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Professor Claire Monk

Job: Professor of Film & Film Culture

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Cinema and Television History Centre (CATH), Centre for Adaptations

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: n/a

E: cmonk@dmu.ac.uk

W: dmu.academia.edu/ClaireMonk

 

Personal profile

My core field is the cultural, socio-political and contextual understanding of contemporary British film and film culture since the 1970s, spanning films with both period and contemporary settings – including bringing the perspectives and insights of audiences and fans into debates which have historically excluded them. I am know especially for:

(i) My contributions since the mid-1990s to the debates around the cultural politics of the ‘heritage film’ (defined by Richard Dyer as 'a text set in the past’, often ‘drawing upon a canonical source’, and ‘comprised of period costumes, decor and locations carefully recreated’). Recently, I’ve been called a ‘key voice’ in the shaping of these debates. Read more in a 2013 interview about my work in this area here: http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/screeningeuropeanheritage/956

(ii) My wider socially and contextually situated work on contemporary representations in British film, 1990–present, with particular reference to the politics – cultural, socio-economic, sexual and representational – of the Thatcher and Blair eras. Here, my interests encompass class, gender, sexuality and their intersections; shifting social realisms; transnational representations and directors within British cinema (e.g. Pawel Pawlikowski); socio-economic, historical, urban and regional geographies and questions of place; and discourses and representations of regeneration and decline.

(iii) Other interests include ‘pre-heritage’ British period cinema and TV drama in long 1970s; 1970s–1980s punk and post-punk music cultures and their impacts on British film; post-2000 trends in the ‘retro’ or historical representation of recent, late-20th-century decades in film and media in convergence with wider cultural, music and style trends; and new trends in the mediated representation of history/‘the past’ considered in relation to digitised archives and social media.

My research and publications across this spectrum contributed to DMU’s world-class research submissions to RAE2001 (UoA65), RAE2008 (UoA66), and our outstanding triumph in REF2014 (UoA36), in which we were ranked No. 1 in the UK in our subject area for 4*/world-leading outputs, and joint 1st in the UK for impact. I am always happy to hear from prospective PhD students seeking supervision in my fields of expertise.

My work on ‘heritage cinema’ (and especially the films of Merchant Ivory Productions) has been driven by a commitment to focusing attention on questions of gender, sexuality and pleasure, in a counterpoint to the overemphasis on nostalgia and ‘ideologies of Englishness’ which dominated the most influential critiques of these films from the early 1990s onwards.

My more recent work has returned to ‘heritage films’ as viewed from the perspectives of real audiences and fans: represented in the monograph Heritage Film Audiences: Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK (Edinburgh University Press, HB 2011, PB 2012) – to date, the only detailed empirical study of audience perspectives on heritage films or heritage culture – and its refereed-journal sequel ‘Heritage Film Audiences 2.0’, which explores the forms and implications of (time-shifted, transnational) 21st-century online fandom and fan productivity, centrally around Ivory’s E. M. Forster adaptations Maurice (1987) and A Room With A View (1985

In my work in progress, I’m increasingly interested in the connections and parallels between these perspectives and the insights yielded by textual histories and production studies.

In 2012, I was one of only 26 UK academics – and 9 UK female academics – then below Professor or Emeritus level invited to contribute to Sight & Sound’s famous once-a-decade Greatest Films of All Time Poll of leading critics and filmmakers worldwide.

Publications and outputs 

Click here for a full listing of Claire Monk's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Recent publications

‘Pageantry and populism, democratization and dissent: the forgotten 1970s’, in Upstairs and Downstairs: British Costume Drama Television from The Forsyte Saga to Downton Abbey, eds James Leggott & Julie Anne Taddeo (Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield) 2014, pp.3-21. 

‘“The shadow of this time”: tradition and history, alchemy and multiplicity in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee‘, Shakespeare Bulletin: The Journal of Early Modern Drama in Performance (Johns Hopkins UP), 2014, 32:3, pp.359-373.

