Professor Alan O'Leary


My first degree was a BA Art & Social Context from Dartington College of Arts and following this I worked in my hometown of Cork, Ireland, as a stage designer. I later studied Italian and English at Trinity College, Dublin, before going on to study for an MPhil in European Literature and then a PhD at Cambridge (Wolfson College). I started at Leeds as a lecturer in Italian in 2005 and have since taught courses at the University of Mumbai and The Ohio State University and presented my work in many universities around the world. I am spending some of the academic year 2020/21 as a Guest Professor at Aarhus University, teaching film prodcution and developing research around film practice.


  • Director MA Film Studies

Research interests

I have authored or co-edited several books and published many articles on Italian and other cinemas and have recently published a short book on the 1966 film The Battle of Algiers. My work has focused especially on terrorism in Italian cinema (the topic of my PhD), questions of pleasure, cultural distinction and the popular. I now work mainly on videographic criticism (videoessays about film) while still developing an ambitious project on film and history. I have collaborated with tenor Dan Norman as part of the Opera North/University of Leeds DARE partnership and am working on a practice-research 'meta-project' with my partner, dance artist Marie Hallager Andersen, designed to lay the groundwork for a hybrid mode of artistic/academic work.

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

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures
  • Italian
  • Art practice as research
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>