Professor Andrew Higson

Profile

Biography

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.

Career

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).

Research

Current projects

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 .

Grants

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.

Supervision

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.

Publications

Full publications list

Single-authored books

  • English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama since 1980 , Oxford University Press, 2003; 282pp.
  • Waving The Flag: Constructing a National Cinema in Britain , Oxford University Press, 1995; paperback edition, 1997; 325pp.

Edited books

  • Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930 , University of Exeter Press, 2002; 420 pp. (my contributions include: ‘Introduction’, and ‘Cecil Hepworth, Alice in Wonderland and the development of the narrative film’).
  • British Cinema, Past and Present , co-edited with Justine Ashby, Routledge, 2000; 385 pp. (my contributions include a co-authored ‘Introduction’, and a single-authored chapter, ‘The instability of the national’).
  • ‘Film Europe’ and ‘Film America’: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange, 1920-1939 , co-edited with Richard Maltby, University of Exeter Press, 1999; 406pp.; awarded the Prix Jean Mitry, 2000 (my contributions include ‘“Film Europe” and “Film America”: An Introduction’ [co-author], ‘Cultural policy and industrial practice: Film Europe and the international film congresses of the 1920s’, and ‘Polyglot films for an international market: E.A.Dupont, the British film industry, and the idea of a European cinema’).
  • Dissolving Views: Key Writings on British Cinema , Cassell, 1996; 264pp. (my contributions include: ‘Introduction’, ‘Space, place, spectacle: landscape and townscape in the ‘kitchen sink’ film’ (revised version), and ‘The heritage film and British cinema’).

Textbook

  • Cinema , Wayland Publishers, 1988; 48pp.
    [one of a series of introductory texts on the media for 16‑17 year olds].

Website/Index/Database

Issue editor, journals

  • Screen , vol. 27, no. 6, Nov-Dec 1986, ‘Tears: Melodrama, Music, Mortality’ (co-editor of issue with Ginette Vincendeau)
  • Screen , vol. 26, no. 1, Jan-Feb 1985, ‘British Cinema’ (co-editor of issue with Steve Neale)
  • Screen , vol. 24, no. 6, Nov-Dec 1983 (co-editor of issue with John Ellis)

Chapters in books

2007

  • ‘A indústria cinematográfica britânica’ (co-authored with James Caterer), in Alessandra Meleiro (ed.), Cinema No Mundo: Indústria, Política e Mercado, Vol. V: Europa, Sao Paulo: Escrituras Editora, 2007, pp. 59-85 (a revised, expanded and updated version of ‘Great Britain’, in Gorham Kindem, ed., The International Movie Industry, Southern Illinois University Press, 2000, pp. 234-246) .

2006

  • ‘A green and pleasant land: rural spaces and British cinema’, in Catherine Fowler and Gillian Helfield, eds, Representing the Rural: Space, Place and Identity in Films About the Land , Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 240-255.
  • ‘Crossing over: exporting indigenous heritage to the USA’, in Sylvia Harvey, ed., Trading Culture: Global Traffic and Local Cultures in Film and Television, Eastleigh: John Libbey Publishing, pp. 203-217.
  • ‘Fiction and the film industry’, in Jim English, ed., The Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction, Oxford: Blackwells, 2006, pp. 58-79.

2004

  • ‘English heritage, English literature, English cinema: selling Jane Austen to movie audiences in the 1990s’, in Eckart Voigts-Virchow, ed., "Janespotting” and Beyond: British Heritage Retrovisions Since the Mid-1990s , Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2004, pp. 35-50.

2002

  • The Flag Lieutenant: waving the flag differently in Britain and America’, in Alan Burton and Laraine Porter, eds, Crossing the Pond: The ‘Special Relationship’ Between Britain and America, Flicks Books, 2002, pp. 82-91.

2001

  • ‘“ Britain’s finest contribution to the screen”: Flora Robson and character acting’, in Bruce Babington, ed., British Stars and Stardom: from Alma Taylor to Sean Connery, Manchester University Press, 2001, pp. 68-79.
  • ‘Heritage cinema and television’, in Kevin Robins and Dave Morley, eds., British Cultural Studies, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 249-260.
  • ‘Figures in a landscape: the performance of Englishness in Hepworth’s Tansy’, in Alan Burton and Laraine Porter, eds, The Showman, the Spectacle and the Two-Minute Silence: Performing British Cinema Before 1930 , Flicks Books, 2001, pp. 53-62.

2000

  • ‘National cinemas, international markets, cross-cultural identities’, in Ib Bondebjerg, ed., Moving Images, Culture and the Mind, University of Luton Press, 2000, pp. 205-214.
  • ‘The limiting imagination of national cinema’, in Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie, eds., Cinema and Nation, Routledge, 2000, pp. 63-74.
  • ‘ Great Britain’, in Gorham Kindem, ed., The International Movie Industry, Southern Illinois University Press, 2000, pp. 234-246.

