Dr Adam O'Brien
Co-Director, Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures
Building locationMinghella Studios
Areas of interest
My research is mainly focused on the relationship between film aesthetics and the material environment. I practice a form of close analysis informed by ecocritical ideas and concerns, such as location, presence, materiality and scale. My first book, Transactions the World (, 2016), is an ecocritical study of New Hollywood film. In 2018 I published Film and the Natural Environment: Elements and Atmospheres (Wallflower/Columbia), an introduction to the study of environmental dynamics and subjects in narrative cinema.
my current and future research projects turn towards the subject of infrastructure, or ‘built ecology,’ in film and beyond. I have acted as a peer reviewer for a range of leading journals and publishers, including Screen, [in]Transition, Movie and Oxford University Press.
Current and recent PhD supervision has included projects on the following topics:
- Shakespeare adaptations and genre conventions
- principles and
I teach across a range of practical and critical modules, at all levels, including:
- Approaches to Film
- Cities on Screen
- Film Forms and Cultures
- Contemporary Documentary.
- Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures (CFAC)
- British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Teaching and Learning Network.
- Guan, C. and O'Brien, A. (2020) Natural aesthetics: environments and perspectives in contemporary film theory. Screen , 61 (2). pp. 331-333. ISSN: 1460-2474 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/screen/hjaa020
- O'Brien, A. (2019) Energy and eventhood: the infrastructural set piece. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture , 11 (1). ISSN: 2000-4214 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20004214.2019.1697551
- O'Brien, A. (2018) In and around The Bay: water, fish, infrastructure. Film Studies , 19 (1). pp. 20-33. ISSN: 1469-0314 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.7227/FS.19.0003
- O'Brien, A. (2017) Roberto Rossellini presents. In: Gibbs, J. and Pye, D. , (eds.) The Long Take: Critical Approaches. Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television Palgrave Macmillan , London. pp. 117-132. ISBN: 9781137585721
- O'Brien, A. (2017) Film and the natural environment: elements and atmospheres. Short Cuts Wallflower Press , London. pp 114. ISBN: 9780231182652
- O'Brien, A. (2016) Transactions with the world: ecocriticism and the environmental sensibility of new Hollywood. Berghahn Books , Oxford. pp 228. ISBN: 9781785330001
- O'Brien, A. (2013) Regarding things in Nashville and the exterminating angel: another path for eco-film criticism. ISLE: Interdisciplinary studies in Literature and Environment , 20 (2). pp. 258-273. ISSN: 1076-0962 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/isle/ist031
- O'Brien, A. (2013) Nonindifferent mountains: ecocriticism, the thin red line and the conditions of film fiction. Film Criticism , 38 (2). pp. 1-19. ISSN: 0163-5069