Headshot of Olly Gruner

Read more about the Visual Culture senior lecturer's award-winning research

  • 21 May 2020
  • 1.75 min read

The School of Art, Design and Performance's Dr Olly Gruner has been awarded the prestigious Harry Ransom Center Fellowship from the University of Texas.

Olly, Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture, received the award for his research project, Writing the Hollywood Renaissance: Screenwriting and American Film, 1967-1980.

With this fellowship, Olly can develop a detailed examination of iconic Hollywood productions – including the contribution of often underrated women screenwriters – and will spend a month at the world-renowned Harry Ransom Center research institute in Austin, Texas.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to engage with scholars across the Arts and Humanities”, said Olly, whose fellowship is sponsored by the aptly named Robert De Niro Endowed Fund. “I look forward to researching and discussing ideas.”

He explained the background of his project as a rethinking and revisiting of one of the most celebrated periods of American film history.

People talk about movies such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Five Easy Pieces as representatives of a golden age of cinema – a kind of Hollywood art film. But it’s always the directors who are celebrated. Actually, so many interesting visual concepts, daring themes and innovative stylistic devices are being developed by screenwriters. The screenplay was a place for experimentation and boundary-pushing – an artwork in its own right.

Dr Olly Gruner, Visual Culture senior lecturer

Olly also said that moving away from directors enabled a break from the male-centred popular histories of the period.

“With this fellowship, I’ll be researching key women screenwriters such as Jay Presson Allen, Carole Eastman and Joan Tewksbury, who all contributed to some of the era’s most iconic productions, but have been overlooked in much of the literature.”

Visit Dr Olly Gruner's profile to find out more about his research and teaching interests.

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