Before 2000

  • ‘Heritage discourses and British Cinema before 1920’, in John Fullerton, ed., Celebrating 1895: Proceedings of the International Conference on Film Before 1920, John Libbey, 1998, pp. 182-189.
  • ‘British Cinema’, in John Hill and Pamela Church-Gibson, eds., The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 501-509.
  • ‘“A film League of Nations”: Gainsborough, Gaumont-British and “Film Europe”’, in Pam Cook, ed., Gainsborough Pictures, Cassell, 1997, pp.60-79.
  • Pool of London’, in Alan Burton, Tim O’Sullivan, and Paul Wells, eds., Liberal Directions: Basil Dearden and Postwar British Film Culture, Flicks Books, 1997, pp.162-171.
  • ‘Nationality and the media’, in Adam Briggs and Paul Cobley, eds., The Media: An Introduction, Addison Wesley Longman, London, 1997, pp. 354-364 (revised version, 2001).
  • ‘Film-Europa: Kulturpolitik und Industrielle Praxis’, in Sibylle M. Sturm and Arthur Wohlgemuth, ed., Hallo? Berlin? Ici Paris!: Deutsch-französische Filmbeziehungen, 1918-1939, Edition Text + Kritik, Munich, 1996, pp. 63-76.
  • ‘The victorious re-cycling of national history: Nelson’, in Karel Dibbets and Bert Hogenkamp, eds., Film and the First World War, Amsterdam University Press, 1995, pp.108-115.
  • ‘A diversity of film practices: renewing British cinema in the 1970s’, in Bart Moore‑Gilbert, ed., Catastrophe Culture? : The Challenge of the Arts in the 1970s, Routledge, 1994, pp.216-239.
  • ‘Gothic fantasy as art cinema: the secret of female desire in The Innocents’, in Allan Lloyd Smith and Victor Sage, eds., Gothick Origins and Innovations, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1994, pp.204-216.
  • ‘Re‑presenting the national past: nostalgia and pastiche in the heritage film’, in Lester Friedman, ed., Fires Were Started: British Cinema and Thatcherism, University of Minnesota Press and UCL Press, 1993, pp.109-129.
  • ‘Way West: Deutsche Emigranten und die britische Filmindustrie’, in Jörg Schöning, ed., London Calling: Deutsche im britischen Film der dreissiger Jahre, Edition Text + Kritik, Munich, 1993, pp.42-54.
  • ‘Film-Europa: Dupont und die britische Filmindustrie’, in Jurgen Bretschneider, ed., Ewald Andre Dupont: Autor und Regisseur, Munich: Edition Text + Kritik, 1992, pp.89-100.
  • ‘“ Britain’s outstanding contribution to the film”: the documentary‑realist tradition’, in Charles Barr, ed., All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema, BFI, 1986, pp.72-97.
  • ‘Five films: addressing the nation’, and (with Steve Neale) ‘Afterword’, in Geoff Hurd, ed., National Fictions: World War 2 in British Films and TV, BFI, 1984, pp.22-26, and 73-76.

Translations, reprints and revised versions of previously published material

  • ‘Re‑presenting the national past: nostalgia and pastiche in the heritage film’, in Lester Friedman, ed., Fires Were Started: British Cinema and Thatcherism, London: Wallflower Press, 2006 (revised edition of essay/book first published in 1993).
  • ‘The concept of national cinema’, in Pete Wall, Andrew Hickman and Peter Bennett, eds, Film Studies: The Essential Resource (Routledge, 2006) (first published in Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989).
  • 安德鲁·希格森,《电影艺术》,2006年第5期。总第310期, pp. 124-129 [Chinese translation of ‘The Instability of National Cinema’, in Film Art ( Beijing), vol. 310, May 2006, pp124-129; translated by Dan Sha and Xiaolan Zhao].
  • ‘The instability of the national’, in Metropolis, forthcoming (Hungarian translation of chapter first published in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson, eds, British Cinema, Past and Present, Routledge, 2000).
  • ‘The limiting imagination of national cinema’, in Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, eds., Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader, Routledge, 2006, pp. 15-26 (first published in Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie, eds., Cinema and Nation, Routledge, 2000).
  • ‘ Film acting and independent cinema’, in Pamela Robertson Wojcik, ed., Movie Acting: The Film Reader, Routledge (In Focus series), 2004 ( first published in Screen, vol 27, nos 3‑4, May/August 1986).
  • ‘The concept of national cinema’, in Catherine Fowler, ed., The European Cinema Reader, Routledge, 2002, pp. 132-42 (first published in Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989).
  • ‘The concept of national cinema’, in Alan Williams, ed., Film and Nationalism, Rutgers University Press, 2002 (first published in Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989).
  • ‘ Idea kinematografii narodowej’ , in Piotra Sitarskiego, ed., Kino Europy, Cracow: Rabid Publishing House, 2001, pp. 9-22 (Polish translation of ‘The concept of national cinema’, first published in Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989).
  • ‘Re‑constructing the nation: This Happy Breed, 1944’, in Wheeler Winston Dixon, ed., Re-Viewing British Cinema 1900-1992: Essays and Interviews, State University of New York Press, 1994, pp. 67-82 (first published in Film Criticism, vol. XVI, nos.1-2, Fall/Winter, 1991-92).
  • ‘ Kansallisen elokuvan käsitteestä’ , Lähikuva , nos. 3-4, 1996, pp. 6-15 (Finnish translation of ‘The concept of national cinema’, first published in Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989).
  • ‘Film acting and independent cinema’, in Jeremy G. Butler, (ed.), Star Texts: Image and Performance in Film and Television, Wayne State University Press, 1991, pp.155-181 (first published in Screen, vol 27, nos 3‑4, May/August 1986).

