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Personal profile


Melanie Williams is a film historian specialising in the study of British cinema with a particular emphasis on issues of gender. This specialism began with her PhD at the University of Hull on representations of women in the 1950s films of director J. Lee Thompson, awarded in 2003. She worked at the University of Hull for several years and played a key role in setting up their Film Studies degree programmes before moving to UEA’s School of Film and Television Studies in 2009. Having held the position of School Director of Postgraduate Research from 2009 to 2012, she was then Head of the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies within the School of Art, Media and American Studies from 2014-2016, Athena Swan Gender Equality Lead, and currently Research Director for UEA's Interdisciplinary Insititute for the Humanities.
Key publications include the edited collections British Women's Cinema (Routledge, 2009), Ealing Revisited (BFI Palgrave, 2012), Mamma Mia! The Movie: Perspectives on a Film Phenomenon (I.B. Tauris, 2013) and Shane Meadows: Critical Essays (Edinburgh University Press, 2013). Her book 'Female Stars of British Cinema' was published in 2017 with EUP, and her book on director David Lean, originally published with Manchester University Press in 2014, was reissued in paperback the same year. She was co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project 'Transformation and Tradition in British Cinema of the 1960s', which resulted in the co-authored book Transformation and Tradition in 1960s British Cinema (EUP, 2019) and the edited collection Sixties British Cinema Reconsidered (EUP, 2020). She is also co-editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television.
Modules for which she taken responsibility include ‘Analysing Film and Television’, ‘Studies in Film History’, ‘Film Theory’, ‘Film and Authorship’, ‘Chick Flicks: Women and Hollywood Storytelling’, ‘The Past in British Film and TV’, ‘Gender and British Cinema’, and 'The Hollywood Studio System'. She has also successfully supervised numerous PhDs.


Lecturer; Univesity of East Anglia (2009 - )

Lecturer; University of Hull (2001-2009)

PhD Film Studies; University of Hull (2003)

BA English Literature; University of Hull (1996)

External Activities

  • External examiner for Royal Holloway, University of Sussex, Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Frequent broadcaster for BBC radio and television, and contributor to DVD/BluRay releases.
  • Member of steering committee of Women’s Film and Television History Network UK/Ireland with special responsibility for organising their 2014 conference.
  • Winner of Cue East award for Media and Public Engagement 2013.

Key Research Interests

Main research interests include: British cinema (especially in terms of authorship and representations of gender); stardom; film aesthetics and mise-en-scene analysis; postwar British popular culture.

In addition to several books, she has published articles on various aspects of British cinema in: Cinema Journal; Screen; Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television; Feminist Media Studies; Journal of British Cinema and Television (and is now also a member of the journal’s editorial team); Film Quarterly; Sight and Sound; Quarterly Review of Film and Video; Feminist Media Histories; and Journal of Gender Studies.

Research supervision

Interested in supervising research students in all areas of British cinema and/or gender and film.


Key Responsibilities

Areas of Expertise

British cinema; women and cinema.

Teaching Interests

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality


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