Susan Smith

Position: Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
Institution: University of Sunderland
Geographical areas: North America, Northern Europe, Southern Europe

Research areas: Stardom and performance (including voice) in film; the child actor/child star; Elizabeth Taylor’s acting career; children's film and literature; animation; the musical and thriller genres; Hitchcock's film and television career; cinema and the natural world/animals in film; emotion and affect in film; tone and point of view in cinema; film authorship; moments in film; the video essay; adaptations (stage to screen, screen to stage, novel to film).

Relevant Publications

2012 Elizabeth Taylor (London: BFI/Palgrave). 2012 ‘Child Performance Dossier: Introduction’, with Michael Lawrence, Screen 53(4), Winter, pp. 436-39. 2012

‘There’s More Than One George Bailey!: the sharing of character between child actor and adult star in It’s a Wonderful Life’, Child Performance Dossier, Screen 53(4), pp. 440-46. 2010

‘Opening up The Secret Garden (Agnieszka Holland, 1993)’ in James Walters and Tom Brown (eds) Film Moments (British Film Institute). 2007

‘Vocal Sincerity, Liminality and Bonding in The Railway Children (Lionel Jeffries, 1970)’, Literature/Film Quarterly 35(3) 2005




2009-10 ‘Elizabeth Taylor: From Child to Adult Star’ (principal and sole investigator). Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council‌‌.



Co-convenor of Child Actors/Child Stars: Juvenile Performance on Screen, hosted by the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies (CRMCS), University of Sunderland, in collaboration with the University of Sussex (8-9 September 2011).



Coeditor (with Martin Shingler) of the BFI’s Film Stars series (publisher: Palgrave)

Coeditor (with Michael Lawrence) of ‘Child Performance Dossier’, Screen 53(4), Winter.



2013 Co-chair (with Martin Shingler) of a keynote panel on the BFI Film Stars series, Revisiting Star Studies: International Conference, Newcastle University (12-13 June) 2012

‘”The Child in Hitchcock”, ‘Hitchcock and Film Authorship: Cinema, Culture, Collaboration’ panel, SCMS, Boston, USA (21-25 March) 2011

‘Riding to Stardom: An exploration by video essay of the film career of Elizabeth Taylor’, Research Seminar series, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, 14 November 2011

‘Elizabeth Taylor: a Video Essay Tribute’, Child Actors/Child Stars: Juvenile Performance on Screen, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, 8-9 September 2010

‘Elizabeth Taylor and the Art of Compassion’, Screen Studies 50th Conference, 2-4 July 2010

‘Elizabeth Taylor, Animals and the Articulation of Child Star Identity in National Velvet (1944)’,

Children’s Film and Literature Conference, Centre for Adaptations, De Montfort University, Leicester, 1 March 2008

‘Elizabeth Taylor: from child to adult star’, National PCA/ACA Conference, San Francisco, 19-22 March 2006

‘Jenny Agutter and The Railway Children (Jeffries, 1970)’, British Screens Now, Manchester Metropolitan University, 11-13 September 2000


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