Dr Elizabeth I Watkins


My research focuses on colour, its theories, technologies and materiality; feminist theory; the negotiation of ‘failed’, blurred and decayed photographs; film historiographies;  the history and ethics of colourisation and the archive (photography and film).

I am Chair of the British Association of Film Television and Screen Studies [BAFTSS] and coordinator of BAFTSS' research network of Special Interest Groups [SIGs]. I founded and convene the BAFTSS SIG on Colour and Film with Professor Sarah Street and Dr Vicky Jackson (University of Bristol). 

I was British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Leeds) and Research Associate for a project on colour films in Britain 1900-1955, which was led by Sarah Street at the University of Bristol. My British Academy Small Research Grant focussed on the study and representation of colour and early 1900s polar expeditions. As Sackler Fellow and Caird Fellow at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich I examined scientific photography, its exhibition, camera-centred histories and 'failed' photographs (blank, blurred) on Colbeck's S.Y. 'Morning', as relief ship for Scott's 'Discovery' expedition 1901-04. My research fellowship at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin examines Eliot Elisofon's work as photographer for LIFE magazine and consultant on Technicolor films of the 1950s.  

My publications include journal articles in Screen, Journal for Cultural Research, and Parallax. I have edited collections on British Colour Cinema: (BFI/ Palgrave Macmillan) and Color and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive  (Routledge) with Sarah Street and Simon Brown. I edited Gesture and Film (Routledge) with Nicholas Chare. Forthcoming publications include a book on theories of colour in film and the archive (Routledge), a book on 'Andrea Arnold: Unsettling the Cinematic' (Edinburgh University Press) and a special issue journal on colourisation.

Selected Publications:


  • Liz Watkins, Theories and Philosophies of Colour Cinema (Routledge).
  • Liz Watkins, Andrea Arnold: Unsettling the Cinematic (Edinburgh University Press).
  • Gesture and Film: Signalling New Critical Perspectives, eds. Nicholas Chare and Liz Watkins (London: Routledge, 2017) (ISBN: 978-1-138-90019-6).
  • Color and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive, eds. Brown, Street, Watkins (New York: Routledge, 2013) (ISBN 9780415892643).
  • British Colour Cinema: Practices and Theories, eds. Brown, Street, Watkins (London: BFI/ Bloomsbury, 2013) (ISBN: 9781844574131).

Journal Articles and book chapters

  • Liz Watkins, ‘The Spectacle of Nothing: the image, material and object in a photographic ecosystem of Antarctica’, Photographies (2021) vol.14, no.3. pp.481–503.
  • Liz Watkins, ‘The Politics of Nostalgia: Colorization, Spectatorship and the Archive’ , Comparative Cinema, special issue on color, (2021) Vol.IX, No. 17. pp.123-145.
  • Liz Watkins, ‘The Strange Art of Scientific Photography: Anomalous Images of Antarctic Exploration’ in The Empiricism of the Gaze. The Assignment of Meanings to Scientific Expedition Photography, eds. Gisela Parak / Elke Bauer (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2021), pp.74–85.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Liminal Perceptions: Intermediality and the Exhibition of Early Non-fiction Film', eds. Giovanna Fossati, Victoria Jackson, Bregt Lameris, Elif Rongen Kaynacki, Sarah Street, Joshua Yumibe, The Colour Fantastic, Chromatic World of Silent Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) pp.51–73.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Mapping the Antarctic: Photography, Colour and the Scientific Expedition in Public Exhibition', Progress in Colour Studies, , eds. Carole Biggam, Lindsay Macdonald, Galina Paramei (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2018) pp.439–459.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Don't Look Now: Transience and Text', Screen (2016) vol.56, issue.4, pp.436–449.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Unsettling Perceptions: Screening Surveillance and the Body in Red Road', Paragraph (2015) vol.38, no.1, pp.101–107.
  • Liz Watkins, 'The Disquiet of the Everyday: Gesture and Bad Timing', Journal for Cultural Research (2015) vol.19, no.1, pp.56–68
  • Liz Watkins, 'Colour Consciousness and Design in Blanche Fury as Technicolor Melodrama', Journal of British Cinema and Television (2010) 7, 1, pp.53–68.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Cinematic Excess',  Film Theory Encyclopedia , eds. Edward Branigan and Warren Buckland (Routledge, 2013) pp.178–181.
  • Liz Watkins, 'The Materiality of Film', The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World, eds. Paul Graves-Brown, Rodney Harrison and Angela Piccini (Oxford University Press, 2014) pp.574–590.
  • Liz Watkins, 'Herbert G. Pontings Materials and Texts', Color and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive, eds. Simon Brown, Sarah Street and Liz Watkins (New York: Routledge, 2013) pp. 322–335.
  • Liz Watkins and Nicholas Chare, 'The Matter of Film: Decasia and Lyrical Nitrate', Carnal Knowledge: Towards a New Materialism Through the Arts, eds. Barbara Bolt and Estelle Morris (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012) pp.75–88.
  • Liz Watkins, 'The (dis)articulation of Colour: Cinematography, Femininity and Desire in Jane Campion’s In the Cut' , Questions of Colour in Cinema: From Paintbrush to Pixel, ed. Wendy Everett (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007) pp.197–216.

Blog Posts

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, University of Leeds
  • MA, University of Leeds
  • BA Hons, University of Bradford
  • PGCLTHE, University of Leeds
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional memberships

  • British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
  • Society of Cinema and Media Studies
  • Colour Group, GB