‘‘If you can’t make a good political film, don’t”: Pawel Pawlikowski’s resistant poetic realism’, Journal of British Cinema and Television (‘British Cinema and TV since 2000’ special issue), 2012, 9:3, pp.480-501.

Monograph 

Heritage Film Audiences: Period Films and Contemporary Audiences in the UK (Edinburgh: EUP), HB 2011 / PB 2012.

Shorter key publications

Heritage Film Audiences 2.0: period film audiences and online fan cultures', Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies , 2011, 8:3, pp.431-477.

‘Sexuality and heritage’, in Film/Literature/Heritage: A Sight and Sound Reader, ed. Ginette Vincendeau (London: British Film Institute) 2001, pp.6-11. Anthologised from original publication in Sight and Sound, Oct 1995, 5:10, pp.32-4.

‘Underbelly UK: the 1990s underclass film, masculinity and the ideologies of “New” Britain’, in British Cinema, Past and Present, eds Justine Ashby & Andrew Higson (London & New York: Routledge), 2000, pp.274-87.

‘The heritage film and gendered spectatorship’, CloseUp: The Electronic Journal of British Cinema, 1997, 1. Archived in two parts at: Part 1: http://web.archive.org/web/20150131163520/http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/lc/closeup/monk.htm and Part 2: http://web.archive.org/web/20150515020017/http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/lc/closeup/monk2.htm

Book as joint editor

Claire Monk & Amy Sargeant (eds) British Historical Cinema: The History, Heritage and Costume Film (London & New York: Routledge), 2002.

Research interests/expertise

British Film, Film Culture & Criticism, Heritage Cinema, Heritage Culture, Period Films, Period TV Drama, Literature & Adaptations, Merchant Ivory Productions, James Ivory, E. M. Forster, Gender & Sexuality, Audience & Reception Studies, Fandom & Fan Productivity, History in Media, Women & Film, Punk & Post-Punk, Retro Culture & Consumption, all these areas in Social Media.

Areas of teaching

  • Contemporary British Cinema, Films and Film Culture
  • The Past on Film: Period Film Genres and Historical Representation in Media
  • World Cinema

Qualifications

  • PhD (School of Arts: Research Studentship in Middlebrow Culture, Audiences and Taste, supervised by Professor Francis Mulhern), Middlesex University, UK, 2007. 
  • PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Adult and Higher Education, Birkbeck, University of London, UK, 1998.
  • MA with Distinction in Cinema and Television Studies, Birkbeck, University of London in association with the British Film Institute, UK, 1994.
  • BA Honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) (Exhibitioner), Balliol College, Oxford University, UK, 1986.

Courses taught

  • FILM2502 Contemporary British Cinema
  • FILM3404 The Past on Film
  • Formerly: FILM2007 & FILM2401 World Cinemas
  • PhD & MPhil supervisions
  • MRes (MA by Research) supervisions

Honours and awards

June 2016: Cinema & Television History (CATH) Research Centre, team winner of the DMU OSCAR Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research Excellence.

Membership of external committees

  • Women’s Film History Network UK & Ireland Steering Group, 2011–

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • AAS (International Association of Adaptation Studies), 2009–
  • ALCS (Authors’ Licensing and Copyright Society), 2011–
  • BAFTSS (British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies), 2012–
  • Fan Studies Network, 2012–
  • International E. M. Forster Society (by invitation), 2016–
  • MeCCSA (Media, Cultural and Communication Studies Association), 2006–

Conference attendance

Conferences and panels as organiser

Peer-review and hosting committee: Console-ing Passions: 21st International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism, DMU, 23-25 Jun 2013.

Panel organiser: ‘E. M. Forster’s Maurice (1913/1971) and 25 years of James Ivory’s Maurice (1987): adaptation(s), authorship(s) and reappraisal(s)’, 7th Annual Conference of the Association of Adaptation Studies (AAS): Visible and Invisible Authorships, University of York, UK, 27-28 Sep 2012.

