Candidates for the 2019 IAMHIST Council Election

Melanie Bell, Ciara Chambers, Llewella Chapman, Richard Legay, James Leggott, Paul Lesch, Alessandra Luciano, Cynthia J. Miller, Rolf Werenskjold


Election statements:

Melanie Bell – I completed my PhD at the Department of Gender Studies, University of Hull in 2004 and then took a post as Film Studies lecturer at the University of Newcastle. During my ten years at Newcastle I convened the MA Film Studies programme and served as Acting Director of the Research Centre for Film and Digital Media (RCFDM). I won a major AHRC award in 2014 to research the history of women in the British Film and Television Industries. This project combined statistical analysis with oral history interviewing to examine women’s economic and creative contribution to cultural production in British film and television. I joined the University of Leeds School of Media and Communication in 2016 as an Associate Professor in Film and Media. My research interests focus on women’s film culture; British cinema history; media production, with an emphasis on questions of labour and work; oral history and life-story interviewing; digital archiving.

My research has been published in the Journal of British Cinema and Television, Screen, Women’s History Review, Feminist Media Histories, and the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. I have also published two monographs, Julie Christie: Stardom and Cultural Production (2016) and Femininity in the Frame: Women and 1950s British Popular Cinema (2010). A third monograph, Female Technicians: Women, Work and the British Film Industry will be published by the University of Illinois in 2020. I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of British Cinema and Television, and have reviewed articles and proposals for the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Women’s History Review, Edinburgh University Press, Palgrave and Bloomsbury. I have supported several doctoral students through their research and have also acted as an external thesis examiner (for both national and international candidates).

I have a long-standing association with IAMHIST. In 2011 the journal published my article ‘Film Criticism as ‘Women’s Work’: the Gendered Economy of Film Criticism in Britain, 1945-65’ (31.2), which later won the David H. Culbert Prize for Best Article by an Established Scholar.  I have also reviewed articles for the journal. As an experienced mid-career researcher, I am keen to actively support and advance the discipline of media history in practical and concrete ways. I currently serve as a mentor/coach both within my institution and externally, and would welcome the opportunity to take on coaching activities within IAMHIST. (I have been a beneficiary of coaching and have also participated in university training programmes in this field). From my specialist interest in gender and media history stems a commitment to advancing knowledge of under-represented groups in history. This often involves reading against the archival grain (with fragmentary records/non-traditional forms of evidence) and I have a reputation for developing innovative methodologies. My ambition is to support and encourage junior colleagues in this and other areas through IAMHIST masterclasses and workshops. I would welcome the opportunity to support IAMHIST through these and similar activities, and in so doing help advance the organization’s commitment to the scholarly study of media histories.


Ciara Chambers is a Head of Film and Screen Media in University College Cork. She has been reviews editor for the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television since 2017; she is also a member of the editorial team of Estudios Irlandeses and Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. She recently adapted her book Ireland in the Newsreels (Irish Academic Press, 2012) as a six-part television series (Éire na Nuachtscannán) which was broadcast on TG4 in 2017 (www.irelandinthenewsreels.com). Her research interests include newsreels, amateur film and the recycling of archival images. She has worked on a range of archival projects and digitization initiatives with the Irish Film Archive, Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast Exposed Photography, UTV, BBC, and the British Universities Film and Video Council (now Learning on Screen). She is a member of the board of Irish Screen Studies, and has a strong interest in nurturing and developing networks between PhD students and early career researchers in Ireland and internationally.

She is very grateful for the wonderful links she has forged with IAMHIST members and would welcome the opportunity to build on these through further engagement with the IAMHIST Council.


Llewella Chapman – I am a film historian specialising in the areas of British cinema, costume and gender. My PhD thesis researched the connections between film, television and Hampton Court Palace by documenting the history and development of a filmmaking policy, alongside contemporary interpretation strategies which draw upon film and television to engage visitors. I am currently under contract with Bloomsbury to publish a monograph on James Bond, costume, fashion and gender. I have had articles accepted for publication in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and the Journal of British Cinema and Television. I am currently employed as a Associate Tutor at the University of East Anglia.

Since 2017, I have been a co-opted member of the IAMHIST Council, where I am the website community manager and editor of the IAMHIST Blog, an initiative I began and which has regularly published on a range of media history topics since April 2017. A popular strand of the Blog is the ‘A Day at the Archives…’ series, which is a platform for cross-communication between scholars and archivists. I have recently introduced a further strand to the IAMHIST Blog: a series which focusses on specific primary sources relating to media history (e.g. budgets, call sheets, correspondence, call sheets, scripts, and oral testimony), titled ‘Detectives in the Archives’.

