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Prof Ian Christie

  • Overview



    Ian Christie joined Birkbeck in Autumn 1999, as Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, having previously been Professor of Film Studies at the University of Kent (1997-9) and Visiting Lecturer in Film at Oxford University (1995-8).

    Earlier, he worked at the British Film Institute from 1976-96 in various capacities, as head of Distribution, Exhibition, Video Publishing and, finally, Special Projects. This last involved co-producing a television series on early cinema for BBC2, The Last Machine presented by Terry Gilliam (1995); and co-curating an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Spellbound: Art and Film(1996), which included work by Gilliam, Greenaway and two subsequent Turner Prize winners, Douglas Gordon and Steve McQueen.

    He advised on the exhibition Modernism: Designing a New World at the V&A in 2006 and in the same year was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University.

    Director of the AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies, with its headquarters at Birkbeck, from 2003-05, he also directed its London Project and is currently director of the London Screen Study Collection, housed in Birkbeck's new Centre for Film and Visual Media Research.

    Recent lectures and conference papers have been on:

    • representing dreams, the English school of production design, Dali and Surrealist Cinema, Bluebeard's Castle and total cinema
    • early cinema in London (linked to a touring exhibition Moving Pictures Come to London: 1894-1914), the impact of digital exhibition
    • reverse narrative in cinema
    • the career of Michael Powell
    • trick films by Robert Paul and Georges Melies (SheffieldMalevich and Eisenstein
    • the 1905 Russian revolution on film (St Andrews)
      Sokurov and contemporary Russian cinema
    • animation and the unconscious

    Ian co-founded in 1999 (with Michael Grant) the international review Film Studies, which is published twice yearly by Manchester University Press. He is Vice President of Europa Cinemas, an EU-funded organisation which supports exhibitors throughout Europe who show European films, and a Trustee of the Independent Film Parliament. He is also a regular reviewer and broadcaster on film matters.

  • Research


    Research interests

    • The long history of screen entertainment in London; London's' local' film history
    • Early cinema and related media - photography, music, sound, radio, optical devices
    • Artists' films, videos and digital work from the earliest period to the present
    • British cinema and television - various aspects, including Powell and Pressburger, and other (still) neglected figures and periods
    • Russian cinema, from the pre-Soviet period, to the current post-Soviet phase
    • The digital revolution
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    Teaching modules

    • Dissertation MA Film and Screen Media (AHVM020D7)
    • History, Theory, Methods: Perspectives on Audiences and Spaces of Film Exhibition (ARMC273S7)
    • History, Theory, Methods: Perspectives on Audiences and Spaces of Film Exhibition (ARMC273S7)
    • Approaches to Cinema History (FFME020S5)
    • Approaches to Cinema History (FFME020S5)
  • Publications




    Book Review

    Book Section