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I have published widely on British cinema, from the silent period to the present, and from contemporary drama to the heritage film. My books include Waving the Flag: Constructing a National Cinema in Britain (1995) and English Heritage, English Cinema: The Costume Drama Since 1980 (2003; both Oxford University Press). I have also edited two general surveys of British cinema history, which cover the period from the late 1920s to the late 1990s: Dissolving Views: Key Writings on British Cinema (Cassell, 1996), and British Cinema, Past and Present (co-edited with Justine Ashby; Routledge, 2000). A third edited book surveys the development of cinema in Britain in the silent period: Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930 ( University of Exeter Press, 2002). With Richard Maltby, I also co-edited ‘Film Europe’ and ‘Film America’: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange, 1920-1939 (1999; awarded the Prix Jean Mitry), about relations between Hollywood and Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.
Running through much of my work is a concern for questions of national cinema; my article ‘The concept of national cinema’, first published in Screen in 1989, has proved very influential and has been translated and/or reprinted several times. I have published various papers since 1989 which revise my arguments about national and transnational cinema as well as papers on the British heritage film, on the British new wave, on silent cinema, on Channel 4 television and on film acting.
I joined the University of York in January 2009, when I took up the Greg Dyke Chair in Film and Television Studies. I was previously Professor of Film Studies at the University of East Anglia, where I taught for 22 years.
At the University of East Anglia, I taught extensively on British and American cinema, non-mainstream film and British television. I specialise in the teaching of film history, theory and criticism, but I have also worked with colleagues teaching film, video and television studio production.
I was one of the first generation of students to undertake a PhD in Film Studies in the UK, doing so at the University of Kent. Before joining the University of East Anglia (UEA), I taught at Leicester Polytechnic and Sunderland Polytechnic. During the 1980s, I was chair of the Society for Education in Film and Television, and a member of the editorial board of its then journal, Screen, and the BFI’s Regional Consultative Committee. More recently, I served for four years as a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Postgraduate Panel for Visual Arts and Media.
I taught at UEA from 1986 to 2008, becoming a full Professor in 2000. From 1991 to 1998, I was the chair of the Film Studies sector in the large, interdisciplinary School of English and American Studies; in August 2002, I took over as Dean of this School. When the School was dissolved following re-structuring in 2004, I became the inaugural Head of the new School of Film and Television Studies. I was fortunate to be able to play a central role in establishing UEA as one of the leading places in the UK for film and television studies, overseeing an expansion from 3 to 10 staff, as well as a series of high-scoring research and teaching quality assessments, including a top-ranking 5* in the 2001 national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and an exceptionally high 3.40 in the (differently assessed) 2008 RAE (the equal sixth highest ranking of any department in any subject in the UK university system).
I am currently working on three separate projects. I am editing the Routledge Encyclopedia of Film History, with Kristian Moen, Nathalie Morris and Jonathan Stubbs. I am working on a history of Anglia Television, the ITV company for the East of England. But for the first half of 2009, I will be concentrating on completing a book on British cinema in the 1990s and 2000s, provisionally entitled Film England, 1990-2008: (Trans)National Cinema, English Literature and Narratives of the Past and Present .
I am director of the British Cinema History Research Project, funded for the period 2001-2004 by £317,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (now the AHRC). This project has produced an on-line index to a key period of the trade paper Kine Weekly and its variants (1890-1971), and more than 50 on-line transcripts of the interviews with film and television industry veterans carried out since 1986 by the History Project of the trade union BECTU.
I was also the lead applicant for another AHRC-funded project, which was run jointly with the East Anglian Film Archive, ‘Anglia Television at the East Anglian Film Archive’. The £412,000 awarded by the AHRC (£412,000) enabled the archive’s extension collection of Anglia TV materials to be catalogued, and the Anglia Television conference to take place.
I have considerable experience as a PhD supervisor, having supervised nineteen students , on topics ranging from silent to contemporary British, American and European cinema, and from avant-garde to popular cinema, including theses on national cinema, exhibition and reception, cultural history, representations of the past and gender studies.
Twelve of my supervisees were funded by either the British Academy or the AHRC; another four were in receipt of university studentships or overseas funding; eleven of my supervisees now have lecturing posts in universities. With six supervisees completing in the last two years, I am now keen to take on new supervisees: do contact me if you are interested.
In 1998, I organised UEA's very successful Film Studies conference, Cinema, Identity, History: An International Conference on British Cinema.
In 2008, I organised another very successful conference on British television history, Anglia Television and the History of ITV: Programming, Regionalism and the Television Economy.