Another initiative I have introduced is to create an archive to document the history of IAMHIST, to be launched on the organisation’s website in July 2019. This will include the publication of various papers and interviews with members of IAMHIST past and present. If elected to Council, I will continue to support the organisation and its members, particularly early career researchers. To do this, I have set up a mailing list for members to use as a site of community, discussion, dissemination of research, networking, and sharing of good academic practice across IAMHIST’s international base.


Richard Legay is a PhD candidate at the C2DH, the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, at the University of Luxembourg, where he works on the transnational history of commercial radio stations in Europe. His thesis is part of the Popkult60 research project (between the Universities of Luxembourg & Saarland) on the transnational history of popular culture in the 1960s. He holds a M.Phil in Public History from Trinity College Dublin, and a MA in Contemporary European History from the University of Luxembourg. He published on radio history during 1968 and is a co-editor on a special issue on ‘Radio Beyond Borders’ for the Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television.

I wish to be part of the IAMHIST council to give a voice to fellow PhD students and young scholars, and to represent their needs and aspirations. One key feature of IAMHIST has always been its supportiveness towards early career researchers and postgraduate students, something I myself have greatly benefited from. Having these voices represented in the council would be, in my opinion, a crucial way to maintain and improve the opportunities that our association offers to junior scholars. I had the chance to take part in the IAMHIST Masterclass in New-Orleans in 2018 and I attended the symposiums in 2018 and 2019, and I now wish to return the favour by contributing to the future activities of the association. I believe to be a good candidate for this position as a council member, as I was involved in the organisation of various academic events in the past, including conferences, an exhibition, and a Summer School on Transnational Radio History, held in Luxembourg in June 2018. Moreover, I was involved in the editorial board of our tri-national doctoral school, run by the Universities of Luxembourg, Saarland and La Sorbonne, and the running of its website and online content for two years. I am committed to pursue my involvement in IAMHIST activities and help in the organisation of future events.


James Leggott – I teach film and television studies at Northumbria University, UK. A member of the IAMHIST council since 2015, I organised the 2017 masterclass event, and the 2019 conference at Northumbria – and would be delighted to continue my involvement with the association. My research mainly deals with traditions of British visual culture, particularly contemporary film and television. My PhD (Newcastle University) was concerned with questions of place and gender in British social realist film-making from the 1950s to the present. I am the author of a book on contemporary British cinema and a forthcoming work on the films of the Amber Collective, a group of film-makers who have been documenting life in post-industrial Britain for over forty years. I am the co-editor of books on the topics of British science fiction film and television, British costume drama television, and the work of the media satirist Chris Morris. I have also published on topics such as 1970s British cinema, television comedy, and documentary. I am principal/founding editor of the Journal of Popular Television, a peer-reviewed journal published by Intellect three times a year.


Paul Lesch is the director of the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA) in Luxembourg. Before, he has taught film history at the University of Luxembourg and at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg. He is the author, among others, of Heim ins Ufa-Reich ? NS-Filmpolitik und die Rezeption deutscher Filme in Luxemburg 1933-1944 (WVT, Trier 2002) ; In the Name of Public Order and Morality. Cinema Control and Film Censorship in Luxembourg 1895-2005 (CNA, 2005) ; D’Stater Kinoen. Eine Kinogeschichte der Stadt Luxemburg (Editions Guy Binsfeld, 2013) : Humour, insolence et commentaires politiques. Les années 1930 vues par Albert Simon (2013) and he has contributed articles to publications such as Three Spotlights on Hitch (Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg, 1999) ; Wallflower Critical Guide. Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors (Wallflower, 2001) ; René Deltgen. Eine Schauspielerkarriere (CNA, 2002) ; Cinema and the Swastika. The International Expansion of Third Reich Cinema (ed. by Roel Vande Winkel and David Welch, Palgrave, 2007) ; Travelling Cinema in Europe (ed. by Martin Loiperdinger, Stroemfeld/Roter Stern, 2008) ;  Stellar Encounters. Stardom in Popular European Cinema (Ed. by Tytti Soila, John Libbey Publishing, 2009) and Unmögliche Liebe. Asta Nielsen, ihr Kino (Verlag Filmarchiv Austria, 2009).  He has also written for international journals such as Film HistoryHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and Cinema & Cie. Since 2007 he is council member of  IAMHIST (International Association for Media and History). In 2010/11 he co-curated the exhibition Hugo Gernsback. An Amazing Story. He is the director of the documentary film Call Her Madam (Samsa Film, 1997) on the American diplomat and party-giver Perle Mesta. Since 2019, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Luxembourg.

