Staff Directory

Last Updated


01522 83 5472
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool
United Kingdom

About Chris O'Rourke

I am a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television History, based in the Lincoln School of Film and Media and the School of History and Heritage. My research focuses on the history of cinema in Britain, especially during the early twentieth century. I am also interested in film exhibition, cinema-going, and representations of gender and sexuality in film, including histories of LGBTQ cinema. Before joining Lincoln in 2016, I studied at the University of Cambridge, and was a postdoctoral Research Associate and Teaching Fellow at University College London. My first book, Acting for the Silent Screen: Film Actors and Aspiration between the Wars, was published in 2017. This explored the early history of film acting in Britain, including efforts to define film acting as a profession, as well as the emergence of a 'participatory' fan culture around film stars in the 1910s and 1920s, resulting in the growth of 'how-to' guides, cinema acting schools and 'star search' contests. I also developed the online resource London’s Silent Cinemas (, which includes essays and interactive maps about the history of film exhibition and cinema-going in London between 1906 and 1930. Most recently, I co-edited a book about London on film (with Dr Pam Hirsch) and contributed a chapter about gay and lesbian London on screen. I am currently researching the early history of queer film in Britain.

Department Responsibilities

I teach a number of modules in the Film and Television Studies BA, History BA and History MA programmes, and I am a Personal Tutor for History students. I am also on the Working Group for the Media Archive for Central England (MACE). My office is in the Alfred Tennyson Building, room 2132. In Semester B, 2018-19, my open office hours for academic support and feedback are 10-11, Wednesdays and Fridays. Please email me to book an appointment outside these hours.

Subject Specialism

British Cinema; Early and Silent Cinema; Film Exhibition; Gender and Sexuality; LGBTQ Film History


  • PhD — University of Cambridge, 2012
  • MPhil — University of Cambridge, 2007
  • BA (Hons) — University of Cambridge, 2005

Orcid ID


Research Interests

  • British Cinema

  • Cinema-going

  • Early and Silent Cinema

  • Film Exhibition

  • Gender and Sexuality

  • LGBTQ Film History

  • London on Film

Research Projects

  • Male Cross-Dressing on Stage and Screen: Gender, Sexuality and Performance in Britain, 1896-1939 — awarded £450 by Society for Theatre Research in 2017
  • London’s Silent Cinemas — awarded £750 by UCL Public Engagement Unit in 2015

Research in the Lincoln Repository

Professional Affiliations

  • Higher Education Academy — Fellow