Professor David Forrest
School of English
Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching
Professor in Film and Television Studies
+44 114 222 8493
Full contact details
School of English
1 Upper Hanover Street
I came to Sheffield in 2002 to study as an undergraduate and stayed on to do an MA in International Cinema and a PhD in British social realism. After finishing my PhD in 2009, I undertook a variety of teaching, research and public engagement roles in the School of English before being appointed Lecturer in Film Studies in September 2012. In 2018 I was made Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching, having previously served in an interim capacity as Assistant Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching and University Director of Learning and Teaching for Student Engagement.
- Research interests
My research is concerned with questions of realism, class, region, and sport in film, television, and literature, and I am increasingly interested in the relationships between representations of place and landscape and audiences’ and readers’ lived experiences. I have published widely in the areas of British film and television drama, working-class literature, and pedagogy.
Much of my work has been focused on the novelist and film and television writer Barry Hines, perhaps best known for the novel A Kestrel for a Knave (1968) and the TV play, Threads (1984). Together with my co-author Professor Sue Vice, I completed a book on Hines that was published by Manchester University Press in 2017.
My third monograph, New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020, and concluded a decade long exploration of the evolution of realist cinema in Britain.
Between 2017 and 2021 I was co-investigator on the AHRC project ‘Beyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Films in English Regions’, working alongside colleagues from the universities of Glasgow, Liverpool and York. This work developed my interests in audiences and particularly the use of focus groups in film studies research.
I am currently co-investigator on the OFS/Research England-funded project ‘Transforming and Activating Places’, collaborating with colleagues from Arts and Humanities Knowledge Exchange to better understand ‘what works’ in student knowledge exchange. This two-year project funds 140 students to undertake enhanced work placements with partner organisations in Sheffield and beyond, and builds upon my longstanding interests in engaged learning, employability, inclusive pedagogy, and place-based education.
My other ongoing research projects concern the role of sports narratives in British culture. I am particularly interested in what happens when former athletes, such as David Storey and Barry Hines, become writers, and what their ‘sports stories’ have to tell us about class, mental health, education, and gender.
I serve on the editorial board of The Journal of British Cinema and Television and review journal articles for Studies in European Cinema, The Sociological Review, New Cinemas, and The European Journal of Cultural Studies, amongst others, and co-convene the British Association of Film and Television Studies Special Interest Group on British Cinema and Television.
Aside from my academic work, I have written about running for The Guardian and Like the Wind magazine.
- New Realism: Contemporary British Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Barry Hines: Kes, Threads and Beyond. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Social Realism: Art, Nationhood and Politics. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
- The Inclusive Learning and Teaching Handbook. The Inclusive Learning and Teaching Project, University of Sheffield.
- Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Viewing I, Daniel Blake in the English regions: towards an understanding of realism through audience interpretation. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 18(3), 259-279.
- Barry Hines's palimpsestic city. Landscape Research. View this article in WRRO
- A ‘space to imagine’: Frenchness and the pleasures and labours of art cinema in the English regions. Studies in European Cinema. View this article in WRRO
- Erasing Diversity: Mediating Class, Place, Gender and Race in The Moorside. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 17(1), 91-111. View this article in WRRO
- Developing a computational ontology to understand the relational aspects of audience formation. Emerald Open Research, 2.
- Using mixed-methods, a data model and a computational ontology in film audience research. Cultural Trends, 28(2-3), 118-131.
- Lesley Sharp and the alternative geographies of Northern English Stardom. Journal of Popular Television, 4(2), 199-212. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Northern English Stardom (Dossier Introduction). Journal of Popular Television, 4(2), 196-198.
- Locating and building knowledges outside of the academy: approaches to engaged teaching at the University of Sheffield. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(2), 158-170. View this article in WRRO
- The films of Joanna Hogg: new British realism and class. Studies in European Cinema, 11(1), 64-75.
- Our Friends in the North and the Instability of the Historical Drama as Archive. The Journal of British Cinema and Television, 8(2), 218-233.
- Better Things (Duane Hopkins, 2008) and new British realism. New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, 8(1), 31-43.
- Shane Meadows and the British New Wave: Britain’s Hidden Art Cinema. Studies in European Cinema, Six(2 & 3), 191-201.
- Landscapes of Resistance in the English North: the Poetics of Freedom in Kes (1969) and The Selfish Giant (2013) In Müller KP (Ed.), Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020 700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence Oxford: Peter Lang.
- Kes: from page to screen In Mayne L, Petrie D & Williams M (Ed.), Sixties British Cinema Reconsidered Edinburgh University Press
- Art cinema and the British poetic realist tradition In Newland P & Hoyle B (Ed.), British Art Cinema: Creativity, Experimentation and Innovation Manchester University Press
- From researching heritage to action heritage, Heritage as Community Research (pp. 171-186).
- From researching heritage to action heritage, Heritage as Community Research (pp. 171-186). Policy Press
- The Narrative Nightclub, Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media (pp. 91-107). Springer International Publishing
- Mike Leigh and the Poetics of English Suburbia In Forrest D, Harper G & Rayner J (Ed.), Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs (pp. 49-63). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Jimmy McGovern’s The Street and the Politics of Everyday Life, Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain (pp. 29-43). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Screening South Yorkshire: The Gamekeeper and Looks and Smiles In Mazierska E (Ed.), Heading North: The North of England in Film and Television (pp. 113-132). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Introduction. Filmurbia: Cinema and the Suburbs, Filmurbia (pp. 1-10). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Introduction, Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain (pp. 1-9).
- Introduction, Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain (pp. 1-9). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Archival Traces of the North in Barry Hines' Looks and Smiles (1981) and Threads (1984) In Dobson J & Rayner J (Ed.), Mapping Cinematic Norths (pp. 17-45). Oxford: Peter Lang.
- A Poetics of the North: Visual and Literary Geographies In Chignell H, Franklin I & Skoog K (Ed.), Regional Aesthetics Mapping UK Media Cultures (pp. 55-70). Palgrave Macmillan
- 21st Century Social Realism: Shane Meadows and New British Realism In Bell M & Fradley M (Ed.) Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Twenty-first-century social realism: Shane meadows and new British realism, Shane Meadows: Critical Essays (pp. 35-49).
- Sheffield Film Studies and Sheffield Studies Film In Harper G & Rayner J (Ed.), Film Landscapes: Cinema, Environment and Visual Culture Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
- Shane Meadows and the British New Wave: Britain’s hidden art cinema’, In Murphy R (Ed.), British Cinema. 4 Vols
- Introduction (pp. 1-4). Duke University Press
- Through falling in love it’s like he’s seeing this landscape, seeing that beauty. University of Birmingham.
- Research group
I currently supervise and co-supervise PhD students working on a range of projects, including research on contemporary British realist cinema, an archival study of British television drama, and mixed reality storytelling. Previous student projects have included work on contemporary British realist cinema, the lost works of Barry Hines, and heritage television. I welcome applications from students wishing to work on most areas of British cinema, European cinema, television drama, and on literary, film and television narratives of region, sport and social class.
- Teaching activities
I teach on and/or convene the following modules: LIT181: Introduction to Cinema; LIT 276 New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema; LIT3058 Imagining the North; LIT6330: Analysis of Film (MA); LIT631: Post-war British Drama, Film and Television; and EGH 61006: Contemporary Cinemas.
In 2014 I was awarded a University of Sheffield Senate Award for excellence in Learning and Teaching, and in 2016 I was made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.