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Film and Screen Media offers a full suite of highly regarded graduate degrees: taught MA, MRes, and two PhD programmes – the PhD in Film and Screen Media and the PhD in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice). The Department hosts a thriving graduate studies community: our students are exposed to a rich and stimulating research environment and to a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary opportunities including conferences, research seminars and master classes with artists and professionals.
Our doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers avail of many opportunities to develop both discipline-specific and transferable skills. Working with leading academics in their areas of expertise, they are trained in editorial skills through their membership of the board of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. They can become active members of FOCUS: Forum on Film and Screen Media Theories, which coordinates regular theory reading sessions, organizes research events, and creates opportunities for interdisciplinary and intercultural debate.They also regularly participate in conference and event organisation, and avail of our state-of-the-art facilities for the teaching and learning of film – including a digital cinema and two editing labs fully equipped with the latest versions of industry-standard software tools.
Our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have been repeatedly successful in securing highly competitive funding including Government of Ireland awards. You can read more about our current students and researchers below:
Originally from Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, Sandra Costello is a PhD candidate and IRC Scholar in Film & Screen Media at University College Cork. She graduated with a BA International in English and Italian at NUI, Galway in 2010 and went on to complete a Professional Diploma in Education at UCC in 2012. After this, she undertook an MA in Film Studies at UCC where she completed a thesis titled Ireland Interrupted: Repressive and Ideological Institutionalisation in Contemporary Irish Cinema under the supervision of Dr Barry Monahan. Costello’s research interests include Irish Cinema, representations of institutions, cultural memory, sociology, women in film, Marxist theory, cinematic soundscapes and visual studies. She is a member of FOCUS: Forum on Film and Screen Media Theories, a permanent forum for researchers in the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC.
Supervisor: Dr Barry Monahan Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers
Title of PhD thesis: Institutional Acts of Watching in Irish Cinema: Surveillance, Power and the Camera
Summary: The aim of this research is to analyse acts of watching between and within Irish institutional environments and to investigate how latent power systems of watching and surveillance might be manifestly exposed by televisual and cinematic representation. Significantly, cinematic and television apparatuses are primary institutions that observe other institutions and so may usefully foreground the watching of watching. This study is based on several case studies of Irish Cinema and television since 1981 and the foundation of the first Irish Film Board.
Tadhg Dennehy is a PhD candidate with the Department of Film & Screen Media, University College Cork, where he also teaches. In 2019 he earned an MA in Creative Documentary from the Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh). Tadhg has also produced and directed several short documentary films which have screened at film festivals in Ireland and the United Kingdom. His research and teaching interests include Irish national cinema, historical cinema, and the representation of Ireland in British cinema.
Supervisor: Dr. Barry Monahan Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers
Title of PhD Thesis: Filmmaking as Resistance: The Northern Irish Conflict and The Workshop Declaration
Summary: The Workshop Declaration — a UK initiative established in March 1982 and disbanded in 1990 — sought to democratise filmmaking practices and amplify the voices of communities marginalised due to class, race, gender, and sexuality. This was done through the practical and financial support of regionally based film and video workshops across Britain and Northern Ireland. Films produced under this model in Northern Ireland, and those adjacent, are some of the only examples of cinematic expression from within the community during the conflict, liberated from external influence, promoting equality diversity and inclusion.
This movement was driven by feminist, Marxist, and anti-imperialist filmmakers who, alongside their cinematic output, engaged in various forms of community cultural education. This research project is an exploration of the construction of Northern Ireland and the “Troubles” in these films. But it is not just that.It will highlight how the workshops contested established modes of representation, emphasising negotiations of activism, political advocacy, and even autonomous self-narration, within the wider discursive economies of Northern Irish history.
This research is concerned with a silenced cinematic movement, one that subverted dominant narratives and that tested the limits of hegemonic modes of representation of Northern Ireland. This is cinema that realises the epistemological limitations of our “ability to know [the] past, since we are both spectators of and actors in the historical process” (Hutcheon 1988:122). The Northern Irish workshop films, despite their historical demotion, embody a highly significant counter-hegemonic moment of activism in the broader representation of Northern Ireland on film.
