & Experience, commissioned lecture, Summerhall, Edinburgh, 20/5
  • The Last Storyteller, dir. By Prof. Des Bell, screening and symposium; one of three scholars invited to Celtic and Scottish Studies/IASH, University of Edinburgh, 17/2
  • 'Pieter Breugel's Carnival and Lent', In Our Time, BBC Radio 4
  • Invited speaker, Zerkola (Tarkovsky International Film Festival & Conference), Ivanovo, Russia.
  • Keynote speaker, In the Country of Sleep: Night Travellers, Myths and Dreams in Renaissance Europe, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, College of Humanities and Social Science, University of Edinburgh, 31/10
  • Invited guest/presenter, Comrades symposium, Bill Douglas Centre, University of Exeter / British Film Institute
  • Guest speaker, Making Lanterna Magicka and Practice-based Research PhDs by Practice in Film, International Symposium, Queens College, Belfast
  • Invited Lunchtime Lecturer, “The Symbolism and Meaning of the Female Nude”, May 5th, National Galleries of Scotland
  • Aliens and the Afterlife in Susan Hiller’s “Witness” and “Clinic,” public lecture re Susan Hiller: Recall, Selected Works 1969-2004, Baltic, Gateshead (Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Kunsthalle, Basel),
  • Invited panel participant/speaker, Dream Machines, curated by Susan Hiller, CamdenArts Centre, Hayward Gallery, London
  • Visiting Lecturer, National Gallery of Scotland


Media Activity

  • US premiere of The Vast Shadowhouse at Maine International Film Festival
  • Creator - Web Archive Online Resource for the documentary 'Andrei Tarkovsky: Cinema of Dreams'
  • Alchemy Festival of Film and Moving Image, directed and produced three podcasts for CultureLaser, Edinburgh
  • Invited chair, fundraising screening, / event panel on Scottish filmmaking for Alchemy Film and the Moving Image Festival, Hawick
  • Maine International Film Festival, invited guest presenter/filmmaker
  • Maine International Film Festival, invited guest presenter/filmmaker
  • Commission essay/notes, DVD edition of Comrades, dir. Bill Douglas, British Film Institute.
  • Co-curator, Paradise Revisited, Bury Art Gallery & Museum. Video, mixed media & text for Brass Arts, Manchester.
  • Documentary photo-essay, Tomb Sweep Day, Taipei. Taipei City during the annual festival honouring dead ancestors. Grant Gallery, ECA.
  • Arts and film reviewer: BBC Radio4: PM, BBC Radio3: Night Waves BBC Radio Scotland: Brian Morton Show
  • Map of Reformation in Eastern Europe; commissioned historical cartography, for Professor George Hunston Williams, Harvard University.


Membership of Professional Body

  • ECA academic liaison for Berlin Weißensee School of Art, Erasmus exchange.
  • ‘Dreams and the edges of language in a new curriculum’, presentation for internal one-day event on curriculum development, Schools of Design, Photography and Sculpture, Visual Communication and Design, ECA/H-W
  • Co-founder and director, New Ethnographies, Histories and Vision, postgraduate cross-institutional seminar, cross-institutional Seminar on Research by Creative Practice (ECA/H-W, Queen Margaret College, Screen Academy Scotland, ENU)


Public/Community Engagement

  • Charlie Chaplin Lived Here, Q&A, Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter, Exeter Phoenix, free tickets, sold-out, 2/11
  • Invited Chair/Q&A, Tereza Stehlíková, From You to Me: Four Generations of Women, with artist, Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick, open to public, 25/1
  • Invited Chair/Q&A, The Films of Jan Švankmajer, with panel discussion, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Hawick, 5/5
  • Invited moderator/contributor, Edinburgh Artists' Moving Image Festival (EAMIF), Edinburgh.
  • Invited presenter/moderator, Festival of Politics, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
  • Invited chair and respondent, Susan Hiller in Conversation with Louise Milne, public lecture. School of Art, ECA, 25th Jan; published online.
  • Invited participant, Artists’ Filmmaker Symposium, Alchemy Film and the Moving Image Festival, Hawick, Scotland.
  • Organiser/presenter public symposium, Mind Mapping, ECA/ScienceFestival/Fruitmarket Gallery event.


