Photo of Thomas Austin

Thomas Austin
Reader in Media & Film Studies (Media and Film)
Subject area: Film
T: +44 (0)1273 872549


I am currently co-editing (with Angelos Koutsourakis) Cinema of Crisis: Film and Contemporary Europe (Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

The book traces European filmmakers’ diverse responses to interlinked upheavals and emergencies of the past three decades, including: the revolutions of 1989 and the collapse of the eastern bloc; deindustrialisation and financialisation; the 2007-8 crash and eurozone debt crisis; escalating neoliberal policies and austerity; 'post-democratic' tendencies; scapegoating, exclusionary politics and 'illiberal democracies' within the EU; 'Fortress Europe' and the current 'refugee / migrant crisis'.

Chapters will consider both fiction films and documentaries, popular genres and art cinema, and will focus on the small nations of Europe as well as those at the continent's political, economic and geographic core.

Confirmed contributors are:

Alex Lykidis; Martin O’Shaugnessey; Angelos Koutsourakis; Patricia Sequeira Brás; Kate Moffat; Dafydd Sills-Jones; Marco Abel; Eva Näripea; Dirk Hoyer; Martin Hall; Iván Villarmea Álvarez; Anna Batori; Konstantinos Tzouflas; Anna Viola Sborgi; Constantin Parvulescu; Thomas Austin; Lóránt StÅ‘hr; Rosalind Galt; Dina Iordanova.


My latest research considers the politics of immigration in recent European cinema, both fiction and documentary.

An article on documentary representations of refugees and migrants is forthcoming in a special issue of Studies in European Cinema, 2019. My chapter on images of clandestine migration in European fiction film is forthcoming in Cinema of Crisis: Film and Contemporary Europe (see above). Finally, my interview with Marianna Economou, director of The Longest Run, was published in the June 2017 issue of Senses of Cinema. (


I am the editor of an international collection of original essays exploring aesthetics and politics in the work of Aki Kaurismäki. The Films of Aki Kaurismäki: Ludic Engagements will be published in August 2018 by Bloomsbury.


"A Democracy of Images: John Gianvito in Conversation" has just been published in Senses of Cinema, March 2018:

I have also written on questions of form and politics in the field of contemporary documentary. My latest article on this terrain, "Interiority, identity and the limits of knowledge in documentary film" was published in Screen, 57:4 Winter 2016.

My interview with the pioneering British filmmaker John Akomfrah appeared in Senses of Cinema 79, July 2016, online here:

An article on East German director Konrad Wolf ("Spectral cinema from a phantom state: film aesthetics and the politics of identity in Divided Heaven and Solo Sunny") has been published in Studies in Eastern European Cinema, vol.7, no.3, 2016.

In previous work I have researched the 'documentary boom' of the early 2000s, and audience responses to film and television documentaries. I have also undertaken empirical studies of audiences for Hollywood film, along with contextual research into the political economy of contemporary Hollywood, and its popular cultural presence in Britain.


I have supervised postgraduate doctoral research on the following topics:

audiences and Sylvester Stallone; television in the age of convergence; Bollywood and postmodernism; Friends fans on the net; Barbara Stanwyck; polysexuality, Torchwood and audiences: first person documentary; dance in film; John Hughes' teenpics; a cultural history of videoblogging; DA Pennebaker and direct cinema (all completed and passed).

I am currrently supervising work on:

documentary ontology and new media formats; contested representations of fandom in documentary.

I would especially welcome applications to research screen documentary, refugees and migrants in European film, or the work of Kaurismäki.