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Postgraduate research


The Department of Media Arts runs a successful postgraduate research programme that is equally popular with British and international students. We offer MPhil and PhD programmes in any area related to film and television studies, cultural theory and media practice but prioritise proposals in those areas in which our staff have particular expertise (see list below). We also welcome applications from students who want to combine traditional research with creative practice. Doctoral candidates who pursue this route will submit creative work, such as a film or screenplay, alongside a significantly shorter PhD thesis.

Students work closely with their supervisory teams. In the case of practice PhDs, the team consists of a media practitioner and a member of staff with the relevant theoretical expertise. In addition to working on their research project, students are required to participate in a research skills training programme. Doctoral students who wish to teach in the Media Arts Department will obtain prior training through Royal Holloway’s InSTIL programme. Additional research training and development opportunities are offered by the London Screen Studies Group that runs regular seminars and workshops on a broad range of film and television topics and a cross-faculty Critical Theory Reading Group.

Our postgraduate research students are part of a vibrant research culture. The Department of Media Arts hosts a series of research seminars to which speakers of national and international acclaim contribute. All MPhil and PhD students are invited to present their work at the Department’s Annual Postgraduate Summer Conference. They also have the opportunity to bid for funding to organise their own conferences and workshops so as to develop additional skills in research management.

You will find a complete list of all Media Arts staff here

Media Arts staff are particularly interested in receiving proposals in the following areas.

Dr James Bennett

Television studies, public service broadcasting, digital media, production culture, celebrity studies

Prof Daniela Berghahn

European cinema, national, transnational and diasporic cinema, representation of family in film

Sue Clayton

Scriptwriting, feature film, documentary and short filmmaking

Dr Manishita Dass

South Asian film and cultural history, global art cinema, silent cinema, modernism

Prof John Ellis

Documentary, television and digital technologies, television genres, British cinema 1930-1950

Adam Ganz

Audiovisual narrative and production, scriptwriting for radio, television and film

Prof John Hill

National and transnational cinema, British and Irish film and television, political cinema, film industry and policy

Marc Isaacs

Documentary filmmaking

Prof Barry Langford

Hollywood genres, Holocaust film and television, critical theory, theories of mass culture, urban studies

Dr Jacob Leigh

European cinema, auteur theory, film aesthetics, theories of narrative

Helen Littleboy

Documentary filmmaking and producing

Victoria Mapplebeck

Documentary filmmaking

Prof Mandy Merck

Psychoanalytic, feminist and queer theory, Hollywood cinema, melodrama, celebrity culture

Gail Pearce

Interactive digital installations

Prof Chris Townsend

Modernism and avant-garde film, photography and performance, especially during the 19th and early 20th century


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