Rachel Gough is a Film and Screen Media PhD candidate at University College Cork. In 2017 she graduated from UCC with a joint BA in English and Film and Screen Media. The following year she commenced an MA in Film and Screen Media, also in UCC, where she completed a thesis entitled Maushop’s Cave: The Misremembering of Colonial Violence on the American Screen supervised by Dr. Aidan Power. Her research interests include postcolonialism, Irish cinema, ecology, video game theory, representations of history, folklore, and folk horror. She is a member of FOCUS: Forum on Film and Screen Media Theories, a permanent forum for researchers in the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC. She is also a creative practitioner of both film and short fiction. Her works concentrate on the intersection between memory and the imagined and have been screened and published nationally.
Supervisor: Dr. Barry Monahan
Title of PhD Thesis: Incredible, Impossible, Mad Place: Representations of Ireland’s Rural and Folkloric Spaces
Summary: This project explores film, television and video game representations of Ireland’s rural landscape. The project takes particular interest in the way in which rural landscapes of agricultural, historical or folkloric interest are portrayed on screen. Through the framework of postcolonialism this project seeks to understand contemporary media’s relationship with Ireland’s ecology.
Michael Holly is an Irish Research Council funded PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is developing a practice-based study on participatory documentary filmmaking. Michael has exhibited widely as a video, sound and installation artist, in parafictional and documentary investigations into cultural, national and local identities. His research interests focus on the intersection of contemporary art and non-fiction film and new technologies and strategies in participatory filmmaking.
Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli
Title of PhD Thesis: Performative Feedback Filmmaking: Participatory Documentary and Creative Self-Representation in the Community
Summary: My project has two aims: to redefine the established parameters of participatory nonfiction filmmaking by developing and implementing a novel method of feedback using creative video installation; and to determine the effectiveness of this new method as a tool for development and empowerment within a community setting. Composed of a written dissertation and a major creative project, my research will achieve these aims by adopting an interdisciplinary, practice-based approach to the introduction, testing and analysis of a new methodology which I propose to call Performative Feedback Filmmaking: the production of a documentary-style video installation in participation with a community over an extended period of time.
Bob Jackson is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at University College Cork. He first graduated with a BA in Arts at UCC in 1999, before going on to complete an MA in Music Technology at the University of Limerick.
A full-time lecturer in creative media at the Munster Technological University (formerly IT Tralee) since 2006, Bob was nominated for an IFTA (Irish Film & Television Award) for his first feature film, A Doctor’s Sword, which was released in Irish cinemas in 2015. This documentary has been broadcast in Ireland, Australia and throughout Asia, and has featured at film festivals in Ireland and abroad.
In August 2016, The Collins Press published his first book, also titled A Doctor’s Sword and based on the same story as the documentary.
Supervisor: Dr Ciara Chambers Advisor: Dr Barry Monahan
Title of PhD thesis: Based on a True Story: Cinematic Approaches to the Past
Summary: The aim of this research is to investigate the conflict which arises between the demands of storytelling on screen, and what is known about the events depicted based on traditional historical sources. This research uses the process of creating a dramatic production as a case study, with the intention of developing a methodology which helps filmmakers to engage with the past on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Carter McCormick is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is focusing on developing methods to make wildlife films more effective in impacting species preservation. He holds an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and is the founder of Habitat Productions, a non-profit based production company in the United States which collaborates with parks, conservation groups, and research organizations to create natural history documentaries. In the past he has worked on projects with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, N.O.A.A., People’s National Party of Belize, and the National Parks Arts Foundation. While at UCC Carter has also founded the Ireland Wildlife Film Festival, the first wildlife film festival in Ireland. His work as a wildlife filmmaker explores our relationship with wildlife populations and seeks to give viewers a deeper understanding of individual species, ecological systems, and conservation.
