Photo of Dr James Lyons

Dr James Lyons

Senior Lecturer


01392 724355

CV for Dr James Lyons

Dr James Lyons is the author of Selling Seattle, profiled in The New York Times as a book 'a visitor ought to read to truly understand the American cities and regions where they live, work and travel.' Read the profile here.  He has also appeared in The New York Times talking about his research on Starbucks. Read it here. Dr Lyons was amongst the first scholars to analyse Starbucks' power as a global brand, in his widely-cited Cultural Studies article '‘Think Seattle, act globally’ Speciality coffee, commodity biographies and the promotion of place.'

Dr Lyons is also the author of Miami Vice, described by Prof. David Thornburn (MIT) in his Cinema Journal review as 'the richest account of a single television program I've ever read', and co-editor of Quality Popular Television , Multimedia Histories: From the Magic Lantern to the Internet, and The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts. He is one of the founding editors of the film journal Scope and serves on the editorial advisory board.

His current research spans two overlapping areas of interest. The first is the role of the producer, and the role of performance, in American independent cinema, as explored in the book chapters on 'The American Independent Producer and the Film Value Chain' (Beyond the Bottom Line The Producer in Film and Television Studies, edited by Andrew Spicer, Anthony McKenna, Christopher Meir)  and 'Low-flying stars’: the aesthetics of cult stardom in Mumblecore' (Cult Film Stardom: Offbeat Attractions and Processes of Cultification edited by Kate Egan and Sarah Thomas). He has a chapter on American producer Megan Ellison in Indie Reframed: Women Filmmakers and Contemporary American Independent Cinema, edited by Linda Badley, Claire Perkins, and Michele Schreiber.

The second is modes of performance and discourses of risk in recent American independent documentary. He is currently working on a new book, entitled Documentary, Performance and Risk, to be published by Routledge. He was awarded £50,000 to work with award-winning advertising agency Rubber Republic on a documentary on risk and everyday life as part of the AHRC's REACT Future Documentary scheme. Watch the documentary here: The documentary won the Ramillas Interactive Fund Award at Sheffield International Doc/Fest.

Dr Lyons's work on risk has also extended to writing a case study on the visualisation of climate change for the Government Chief Scientific Advisor's report "Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding it", and he is on the expert panel of the EPSRC-funded network Models to Decisions (M2D), which explores decision-making under uncertainty.


Research supervision

I am interested in considering research projects across the broad spectrum of US film and television.

Research students

Research students (completed)

Stephanie Piotrowski, 'The films of The Beatles and the development of the pop music soundtrack' 2008

Matthew Barber, 'Representing the American President in Hollywood Cinema' 2009

Gareth James, 'HBO and contemporary Television' 2011

Nick Hall, 'The development and use of zoom lenses in American film and television from 1946 to1974'  2012

Phil Wickham, 'Contemporary Comedy in Britain and the Culture of the New Capitalism' 2012

Jean Pierre Magro, 'Transmedia Film and the Independent Producer'

Adam Whybray ''Animating Dissent': The Political Object of Czechoslovakian Stop-Motion Film'


Research students (current)


Joe Hickinbottom 'Takashi Miike: The Dynamics of Cult Authorship in the UK'

Chris Davies, 'The Historical Epic on Film'

Christopher Hite, 'Italian Neo-Realist Cinema in Post War America'

Edward Falvey, 'Reading the Cinematic City: Iconography, Transformations, and the Birth of New York City'

Tom Fallows, 'Survival of the Dead”: Manufacturing Independence in the American Film Industry. An Exploration of the Political Economy of Laurel Entertainment, 1974-1988.'

Elisa Cepedal, 'A Cinema of Resistance.'


Modules taught