I hold a First Class BA (Hons) in Film and American Studies and an MA in Film Studies from the University of Nottingham. My research interests include engagements between film and history, cultural issues of memory and nostalgia, the biographical film, digital filmmaking practices, home viewing cultures, industry studies (particularly independent cinemas), and issues of authorship.
PhD thesis title: Historical Reassessment in Contemporary American Cinema
Supervisor: Dr. Ed Gallafent
Contemporary Hollywood cinema often adopts processes of historical revisionism in its depiction of certain
cultural icons. In particular, recent representations of historical figures, such as Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
(Andrew Dominik, 2007), Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in Che
(Steven Soderbergh, 2008), and John Dillinger in Public Enemies
(Michael Mann, 2009), have involved a reassessment of the heavily sentimentalised or romanticised modes that have frequently been employed. As Robert A. Rosenstone states, “films are inaccurate, they distort the past, and romanticize people, events, and movements,” and for this reason audiences have often been confronted with a falsified version of history that these films are anxious to readdress.
My thesis investigates various forms of historical reassessment in contemporary American cinema, with a particular emphasis on
the role that digital technologies play in re-framing, re-negotiating, and re-vivifying historical figures and events. The focus of this
work concerns questions relating to cinema’s relationship with history, and how this has been achieved through changing narratives and film aesthetics. The project also explores issues of iconology and mythology in relation to these histories, and how digital has been applied to refigure or recontextualise these frameworks. The thesis is structured as a series of case studies that investigate the reframing of cultural icons across a range of genres, such as the Western, the gangster film and the biographical film, supported by an examination of critical and academic reactions to stylistic and narrative traits in recent depictions.
I am looking to engage with current debates about the mediation of history through film, verisimilitudinous issues of fact and
fabrication, and the role that new cinematic technologies play in these processes. Through examining contemporary creative and aesthetic filmmaking practices, the diversity and complexity of modes of historical reassessment can be broken down and understood in light of their artistic and cultural contexts. This contextualisation also demonstrates the impact of mainstream cinema on societal experiences of history, and this approach allows me to explore the somewhat contradictory impulses these films may present when examining changes in historical reassessment and the complex dialectic between myth and reality.
This research is funded through the AHRC Doctoral award.
‘Printing the legend or the fact: the demythology and remythology of Jesse James.’ 49th Parallel conference, University of Birmingham, September 2012.
‘The Digital Biopic: Refiguring the recent and distant pasts.’ Writing Lives symposium, University of Warwick, May 2012.
‘Contemporary Period Aesthetics: Public Enemies, gangster narratives, and the digitisation of history.’ Contemporary Screen Narratives conference, University of Nottingham, May 2012.
‘The Social Network, temporal technologies, and the internet aesthetic.’ Journeys Across Media: Time Tells - Temporal Excavations in Film, Theatre and Television conference, University of Reading, April 2012.
I was a seminar tutor on the 2nd year Hollywood Cinema module for the 2011-12 academic year. As part of this module I delivered a lecture on The Kingdom (Peter Berg, 2007) and contemporary war aesthetics.
I have completed the ‘Introduction to Academic and Professional Practice: Part 1’ workshop, offered by the Learning and Development Centre as part of the ‘Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’ Postgraduate Award.
My PhD research is funded through the AHRC Doctoral award.
I was awarded the Undergraduate Film and Television Studies Prize in 2008, and the Deloitte Student Course Representative Bronze Award in 2009.
I am an editor for G|A|M|E Game as Art, Media, Entertainment, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to a comparative, critical and theoretical analysis of videogames.
I was the student representative and acting secretary on the postgraduate Staff Student Liaison Committee for 2011-12. I also acted as MA course representative for the 2008-09 academic year.