Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE&me

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE&me

Article excerpt

Stella Bruzzi is a professor of film and television studies at the University of Warwick. Her research has encompassed costume design, documentary and the portrayal of masculinity in film, and her books include Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies. She is currently director of research for film and television studies at Warwick, where she was previously head of department, and chair of the Faculty of Arts. Recently, she was appointed the new dean of arts and humanities at University College London

Where and when were you born?

Florence, Italy, 28 January 1962.

How has this shaped you?

I will always be a proud Italian.

What were your immediate thoughts when you were offered the position of dean of arts and humanities at UCL?

First delight, then humility, then gratitude that I'd already arranged to meet a friend for a drink so the celebrations were also in place.

What will be your priorities in the role?

Spencer Tracy's advice to aspiring actors was: "learn your lines and don't bump into the furniture". After having negotiated my new staff card, found my new office and successfully logged in to my new computer, I'd set about meeting all members of my new faculty.

If you were higher education minister for a day, what policy would you immediately introduce to the sector?

I'd wave my magic wand and say Brexit didn't apply to the higher education sector.

If you were a prospective university student now facing £9,000+ tuition fees, would you go again or go straight into work?

I would definitely do a degree. My three years as an undergraduate, then my three years as a PhD student, shaped who I am personally and intellectually.

What kind of undergraduate were you?

A bit of a swot, but also one who got involved in a lot of student drama. I studied English and drama at the University of Manchester between 1981 and 1985. I first assumed I wanted to go into the theatre; then I thought I'd rather like to become an expert on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. I ended up doing neither, but I have extremely fond memories of being an undergraduate.

What is the biggest misconception about your field of study?

That there's a hard line between films that are "just entertainment" and ones that are "hard work". They can be both at the same time.

Many academics have studied other aspects of film-making, such as cinematography, but the subject of costume in film has largely been ignored. Why?

Short answer: snobbery. It is probably because men don't think about clothes much - and often don't think much of clothes - and undoubtedly because it's viewed as a "craft" as opposed to a cinematic "art" worthy of analysis. …

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