Dr James Mansell is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in the Department of Culture, Film and Media. He joined the University of Nottingham in 2010 having previously worked at the University of Manchester. He holds BA (Hons), MA, and PhD degrees in History from Manchester. He co-directs the Nottingham Sensory Studies Network, a research cluster supporting sensory work across the disciplines with a focus on sensory methodologies, practices, and histories. He is a Research Associate at Science Museum, London, where is collaborating on a number of projects on the history of sound and technology, Book Reviews Editor of the journal The Senses and Society and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
James's research and teaching expertise are in cultural history, sensory studies, and sound studies. His research has focused on the cultural history of sound and hearing, sound media, and on histories of sonic modernity and modernism. He is interested in how sound and other sensory experiences connect us socially. In addition to research on the history of noise and everyday hearing (particularly in Britain), he has worked on global histories of 'occult' sound in relation to 'enchanted' modernist arts practices. He is currently working, among other things, on sound, museums and heritage. You can read about some of his work with the Science Museum in this recent blog.
The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity (University of Illinois Press, 2017). You can listen to a feature about the book on BBC Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed'
Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Landscape and the American West, co-edited with Christopher Scheer and Sarah Victoria Turner (Fulgur, 2017).
The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit, co-edited with Scott Anthony (BFI Books, 2011).
Exhibitions and Arts Projects
Sound and Fury: Listening to the Second World War, a collaboration with composer Aleks Kolkowski. A sound installation resulting from this project was first shown as part of the Being Human Festival 2016.
Urban Vibrations: Sound, Selfhood and the City, a collaborative project with artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan. Read a blog on the beginnings of the project.
Enchanted Modernities: Mysticism, Landscape and the American West, an exhibition at Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah, USA, 2014, with Christopher Scheer and Sarah Victoria Turner. Read a review here. You can also listen to a radio feature about the exhibition.
Pioneering Spirit: Maud MacCarthy - Music, Mysticism and Modernity, an exhibition at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, York, UK, 2014, with Rachel Cowgill, Christopher Scheer and Sarah Victoria Turner.
Funded Research Projects
Sensory Engagement: Arts, Museum and Research Collaboration for Sound Practice, University of Nottingham and Nottincham City Museums and Galleries, 2016-17
Acoustics on Display: Collecting and Curating Sound at the Science Museum, AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund, 2016
Music, Noise and Silence: Building Engagement in the Culture of Music and Science, AHRC Network, 2014-15
Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism and the Arts, 1875-1960, Leverhulme International Network, 2012-15
SCHEER, C., TURNER, S. V. and MANSELL, J. G., eds., 2017. Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Landscape and the American West. Fulgur. (In Press.)
MANSELL, J.G., 2017. Optical Enchantment: Oskar Fischinger and Visual Music. In: SCHEER, C., TURNER, S. V. and MANSELL, J. G., eds., Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Landscape and the American West. Fulgur. (In Press.)
MANSELL, J.G., 2017. Ways of Hearing: Sound, Culture and History. In: BULL, MICHAEL, ed., The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies (In Press.)
James has supervised seven PhD theses and one MRes thesis to date on topics ranging from the history of TV in Britain to the commemoration of war dead in contemporary Britain to the use of amateur film in public history. He welcomes enquires from potential postgraduate research students working in any area of media and cultural studies, especially media and cultural history, sensory studies and sound studies.