Dr David Forrest

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


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 took 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 2017 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer, and in 2018 I was made Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching.


My research is concerned with questions of realism, class, and region in contemporary cultural texts, 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 over the last four five years 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.

I am currently in the process of completing my third monograph: New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema, for Edinburgh University Press. I am also undertaking a number of projects on the representation of the North of England in film and television drama, exploring in particular questions of genre, stardom and authorship, many of which .are being developed and delivered in collaboration with Dr Beth Johnson from The University of Leeds.

I am 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.


I teach on and/or convene the following modules: LIT181: Introduction to Cinema; LIT 276 New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema; LIT3058 Imagining the North; LIT110: Hollywood Cinema; LIT6330: Analysis of Film (MA); and LIT631: Post-war British Drama, Film and Television.

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.


I am Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching.


I currently co-supervise PhD students working on a range of projects, including research on contemporary British realist cinema, a practice-led research project on the representation of Blackpool, the lost works of Barry Hines, post-war television drama, mixed reality storytelling, and the films of Andrea Arnold. 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 and social class.


  • New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema, Edinburgh University Press, due 2020.
  • Barry Hines: ’Kes’, ‘Threads’ and Beyond, Manchester University Press, 2017 (co-written with Sue Vice)
  • Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (co-edited with Beth Johnson)
  • Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (co-edited with Graeme Harper and Jonathan Rayner)
  • Social Realism: Art, Nationhood and Politics, CSP, 2013
Articles and chapters
  • ‘Using a Computational Ontology and Mixed Methods in Film Audience Research’(with Matthew Hanchard, Andrew Higson, Peter Merrington, Michael Pidd, Katherine Rogers, Roderik Smits, Nathaniel Townsend, and Simeon Yates), Cultural Trends (forthcoming).
  • ‘Erasing Diversity: Mediating Class, Place, Gender and Race in The Moorside’ (with Beth Johnson), The Journal of British Cinema and Television (forthcoming).
  • ‘Kes: from page to screen’ (with Sue Vice) in Mayne, L., Petrie, D., and Williams, M (eds.), 1960s British Cinema, (Edinburgh University Press, 2019)
  • ‘Art Cinema and the British Poetic Realist Tradition’ in Brian Hoyle and Paul Newland (eds.), British Art Cinema (MUP, 2019)
  • ‘From Researching Heritage to Action Heritage’ (with Kimberley Marwood, Esme Cleall, Vicky Crewe, Toby Pillatt, Gemma Thorpe, and Robert Johnston) in Helen Graham and Jo Vergunst (eds.), Heritage as Community Research (Policy Press, 2019).
  • ‘The Narrative Nightclub and Individual Agency in British Cinema’ (with Matthew Cheeseman) in Nick Bentley, Beth Johnson and Andrzej Zieleniec (eds.), Teenage Kicks: Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
  • ‘Screening South Yorkshire: The Gamekeeper and Looks and Smiles’ (with Sue Vice) in Ewa Mazierska (ed.), Heading North: The North of England in Film and Television (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • ‘Jimmy McGovern’s The Street: Northern Suburbia and the Politics of Everyday Life’ in David Forrest and Beth Johnson (eds.), Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • 'Mike Leigh and the Poetics of English Suburbia' in David Forrest, Graeme Harper, and Jonathan Rayner (eds.)Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • ‘Lesley Sharp and the Alternative Geographies of Performance’ (with Beth Johnson) in The Journal of Popular Television (2016)
  • ‘Northern Television Stardom’ (with Beth Johnson) in The Journal of Popular Television (2016)
  • ‘Archival traces of the North: The Case of Barry Hines’ (with Sue Vice) in Julia Dobson and Jonathan Rayner (eds.), North! Mapping Cinematic Norths (Peter Lang, 2016)
  • ‘A Poetics of the North: Visual and Literary Geographies’ (with Sue Vice) in Hugh Chignell, Ieuan Franklin, and Kristin Skoog (eds.), Regional Aesthetics: Mapping British Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
  • ‘Alan Clarke’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2015)
  • ‘Locating and building knowledges outside of the academy: Approaches to ‘engaged’ teaching at the University of Sheffield’ in Teaching in Higher Education (with Katie Stewart and Julia Udall) (2015)
  • ‘The Films of Joanna Hogg: New British Realism and Class’, Studies in European Cinema (2014)
  • ‘21st Century Social Realism: Shane Meadows and New British Realism’ in Martin Fradley, Sarah Godfrey and Melanie Williams (eds.), Shane Meadows Critical Essays (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • ‘Sheffield Film Studies and Sheffield Studies Film’, with Jonathan Rayner in Film, Environment and Visual Culture (CSP, 2013)
  • ‘David Lean’ in Directory of World Cinemas: Britain (Intellect, 2012)
  • ‘Our Friends in the North and the Instability of the Historical Drama as Archive’, in Journal of British Cinema and Television vol.8 n.2 (2011)
  • 'Better Things (Duane Hopkins, 2008) and New British Realism’, New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film vol.8 n.2 (2010)
  • ‘Shane Meadows and the British New Wave’, Studies in European Cinema vol.6, nos. 2-3 (2009). – reprinted in Robert Murphy (ed.) British Cinema: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 2013)