Supervisor: Dr. Gwenda Young
Title of Thesis: Developing Wildlife Films That Inspire Conservation
Summary: While wildlife films are widespread in the media marketplace they seldom have an effect in the wild. The central focus of this thesis is to examine how wildlife and conservation filmmakers can formulate their work to have greater impact on species preservation. For the creative component of his research he will be filming a feature length documentary on the aquatic inhabitants in the kelp forest in Bantry Bay, where a battle ensues between conservation activists and corporations proposing the mechanical harvesting of kelp.
James Mulvey is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at the University College Cork. He is the Reviews Editor for Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media and the English Language Editor for Cinergie Journal. He is a member of the editorial board of Alphaville. James has been selected as the Early Careers Researcher representative for the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) in the division of film studies. He has presented his research nationally and internationally, as well as writing on film in CinEireann and Alphaville. James is passionate about public engagement with cinema and frequently organises cultural events such as panel discussions and Q&A’s with filmmakers. He has taught film studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in UCC. James is the features and documentary programmer for IndieCork film festival, with an emphasis on fostering independent, essayistic and art cinema, where he focuses on developing links between the academic and filmic communities. His research interests include portrait and the essay film.
Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli
Title of PhD thesis: Art Cinema in the Age of Globalisation: Locating an Aesthetic of Violence
Summary: Located within the field of contemporary art cinema and adopting a film-philosophy methodology, my research proffers a new methodological understanding of the modified position of art cinema today, by identifying the violent impact globalisation is having on “being in the world”, and rescuing art cinema from recent accusations of elitism and irrelevancy. Applying conceptual tools developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, my research explores the commonality found in the images of art cinema — the violence impressed upon people and communities by governing institutions. My approach offers a renewed and sustainable perspective for critical analysis for a global art cinema, rescuing it from current methodological limitations, which culturally disempower art cinema as highbrow or inaccessible. Finally, this film-philosophical study of violence forces new broader disciplinary questions and, consequently, engages with already-embedded questions in the areas of genre and identity politics.
Daniel O’Connell is Practitioner in Residence in the Department of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork. He has earned an MRes in Film and Screen Media, with a thesis titled Body Horror Revisted: A New Wave of Body Horror Films Directed by Women under the supervision of Dr Gwenda Young. He has recently collaborated with Dr Gwenda Young on a Creative Ireland/UCC funded project titled “Movie Memories”, which explored memories of cinemagoers in rural areas of Cork, Ireland. He has over twenty years of experience as a creative practitioner and is an award-winning filmmaker of short and feature length films and documentaries, which have been screened at film festivals both locally and internationally. He is a Director at SUPEREGO, a high-quality video production company with large multinational clients and a founding member of egomotion.net, an online filmmaking hub with over four hundred members, where filmmakers can share knowledge and resources and participate in each other's projects. Egomotion has also hosted various screenings, workshops and meet-and-greets in order to promote local filmmaking talent.
Supervisor: Dr Gwenda Young Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers
Title of PhD thesis: New Social Experiences of Irish Film Exhibition: The Changing Shape of Film Exhibition in Ireland From 2010 to the Present Day.
Summary: The central purpose of the thesis is to examine the efforts being made to lure audiences back to the cinema in Ireland since 2010, and to explore whether alternative film exhibition practices provide fruitful avenues for audiences to return to more social and visceral cinema-going experiences. The proposed project combines theoretical and historical analysis with a creative practice portfolio, comprising of four short documentaries on a number of exhibition experiences.
Originally from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Nicholas O’Riordan graduated with a BA in English and Geography in University College Cork in 2010, he went on to complete an MA in Film Studies at UCC where he completed a thesis titled Dublin’s Fair City?: Representations of Dublin City in Contemporary Irish Film under the supervision of Dr Barry Monahan. O’Riordan’s research interests include Irish cinema, national cinemas, film theory, socio-linguistics and representations of group identity in film. His writing has featured in Film Ireland and in the edited collection Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts (2015). He has co-organised international film conferences and co-edited for Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media. He also works as a filmmaker.
