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Research at St Andrews

Kirsty Sinclair Dootson


Kirsty Sinclair Dootson
Postal address:
School of Philosophical
Anthropological & Film Studies
Film Studies
99 North Street St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 467481

Research overview

Dr Dootson’s research examines the relationship between making and meaning in visual culture from the nineteenth century to the present. Specialising in British and American contexts, her work interrogates the links between materials, technologies, aesthetics and ideologies across a range of media. She is particularly interested in colour film technologies, especially the global history of Technicolor. 

Her current book project asks how new ways of making colour profoundly transformed the meaning of colour in modern Britain. Exploring a range of chromatic technologies from the 1850s to the 1960s, the book considers both the material mass production of colour in the form of paints, inks and dyes, as well as chromatic mass media such as printing, film and television. The book explores how, through these new chromatic technologies, colour became a means for negotiating, celebrating and resisting the social and cultural transformations wrought by industrial modernity, from the mechanisation of labour in the Victorian era, and the decline and collapse of the British Empire in the twentieth century, to the changing racial makeup of Britain in the post-war period. 

Dr Dootson is also currently working on two collaborative projects: the first, with Zhaoyu Zhu (King’s College London), exploring the relationship between Technicolor and politics in Chinese cinema of the Maoist era; the second, with Alice Lovejoy (Minnesota) and Pansy Duncan (Massey), an edited volume exploring the material, technical, and social history of film stock.

Dr Dootson received her PhD in Film and Media Studies with History of Art from Yale University in 2018, and also holds degrees in Film and Television Studies from Warwick University, and in History of Art from Cambridge University. Prior to her arrival at St Andrews she was a Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College Cambridge. 

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