Dr Gemma Ballard

School of East Asian Studies

Lecturer in East Asian Studies

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Info Interim Employability Officer (spring semester 2021/22)

Lecturer in East Asian Studies, Director of Recruitment (2023-2025) and Employability Officer

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academic (AFHEA)

Member of the Sheffield Centre for Research in Film (SCRIF)

Gemma Ballard
Profile picture of Gemma Ballard

Full contact details

Dr Gemma Ballard
School of East Asian Studies
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Dr. Gemma Ballard joined SEAS in 2021. Before her appointment as Lecturer in East Asian Studies, she worked as a Research Assistant and Teaching Associate. In the former role, Gemma helped to develop digital initiatives between the School and the wider South Yorkshire tech sector. During her time as a Teaching Associate, she delivered lectures and seminars on a wide range of interdisciplinary cultural and media studies modules. 

At present, she is also the Director of Recruitment (2023-2025) and the departmental Employability Officer. 

Gemma’s research background is in Film Studies and Film Theory. Her current research explores the ways in which contemporary South Korean cinema engages with urban space, and presents Seoul as both a celluloid construct and an authentic national landscape. She is particularly interested in the centralisation of Seoul in Korean popular culture (from the post-liberation space to the present day) and how it influences the concept of ‘Korean-ness’ and Korean national identity.


Ph.D, ‘From Seoul to Soul: Cityscapes, Urban Narratives and National Visions in Post-Millennial South Korean Cinema’, The University of Sheffield.

MA, English Literature (Film Pathway), The University of Sheffield BA Joint Honours, English and Film & Television Studies (University of Derby)

Research interests

Gemma’s research interests include, but are not limited to:

● East Asian Cinema (particularly South Korean Film)

● Genre Theory

● National and Transnational Cinemas

● Cinematic Landscapes

● Korean Popular Culture

● Narratives of Postmodernity

Teaching interests

Teaching philosophy: 

Throughout my time at The University of Sheffield I have taught on a wide variety of Film Studies, Media Studies and Cultural Studies modules.

I have always believed that communication (and, by extension, the development of a rich and constructive dialogue between teacher and student) is key to creating an inclusive, productive and stimulating learning environment. Fundamentally, effective teaching is a collaborative process.

In the classroom, there must be the common understanding between teacher and student that there is a commitment to the greater ownership of learning. My own approach to teaching is often goal driven, with a clear set of objectives to follow. By implementing this targeted learning, students are made aware of what is expected of them, every lesson, and can better track their personal academic development.

I also believe that a sustained passion for the subject and innovative delivery of critical material are key to inspiring students, which is why I try to make my seminars interesting, engaging and, most importantly, fun!

Teaching activities

Teaching Activities Academic Year 2022/23:

Autumn Semester:

  • EAS21006 History of Korean Popular Music (module organiser)
  • EAS21007 Mass Culture in 20th Century East Asia (module tutor)

Spring Semester:

  • EAS1042 Politics, Economy and Society in Korea (module organiser)
  • EAS21007 Mass Culture in 20th Century East Asia (module organiser)
  • EAS6078 MA project (dissertation supervisor)
  • EAS362 Dissertation (dissertation supervisor)


Ballard, G, Urban landscapes and national visions in post-millennial South Korean cinema : from Seoul to soul (2023). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference papers: 

‘Place, Space and the Enigma of National Belonging in Jeong Jae-Eun’s Take Care of my Cat (2001) and Kim Bora’s House of Hummingbird (2018)’, South Korean Women’s Cinema Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, September 2021.

‘Reconstructing the Korean Self: Thirdspace, National Imagination and Conflating Realities in Kim Ki-Duk’s 3-Iron (2004)’, The Sheffield Centre for Research in Film (SCRIF), University of Sheffield, June 2022. 

Journal Articles:

Ballard, G, ‘Euphoric Melodies: Utopian Idealism in ‘Meet Me in St Louis (1944)’’ in Track Changes, Issue 12, 2019. 

Ballard, G, ‘The City and the Self: Intertextuality, Masculine Identity and Images of Postmodernity in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Michael Mann’s Heat (1995)’ in Exclamation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 2, 2018, pp. 40-58.