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Photo of Professor Sally  Faulkner

Professor Sally Faulkner

Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor (Europe), Professor of Hispanic Studies and Film Studies


01392 723408


I am a Film Studies scholar and, working from bases in both Film and Languages & Cultures, specialize in Spanish- and Portuguese-language cinemas. In my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research supervision, I cover film and TV from both Europe and Latin America. My research largely focuses on Spanish cinema, where I have particular interests in film and politics (especially under dictatorship and during the Transition to democracy), film aesthetics (the practice of close reading and questions of intermediality) and film theory (especially post-colonial theory and gender). I am currently developing a collaborative new project, which fuses my teaching and research, on Women and Cinema in Spain and PortugaI during the Transition to democracy.

I am Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor for Europe, and lead on the University's engagement with Europe across both the teaching and research of our six academic Colleges. I previously served as Associate Dean for International and Development in the College of Humanities. Prior to that I was Head of the Department of Modern Languages, and Director of Research for Modern Languages with responsibility for the department's REF 2014 submission.

Prizes and Honours

  • Visiting Professor, Media Studies, School of Humanities, Carlos III University, Madrid, 2017.
  • Philip Leverhulme Prize , 2014-17, for distinction in the field of Modern Languages and Literatures.
  • Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2014-15.
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellowship, 2011.
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board Research Leave Scheme award, 2005.
  • Spanish Foreign Office research grant (BECAS MAE), 2005. 

Contribution to the Discipline

I am a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Advisory Board for Modern Languages and sit on the Editorial Boards of Legenda, UK, and of GeNueve Ediciones, Spain. I have previously held membership of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College, and of the Executive Committee of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland.

I have served as external examiner in the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University of Bristol (2011-14) and in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge (2014-17). 


I am Founder- Director of Languages in a Global World, which brings notable speakers who are graduates of Modern Languages to Exeter to share their experiences in an in-conversation event aimed at local schools, the wider public in the South West, and students and colleagues across the University. I am also Founder-Director of the College of Humanities Centre for Translating Cultures , which holds fortnightly seminars and regular workshops and symposia, and I supported the launch of the University Centre for Latin American Studies, EXECLAS. I regularly organize further events relating to either Modern Languages, Film Studies, or both, aimed at wider audiences, including schools (see External Engagement and Impact) or academic audiences:

  • With Dr Mariana Liz (Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon) 'Portuguese Film: Colony; Postcolony; Memory' at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, at which we hosted as special guest the director Margarida Cardoso, 2016. A recording of the Q and A I co-chaired with the director is available at this link.
  • With Dr Jonathan Bradbury and Dr Katharine Murphy (University of Exeter), the 60th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland at the University of Exeter, 2015. 
  • With Dr Maria Thomas (University of Exeter) the 'Iberian Transitions' workshop in the Centre for Translating Cultures, University of Exeter, 2014.
  •  'Middlebrow Cinema' symposium, University of Exeter, 2012.

Selected Speaking Engagements

From 2000 I have spoken on over 30 occasions as key-note speaker, invited speaker or conference participant at events in Britain, Ireland, Spain, Belgium and Germany. Selected speaking engagements include:

Key-note Address, 'La narradora infantil en el cine de Cecilia Bartolomé: Vámanos Bárbara (1978) y Lejos de África (1996),' 'La pequeña mirada: narradores infantiles en el cine y la literatura,' in absentia, Spanish Literature Department, University CórdobaSpainMarch 2020.

Key-note Lecture, 'Cuestiones de cinefilia y cine de mujeres en Gary Cooper, que estás en los cielos de Pilar Miró (1980)',¿Una luna de miel entre un cine y su público?. Culturas cinematográficas en transición 1970-1990, Department of Geography and History, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain, November 2019.

Plenary Address, 'Trabajar juntos,' Collaborative Approaches in Film Studies, Congreso Internacional Hispanismo y Cine, Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain, July 2019.

Special Guest Keynote Lecture, 'Spanish Film Studies and Questions of Cultural Translation: from "Auteur" to "Middlebrow"’, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Toronto, Canada, October 2018.

Invited speaker: 'Middlebrow Spanish Cinema: Working across Languages, Cultures and Disciplines,' 'Our Uncommon Ground' International Conference, University of Durham, April 2018.

Key-note lecture: 'Reclaiming, Remapping and Repositioning: Middlebrow Cinema and the case of Almodóvar', B-Film, Screening and Book Launch, Middlebrow Cinema, University of Birmingham, November 2017.

Invited seminar speaker, 'Introducing the Middlebrow in Film Studies', Workshop, 'Art History and the Middlebrow', Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, March 2017.

Key-note lecture, ‘Una aproximación al cine de la Transición’, at the ‘Democracia de ayer a hoy en España’ Conference, X Simposio de Historia Actual, organized by the Instituto de Estudios Riojanos, the University of La Rioja, the Asociación de Historia Actual and the Asociación de Historia Contemporánea, Ibercaja, Logroño, Spain, October 2015.

Seminar speaker with Dr Ana Martins (University of Exeter) 'Intermedial Dialogue in The Murmuring Coast / A Costa dos Murmúrios (Lídia Jorge 1988 and Margarida Cardoso 2004): Photography; Novel; Film', Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, May 2015.

Invited seminar speaker 'Un cine a medio camino entre el cine de arte y el cine popular, o, los problemas y las ventajas de traducir "middlebrow" al contexto del cine español: Presentación del libro A History of Spanish Film', Carlos III University, Madrid, November 2014.

Invited seminar speaker, 'La caza y la larga transición española: memoria; paisaje; género', Coloquio Internacional / Internationale Tagung 'Estéticas intermediales de Carlos Saura', University of Regensburg, October 2013.