Conference instigator and joint organiser: Adapting Historical Narratives Conference, DMU Centre for Adaptations, 28 Feb 2012.

Public event instigator/curator/organiser: African Classic Film Screening and Discussion: Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Badou Boy (1970), with panellists Professor Patrick Williams (Nottingham Trent University) and Lizelle Bisschoff (Director, Africa in Motion Film Festival), DMU Cultural Exchanges Festival 2010, 2 Mar 2010.

As keynote or other invited speaker

‘Messing with masculinities: Post-Thatcher British cinema’s other men since the 1990s’, Film After Thatcher: Gender and Sexuality in post-1990 British Cinema, Liverpool Hope University, UK, 2 Jul 2014. (Keynote)

‘“The shadow of this time”: tradition and history, alchemy and multiplicity in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (1978)’, Early Modern Jarman Symposium, King’s College London, UK, 1 Feb 2014. Part of the year-long Jarman 2014 commemoration. (Invited speaker)

‘Heritage films and their audiences: fan perspectives and practices and why they matter’, Screening European Heritage, University of Leeds, 12-13 Sep 2013. An outcome of the AHRC-funded Screening European Heritage scoping study and network. (Keynote)

‘From Lypton Village to London Goth: Virgin Prunes in England, c. 1982-4’, A Special Relationship? Irish Popular Music in Britain, Northumbia University, UK, in conjunction with the University of Ulster Centre for Media Research, 27-8 June 2012 (Invited plenary speaker)

‘Web 2.0 fandom and James Ivory’s/E. M. Forster’s Maurice (UK, 1987) – or: Tumblr, LiveJournal and YouTube, the life of texts and the redundancy of “heritage-film” criticism’, Pursuing the Trivial: Investigations into Popular Culture, University of Vienna/Vienna University of Applied Arts, Austria, 1-2 Jun 2012. (Keynote, postgraduate conference)

‘Ken Loach in England: work and the working classes under neo-liberalism and globalisation’, From 'Hidden Agenda' to the 'Free World': The political films of Ken Loach, study day, BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank, London, in association with Royal Holloway University of London, 1 Oct 2011. (Invited speaker, directly after Channel 4 News / formerly BBC Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason)

‘Majesty/alchemy/anarchy: fashionable and unfashionable queens in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (1978)’, Fashionable Queens: Body, Power, Gender Symposium, Institute for English Studies & Institute for Sociology, University of Vienna, Austria, 3-4 Dec 2010. (Paper delivered in absentia due to flight cancellations.) 

Keynote speaker plus film introduction to Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (UK, 2009), Radical British Screens symposium, University of the West of England (UWE) & Screen South-West Research Network, UWE/Arnolfini Arts Centre, Bristol, UK, 3 Sep 2010. 

‘Not represented: on absences, specificities and post-punk music cultures in post-2000 British film’, British Film 2000–2010: Crossing Borders, Transferring Cultures, Centre for Intercultural Studies/Faculty of Translation, Sprache und Kultur, Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, 18-21 Feb 2010. (Invited plenary speaker)

‘“Not new wave. It’s inspired by punk.” The post-punk female in British film: Hazel O’Connor and Breaking Glass’, Post-Punk Performance: The Alternative 80s in Britain, School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds, UK, 9 Sep 2009. (Invited speaker)

‘Beyond the heritage debate: investigating period-film audiences’, Representation. Period: A Study Day in Representations, History and Nostalgia in Period Film and Television, University of Sussex, UK, 15 Sep 2005. (Keynote speaker alongside Professor Sue Harper)

Selected other recent papers

‘Dissecting Ripper Street (BBC-TV 2012-13, BBC-TV/Amazon 2014–): from Victorian East London to 21st-century global markets’, 10th Annual Conference of the Association of Adaptation Studies: Adaptations and the Metropolis, Senate House, University of London, UK, 24-25 Sep 2015.