Articles in journals

  • ‘Film Europe: a transnational challenge to the idea of British cinema’, La Lettre de la Maison Française d’Oxford , no. 11, Trinity/Michaelmas 1999, pp. 21-28.
  • ‘Re‑constructing the nation: This Happy Breed, 1944’, Film Criticism, vol.XVI, nos.1-2, Fall/Winter, 1991-92, pp.95-110.
  • ‘The concept of national cinema’, Screen, vol. 30, no. 4, Autumn 1989, pp.36-46 (since translated into Finnish, Chinese and Polish, and reprinted in collections published by Rutgers and Routledge).
  • ‘Saturday night or Sunday morning? British cinema in the 1950s’, Ideas and Production, issue IX‑X, 1989, pp.141-160.
  • ‘The landscapes of television’, in Landscape Research, vol 12, no 3, Winter 1987, pp.8-13.
  • ‘Film acting and independent cinema’, in Screen, vol 27, nos 3‑4, May/August 1986, pp.110-132.
  • ‘The discourses of British Film Year’, in Screen, vol 27, no 1, Jan/Feb 1986, pp.86-110.
  • ‘Space, place, spectacle’, in Screen, vol 25, nos 4‑5, July/Oct 1984, pp.2-21.

Introductions, review articles, conference proceedings, interviews, encyclopaedia entries, occasional papers, etc

  • ‘Foreword’, in Paul Quinn, The Small Picture: 1950s Britain Goes to the Movies, Edwin Mellen Press, 2008, 1300 words, forthcoming.
  • ‘Charles Barr’ (career profile), in Viewfinder, no. 71, June 2008, p. 31.
  • ‘Cinema, Englishness and the heritage industry’, in Marte Hjulstad, Historiens Vägar: Gestaltning, Historia och Kulturarv, Conference Proceedings, ISKA ( Sweden), 2005, pp. 68-89.
  • ‘“There’s no such thing as a mass audience”’, Andrew Higson interviewed by Eckart Voigts-Virchow, in Anglistik, vol. 14, no. 2, September 2003, pp. 7-14.
  • Entries on ‘Heritage cinema’, ‘Merchant Ivory Productions’ and ‘Film Europe’ for Encyclopaedia of British Film, ed. Brian McFarlane, Methuen/BFI, 2004.
  • ‘British cinema and internationalism: Film Europe in the late 1920s and 1930s’, in James Donald and Stephanie Donald, eds., British Cinema and National Identity, Research Papers in Media and Cultural Studies, CulCom, University of Sussex, 1995.
  • ‘The British documentary film movement: two new books’ (review article), Screen, vol. 32, no. 3, Autumn 1991, pp.350-356.
  • ‘Race, nation, multi‑culturalism: British cinema and television under Thatcherism’ (review article), Hard Times, no. 42, Dec. 1990, pp.22-24.
  • Entries on The Blue Lamp, Gregory’s Girl, Tom Jones, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and This Sporting Life for the revised edition of the International Dictionary of Films and Film‑makers, vol. 1: Films, ed. Nick Thomas, St James Press, 1990.
  • ‘British cinema since 1975’ (review article), in Henry Dougier, ed., Autrement Editions, Paris, 1990.
  • ‘“A wee trendy channel”: a review of some recent books on Channel 4 Television’, Screen, vol. 30, no. 2, Spring 1989, pp.80-91.
  • ‘Black people on British television’ (conference review), Independent Media, nos.79-80, July-Aug 1988, pp.26-27.
  • ‘Introduction’ (with Ginette Vincendeau), in Screen, vol 27, no 6, Nov/Dec 1986 (on melodrama and film music), pp.2-5.
  • ‘Fantomes a louer’ (interview with Jack Clayton, about The Innocents), translated into French, in Le Magazine Litteraire (France), no 222, Sept 1985, pp.38-39.
  • ‘Acting taped: an interview with Mark Nash and James Swinson’, in Screen, vol 26, no 5, Sept/Oct 1985, pp.2-25.
  • ‘Introduction: components of the national film culture’ (with Steve Neale), in Screen, vol 26, no 1, Jan/Feb 1985 (on British cinema), pp.3-8.
  • ‘A celebration of cinema’, in Screen, vol 25, no 6, Nov/Dec 1984 (review of Super‑8 film festival), pp.49-56.
  • ‘Sound cinema’, in Screen, vol 25, no 1, Jan/Feb 1984 (review of weekend school on cinema and sound), pp.74-78.
  • ‘Critical theory and British cinema’, in Screen, vol 24, nos 4‑5, July/Oct 1983 (review of books on British cinema), pp.80-95.

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

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.

Andrew Higson - Staff Page Picture

Contact details

Prof. Andrew Higson
Department of Theatre, Film and Television
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5234