Home » Dr Philippa Lovatt


Dr Philippa Lovatt

Lecturer in Film Studies

Broadly speaking, my research focusses on the politics of film form. My particular areas of interest are in East Asian and Southeast Asian cinemas, experimental film and documentary, sound in audio-visual media and more recently, on the relationship between censorship and grassroots film activism in Asia. I have published my work in the journals Screen; Music, Sound and the Moving Image; The New Soundtrack and SoundEffects as well as in a number of edited collections. I am an Associate Editor of The New Soundtrack journal and recently edited two special issues of Feminist Media Studies’ Commentary and Criticism section on ‘Feminism and Sound’ and ‘Gendered Voices and Audio Media’. I am now writing my first monograph which investigates the relationship between film sound, phenomenology and the ethics of spectatorship entitled Sound Design and the Ethics of Listening in Global Film and Video (Edinburgh University Press, 2018).

Before coming to St Andrews, I was a Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Stirling and a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow where I taught Sound Design and Film & Television Studies.

I gained my AHRC funded PhD ‘Cinema’s Spectral Sounds: History, Memory and Politics’ from the University of Glasgow in 2011. Analysing the soundscapes of films produced in cultures of censorship by Bahman Ghobadi (Iran), Jia Zhangke (China), and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), the thesis draws on interdisciplinary approaches to sound studies and theories of ethics and embodied spectatorship in order to investigate the role of the acoustic in expressing the complex, and often disputed, relationship between ‘unofficial’ memory and ‘official’ histories.

I am Primary Investigator of the AHRC funded Southeast Asian Cinemas Research Network: ‘Promoting Dialogue Across Critical and Creative Practice’. The central aim of the project is to investigate the role of film culture in the context of contemporary, postcolonial Southeast Asia. We have organised four events beginning with a conference in Kuala Lumpur in July 2016 (in collaboration with the Association for Southeast Asian Cinemas), a two-day symposium at UCLA in April 2017, a symposium and series of workshops at Hanoi DocLab in November 2017, and finally a symposium and film season in Glasgow in collaboration with the Glasgow Short Film Festival in March 2018. More information can be found here: https://www.seacrn.org.





Sound Design and the Ethics of Listening in Global Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, in preparation).

‘Breathing Bodies: Sounding Subjectivity in the War Film’, Music, Sound and the Moving Image, 10.2, 2016: 167-188.

‘Introduction: Gendered Voices and Audio Media’, (as Guest Editor), Feminist Media Studies, ‘Commentary and Criticism’, 17.1, 2017, 108.

‘Sound, Music and Memory in Jia Zhangke’s Hometown Trilogy’ in Liz Greene and Danijela Kulezic-Wilson (eds.) Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media: Integrated Soundtracks (Palgrave, 2016), pp. 229-244.

‘Introduction: Feminism and Sound’, (as Guest Editor), Feminist Media Studies, ‘Commentary and Criticism’, 16.6, 2016, 1109.

‘Carceral Soundscapes: Sonic Violence and Embodied Experience in films about Imprisonment’, SoundEffects: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience, 2015, 1: 25-39.

‘Slow Sounds: Duration, Audition and Labour in Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide and Oxhide II’ in Nuno Barradas Jorge and Tiago de Luca (eds.), Slow Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), pp. 192-203 (*shortlisted for BAFTSS award in the Best Edited Collection category)

‘Life is Cheap: Chinese Film Noir and the Aesthetics of Disenchantment’ in Chi-Yun Shin and Mark Gallagher (eds.) East Asian Film Noir: Transnational Encounters and Intercultural Dialogue (I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 179-196.

Review of Kristi McKim, Cinema as Weather: Stylistic Screens and Atmospheric Change. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013, 234 pp. in Screen, 2015, 56.3: 387-390.

‘“Every drop of my blood sings our song. There, can you hear it?”: Haptic Sound and Embodied Memory in the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’, The New Soundtrack, 2013, 3.1: 61-79.

‘The Spectral Sounds of Postsocialist China in the films of Jia Zhangke’, Screen, 2012, 53.4: 418-435.

Review of Alan Grossman and Àine O’Brien (eds), Projecting Migration: Transcultural Documentary Practice. London: Wallflower Press, 240 pp. in Screen, 2008, 49.4: 491-494.



Research supervision

My research interests are in East and Southeast Asian cinemas, experimental film and documentary, sound in audio-visual media, censorship and film activism and I particularly welcome PhD students whose work relates to any of these areas.

I am currently supervising: