School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Dr Sabrina Qiong Yu

Senior Lecturer in Chinese and Film Studies


I joined the school in February 2008 before I obtained my PhD from Nottingham University in July 2008.

Roles and Responsibilities

Principal Investigator of AHRC-funded project on Independent Cinema in China (2019-2023)

Programme Director for MA Film: Theory and Practice (2011 -- the present)

Steering group member for the Research Centre for Film (2011- the present)

Head of East Asian Section (2012 - 2015)

Programme Director for Single Honours Chinese/Japanese Studies (2013-2015)

Year Abroad Officer (2008 - 2011)


PhD in Film Studies, Nottingham University, 2004-2008

MPhil in Cultural Studies, Birmingham University, 2001-2003

MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, Beijing Normal University, China, 1998-2001

BA in Chinese Literature and Language, PLA Foreign Language University, China, 1991-1995

Previous Positions

Lecturer in Chinese and Film Studies, Newcastle University, 2008-2015

Lecturer in Chinese Literature, Naval University of Engineering, China, 1995-1998


UG modules

SML2011 Cities in East Asian Cinema: Culture, History and Identity (module leader)

CHN4011 Documenting China: Studying Chinese Culture and Society through Independent Documentaries (module leader)

CHN4009 Gender and Media in Modern China (module leader)

SML8099 Dissertation

PG modules

FMS8355 Stars: Systems, Theories and Nations (module leader)

FMS8360 Researching Film: Skills and Methods (module leader)

FMS8055 Approaches to Film Theory and History

FMS8358 Exhibition Culture

FMS8099 Dissertation (module leader)


My research and publications focus on transnational Chinese cinema, Chinese independent film and film festivals, stardom and performance, gender and sexuality. I am the author of Jet Li: Chinese Masculinity and Transnational Film Stardom (2012, 2017), and the co-editor of Revisiting Star Studies: Cultures, Themes and Methods (2017).

I regularly curate film festivals/events in Newcastle in collaboration with indie film festivals or film companies in China (for example 'The Tenth Anniversary of the China Independent Film Festival UK Celebration', see I am committed to promoting the exhibition and research of Chinese independent cinema in the UK.

I am the Principal Investigator of AHRC-funded project 'Independent Cinema in China, 1990-2017: State, Market and Film Culture'. This four-year international project aims to preserve indie films made in the PRC in the past three decades and to conduct comprehensive research into this unique but under-researched film culture. The project team comprised of researchers from both the UK and China (Prof Chris Berry, King's Collage; Dr. Luke Robinson, Sussex University; Prof Xianmin Zhang, Beijing Film Academy; Dr. Lydia Dan Wu, Newcastle University) will work with a large number of Chinese indie filmmakers and curators as well as two industry partners Sheffield Doc/Fest and CNEX (China). There will be a range of outcomes including academic publications, conferences, the archive, the online database, film tours, exhibition, festival panels, and documentary summit.

I have supervised six research students to completion.

Lydia Dan Wu, MLitt, 'Representations of Hong Kong Identity in Three Post-handover Nostalgia Films', 2011

James Cummings: MLitt, 'Homosexual Identity Consturction at the Intersection of Sexuality and Regionalism in China', 2013

Kelly Mc George, MLitt, 'Transforming "Ordinary" Experience of China's Post-Socialist Modernization into Public Consciousness through Magic(al) Realism and Ecology in the Independent Cinema of Jia Zhangke, 2015

Lydia Dan Wu, PhD, 'Minjian Film Exhibition in Post-Socialist China: Sustainability and Self-Legitimation', 2016

Yang Li, PhD, 'Screening Tibet: Approaching New Tibetan Cinema from a Postcolonial Perspective and the Field of Subaltern Studies', 2018

Lewis Pringle, MLitt, 'Unruly Women? A Comparative Study of Stardom, Gender and Performance in French and American Comedies of the 1930s', 2017- 2018

I am currently supervising the following research students:

Carrie Poon, PhD candidate, a project on Taiwanese director Edward Yang, masculinity and modernity, 2018 -

Kelly McGeorge, PhD candidate (AHRC studentship holder), a project entitled 'Transitions of (Dis)appearance: Aesthetics and Political Practice in Chinese Ecocinema', 2018 -

Guanmei Liu, MLitt candidate, a project on Ai Xiaoming and her activist documentary filmmaking, 2019 -