School of Media and Performing Arts


Photo of Dr Van Norris

Dr Van Norris

  • Qualifications: PhD, MA, BA, PGcE
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer (Film and Media); Level 5 Tutor (Media)
  • Address: Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 5790
  • Email:
  • Department: School of Media and Performing Arts
  • Faculty: Creative and Cultural Industries


I have worked as a lecturer, unit co-ordinator and graduate and postgraduate teacher at the University of Portsmouth since 2003 and I am Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies. Previous to working within academia, I was a successful freelancer film reviewer between 1990-1993 for the Southern Evening Echo and also in local radio for Radio Victory, editing and presenting my own entertainment programme between 1997-1999. Parallel to this career, I also worked for a number of years in the mental health field as an advocate, in a support and as an activity organiser.

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach and co-ordinate a number of units across School of Media and Performing Arts (formerly School of Creative Arts, Film and Media) at undergraduate and postgraduate level in areas such as animation, comedy, graphic narratives and mainstream cinema and television. My teaching includes core Media first year unit, ‘Contemporary Media Events’ and second year core Film unit, ‘Critical Hollywood’. My main undergraduate option units are: ‘Researching Animation’ (which is a unique and well-received unit that has continued a history/’theory thread in the subject of animation since 2004), ‘Comedy: Culture and Form’ (again, an undergraduate unit of study that too has continually evolved since 2005 to address the comedy industries on-line, televisual and filmic) and ‘Analysing Comic Books’ (a L5 block of teaching which academically examines industrial settings, authorship and formal concerns, commonly associated with graphic narratives and sequential art). All of these units extend from a cultural studies-style engagement with the construction and reading of the image in popular culture and which maintains an SMPA tradition of examining the nature, context and impact of popular and marginal forms at an academic level.


My research interests lie in animation history and theory, Classical and Post-Classical Hollywood animation and British cinema and television animation, American and British graphic narrative forms; British and American comedy forms - sitcom and stand up comedy; and mainstream and independent American and British cinema.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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