I studied Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, and was previously at Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield. At Newcastle I was Head of the School of Modern Languages, and Director of the 5* Centre for Research into Film and Media which I established in 1996. I was Dean of Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and as Chair of Newcastle University’s Research Committee was responsible for the Research Assessment Exercise.
In Sheffield, I was Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the new Faculty of Arts and Humanities. I set up the Faculty and oversaw the relocation of most of its departments to new and refurbished buildings. I championed the notion of an ‘Arts Quarter’, celebrated by an extensive and successful programme of events (‘New Ground’), and I initiated contacts with regional cultural providers as part of the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture.
I took up the post of Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at the University of Surrey in June 2010. I completed my term of office in 2015 when the Faculty was merged with the Faculty of Business Economics and Law to form the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I currently teach Film Studies in the School of Literature and Languages. I am on the management group of the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, technē.
I was Chair of the British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies 2014-2017, and am the Convenor of one of its Special Interest Groups, French and Francophone Cinema. I am the Chief General Editor of Studies in French Cinema, the only journal in the world devoted entirely to French and Francophone cinema.
I was appointed Visiting Professor to the Central Academy of Drama (Beijing) in 2005. I was Visiting Professor to the Beijing Film Academy 2012-2014, and a Distinguished Visitor to the School of Language and Cultures, University of Queensland in 2018.
I have also practised Tai Chi since the early 1980s.