You can specialise in either Film Practice or Film Studies. Our Film Practice PhD provides you with a unique opportunity to develop your film as a practice-led research project. Alternatively you can undertake a Film Studies, MPhil or PhD studying British, Algerian, Chinese, French or Latin American cinema.
Film Practice, PhD
Newcastle University has embarked on an ambitious programme of growth in film practice under the name of Film@CultureLab.
Led by award winning documentary filmmaker Dr Ian McDonald, Film@CultureLab is committed to developing a distinctive approach to film practice pedagogy and research. This is rooted in an understanding of film as a cinematic medium and filmmaking as a means of expression and of challenging, critiquing, and intervening in the social and historical world.
Acclaimed filmmakers Nick Broomfield and John Akomfrah joined Film@CultureLab as Visiting Professors of Film Practice in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Film@CultureLab also recently established Film Praxis, a public-facing screenings and events initiative.
Supervisors in Film@CultureLab
Dr Ian McDonald is a sociologist and a documentary filmmaker. His films have been screened at film festivals, academic conferences, campaign meetings and in cinemas around the world. Ian is interested in supervising doctoral students in most areas of film theory and practice. He is particularly interested in supervising practice-based PhDs in documentary filmmaking, especially alternative, political and observational documentaries.
Dr Geetha Jayaraman, known as Geetha J, is a writer, filmmaker and producer. Geetha's research area is primarily film practice, both as director and producer. Geetha is interested in supervising practice-based research in fiction and non-fiction, as well as subjects under Indian cinema, world cinema, women and cinema. Her interests include film theory and history, film journalism and criticism, film societies and festivals.
Supervision can also be offered in the following areas:
- creative documentary practices in India/ South Asia
- film festival studies
- history of the documentary
- intersections between the documentary and sociological/ anthropological/ cultural studies
- sports documentaries
- studies of independent film production and exhibition
- theorising documentary as a critical and creative practice
- world cinema studies
We currently co-supervise a range of film and film-related projects with academic colleagues from:
• Media, Culture, Heritage
• Fine Art
• English Language and Literature
• Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Current PhD projects
Film@CultureLab has a growing community of practice-led PhD students in film. Their PhD topics include:
• a documentary on football fan activism in Greece
• a documentary on the 'Beautiful Socialist Countryside' policy in China
• a series of short documentaries on the concept of place
• a documentary on a religious order
• a critical study of commodity culture using screen-based practices
• an exploration of the essay-film form
All practice-led PhDs include a written critical reflection.
Film Studies, MPhil and PhDFilm Studies, MPhil and PhD
As a Film Studies MPhil or PhD student you will form a crucial part of our research culture. Our thriving community of postgraduate students work across schools and disciplines. Research ranges from modern languages to English literature, English language, linguistics and arts and cultures.
We are keen to work with postgraduates in the major research projects listed below, or in the more general areas related to them. We supervise projects that span academic schools and sub-disciplines, ensuring the best fit between your interests and the expertise of our staff.
Early cinema and cinema culture in Britain and the USA
Dr A Shail
- the history of film style
- popular cinema culture
- points of contact between literature and film
- Hollywood after 1975
Latin American cinema
Dr P Page
- cinema and memory studies
- cinema and the imaginaries of post-conflict
- cinema and contemporary Latin American society
- cinema and the city
- cinema and theatre - performance studies
Dr S Leahy
- popular film from the 1930s to the present
- gender and representation
- cinema audiences and theories of spectatorship
Professor G Austin
- postcolonial cinema
- cinema and the representation of trauma
- cinema and the Algerian War
- contemporary French cinema
- French horror and fantasy cinema
- cinema and the work of Pierre Bourdieu
Transnational Chinese cinema
Dr S Yu
- Chinese independent films and film festivals
- transnational Chinese cinema
- stardom and performance
- gender and sexuality
- audience and reception studies
- action and martial arts genres
We organise an annual postgraduate conference for the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and you can get involved in a number of film-related research seminars on campus, including:
- the Research Group in Film and Media series
- the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics visiting speaker series
- the School of Modern Languages research seminar series
You will benefit from the North Eastern Regional Film Seminar, which brings together film scholars from the Universities of Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside, Durham and York for a one day symposium.
There is also the Film Factory, an exciting new film forum for students and staff, initiated by two PhD students from the School of Modern Languages, Gary Jenkins and Mani Sharpe. It consists of a series of film screenings followed by discussion and debate at the Culture Lab.
You will normally be taught on the Newcastle University campus. Attendance is flexible and agreed between you and your supervisors depending on the requirements of your research project.
Film Practice, PhD - FacilitiesFilm Practice, PhD - Facilities
Situated in a Grade II listed building, Culture Lab is a centre for film practice, housing seven industry standard edit suites, a recording studio and event space.
As a PhD student in Film@CultureLab, you will be based in Culture Lab and have access to modern industry standard shooting kits and edit suites.
These include a range of high definition cameras and supporting rigs, a high-spec PC cluster equipped with full Adobe CC, 27” monitors and TVs, and bespoke edit suites with Apple iMacs and Mac Pros, 27” dual calibrated displays and stereo monitoring. They run the latest Apple OS with Adobe CC, Final Cut and Da Vinci Resolve.
Culture Lab is supported by a team of dedicated film technicians.
Film Studies, MPhil and PhD - FacilitiesFilm Studies, MPhil and PhD - Facilities
You will have the opportunity to use Culture Lab, a centre for creative practice which includes a stock of film cameras and editing suites, as well as motioncapture, animation and soundmixing technology.
The Language Resource Centre and Peter Robinson Library hold large collections of international films and film magazines. You will also have access to a dedicated postgraduate suite including computers, workspaces, a kitchen and showers.
There are fantastic local film facilities including the Tyneside Cinema and British Film Institute Mediatheque.
You will also have guided access to Tyne and Wear Archives.
Film Practice, PhD
Dr Ian McDonald/ Dr Geetha Jayaraman
School of Arts and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6525
Film Studies, MPhil and PhD
School of Modern Languages
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5867