I did my BA in English Literature at Queen Mary’s (or QMW as it was then) and both my MA, (in Culture and Social Change) and PhD (in contemporary film and fiction) at the University of Southampton. I joined Warwick in 2017 from the University of Birmingham where I was based from 2004 having previously taught at Brunel University. In 2016-17, I was the principal investigator on the AHRC funded project ‘Digital Technology and Human Vulnerability: Towards an Ethical Praxis’. In 2019-20, I was the principal investigator for the follow-on project 'Life:Moving Onwards: Ethical Praxis and the use of film in the International End of Life Community'. I am the director/curator of Screening Rights Film Festival, the Midlands International Festival of Social Justice film and debate, which launched in 2015.
These centre on the question of the potential of film to affect and even effect personal, social and political change. Historically, this meant writing about the power and ethics of representation and spectatorship in relation to, principally, mainstream English language cinema. In recent years, these interests have very much turned both outwards and towards film practice and I am, increasingly, engaged in community-based collaborations - with artists, filmmakers and community groups – that create work and events that exploit and explore this potential of film. Digital Technology and Human Vulnerability: Towards an Ethical Praxis’ centred on the co-creation and then sharing of films by participants from John Taylor Hospice in Erdington. The Life:Moving exhibition, of the six films that resulted, has been shared with community groups, end of life professionals and the public in the UK and abroad. Follow-on Funding allowed me to share the films with these stakeholders in East Africa and in Australia. The films and research have now been turned into a training resourceLink opens in a new window for their enduring use and application. Over the last decade, I have delivered intensive ‘smart phone filmmaking’ courses: with A' Level students in 2013 and 2014, with university students in the West Bank in 2016 and 2017, and with activists in Coventry associated with the secondary mental health service, the Pod on 2021. The best films emerging from these initiatives would be screened during Screening Rights Film Festival. I hope to continue using this course to create social-justice oriented short films with different communities in the future. Since introducing a practice as research PhD at Warwick, various practitioners now work with me on more substantial social justice film projects.
I am developing my next monograph, which builds upon this recent research as well my ongoing commitment to ethical film theory, called 'Against Acquittance: Radical Critique, Ethical Praxis and the Hope of the Moving Image'.
Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography, and I (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014). Winner of the Kraszna Krausz Foundation Best Moving Image Book Prize 2015
Spectatorship: The Power of Looking On (London: Wallflower, 2007)
Ed. Envisaging Death: Visual Culture and Dying (Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)
Ed. New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004)
Ed. The Body’s Perilous Pleasures (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999)
Ed. “Text < - > Screen” EnterText 1.2 (Spring/Summer 2001)
'Love’s Revival: Film Practice and the Art of Dying' Film-Philosophy Vol. 24, no. 2 (2020) Winner of the 2021 best Film Philosophy article
'Sharing in Winter: Film, Participatory Practice and the Art of Dying' in Simon Banham, Sarah Hunter, Michael Brady, and Renny O'Shea, eds. Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring - Staging Life and Death (Manchester: MUP, 2019)
‘Ethics and Digital Film’, for 40th year of Film Criticism (Jan 2016)
“Cinema and Suicide: Necromanticism, Necropolitics and the Logic of the Vanishing Point” Cinema Journal Vol. 53, no. 2 (2014)
“Passing Through: Queer Lesbian Film and Fremde Haut” Journal of Lesbian Studies Vol. 16, no. 3 (Summer 2012)
‘Looking On and Looking the Other Way: Hotel Rwanda and the Racialised Ethics of Spectatorship’ in James Walters and Tom Brown, eds. Film Moments (London: BFI: 2010)
‘Towards Queer Television Theory: Bigger Pictures sans the Sweet Queerafter’ in Glyn Davis and Gary Needham, eds. Queer TV (London: Routledge, 2008)
‘(Fill-in-the) Blank Fiction: Dennis Cooper's Cinematics and the Complicitous Reader” Journal of Modern Literature Vol. 27, no. 2 (Fall 2004)
“Pass/Fail: Screen Debate on Boys Don’t Cry” Screen Vol.42, no. 1 (March 2001)
‘The Queer Jew and Cinema: From Yidl to Yentl and Back and Beyond’ Jewish Culture and History 3.1 (2000)
I have supervised PhDs on lesbian fandom and television, on David Foster Wallace's toxic masculinity, on contemporary cinema: and masochistic masculinity, and fatherhood and AIDS. I’m currently supervising PhDs on ethics and films about the Iraq War, queer streaming and Chilean cinema and trauma.
Film and Social Change
Tuesdays: 4 - 5pm
Wednesdays: 9 - 10am
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