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Someone making a viewfinder with their hands and looking at the sun

Our areas of expertise

The Film, Theatre & Television Research Division carries out research under the University's Heritage & Creativity Research Theme.

 

Our research analyses the languages and conventions of film, theatre and performance, television, and new media. We explore their cultural impact and how they engage with identity and representation, inclusion and social justice, conflict, and migration.

 

Research that makes an impact

Close up of male student wearing headphones reading from a script and speaking into microphone
We produce innovative research in print, online, and in practice. For example, the project User Not Found led to a show that won the Fringe Groundbreaker Award in 2018.

Our research is impactful: 79% of our research is recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent. (Research Excellence Framework, 2014 – Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts)

Our student research community

Female student working on a laptop, holding a pencil

Our postgraduate research students range from recent graduates just beginning their careers to established industry professionals. 

We host an annual conference, Journeys Across Media, which is an opportunity for students to meet and learn about each other's work.

We also have three postgraduate research groups, where students can discuss departmental research in an informal setting.


The Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures

Orleans Tokyo multiple exposure by Gozo Yoshimasu

Our Department plays a leading role at the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures (CFAC). CFAC investigates the aesthetic politics of film and explores film’s cultural impacts. 

 

CFAC regularly hosts events at Minghella Studios, including talks and symposiums.

 

Image credit: Gozo Yoshimasu

International centres for Samuel Beckett research

Samuel Beckett
We have strong links with the Beckett International Foundation, a charitable trust established at Reading which manages the Beckett Archive and supports the research and teaching of Beckett's work.

The University is also home to the Samuel Beckett Research Centre, an interdisciplinary hub that advances scholarly and creative engagement with the works of Samuel Beckett. 

Practice as research

Staff and students in the Department develop a diverse and exciting range of projects using practice-as-research methodology.

 

These include:

  • restagings and translations
  • devised work on subjectivity, gender and identity
  • performance and theatre history
  • mixed media and digital media performances
  • documentary filmmaking
  • fiction filmmaking
  • site-specific work on ecological performance practice
  • durational performance art.

Find out more about individual staff members' research areas

Current projects

Harold Pinter

Study of Harold Pinter by Reginald Gray. 2007

Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies identifies and assesses every professional production of Pinter's plays in the UK between 1957 and 2017.

It also includes his output on television, radio and film.

The project team are compiling a searchable database that will be accessible to the wider research community and the public.

Image credit: Study of Pinter, Reginald Gray, 2007


IntermIdia

A screenshot from a Brazilian film as part of the IntermIdia project
This project focuses on cinema's nature as a mixture of arts and media to produce the first intermedial history of Brazilian cinema.

It has brought together scholars from the University of Reading and the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil.

War Child Archive

Postcards to and from WWII evacuees as part of the War Child Archive research project
War Child is a story about the Evacuee Archive at the University's Museum of English Rural Life.

It explores how it came into being, the man who created it and what he has experienced.

War Child documents the life of this archive to lyrically evoke its qualities and – virtually – extend its scope.

Recently completed projects

Staging Beckett

An older man sat in a chair with sunglasses with a younger man behind him holding an alarm clock
The Staging Beckett project was a collaboration between the Universities of Reading and Chester, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, to research professional productions of Samuel Beckett’s stage plays in the UK and Ireland.

The project team created a searchable database of productions. New materials such as transcribed interviews and blogs are now continually being added to the database, enabling ongoing research.

User Not Found

Man wearing headphones acting in User Not Found project performance

This project was a collaboration between our Department, theatre company Dante or Die, technology agency Marmelo, and the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath.

It explored the relationship between life, death, identity and social media.

Spaces of Television

A pile of old retro televisions piled on top of each other
This project analysed how the TV studios and locations of British TV drama filmed from 1955 to 1994 influenced its form and visual style.

The team produced a series of listings as a set of freely available downloadable and searchable documents.

Our research environment

We are based in Minghella Studios, which houses a collection of versatile performance spaces and facilities to support staff and postgraduate research practice.

 

We also host talks, workshops, residencies and public performances by eminent scholars and practitioners.

 

Within the Department, we have more than 9,000 audiovisual assets for film, theatre and television research.

Students studying together round a table with their laptops

Wider research at Reading

Closeup of lecturer holding a diary owned by Samuel Beckett

We frequently collaborate with other departments at Reading on research projects.

For example, we partnered with the Department of Politics and International Relations on Disappearing War: Cinema and the Politics of Erasure in the War on Terror. 

Collaborating with us

Two film students shooting a green screen

Our staff and students work with museums, universities and arts institutions on research projects, nationally and internationally.

They also engage with a wide range of communities in the UK, abroad, and online.

If you are interested in collaborating with us on a research project, please contact Professor Jonathan Bignell by emailing j.bignell@reading.ac.uk.