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FilmPart of Humanities

Claudia Sandberg PhD Film Studies

Claudia Sandberg's Photo

Hi, I'm Claudia Sandberg and I studied PhD Film Studies within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

Knowing about the university systems both in the US and in Germany, I find studying in the UK more demanding and more rewarding. I have enjoyed tremendous support and advice by my supervisor, advisor and other members of staff, which I think I would not have received elsewhere. This has helped me grow as a person and as a researcher.

Claudia came from Germany to study for a PhD in Film Studies at the University of Southampton.

Why did you want to study overseas? Why did you choose the UK – and Southampton?

I am originally from Germany and I had studied in the US before. I moved to Southampton for family reasons. A year after I came here, I saw an advert for a teaching assistantship at the University of Southampton which would pay the fees for a PhD programme. Since the topic I had envisioned for my thesis matched the expertise and interest of several researchers in Film Studies, Jewish Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of Southampton, I applied for this post and programme.

How did you get interested in the subject you studied at Southampton?

I am researching the work of Peter Lilienthal, a German-Jewish-Uruguayan filmmaker. How I got interested in this subject, is a rather long story. To tell you the abridged version: I first saw a Peter Lilienthal film in a film course at the Ohio State University, where I studied before coming to Southampton. The film was made in 1976 and alludes to the military dictatorship in Chile. It is about a small town, whose population gradually gets involved in activities to resist tyranny and oppression. Since I had spent six months in Chile in 2000, where I met many people with traumatic memories of that time, the film spoke to me personally. And when the instructor of the course mentioned to us that this filmmaker was heavily under-researched, I knew I had found my topic. Being at the end of my PhD studies, I am still fascinated by it.

What do you enjoy most about your degree?

I enjoy the freedom to sit down and research about something that I find interesting and worthwhile. I feel very privileged and grateful for being able to do this kind of work. Also, there is so much to learn about films and the cultural, political and historical backgrounds they are embedded in. I have the feeling that I am only at the beginning of the journey.

What’s it like to study at a UK university? Is it what you expected?

I would say that doing a PhD here is a unique experience. Knowing about the university systems both in the US and in Germany, I find studying in the UK more demanding and more rewarding. I have enjoyed tremendous support and advice by my supervisor, advisor and other members of staff, which I think I would not have received elsewhere. This has helped me grow as a person and as a researcher.

Did you find it easy to settle in and make friends?

Yes. I am located at the Avenue Campus. It is a compact campus where I bump into friends and colleagues every day, which makes it easy to keep in touch.

Are you planning to get a job after your degree, or do you want to stay in education?

I am not sure at this point but I am leaning towards staying in the academic world. I know it is a difficult time right now but I enjoy both researching and teaching tremendously.

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