Jemma Saunders

Jemma Saunders

Department of Film and Creative Writing
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Looking for Birmingham: the Fragmented Audio-Visual City (working title)
SupervisorDr James Walters and Dr Richard Langley
Film Studies with Audio-Visual PhD


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2021)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019)
  • MA History, Film and Television (University of Birmingham, 2011)
  • BA Medieval and Modern History (University of Birmingham, 2010)


After completing my MA in 2011, I developed a portfolio career; working in a library, a theatre and at a small film production company in a researcher/coordinator role, in addition to pursuing various freelance writing projects. I returned to the University of Birmingham to manage the Placement and Training module for the MA in Film and Television: Research and Production (an evolved iteration of my postgraduate degree) and have also undertaken part-time roles in Careers Network. I am studying for my PhD part-time, alongside my work as Placement Co-ordinator for the MA.


I am exploring how Birmingham is represented in popular film and television, interrogating aesthetics of the city in its role as both narrative setting and filming location across a range of texts (including Peaky BlindersDoctors and Man Like Mobeen). Using videographic criticism as a core research methodology, the thesis asks the central question ‘when does Birmingham play itself?’. Comprising both documentary and written components, this research will examine and challenge Birmingham’s on-screen identity.

Other activities

  • Presented a short video essay for a BAFTSS Practice Research SIG event on Videographic Criticism (January 2021)
  • Repping Regions in the Rap Game UK’ (Audio-visual paper for 4th annual B-Film PGR Symposium, University of Birmingham, March 2021)
  • ‘Gritty City: small screen aesthetics of class, crime and family in the Birmingham of Peaky Blinders and Benefits Street.’ (Paper for 2nd annual B-Film PGR Symposium, University of Birmingham, March 2019)