Professor Sarah C J Street

B.A.(Warw.), D.Phil.(Oxon.)

  • BS8 1LN

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Personal profile

Research interests

My main areas of research activity are British cinema history and the contemporary film industry; the politics and economics of the film industry; British film genres; aspects of costume and cinema, including work on Hitchcock, mise-en-scène, set design and colour film. My book publications include Cinema and State: The Film Industry and the British Government (co-authored with Margaret Dickinson, British Film Institute, 1985); British National Cinema (Routledge, 1997; 2nd edition 2009); Costume and Cinema (Wallflower, 2001); British Cinema in Documents (Routledge, 2000); European Cinema (Palgrave/Macmillan, co-edited with Jill Forbes, 2000); Moving Performance: British Stage and Screen (Flicks Books, co-edited with Linda Fitzsimmons, 2000); Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA (Continuum, 2002); The Titanic in Myth and Memory (I.B. Tauris, co-edited with Tim Bergfelder, 2004); Black Narcissus (I.B. Tauris, 2005) and Queer Screen: The Queer Reader (Routledge, co-edited with Jackie Stacey, 2007). Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema was co-authored with Tim Bergfelder and Sue Harris (Amsterdam University Press, 2007), and was the result of a collaborative AHRC-funded project. In addition to my books and edited volumes I have published over 50 articles in journals/ chapters in edited collections, and delivered plenary/keynote addresses all over the world. A key trip was to China for a workshop on Film and Fashion, based in Shanghai and Ningbo. I was Principal Investigator on a 3-year (2007-10) AHRC-funded project, The Negotiation of Innovation: Colour and British Cinema, 1900-55. Three publications have resulted: a monograph, Colour Films in Britain: The Negotiation of Innovation, 1900-55 (winner of best monograph prize awarded by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, 2012), and two co-edited volumes, Colour and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive and British Colour Cinema: Practices and Theories (with Dr Simon Brown, co-investigator and Dr Liz Watkins, research associate on the project). I have extensive experience in journal editing and am currently a co-editor of Screen and of the Journal of British Cinema and Television. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Screen I curated a special display on the Journal which was exhibited in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Aug-Sept 2009. I co-founded the University Research Theme, Screen Research @ Bristol which brings together researchers working in the broad areas of screen research, film and television studies, across a range of disciplines. We hold workshops and seminars each academic year, as well as participate in the World Universities Network (WUN) sponsored virtual seminar series on World Cinemas.

I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant for a three-year project (2012-15) entitled, Colour in the 1920s: Cinema and its Intermedial Contexts. This project investigated the major spheres of colour expression in commercial and experimental motion pictures of the 1920s. Taking cinema as the galvanizing focus, it contextualised colour's intermedial role in other arts - including commercial and print culture; fashion and industry; theatre and the performing arts - in order to produce a fully comprehensive, comparative and interdisciplinary study of the impact of colour during a decade of profound social, economic and cultural change. The project team consisted of myself as PI, Dr Josh Yumibe (St Andrews) as Co-Investigator and two post-doctoral researchers, Dr Victoria Jackson and Dr Bregt Lameris. Chromatic Modernity, co-authored with Joshua Yumibe was published by Columbia University Press in 2019. The book was awarded the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' Katherine Singer Kovacs Award for Best Book in 2020, and also the Michael Nelson prize for best book in film studies awarded by the International Association for Media and History, 2021.

I was Principal Investigator on The Eastmancolor Revolution and British Cinema, 1955-85, an AHRC-funded project that involved collaboration witht the British Film Institute, Studio Canal and the UK Colour Group. The project ran from 2016 to 2019 working with Co-investigator Dr Keith Johnston (UEA) and two post-doctoral research associates, Dr Paul Frith and Dr Carolyn Rickards. 

In 2019 I was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant for a five-year project, STUDIOTEC: Film Studios in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60. Working with post-doctoral research associates and other team members from the Universities of Bristol, Southampton and Queen Mary, University of London, the project investigates how collaborative and material environments of studio spaces and technologies in three key decades shaped film production. For more details see:

Current and potential research student projects

I regularly supervise doctoral students and I have supervised students in many different subject areas including Colour in Silent Cinema; The Films of Joseph Losey; Screenwriting Manuals in the British film industry in the 1920s and 1930s; Counter-Cinematic Appropriations of Shakespeare; Alfred Hitchcock and self-reflexivity; Amateur home movies made in India in the 1930s, Genre and Intertextuality and British Film Music, and Vistavision. While I can offer supervision in many areas of Film Studies, I am particularly interested in supervising students interested in any aspect of British cinema; film and history, including Hollywood; film costume and mise-en-scène; set design and colour film aesthetics and technologies. I am also interested in historical perspectives on film marketing and promotion. Any other topics relevant to my expertise will be considered.


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