Dr. Nea Ehrlich

Areas of specialization:

Animation, Contemporary Art, Documentary, Gaming (Ludology), Realism, Virtual Visual Culture

Areas of competence:

Art History, Film Studies, Game Studies, Media Theory, Technology and Visual Culture


Personal website

I completed my PhD in Art History at the University of Edinburgh where my thesis on contemporary animated documentaries linked new media aesthetics with the documentary turn in visual culture. My work lies at the intersection of Art History, Film Studies, Animation, Digital Media Theory, Gaming and Epistemology, tracing media transformations and their relation to visual culture’s potential for producing credible truth claims. I focus on the fluctuating status of novel aesthetics as visual signifiers in wider systems of knowledge production.

In a computerized and omnipresent screen culture, the visual transmission of information is an increasingly central field of study. Furthermore, today’s post-photographic era of heightened awareness towards image manipulation requires a deeper understanding of the role of non-photographic imagery. My aim has been to explore the development of animated documentaries in the context of animation’s relation to other visual fields in order to broaden the scope within which animation is analyzed and understood. My research rethinks the concept of animation to include data visualization, scientific imaging and non-fiction more generally. In an age where the criteria for image believability are increasingly murky, questioning the role and future of the visual in knowledge production is essential.

In 2011 I co-organized the Animated Realities conference at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival and co-curated the festival’s animated documentaries film program. I have published articles in edited volumes and journals and am the co-editor of Drawn from Life, the 2016 anthology about animated documentaries forthcoming by Edinburgh University Press.


  • Co-editor of and a contributor to Drawn from Life, the first anthology about animated documentaries to be published in 2016 by the Edinburgh University Press.
  • “Virtual Documents: Animated Depictions of the Non-Existent?” in Blackwell’s forthcoming Companion to Animation, edited by Paul wells.
  • “D. W. Winnicott and the Contemporary Animated Documentary” in Routledge’s 2013 The Contemporary Visual Studies Reader, edited by James Elkins.
  • “Animated Documentaries: Aesthetics, Politics and Viewer Engagement” in Routledge’s 2013 Pervasive Animation, edited by Suzanne Buchan.
  • “Animated Documentaries as Masking,” in Animation Studies, Vol 6. 2011.
  • “Self Representation and Contemporary Animated Documentaries in an Era of Racial Profiling” in the Pastiche Filmz, University Palazky and Czech Ministry of Education’s 2010 Islands of Animation, edited by Katerina Surmanova.