Key-note lecture, 'Galdós and Spanish Cinema', The Annual Pérez Galdós Lecture, University of Sheffield / Spanish Embassy, November 2011.

Public lecture, 'New Spanish Cinema', 'Spain (Un)censored' Film Season, British Film Institute, London, January 2008.

Public lecture, 'Cinema, Literature, History: Literary Adaptations in 1980s Spanish Cinema', Canning House (Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Council), London, November 2002.










Research interests

My approach to the study of cinema combines attention to film form, consideration of production contexts, and deployment of critical theory. My work has challenged previous approaches, like the field of adaptation studies in Spanish cinema, as in my first monograph Literary Adaptations in Spanish Cinema (Tamesis 2004), or unquestioning readings of celebrated auteurs, as in my second book, A Cinema of Contradiction: Spanish Film in the 1960s (Edinburgh University Press 2006). It has interrogated the canon - Galdós, Buñuel, ‘New Spanish Cinema’ - as well as charting new terrain - silent film, TV serials, overlooked Transition films. My third monograph, A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010 (Bloomsbury Academic  2013), which was published in Spanish translation in 2017(IberoAmericana-Vervuert), exemplifies this approach: a major study of 100 years of cinema, it ranges from forgotten films to favourites, stresses the issue of social mobility that has too often been eclipsed by political concerns, and establishes the previously overlooked middlebrow as an approach that draws together textual analysis and contextual consideration of class. My edited volume Middlebrow Cinema (Routledge 2016) grows from this work, testing the purchase of the term across national and transnational cinemas beyond Spain, from the 1930s to the present. I am also currently developing my interests in cinephilia, memory studies and literary adaptations in my new research in Portuguese film, as well as beginning a collaborative project of Women and Cinema in Spain and Portugal of the Transition to Democracy.  




Research supervision


I am passionate about training the next generation of researchers in both Hispanic Studies and Film Studies - two areas of recent growth here at Exeter - and offer supervision in the following areas. I am delighted to receive enquires about postgraduate supervision for MPhil and PhD work, as well as enquiries about Exeter's MAs in Global Literatures and Cultures, International Film Business, Translation Studies and the MA by Research. I am also pleased to receive enquiries from international doctoral students who wish to spend a period at Exeter under my supervision, and from specialists who already hold PhDs and wish to undertake post-doctoral work at Exeter. 

  • Spanish and Portuguese cinemas and television.
  • Transnational cinemas, especially those involving networks incorporating Spanish- and Portuguese-language work, such as Latin America and Lusophone Africa.
  • Middlebrow cultures and questions of canonicity (when and why does a text become 'mainstream', or considered a 'classic' and how are these assumptions challenged?).
  • Literary adaptations on screen (film, television, on-line).
  • Feminist and postcolonial approaches to audiovisual cultures.

Research students

Delphi May. Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD student (South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership). First supervision: Exeter (Professor Sally Faulkner); second supervision: Reading (Dr Simone Knox). Thesis title: ‘“Chineseness” in Spanish Cinema and Audiovisual Culture.’ September 2016-

Rachel Beaney. Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD student (South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership). First supervision: Cardiff (Dr Ryan Prout); second supervision: Exeter (Professor Sally Faulkner). Thesis title: 'The representation of orphans in Spanish Cinema.' September 2018-



External impact and engagement

I run, or co-run, the following events that aim to connect my two areas of interest, Film studies and Modern Languages, especially Spanish and Portuguese, with public audiences, including local schools.

Film Studies

In collaboration with Exeter Phoenix, I co-curated the 2019 VIVA Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, which featured four films on tour from the Manchester VIVA festival, and a special screening of Fernando Fernán Gómez's 1963 El mundo sigue (Life Goes On) subtitled by University of Exeter students and introduced by the original producer's son, the Spanish director and producer Juan Estelrich. 

With Professor Will Higbee, I co-run the Subtitling World Cinema project, which seeks to make currently unsubtitled foreign-language films available to English-speaking audiences through free streaming. Fernando Fernán Gómez's Life Goes On is the first film to be subtitled through this project.

In collaboration with the Chagford Film Festival, I curate a Hispanic Cinema Day, which launched with the Almodóvar Day in 2018.

Modern Languages

In 2019 I launched the University's 'Languages in a Global World' public lecture series, which has thus far featured local MP and graduate of German, Ben Bradshaw, and BBC Security Correspondent and graduate of Arabic Studies, Frank Gardner.

In 2019 I co-hosted the Jornada didáctica del español, a training day for South-West teachers of Spanish at primary and secondary school (both GCSE and A-level) in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy, at the University. The second event, scheduled for May 2020, has been postponed owing to the Coronavirus.




Over eighteen years I have taught nearly all of the Hispanic Studies undergraduate degree at Exeter, as well as contributing to College of Humanities Masters degrees in Translations Studies and International Film Business. Drawing on my own research expertise, I have established a pathway in Spanish film, growing from introductory lectures on team-taught modules at first year, to specialist second and final-year courses. In 2018 I introduced a Field Trip for undergraduate students, taking the finalists studying my Pedro Almodóvar course to Chagford Film Festival. 


Modules taught


I attended Wellsway Comprehensive School, Bristol, from where I won a place to read Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish) at the University of Cambridge. I graduated with a double first and a distinction in spoken Spanish, and went on to gain an MPhil in European Literature (distinction) and PhD in Spanish, both University of Cambridge. I was appointed to a permanent lectureship at the University of Exeter in 2001 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006. Following a three-year career break for caring responsibilites over 2006-11, I was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013 and Professor in 2015.