Supervisor: Dr Barry Monahan
Title of PhD thesis: Inflections and Representations of Accents in Irish Cinema
Summary: Against a history of politicisation of the Irish language, and the more recent politicisation of Irish accents in contemporary culture, this thesis questions the representations and receptions of Irish accents in recent cinema. Focusing on a range of contemporary Irish films, this thesis examines the ‘mis-representation’ of Irish accents on screen, as well as the position of accent as a marker of identity against a backdrop of Celtic Tiger/Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.
Ellen Scally is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and a PhD candidate in Film & Screen Media at University College Cork. She previously completed a BA in Film & Screen Media with English at UCC in 2016, followed by an MA in Film & Screen Media at UCC in 2017. Her MA thesis was entitled Hidden Spaces: Excavating Histories in the BBC’s Super 8 Stories and on Northern Ireland’s Digital Film Archive and was completed under the supervision of Dr. Ciara Chambers. Her research interests include amateur cinema, Irish screen history, and the audio-visual archive.
Supervisor: Dr. Ciara Chambers
Advisor: Dr. Abigail Keating
Title of PhD thesis: Cine-film Across Borders: The History and Legacy of Amateur Film Production in Ireland
Summary: This project is addressing a gap in scholarly research into the historical and cultural significance of amateur filmmaking and amateur cinema culture in Ireland. Through close analysis of film and archival materials, and the use of personal interviews with filmmakers, archivists and amateur film enthusiasts, this project aims to assess and contextualise the role of amateur filmmaking as it related to social, cultural, and political life in Ireland from 1900 – 1980.
Rory O’Sullivan is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at University College Cork. After studying Architecture in London, Rory worked in production design for major film studios in the UK and Ireland. He completed the MA in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice) at UCC in 2020, in which he pursued his interest in contemporary screen media culture by investigating themes around authenticity, behaviours and ethics.
Supervisor: Dr Abigail Keating
Co-Supervisor: Dr Ciara Chambers
Title of PhD thesis: Too Much Information: Screen Media, Anxiety and Control
Summary: My research aims to examine the exchange, manipulation and projection of information in screen media culture leading to investigations into the repercussions to psychological, behavioural and societal conventions. The information explosion that began in the late twentieth century has led to a time of overwhelming access to, and interaction with information through individualised digital media and technologies. As we attempt to derive understanding and meaning from our dynamic, digitally augmented lives, existential issues of anxiety and control manifest. Investigations into the concepts and themes of storytelling, archetypes and pattern recognition will ground this research in an effort to frame the paradigms that humanity employs to sustain in an ever-increasingly chaotic and fractal mediated environment. The opportunity to explore and demonstrate this research through audiovisual intervention is paramount to realising the full rigour and potency of the outcomes and output. The employment of carefully curated multimedia material and experimental production methods will encourage an urgent and innovative dialogue with the viewer and invite much needed, fresh perspectives on the core issues related to this research into contemporary screen media culture.
Humberto Saldanha is an Irish Research Council (IRC) Postgraduate Scholar and a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is developing a study of the cosmopolitan aspect of contemporary Brazilian cinema. He completed a BA in Communication Studies and an MRes in Communication and Contemporary Culture at Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Brazil. His research interests include world cinemas, cosmopolitanism, cinema and the (post)nation, Brazilian cinema, film festivals and sites of film circulation and distribution. He is a member of the editorial board of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, for which he recently co-edited a special issue on cosmopolitanism and cinema.
Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli
Title of PhD thesis: The Cosmopolitanism of Contemporary Global Cinema: Strategies of Internationalisation in Brazilian Cinema Today
Summary: My research aims to understand the processes of internationalisation of contemporary cinemas outside Hollywood, and their development of distinctive patterns of style and national representation appealing to non-domestic audiences, within a conflicted context of transnational encounters, consumption of ethnicity and hostility to the different other. The aims will be achieved by adopting cosmopolitanism as a methodological framework and by studying the circulation of recent Brazilian productions at international arenas of film appreciation and consumption. Understanding cosmopolitanism as an approach that implies an aesthetic openness to foreign cultures, it will be possible to investigate how Brazilian cinema negotiates its otherness and cultural difference as a manner to engage with foreign audiences.