When I first became Council member of the IAMHIST, I was a teacher and a researcher and I gladly participated for more than 10 years in the organization of IAMHIST conferences and seminars focusing on topics related to these fields. Three years ago, I became the head of the CNA, the Luxembourgish national film, video, television, audio and photo archive. By organizing the 2019 master class and one-day symposium at the CNA, I tried (with the help of my collaborators) to highlight the work of archives and of archivists as well as of practitioners (films, web documentaries, …) using archive material. In my view, the world of audiovisual archives should continue to be an integral part of an organization such as the IAMHIST.


Alessandra Luciano – After receiving my Bachelor in “Film Studies: Theory & Practice” from Exeter University, I decided to pursue my academic career at Columbia University, where I obtained my Masters in “Film Studies”. Because of the various classes and projects I worked on at Columbia I decided not to pursue a PhD but to reorient myself toward film preservation. As such, I got my degree in the “Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image” from the University of Amsterdam. In 2013, I started working at the Centre national de l’audiovisuel in Luxemburg – the national audiovisual archive, as lead film archivist and collection manager in CNA’s moving image archive. In 2018, I was offered the position of Digital Curator at CNA, which meant leaving the film-tv department to lead CNA’s digital ambitions, heading our digital preservation and access strategies for all our collections, as well as ensuring that the institution’s full potential was met through the use of new technologies and the advantages digital workflows can offer.

Since leaving academia, I have successfully been able to combine theory with practice, across a spectrum of diverse interests and fields. I was a board member of the international association INEDITS, which aims to encourage the collection, the conservation, the study and the valorisation of amateur films, I am on the organising committee of the international conference No Time To Wait, I work as copy-editor for the international peer-reviewed academic journal Cinéma&Cie, and have recently been involved in the organisation of the IAMHIST Masterclass and Symposium in Luxembourg. I believe that my background is reflected throughout the different members of IAMHIST, and I would therefore be an asset to the association, allowing me the unique opportunity to further align and expand the grounds on which academia and the cultural heritage sector meet.


Cynthia J. Miller is a cultural anthropologist specializing in visual media. She teaches in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emerson College, and is the editor or co-editor of seventeen scholarly volumes, including the forthcoming Dark Forces at Work: Essays on Social Dynamics and Cinematic Horrors (2019). Cynthia is the recipient of the Peter C. Rollins prize for a book-length work in popular culture, and the James Welsh prize for lifetime achievement in adaptation studies.  She is Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction for the National Popular Culture Association, Treasurer for the International Association for Media and History, serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Popular Television, and also edits the Film and History book series for the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

I am seeking reelection to the Council for several reasons.  First and foremost, I hope to be reelected in order to most effectively fulfill my role as Treasurer. One of the main concerns of my position is good stewardship of IAMHIST’s finances—from providing an economic perspective on our endeavors, to monitoring membership trends, to advising on future partnerships, initiatives, etc.—and having an active voice on the Council is critical to carrying out this aspect of my role.  In addition to these responsibilities, I have chaired the IAMHIST-Michael Nelson Prize committee for several years and hope to continue to be able to recognize and support important scholarly work in media and history, encouraging excellence in archival and other primary source research. Finally, I believe that the organization is embarking on important and exciting times as we consider and respond to trends in academic and global politics. I look forward to continuing to play an active role on the Council and in the life of the organization in general as we explore these issues.


Rolf Werenskjold is Professor on the Faculty of Media and Journalism at Volda University College, Norway. He teaches Media Studies and Media History. He received his doctorate in Media Studies and Journalism from the Department of Media and Communication at Oslo University, Norway. He is a historian and media scholar who has published several studies on media and protests during the year 1968, modern American history, Norwegian media and the Spanish Civil War, and Norwegian foreign news journalism during the Cold War. His latest books is The Nordic Media and the Cold War (2015), which he edited with Henrik G. Bastiansen, and Media and the Cold War in the 1980s. Between Star Wars and Glastnost (2018), together with Henrik G. Bastiansen and Martin G. Klimke. He has also recently participated with a chapter about A Norwegian News Reels in the 1930 in the edited volume Researching Newsreels. Local, National and Transnational Case Studies (2018), edited by Ciara Chambers, Mats Jönsson, and Roel Vande Winkel. Werenskjold is member of the Management Committee and Core Group member of the EU research program COST Action: New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent (2017-2021). He has been both convener and organizer of several big international interdisciplinary conferences in cooperation with several European research networks during the last 15 years. Werenskjold is member of the Norwegian National Board of Media Studies.

For a number of years I have been active in various research networks and programs, and have seen the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration across national borders. Media history is still a new research field. There are many white spots on the research map that need special attention. I will together with the rest of the board help to bring together both young and experienced researchers from different countries and regions, and stimulate the expansions of new topics of media history research. To achieve such goals I intend actively attending regular IAMHIST meetings – such as the annual master class and the biannual conferences.

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