I studied Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, and was previously at Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield. At Newcastle I was Head of the School of Modern Languages, and Director of the 5* Centre for Research into Film and Media which I established in 1996. I was Dean of Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and as Chair of Newcastle University's Research Committee was responsible for the Research Assessment Exercise submission of 2008.
In Sheffield, I was Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the new Faculty of Arts and Humanities. I set up the Faculty and oversaw the relocation of most of its departments to new and refurbished buildings. I championed the notion of an 'Arts Quarter', celebrated by an extensive and successful programme of events ('New Ground'), and I initiated contacts with regional cultural providers as part of the city's bid for European Capital of Culture.
I took up the post of Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at the University of Surrey in June 2010. I completed my term of office in 2015 when the Faculty was merged with the Faculty of Business Economics and Law to form the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I currently teach Film Studies in the School of Literature and Languages. I am on the management group of the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, technē.
I was Chair of the British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies 2014-2017, and am the Convenor of one of its Special Interest Groups, French and Francophone Cinema. I am the Chief General Editor of Studies in French Cinema, the only journal in the world devoted entirely to French and Francophone cinema.
I was appointed Visiting Professor to the Central Academy of Drama (Beijing) in 2005. I was Visiting Professor to the Beijing Film Academy 2012-2014, and a Distinguished Visitor to the School of Language and Cultures, University of Queensland in 2018.