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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

Professor Kevin Donnelly BA(hons), PGCE(FE), MA, PhD

Professor of Film and Film Music, Doctoral Programmes Director

Professor Kevin Donnelly's photo

Professor Kevin Donnelly is Professor of Film and Film Music at the University of Southampton.

I am primarily a theorist and historian of film music and film sound, but with a strong interdisciplinary interest in aesthetics and theory, and an interdisciplinary interest in culture beyond film.

I attended the University of East Anglia and the University of Cardiff, where I was taught by film theorist Thomas Elsaesser, film historians Charles Barr and Andrew Higson, novelist W.G. Sebald, composer Denis Smalley and parapsychologist David Fontana.  As a research student I was teaching assistant to Laura Mulvey and Pam Cook. I have taught at the University of Wales, Aberystwtyth, Staffordshire University and the University of East Anglia before I came to the University of Southampton as Reader in Film Studies in 2007.

I am author of The Shining (2018) Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks (2015), Occult Aesthetics: Sound and Image Synchronization (2013), British Film Music and Film Musicals (2007), The Spectre of Sound (2005) and Pop Music in British Cinema (2001); and editor of Film Music: Critical Approaches (2001), co-editor (with Phil Hayward) of Music in Science Fiction Television: Tuning to the Future (2012),co-editor (with Will Gibbons and Neil Lerner) of Music in Video Games: Studying Play (2014), co-edited with Ann-Kristin Wallengren, Today’s Sounds for Yesterday’s  Films: Making Music for Silent Cinema (2016), co-edited with Steve Rawle, Hitchcock and Herrmann: Partners in Suspense (2017) and co-edited with Beth Carroll, Contemporary Musical Films (2018).

Occult Aesthetics received an Award from the American Musicological Society in 2013, and Magical Musical Tour was the Winner of the Southwest Popular and American Culture Association’s 2016 Peter C. Rollins Book Award in the category of Film/Television.

I edit the 'Music and the Moving Image' book series for Edinburgh University Press and 'Palgrave Studies in Audio-Visual Culture' for Palgrave-Macmillan. I am on the editorial boards of seven journals and have published on subjects as diverse as urban wildlife, dark ambient records and 'troubles tourism' in Northern Ireland.

by Kevin Donnelly (2007)
British Film Music and Film Musical
by Kevin Donnelly
Film Music
by Kevin Donnelly
The Spectre of Sound
by Kevin Donnelly
Pop Music in British Cinema
by Kevin Donnelly
Today's Sounds for Yesterday's Films
by Kevin Donnelly
Contemporary Musical Film
by Kevin Donnelly
Partners in Suspense
by Kevin Donnelly
The Shining

Research interests

As well as my work on film music and film sound, I also have significant interests in British and Irish cinema, film theory, aesthetics, critical and cultural theory, horror and science fiction films, cult films and TV, video games; and rock, electronic and experimental music. I’ve been involved a project that included laboratory experiments about perception of music and film.

I have supervised PhD theses on film theory, film music, songs in films, musicals, music video, film sound, video games, audiovisual technologies, audiences, Mandopop, Indian horror and science fiction films, teen films and television drama. Apart from my research interests listed above, I would welcome PhD supervision on subjects including any aspect of audiovisual culture, such as technology, psychology, cognitive studies, geography and psychogeography, the supernatural and paranormal, British Cult Television and marginal popular music.

Research project(s)

Film Music and Experiments

In 2014-15, Kevin Donnelly was co-investigator on a project about film music and laboratory experiments.

I convene the MA in Film Studies and am ‘Director of Programmes for Graduate Studies’, in charge of PhD studies.

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Book Chapters

I am module co-ordinator of:

  • Film6032 Classical Film Theory and Textual Analysis
  • Film3012 Music in Film and Television
  • Film3024 Horror on Film
Professor Kevin Donnelly
University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number NNN: 65/1065

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