Dr Nathan Townsend
Research Fellow XR Stories/Lecturer in Creative Industries



I joined the department as an Associate Lecturer in Film and Television Studies in September 2016. My academic background is in Communications Studies and Sociology (Leeds, BA) and Film Studies (Nottingham, MA), before graduating with a PhD from York in 2014. I have taught continuously at TFTV since 2011 on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules which are primarily concerned with issues of history, theory and analysis in film and television studies. These include the core undergraduate modules Cinema: History & Analysis, Television: History & Analysis, The Discipline of Genre and Current Issues in Film & Television. At postgraduate level I have also taught on the modules Storytelling and Critical Reflections in Film and Television.  From the 2017/18 academic year I will be working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Professor Andrew Higson on the AHRC-funded project, Beyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Film in English Regions.


Selected publications

Townsend, Nathan (forthcoming, 2018), 'Working Title Films and Universal Pictures: The integration of a British production company into a Hollywood Studio', Journal of British Cinema and Television.
Townsend, Nathan (forthcoming, 2018), ‘PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Working Title Films: The making of a film studio and its production label’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.
Townsend, Nathan. (2014) ‘The trans/national Divide: Towards a Typology of “Transatlantic British Cinema” During the 1930s and 1940s’. In Cinema, Television & History: New Approaches, ed. Laura Mee and Johnny Walker, 121-141. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.



My research cuts across several intersecting areas which are of central importance to film and television studies as disciplines. On one hand, it engages with the determinants of structure, process and agency within specific media institutions which, in turn, invoke debates about the interplay between creativity and commerce. On the other, it encompasses a consideration of the relationship between media industries and cultures in national, transnational and global terms. 
Such concerns were central to my research which has led to (forthcoming) publications in The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and the Journal of British Cinema and Television which explore the relationship between the London-based production company, Working Title Films, and its successive parent companies, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures. My current research focusses on United International Pictures (UIP), the London-headquartered distribution and marketing company which formerly distributed the films of four major Hollywood studios: Dreamworks, MGM, Paramount and Universal.

External activities


I am a member of the British Association of Film and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) and its Screen Industries Special Interest Group. I have presented a number of conferences in the UK and Europe, including MeCETES European Screens Conference, University of York (2016),  ECREA Conference: European Cinemas, Intercultural Meetings: Aesthetics, Politics, Industry, History, University of Copenhagen (2015) and White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) Symposium: Researching European Film and Television, University of York (2015).


Profile photo

Contact details

Dr Nathan Townsend
Associate Lecturer
Theatre, Fim and Television
University of York
Baird Lane
Heslington East
YO10 5GB

Tel: 01904 325232