‘“That’s [never] finished”: Maurice without ending, from Forster’s palimpsest to fan-text’,  E. M. Forster's Maurice: A conference marking the centenary of Forster's writing of the novel, University of St Andrews, UK, 24-25 Nov 2012.

‘Forgotten histories? Film on Four and British retro and heritage films of the 1980s’, Channel 4 and British Film Culture, University of Portsmouth/British Universities’ Film & Video Council (BUFVC) at BFI Southbank, London, UK, 1-2 Nov 2012.

Consultancy work

  • Merchant Ivory: Classics, Celluloid and Class, produced by Simon Elmes and presented by Laurence Scott for BBC Radio 3, broadcast 6 Apr 2014. Expert contributor and sole academic interviewee (alongside novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, actress Helena Bonham-Carter and others) for this programme on the films and record-breaking filmmaking and personal partnership of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. 
  • Vice magazine: consulted as expert source for a feature on BBC3’s cult series Monkey Dust (2003-5): ‘Remembering Monkey Dust: the UK’s greatest animated satire’, by Dan Wilkinson, 20 May 2015. My 2007 refereed journal article ‘London and contemporary Britain in Monkey Dust’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 4:2, was the first (and remains virtually the only) academic appraisal of Monkey Dust.
  • AHRC Screening European Heritage project, University of Leeds: interviewed as an invited leading expert source, 2,800-word interview, published 25 Jul 2013.
  • When Harry Potter Met Frodo: The Strange World of Fan Fiction, Somethin’ Else Productions for BBC Radio 4, presented by novelist Naomi Alderman, broadcast 26 Nov 2012. Consulted during the programme’s development by Somethin’ Else’s Head of Features Russell Finch.
  • Invited contributor in 2012 to Sight & Sound magazine’s world-famous, once-a-decade, Greatest Films of All Time Poll of leading critics and filmmakers worldwide, considered one of the most influential of its kind.
  • ‘Cameras in pursuit of the unfilmable’ by Andrew Johnson, Independent on Sunday, 6 Jun 2010, pp.24-25. Consulted as expert and quoted in feature on the adaptation of ‘unfilmable’ novels.
  • Contribution to project research, authorship of lead DVD/Blu-ray booklet essay, and media coverage for the British Film Institute’s Flipside DVD/Blu-ray release of three ‘lost’ films by the iconoclastic, radical, feminist 1960s-70s British filmmaker Jane Arden and her partner Jack Bond (more recently, director of the Adam Ant documentary The Blue-Back Hussar), Jul-Aug 2009. ‘Always too early’’: DVD/Blu-ray booklet essay for Separation (1967), released Jul 2009. ‘Long live the ghosts’: feature for Sight & Sound, Aug 2009.

Current research students

Professor Claire Monk welcomes enquiries from prospective research students wishing to pursue topics that connect with her research interests.

Current research students
Laura Fryer (UK), PhD (Midlands3Cities Scholarship), FT, 2nd supervisor. The Adapted Screenplays of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Else Thompson (UK), PT, 1st supervisor. A Comparative Study of the Role of Collaborative Workshops and Co-operatives within a Female-Led Filmmaking Practice.

Research students: recent completions

Françoise Poos (Luxembourg), PhD, PT, 2nd supervisor. The Making of a National Audio-Visual Archive: The CNA [Centre nationale de l’audiovisuel, Luxembourg] and the Hidden Images Exhibition, 2016.

Caitlin Shaw (Canada), PhD, FT, 1st supervisor. Remediating the Eighties: Nostalgia and Retro in British Screen Fiction from 2005 to 2011, 2015.

Andrew Johnstone (UK), MA Independent Study, PT, 1st supervisor. Documentary Film in International Development, 2013.

Llewella Burton (UK), MA Independent Study, PT, 2nd supervisor. Interpretation as Practice: Chasing the Post-Heritage Dream, 2012.

