Dr Jonathan Rayner

Contact Photograph of Dr Jonathan Rayner

Room 1.23, Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Internal extension: 28457
Phone number: +44 (0)114-222-8457
Fax: +44 (0)114-222-8481

email : j.r.rayner@sheffield.ac.uk


I began part-time teaching before and during the completion of my PhD, delivering accredited evening classes in Film Studies at the Division of Adult Continuing Education (now the Institute of Life Long 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, and a member of the Sheffield Marine Research Forum. In 2013, with Dr Julia Dobson (Dept. of French) I helped set up the Sheffield Centre for Research in Film, which brings together moving image research and public engagement activities across the city, in collaboration with the Showroom Cinema. An edited collection from the Centre’s first symposium, ‘Mapping Cinematic Norths’, is forthcoming.

Sheffield Centre for Research in Film
Sheffield Marine Research Forum


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 horror films), genre films and auteur studies.

Since 2013 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; and the representation of the Royal Navy before and after the Battle of Jutland.

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.

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 and actuality films on naval matters.

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, centred on film representations of suburbia, is planned for 2015.


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 LIT 2000 Genre module. The majority of my teaching time is devoted to Film Studies at levels 1 and 3, offering approved modules devoted to European Silent Cinema and Film Authorship. 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.


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

White Rose University Consortium – ‘European Film/European Heritage/European Identity’



  • Filmurbia: Screening the Suburbs co-edited with David Forrest and Graeme Harper (Palgrave, forthcoming)
  • Mapping Cinematic Norths co-edited with Julia Dobson (Peter Lang, forthcoming)
  • 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

  • ‘“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)