Professor Jonathan Rayner

Professor of Film Studies


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


I began part-time teaching before and during the completion of my PhD, delivering accredited evening classes in Film Studies for five years at the Division of Adult Continuing Education (now the Department for Lifelong Learning) at the University of Sheffield.

My first full-time post was teaching film history within the Cultural Studies degree at the University of Portsmouth. Subsequently, I taught at the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI), now Glyndwr University, where I was subject leader for media studies and delivered modules in English, media studies and film studies.For three years I worked at Sheffield Hallam University, teaching film history, theory and criticism at undergraduate level and acting as course leader for the MA in Film Studies. I joined the School of English as a member of staff in 2001.

I act as a referee for Australian Studies and Studies in Australasian Cinema. I am a member of the editorial board for Studies in European Cinema, which publishes papers from the European Cinema Research Forum. I am also an Associate Researcher at the White Rose East Asian Centre (WREAC) at the University of Leeds. With Prof Julia Dobson (French and Francophone Studies) I am co-director of the Sheffield Centre for Research in Film (SCRIF). Established in 2013, the Centre brings together staff, researchers and students involved in moving image teaching and research and public engagement activities across the city, in collaboration with the Showroom Cinema. SCRIF’s membership spans numerous departments and schools at Sheffield, and also includes colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University and other White Rose and regional institutions.

Sheffield Centre for Research in Film


My current research centres on connections between cinema and landscape and the representation of navies, naval combat and naval history on film. From my PhD onwards, my interests also include Australasian cinema (particularly Australian Gothic films), genre films and auteur studies. Currently I am working on two book projects: a study of Australian Gothic cinema for University of Wales Press, and a critical history of the representation of the Royal Navy on television for White Rose University Press.

Since 2014 I have been researching the University of Sheffield’s archive of the First World War magazine War Illustrated. This work has been applied to several public engagement and widening participating projects, such as working with GCSE History classes in Sheffield schools, as well as in conference papers and publications. Topics which have been explored through the magazine’s reports and images include: the depictions of children in war; the changing roles and perceptions of women in Europe during the conflict; the Gallipoli campaign; the Somme offensive; representations of war technology, such as the submarine; and the public image of the Royal Navy before and after the Battle of Jutland. These topics have also been the subject of knowledge transfer and public engagement activities during the First World War centenary, including displays and presentations at the Somme Experience Field in Manchester in 2016 and aboard the USS Texas museum ship in Houston in 2018.

In 2011 I undertook, with Dr David Forrest, the ‘Sheffield Film Studies+Sheffield Studies Film’ project in collaboration with two Sheffield Primary Schools. The project's activities have included: working with documentary images of the city to show how aspects of the Sheffield landscape have survived, changed or disappeared; encouraging visual literacy in the interpretation of moving images, in connection with the Education department's ESCAL (Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate) initiative; and exploring how different groups in the city recognize, narrativize and lay claim to their environments through drawings, photographs, storyboards and animated films.

With Prof. Graeme Harper I co-edited a collection of essays on the presence and significance of landscapes in national cinemas worldwide. This collection, Cinema and Landscape: Film and Cultural Geography, was published and launched with an international conference in Sheffield in 2010, and a further volume of papers from this event, Film Landscapes: Cinema, Environment and Visual Culture, appeared in 2013. A third Cinema and Landscape volume, Filmurbia centred on international film representations of suburbs, was published by Palgrave in 2017.

In 2005, I was awarded a six-month Caird Senior Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, during which my research on naval films research was extended to include the Museum's archive of documentary, training, recruitment and actuality films.


I teach in the areas of my research interests: Australian Cinema; New Zealand Cinema; Hollywood Cinema; genre studies; auteur criticism; war films, naval films and history; and Japanese Cinema.

My core literature teaching commitments are to the LIT2000 Genre module. The majority of my teaching time is devoted to Film Studies at levels 1 and 3. I convene and teach on the Introduction to Cinema and Hollywood Cinema modules at level 1, and I am also responsible for the Film Pathway on the MA in English Literature. At MA level I teach on LIT6330 The Analysis of Film, LIT6990 Australian Cinema, LIT631 Post-1945 British Theatre Film and Television and LIT6351 Currents in American Postmodernism.


I welcome applications from researchers working on film, particularly in my research areas. I have supervised film studies PhD students in British, European, Soviet, American and Japanese cinema and maritime films, and have been primary supervisor for PhD researchers within the White Rose ‘Mixed Cinema’ network and the WRoCAH ‘European Film/European Heritage/ European Identity’ studentship network.


  • Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs co-edited with David Forrest and Graeme Harper (Palgrave, 2017)
  • Mapping Cinematic Norths co-edited with Julia Dobson (Peter Lang, 2016)
  • The Cinema of Michael Mann (Columbia UP 2013)
  • Film Landscapes co-edited with Graeme Harper (CSP, 2013)
  • Cinema and Landscape co-edited with Graeme Harper (Intellect, 2010)
  • The Naval War Film: Genre, History and National Cinema (MUP, 2007)
  • The Films of Peter Weir (Cassell/Continuum, 1998, 2nd Edition 2003).
  • Contemporary Australian Cinema (MUP, 2000).
  • The New Zealand and American Films of Geoff Murphy (Kakapo, 1999)
Articles and chapters
  • ‘The Carer, the Combatant and the Clandestine: Images of Women in the First World War in War Illustrated’, Women’s History Review (2017)
  • ‘“The Deadliest Thing that Keeps the Seas”: the tactics, technology and terror of the submarine in War Illustrated’, Journal for Maritime Research vol.19 n.1 (2017)
  • ‘Naval Narratives of Re-Enactment: In Which We Serve and Sea of Fire’, Journal of War and Culture Studies (2016)
  • '"Young Lions of the Old Empire”: The Anzacs and the Reporting of Gallipoli in War Illustrated Magazine’, Australian Studies (2016)
  • '“Where Daddy and Danger Were”: The Portrayal of Children in War Illustrated’, Childhood in the Past vol.7 n.1 (2014)
  • ‘“What does this vaingloriousness down here?”: Thomas Hardy, James Cameron and the Titanic’ in Navigating Cultural Spaces: Maritime Places ed. by Anna-Margaretha Horatschek, Yvonne Rosenberg and Daniel Schabler (Rodopi, 2014)
  • ‘Great Illusions: The Popular Image of the U-boat and The Sinking of the Laconia’, in Recalling War: Representations of the Two World Wars in British Literature and Culture ed. by Wojciech Klepuszewski (Koszalin, 2013)
  • ‘Meditative Tangents: Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm’, Australian Studies vol.4 (2012)‘
  • ‘Monsarrat’s Corvettes and the Battle of the Atlantic’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century English and American War Literature, eds. Adam Piette & Mark Rawlinson (Edinburgh University Press, 2012)
  • ‘Gothic Definitions: The New Australian “Cinema of Horrors”’, Antipodes vol.25 n.1 (2011)
  • ‘Adapting Australian Film: Ray Lawrence, from Bliss to Jindabyne’, Studies in Australasian Cinema vol. 3 n.3 (2010)
  • ‘“Entrusted with the Ruling of the Waves”: Images of the Post-war Royal Navy in the NMM Film Archive’, Journal for Maritime Research (2008)
  • ‘Far from the Fatal Shore: Finding Meaning and Identity in the Rural Australian Landscape’, in Cinematic Countrysides ed. by Robert Fish (MUP, 2007)
  • ‘Live and Dangerous? The Screen Life of Steve Irwin’, Studies in Australasian Cinema vol.1 n.1 (2007)
  • ‘The Film Star of Trafalgar: Nelsonian Imagery and Allusion in Naval Film’, The Trafalgar Chronicle n.17 (2007)
  • ‘Stardom, Reception and the ABBA Musical’, in Film’s Musical Moments, ed. by Ian Conrich and Estella Tincknell (Edinburgh University Press, 2006)
  • ‘Conflict and Conspiracy: Public and Personal Memory in Australian Film,’ Post Script vol.24 nos.2-3, 2005
  • ‘Terror Australis: Areas of Horror in the Australian Cinema’, in Horror: International ed. by Steven Schneider and Tony Williams (Wayne State University Press, 2005)
  • ‘Masculinity, Morality and Action: Michael Mann and the Heist Movie’, in Criminal Visions: Media Representations of Crime and Justice ed. by Paul Mason (Willan Publishing, 2003)
  • ‘New Gothic and New Australians: Multiculturalism and Rehabilitation in John Ruane’s Death Diptych’, Australian Studies vol.18 n.2, Winter (2003)
  • ‘Paradise Transplanted: The Spiritual Landscapes of Vincent Ward’, in New Zealand: A Pastoral Paradise?, ed. by Ian Conrich (Kakapo Books, 2000)
  • ‘Western Australia – Australian Western: Moral Landscapes in Australian Film’, in Australian Studies vol.15 n.1 January (2000)
Other publications
  • ‘“Who Shall Rival the Past Now That Nelson Is Gone?”: Trafalgar and Tradition in War Illustrated 1914-1918The Trafalgar Chronicle n.24 (2014)
  • ‘Sailing on the Small Screen: The Royal Navy on Television’, The Trafalgar Chronicle n.22 (2012)
  • ‘The Cars That Ate Paris’ (Kodak-Atlab/NFSA Archive series), Metro Magazine n.160 (March 2009)
  • ‘The Film Star of Trafalgar: Nelsonian Imagery and Allusion in Naval Film’, The Trafalgar Chronicle n.17 (2007)
  • ‘Geoff Murphy’, in The Critical Guide to Contemporary North American Directors, ed. by Yoram Allon, Del Cullen and Hannah Patterson (Wallflower Press, 2002)