Funded by the Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Trust, the Department of English in the College of Humanities is seeking to award a studentship to support doctoral research on the work of filmmaker Bill Douglas, particularly the production of Comrades, released in 1987.
The Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture is an accredited public museum and a research facility for scholars. It holds over 70,000 artefacts related to the broad history of the moving image and its founding collection was put together by the renowned filmmaker Bill Douglas and his friend Peter Jewell. The Centre plays an important role in teaching and research at the University of Exeter.
The succesful candidate for this studentship will be studying in the University’s Department of English, rated number one in the UK in the last research assessment exercise in 2008. The project will be supervised by Dr Dan North, the British cinema specialist in the department, and the successful applicant will benefit from a diverse and vibrant research culture.
The research topic
This studentship offers the opportunity to work on previously unavailable primary sources in researching the work of Bill Douglas, one of Britain’s most important and influential filmmakers. The successful candidate will study draft scripts and production correspondence around Comrades and will write a doctoral thesis using this material on the film and its production. In doing so, the candidate will work closely with the curatorial team at The Bill Douglas Centre and, as part of the project, will accession and catalogue scripts, correspondence and other material onto the Centre’s database (or archival management system). The candidate will also have the opportunity to interview Peter Jewell and others involved in the production in order to understand Bill Douglas’ distinctive working practices. The study will also consider the background of British film culture in the 1980s and should make a valuable contribution to the understanding of British cinema and its contexts in this period. The successful candidate will disseminate research findings in publications, conference papers, and through exhibition displays and digital media.
This project has the potential to produce ground-breaking research on one of Britain’s greatest and most distinctive cinematic artists. 2011 marks the twentieth anniversary of Bill Douglas’ death and the launch of this study is one of the ways in which the Centre will commemorate Bill Douglas, his life and his work. We hope that the doctoral project on Comrades will lead to further research on Bill’s archive. This could emerge from the progress of the initial project and discussions with Peter Jewell about the donation of further material relating to Bill’s life and career, and from successful bids to other research funders upon completion of this advertised project.