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Research and PhD Programmes

Film Studies at Brunel has established a substantial body of research in a range of topics, including numerous major contributions to the field. Four themes provide strands within and across which much of this work can be categorized.

  • The politics of representation
  • National and transnational film and TV
  • Documentary practice and theory
  • Gothic, horror and fantasy

Areas in which staff have published major work recognized in the field include British, European, Hollywood, American independent, Hong Kong, African and Third cinema; horror, comedy, the integration of video practice and theory, Marxism and the media, contemporary British and American television, the media ‘effects’ debate and media regulation. Some staff are also filmmakers, particularly in documentary, and/or use documentary itself as a form of research.

Examples of particular areas of recent or current focus under each of the four strands include the following:

  • The politics of representation: Gender roles and identities; British national identity within neoliberalism; representations of the ‘war on terror’; media representations of Islam; genocide and trauma in Rwanda; ecocriticism, film and popular culture.
  • National and transnational film: articulations of ‘quality’ in Hollywood, American independent and art cinema; world cinema and films from the Middle East; Italian cult/filone and horror cinema; British cinema; African cinema
  • Documentary practice and theory: documentary productions set in Rwanda and the Lebanon; film, photography and memory; documentary production based research on class in contemporary British society
  • Gothic and horror: Gender and the gothic; gothic and fairy tale; horror cinema

Visit our staff page for more detail of the research interests of individual members of staff.

The subject is also host to the refereed journal Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media. The latest issue of Intensities is available here.

Research Centres

The College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences hosts two research centres:-

These centres promote international, interdisciplinary and high impact research by acting as key points of contact between academics, practitioners and the wider community.

Postgraduate Research Degrees in Film Studies

Film Studies staff can supervise MPhil and PhD study, including practice-led research, in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Recent and contemporary British, European, Hong Kong, Hollywood and American independent cinema
  • World cinemas, art cinema
  • Cult film, television and other media
  • British and American television
  • Science fiction, horror, comedy, the western, crime films
  • Documentary, video practice
  • Practice-based research
  • Relationships between documentary and fiction
  • Political cinema, activist media
  • Imaging, surveillance, political power and military violence
  • Gender, sexuality and the body in film
  • Marxist and psychoanalytical approaches to screen media
  • Cinematic spectacle, narrative
  • New cinema/media technologies
  • Avant-garde and experimental cinema
  • Ecocriticism and screen media
  • Trade unionism in film and TV industries
  • Animation
  • The Gothic; fairy tales

There are opportunities for part-time teaching on the Department's undergraduate programmes for postgraduates with appropriate skills.

Awards are available from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, and other funding bodies. Some of these funding packages cover tuition fees (at UK/EU rates) and living expenses for the duration of study; others cover the fees, or contribute in other ways towards the cost of study. In addition a number of School bursaries (awarded by competition) meet some of the costs of fees in the first year of study.

For more information please contact

Related PhD courses

Fully-funded studentships

Our funded studentships become available at different times of the year. Please keep checking our page regularly to see the latest funded opportunities. We also advertise all our funded studentships as soon as they become available on the @BrunelResearch twitter account.

View all studentships