School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Dr Sarah Leahy

Senior Lecturer



After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a degree in French and Italian, I worked for two years as an EFL teacher in Poland and Portugal before returning to the UK to study for a PhD on French cinema at the University of Exeter, awarded in 2002. I worked as a Film Studies Lecturer at Northumbria University from 2001-5 before coming to Newcastle.

Roles and Responsibilities

Current: SML Director, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; Acting Programme Director, MA Film Theory and Practice

Director of Postgraduate Studies, SML (2010-2015)

Co-director of the MA in International Film: History, Theory, Practice (2006-2010)

Co-ordinator, Film and Visual Arts field of study, SML (2006-2010)


PhD: 'Simone Signoret and Brigitte Bardot: Femininities in 1950s French Cinema', University of Exeter. Awarded 2002.
BA Combined Hons in French and Italian, University of Birmingham, 1994.

Previous Positions

2001-2005: Lecturer in Film Studies, Northumbria University
1999-2001: Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Exeter.
1997-1999: Lectrice, Université de Versailles et Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines


Society for Studies in French Cinema.

British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS)

Network for European Cinema Studies (NECS)

Screenwriting Research Network


French and Italian

Informal Interests

Going to the cinema.
Hill-walking, cycling and swimming.


Research Interests

French cinema from the 1930s to the present day; stars, stardom and questions of national identity; cinema audiences and theories of spectatorship; questions of representation and identity.

Current Work

I am working on a co-authored monograph (with Isabelle Vanderschelden) for Manchester University Press on Screenwriters in French Cinema. This builds on my work on the cinematic collaborations of the Groupe Octobre, examining the relationship between cinema and theatre in the early 1930s, and on contemporary writer-director, Agnès Jaoui.

Research Roles
Member of AHRC Peer Review College.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome applications for postgraduate research in the following areas:
French cinema from the 1930s to the present day, most particularly in the following areas:
stars and stardom; screenwriters; theories of gender and sexuality and film; film criticism and film history.

Esteem Indicators

Invited speaker at:

Journée d'études, 'Casque d'or: lectures croisées', organised for students preparing the agrégation in French by the University of Nanterre-Paris Ouest. 13 February 2010, Institut National pour l'histoire de l'art.

Screening event, Fait-divers (Claude Autant-Lara, 1923), BFI London. Part of the 4th Fashion in Film Festival, Marcel L'Herbier, Fabricating Dreams, 10-19 May 2013.

Colloque: 'Des livres aux scénarios. Approches interdisciplinaires des archives du cinéma français (1930-1960)', 10-11 October 2016, Université de Lausanne and Cinémathèque suisse


2007-8 British Academy Small Research Grant

2005-6 AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award
2004-5 AHRC Research Leave
2003-4 University of Northumbria Small Research Grant
2002-3 University of Northumbria Small Research Grant
2000 AHRB Study Abroad Grant 


Film Studies; French Cinema; Film History; Screenwriters


Undergraduate Teaching

Contemporary French Cinema (Stage 4, co-taught with Guy Austin)
Classic French Cinema (Stage 2)
Introduction to International Film (Stage 1)

Postgraduate Teaching

MA International Film: History, Theory, Practice
Approaches to Film History and Theory
Celluloid Cities: Urban representations on film