Visiting Positions

  • Invited Member Program Board; International Religions Congress, co- convener Dr Marcin Lisiecki, Dept of Political Sciences and International Studies, University of Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun, Poland



38 results

Terrors of the Night. Essays on Art, Myth and Dreams

Milne, L. (in press)
Terrors of the Night. Essays on Art, Myth and Dreams. Swansea, UK: Atramentous Press
This volume presents essays on the history of dreams and nightmares, in particular focusing on how these have been visualised; and how and why these visualizations change. Usi...

The Dream in the Mirror

Digital Artefact
Martin, S., & Milne, L. (2021)
The Dream in the Mirror. [Digital Video]
The Dream in the Mirror is a documentary commissioned by Criterion, NYC for their new Blue-Ray /streaming restored edition of Tarkovsky's Mirror (1975).


Digital Artefact
Milne, L. S. (2020)
Hypnos. [Film]
An Ancient Egyptian poem, driving through a storm, radio, memory and the otherworld. A dream film on Super8 and HD

One, Two, Three, Many: Dream-Culture, Charms and Nightmares

Book Chapter
Milne, L. S. (2019)
One, Two, Three, Many: Dream-Culture, Charms and Nightmares. In E. Pocs, J. Kapaló, L. S. Milne, & C. Somerville (Eds.), Charms and Charming: Studies on Magic in Everyday Life (129-167). Ljubljana: Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Researchers may focus on charms as evidence about belief-systems in particular regions, periods or demographics; for insights into wider theoretical issues in the anthropology...

Charlie Chaplin Lived here (UK Premiere)

Exhibition / Performance
Milne, L., & Martin, S. Charlie Chaplin Lived here (UK Premiere)
[Film]. Exhibited at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter. 2 November 2019. (Unpublished
UK Premiere of my feature documentary film, organised in association with the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter. A loving and affectionate tribute exploring Sc...

Nightmares and Other Doubles: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on the Visual Culture of Self-shattering Dreams and Visions

Presentation / Conference
Milne, L. (2019, September)
Nightmares and Other Doubles: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on the Visual Culture of Self-shattering Dreams and Visions. Paper presented at Dream Cultures: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, University of Helsinki, Finland
The nightmare is a form of “affect-laden” or “self-shattering” dream, wherein the dreamer awakens in a state of high emotional disturbance. Such dreams include initiation and/...


Exhibition / Performance
Milne, L. Underworld. Exhibited at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 24 June 2019. (Unpublished)

Milne, L. Underworld. Exhibited at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 24 June 2019. (Unpublished
Underworld is a sound sculpture installation-experience by Louise Milne and Clive MacLachlan Powell. The project draws on Milne's research into the prehistory of dreams and n...

Metamorphosis, Myth, Dream & Desire: The Case of the Waterwoman

Presentation / Conference
Milne, L. S. (2019, June)
Metamorphosis, Myth, Dream & Desire: The Case of the Waterwoman. Paper presented at 13th Annual Conference of the International Association for Comparative Mythology, Tartu, Estonia

Dreams and Nightmares in Visual Representation

Presentation / Conference
Milne, L. (2019, May)
Dreams and Nightmares in Visual Representation. Presented at Postgraduate Symposium
A symposium including presentations on work-in-progress by doctoral candidates, Masters by research, and students studying Taught Postgraduate programmes in: Art History; Art,...

Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev: A Journey

Digital Artefact
Milne, L., & Martin, S. (2018)
Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev: A Journey. [Film]
30 mins A commission from Criterion film for a special release of Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev A poetic documentary about the making of Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, with n...

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Hannah Boaden MPhil
  • Richard Ashrowan, PhD Experiemental filmmaking ECA
  • Autumn Laraine MacKey, Online Collaborations in Digital Drawing
  • Ching Yu Chang MPhil
  • Jenny Triggs, PhD ECA
  • Kirstie Skinner, PhD ECA
  • Kristin Mojsiewicz, PhD ECA / Heriot Watt University
  • Mike Bowdige, PhD ECA
  • Electra Bada
  • Alessandra Caporale
  • Ken Neil, MPhil