Prof Claire Thomson

Professor of Cinema History


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
27th Sep 2004

Research summary

My research centres on Danish cinema, especially state-sponsored short film, Dogme 95, and Carl Th. Dreyer. My monograph Short Films for a Small Nation: Danish Informational Film 1935-1965, Edinburgh University Press 2018) investigates how short films were commissioned, produced and distributed under the auspices of the semi-governmental body Dansk Kulturfilm between 1932 and 1966. Previous publications have focused on the role of cinema and literature in shaping national identities in the Nordic countries, on eco-criticism, and on cinematic intermediality and materiality, and more recently on film and public heath. My book Thomas Vinterberg's Festen (University of Washington Press, 2013) reconsiders the first film of the Dogme 95 movement in the twin contexts of the digital and affective turns. I have also edited anthologies on Nordic cinema and literature, and am currently co-editing A History of Danish Cinema with Isak Thorsen and Pei-Sze Chow (forthcoming 2020 with Edinburgh University Press).

I am a Director of Norvik Press (www.norvikpress.com) and an editor of the journals Scandinavica (scandinavica.net) and Kosmorama (kosmorama.org).

Teaching summary

At undergraduate level, I teach Scandinavian cinema and cultural history, and translation from the Scandinavian languages. I also teach courses on national cinemas and media history for the School of European Languages, Culture and Society. At postgraduate level, I teach optional modules on Nordic Cinema and on Short Films for UCL's MA in Film Studies, and will be teaching the MA Film Studies core course in 2019-20.

I have supervised ten PhD students, on topics encompassing cinema and national identity, cinema and architecture, translation of Danish and Swedish literature, and Dano-Chinese co-production.


University of Edinburgh
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
University of East Anglia
Other qualification, Advanced Certificate | 2001
University of Edinburgh
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1997
University of Edinburgh
Other higher degree, Master of Arts (Hons) | 1996


Born in Lanarkshire, I studied EU Studies with French and Danish at the University of Edinburgh, followed by an M.Sc. in Translation and a PhD in Danish literature, also at the University of Edinburgh. I lectured in Contemporary Scandinavian Studies at the University of East Anglia for four years, before taking up a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCL in 2004. I was later appointed to a lectureship at the Department of Scandinavian Studies at UCL, and was Head of Department from 2009 to 2013, before spending a year as a Visiting Researcher based at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen. I enjoy sharing my research in different formats, including a number of stand-up comedy sets for Bright Club, and podcasts such as the BBC's Boring Talks.