- Early Cinema
- Film sound and music
- Useful cinema: advertising, scientific, educational and industrial film
My research investigates the way cinema has been influenced by and interacted with other art forms and cultural practices, and the implications this has for definitions of cinema, both historically and in the present day. Animation, early cinema, and film music/sound, individually and in combination, have all provided areas of research that are particularly well suited to this rich topic and are the basis of my existing publications. My monograph, Early British Animation: From Page and Stage to Cinema Screens (2018), explores early British animated cartoons prior to the advent of sound cinema, with a particular focus on the relationship between the moving image and the graphic arts and other pre-cinematic entertainments, as well as the neurological processes involved in the perception of these forms. While always rooted in Film studies, the intermedial focus of my research has necessarily required openness to interdisciplinary methods, drawing on art history, theatre and performance studies, literary and adaptation studies, and contemporary work in the neurosciences.
My most recent research focuses on the role of animation in advertising and other applied fields, such as science, education and the military. Animation has been extensively utilised in these fields, shaping the way the world was understood and developing animation techniques and technologies. However, this has been largely ignored in favour of framing animation as art or entertainment, making this a rich field for further historical investigation. I have published on this topic in the collections Aardman Animations: Beyond Stop-Motion (2020) and The Animation Studies Reader (2018) and I co-edited (with Professor Kirsten Thompson) a collection titled Animation and Advertising (2019) that demonstrates the breadth of this topic.