Takako Seino (Japan), MPhil, PT, de facto 1st supervisor. Realism and Representations of the Working Class in Contemporary British Cinema, 2011.

Internally funded research project information

Jan–Jun 2016: DMU Research Leave Award.

Jan–Aug 2010: DMU Faculty of Humanities Reseach Leave Award.

Professional esteem indicators

Journal Editorial Board Member

Journal of British Cinema & Television (Edinburgh University Press), 2012–
Punk & Post-Punk (Intellect), 2011–

Journal Refereeing and Peer Review for Publishers

Since 2008, for the above journals plus:

Adaptation (Oxford University Press)
Canadian Journal of Film Studies (Film Studies Association of Canada/Concordia University)
Consumption, Markets and Culture (Taylor & Francis)
Critical Studies in Media Communication (University of Illinois)
Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance (Intellect)
The Minnesota Review (Duke University Press)
Rethinking History (Taylor & Francis)

And peer-review of monographs & edited collections for:
Amsterdam University Press
Bloomsbury Publishing (Bloomsbury Film & Media, USA)
British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmilan (and, during 2000-08, BFI Publishing)
Manchester University Press

Case studies

Merchant Ivory: Classics, Celluloid and Class, produced by Simon Elmes and presented by Laurence Scott for BBC Radio 3, broadcast 6 Apr 2014. Expert contributor and sole academic interviewee (alongside novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, actress Helena Bonham-Carter and others) for this programme on the films and record-breaking filmmaking and personal partnership of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

AHRC Screening European Heritage project, University of Leeds: invited expert source/witness for a scoping study that reported to European policymakers and the UK House of Lords, including a 2,800-word interview, 2013.

In 2012, one of only 26 UK academics – and 9 UK female academics – then below Professor or Emeritus level invited to contribute to Sight & Sound magazine’s famous once-a-decade Greatest Films of All Time Poll of leading critics and filmmakers worldwide, considered one of the most influential of its kind.

AHRC project and conference Channel Four and British Film Culture, University of Portsmouth/British Universities’ Film & Video Council (BUFVC) at BFI Southbank, London, 1-2 Nov 2012. Plenary paper, ‘Forgotten histories? Film on Four and British retro and heritage films of the 1980s’, was a featured audio recording on the project website. (Website/URL currently undergoing updating)

‘Eyre conditioning’: invited feature on the new big-screen Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga, 2011; starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender) for Sight & Sound, Oct 2011.

Invited speaker, From 'Hidden Agenda' to the 'Free World': The political films of Ken Loach study day held at BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank, London, 1 Oct 2011, speaking directly after Channel 4 News / formerly BBC Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason.

Q&A panellist with veteran British social-realist film director Ken Loach, DMU Cultural Exchanges Festival 2010, 4 Mar 2010.

Contribution to project research, authorship of lead DVD/Blu-ray booklet essay, and media coverage for the British Film Institute’s Flipside DVD/Blu-ray release of three ‘lost’ films by the radical feminist 1960s-70s British filmmaker Jane Arden and her partner Jack Bond (more recently, director of the Adam Ant documentary The Blue-Back Hussar), Jul-Aug 2009. ‘Always too early’’: DVD/Blu-ray booklet essay for Separation (1967), released Jul 2009. ‘Long live the ghosts’: feature for Sight & Sound, Aug 2009

Freelance film critic for the international film magazine Sight & Sound 1993–2002, and occasional continuing contributor.

Invited talks at world-class venues including BFI Southbank (London) and the Arnolfini (Bristol). Talks at local venues engaging local communities and young people have included National Trust’s Sutton House (London Borugh of Hackney), Barking & Dagenham Malthouse Monthly Film Club (a cultural regeneration initiative in the London Borugh of Barking & Dagenham), and Phoenix Square (Leicester), including National Schools’ Film Week 2012.

Dr Claire Monk

Search Who's Who

Monk: Heritage Film Audiences book cover

Monk & Sargeant: British Historical Cinema book cover

 
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