Visual cultures, film and performance

This cluster brings together research profiles and projects in the fields of film and moving image media, visual culture, art and performance.

Film reels. Credit Gualtiero Boffi / EyeEm

It supports outstanding research, strong curricula of research-led teaching and research supervision across the School of Languages and Cultures and fosters interdisciplinary research collaborations across the University and through national and international networks.

Within the cluster, there is longstanding expertise in the communication of our research to diverse audiences and this is reflected in our sustained engagement work with external partners.

Cinema and moving image media

The cluster provides a strong focus on film, cinema and moving image media. This features work on cinema including the shifting figure of the auteur, new forms of documentary film, the construction of place and the representation of adolescence in contemporary French film (Dobson) and expertise on the construction of gender and sexuality in contemporary French film and the cinema of Marguerite Duras (Gunther).

News media representations of the narcoeconomy and organised crime in Mexico are addressed as part of an AHRC-funded project ‘Narco-Mex. Drugs and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1910-2012’ (Watt).

In the below Sky News Live video Dr Peter Watt, Lecturer in Latin American Studies at University of Sheffield and author of Drug War Mexico: Politics, Neoliberalism and Violence in the New Narcoeconomy discusses Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's arrest in Mexico.

Visual Culture and Art

Expertise on French, Latin American and Spanish visual cultures is a strong feature of the cluster. The School has benefitted from longstanding research and engagement with contemporary practitioners, especially artists from France and the MENA region (Crawley Jackson). This research has particularly interests in the ways in which the city is both represented and practised in contemporary art.

Dr Amanda Crawley-Jacksons interviews SLC Artist in Residence Nicolas Moulin below:

Research on Latin American visual culture presents a particular focus on photography, fine art and film from Mexico (Banwell).

The principal foci of this research are the representation of the body, death and the ways in which art responds to external and internal traumas. The cluster is also home to a series of research projects on the relationship between sport, literature and visual culture in Latin America (Wood).

Text and image are combined in research on the evolution of the comic book and French bande dessinée, with a current focus on the theme of the liberating adventure in 'girl' comics of the 1950s (Michallat).

Theatre, Performance and Music

A new project exploring the cross-cultural encounters which led to the birth of Afro-Latin Music in New York is engaging students through an UG module: ‘Popular Music in the Hispanic World’ (Watt).

Longstanding work on the collaborations between Hélène Cixous and the internationally acclaimed Théâtre du Soleil forms a context to a major project on performing objects and their role in contemporary renegotiations of our understanding of otherness, our relation to the material world and to what it means to be human (Dobson).

Examples of recent activities:

All researchers in the cluster regularly share their work in national and international conferences and workshops. Many researchers in the School have public engagement and research projects with local, national and international partners (for more on this please see the School's Public Engagement pages).

Artist Bruno Boudjelal visited SLC to talk to students and deliver a research seminar (2016)

Dr Crawley Jackson and Dr Sophie Watt gave a conference paper: ‘The Longer Story, The Bigger Picture: Representing the “Migrant Crisis”’ at the University of Chester, (2015)

Prof. Dobson worked with DocFest, London Comedy Festival and the institut français to curate and present public French film events (2012-16)

Dr Crawley-Jackson through Furnace Park has held various exhibitions and art projects including Ben Cain and Benjamin Sabatier (2013-16)

Dr Peter Watt is recipient of AHRC grant for 4-year international research project "Narco-Mex. Drugs and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1910-2012." with University of Warwick and University of Gronigen (2014-2018)

Postgraduate research

The establishment of co-supervisory teams within and beyond SLC supports cross-disciplinary and cross-linguistic research projects. We welcome proposals from potential postgraduate students in all these fields.

Current and recent postgraduate students in these fields:

Stacy Dunlea (2011 - 2015), 'Representations of Bolivia in the UK Media'
Martin Elms (2011 – (part-time) ‘Contemporary Algerian Art’
Rupert Knox (2014 -) 'Social Media and Human Rights in Mexico'
Victoria Pugh (2015 -) ‘Gender, anatomy and display in the National Fairground Archive’
Svea Schauffler (2008-2012) ‘Subtitling humour in ‘Wallace and Grommet’ films from English into German’ 
Mohammed Anas Baghajati (2012 - ) ‘Subtitling political satire from English into Arabic’

Our research

The School of Languages and Cultures boasts a thriving research community of academic staff, postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate students. 

Research in the School