Charles Barr's career spans the first half-century of academic film studies in the UK, starting with postgraduate research in the 1960s at London University under Thorold Dickinson, the director/scholar who became Britain's first Film professor. After working in educational television, he came to UEA in 1976, funded initially by the British Film Institute as part of their strategy to set up experimental lectureships in promising institutions. The then School of English and American Studies proved to be fertile ground because of its strong interdisciplinary ethos, and the presence already of sympathetic figures, notably Thomas Elsaesser. Along with Thomas (who later moved to Amsterdam), and subsequently Andrew Higson (now at York), Charles helped to develop a wide range of programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including from 1990 the innovative M.A. in Film Archiving, which for two decades had a formative influence within the field.
After leaving UEA in 2006, he continued to teach full-time for five years, at Washington University in St Louis and then at University College Dublin. While retaining a home base in Norwich, he still travels extensively for research and teaching; he is currently Professorial Research Fellow in Film and Irish Studies at St Mary's University, Twickenham, and will spend the summer of 2014 back in Dublin as a Research Fellow at Trinity College.
Many of Charles's publications have been in the field of British cinema, including Ealing Studios (1977, and two updates) and the edited collection All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema (1986); he also co-authored, with Stephen Frears, the programme Typically British (1995), part of Channel 4's celebration of the centenary of cinema. More recently, his main work has been on Alfred Hitchcock: English Hitchcock (1999), the BFI Classic on Vertigo (new edition, 2012), and a jointly-authored volume Hitchcock: Lost and Found, to be published early in 2015. He also has work in progress on John Ford, on Victor Sjostrom, and on the links between Winston Churchill and cinema, and he 'moonlights' as a member of the production team for Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.