Dr Silvia Dibeltulo

Senior Lecturer in Communication, Media and Culture

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Silvia Dibeltulo


Silvia Dibeltulo teaches and researches in the areas of Film, Media and Cultural studies. Her current research explores the role of women in the Italian film industry. Her research interests include screen representations of ethnicity and gender, film genre theory and history, audience and reception studies, cinema memory, cinema heritage, mentoring in the creative industries, and digital humanities. She obtained her PhD in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin with a dissertation on cinematic representations of Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans in Hollywood gangster film. Before joining the CMC programme she taught and researched within the Film Studies unit at Oxford Brookes University.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

Modules taught Within the Communication, Media and Culture programme, Silvia is currently leading and teaching:

  • Ethnicity and the Media 
  • Understanding Media
  • Culture, Gender and Sexuality
  • Subject to Culture 2
  • Communication, Culture and Organisations

She also contributes to:

  • Understanding Culture
  • Special Topics in CMC
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation
  • Independent Study

In the School of Arts she taught the following modules:

  • Film Genres
  • Film History
  • Media Narratives 1


Silvia welcomes proposal for PhD and M.Res supervision in areas relating to:

  • Screen representations of ethnicity, race, and gender
  • Cinema and diasporic identity
  • Film reception and audiences
  • Cinema memory
  • Film genre theory and history
  • Digital humanities projects related to cinema
  • Gender and the film industry

She is currently co-supervising a PhD dissertation on the language of memory in Italian films from the post-war period to the present.



One strand of Silvia’s research explores screen representations of ethnicity. Her doctoral dissertation, ‘Hyphenated Identities: Irish- and Italian-American Gangsters in Hollywood Cinema’ is the first comparative study of cinematic representations of Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans in Hollywood gangster film, and applies a novel multi-disciplinary approach to the topic. It examines the different ways in which mainstream American cinema perceives and portrays these two groups, while exploring the various meanings and connotations associated with Irish and Italian ethnicity in society and popular culture. Silvia’s work also focuses on media representations of the interrelation of gender and ethnic identity.

Another line of Silvia’s research investigates film audiences. She worked in the AHRC-funded ‘Italian Cinema Audiences’ project (http://italiancinemaaudiences.org/) and in the BA/Leverhulme-funded ‘European Cinema Audiences’ project. Both projects focus on memories of cinema-going experiences and contextualize them by analysing box-office figures, archival materials, and film industry data. She is a founding member of The Audience Project at Oxford Brookes University, a network that brings together international scholars conducting cutting-edge research in audience studies.

She is interested in Digital Humanities and, while working on film programming and exhibition and distribution in 1950s Italy, has applied a novel approach to this research area by employing geo-visualisation digital tools (see, for example, http://italiancinemaaudiences.org/blog/maps/).

Silvia also works on genre in film and media and has co-edited a collection that explores the intersection between traditional modes of production and new, transitional/transnational approaches to film genre and related discourses in a contemporary, global context.

Silvia’s current research project, ‘Women in Italian Film production: Industrial Histories and Gendered Labour, 1945-85’, investigates the role of women in the Italian film industry. This AHRC-funded project challenges the prevailing narratives of male achievement by shedding light on the invisible women who worked in the industry during its heyday. The project will for the first time systematically investigate the place of women in the rise and affirmation of the Italian film industry in the decades after World War Two until its decline in the 1980s. It will gather oral testimonies from women who worked in different roles, and read them alongside the personal archives of key women who worked in the film industry.

Research impact


The impact of Silvia’s research beyond academia has been externally recognised through the Research Excellence Framework. Within the ‘Italian Cinema Audiences’ project (2013-2016), in an effort to address the social marginalization of an increasingly ageing population, her research has enabled older people’s participation in the creation of cultural heritage, while enhancing their wellbeing through reminiscence. The project has captured memories of Italian cinema audiences, thus rescuing and preserving intangible cultural heritage for future generations. By co-creating a digital archive, the project has ensured the sustainability of this legacy while enabling older people’s digital inclusion. Moreover, Silvia’s research has fostered intergenerational collaborations between older and younger audiences, furthered younger generations’ involvement in a community forged through cinema-going, while enhancing public understanding of Italian cultural heritage.

In current projects Silvia’s research is generating impact through collaborative and participatory approaches with stakeholders and professionals in the cultural and creative industries, with a specific focus on issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion.


Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • Women in Italian Film Production: industrial histories and gendered labour, 1945-1985 (led by University of Warwick) (led by TDE) (01/02/2023 - 31/01/2026), funded by: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £69,357


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of MeCCSA: Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association
  • Member of HoMER – History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception
  • Member of BAFTSS – British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
  • Member of NECS – European Network for Cinema and Media Studies


Selected Conference and Seminar Presentations

  • July 2022: ‘Remembering Gone with the Wind: A comparative reception study across Italy and the UK in the post-war period’, HoMER Conference, Sapienza University of Rome
  • September 2020: ‘Reconstructing historical film genre consumption in post-war Italy’, Film Audience Movements and Migrations Conference, Oxford Brookes University
  • June 2018: "Genre and Audiences’ Engagement: Analysing memories of 1950s Italian cinema-goers", NECS/HoMER Annual Conference, University of Amsterdam
  • January 2018: “Going to the cinema in 1950s Italy: Memory and Nostalgia", Revisiting Nostalgia and the Hyperreal Symposium, Oxford Brookes University
  • April 2017: “Audiences and Film Genre: A Case Study of Cinema-going in 1950s Italy”, BAFTSS Conference 2017, University of Bristol
  • November 2016: “‘A World I thought was impossible’: memories of cinema-going in 1950s Italy.” 6thECREA Conference, Mediated (Dis)Continuities: Contesting Pasts, Presents and Futures, Prague.
  • September 2016: “American and Italian films in 1950s Rome: mapping distribution and reception through digital geo-visualisation.” (With Daniela Treveri Gennari) Cultures on the MoveConference, University of Oxford
  • July 2016: “Comparative cinema cultures in 1950s medium-sized cities in Europe.” (With Lies Van de Vijver and Daniela Treveri Gennari) HoMER/NECS 2016 conference, Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, Potsdam
  • November 2015: “Cinema Heritage in Europe: preserving and sharing culture by engaging with film exhibition and audiences.” (With Daniela Treveri Gennari and Pierluigi Ercole) ECREA 2015 Conference (Film Studies Section), European Cinemas, Intercultural Meetings, University of Copenhagen
  • September 2015: “The Italian Cinema Audiences project: An overview.” SIS 2015 Biennial Conference, Brasenose College and the Taylor Institution, University of Oxford
  • June 2015: “Films’ journeys across the city: distribution, exhibition and film nationalities in 1950s Rome.” (With Daniela Treveri Gennari) HoMER 2015 conference, What is Cinema History?, University of Glasgow
  • October 2014: “Discriminated Users: Engaging the Elderly with Online Audiovisual Heritage.” (With Daniela Treveri Gennari and Sarah Culhane) EUscreenXL Conference, From Audience to User: New ways of engaging with audiovisual heritage, Casa del Cinema, Rome
  • April 2014: “Not Another Gangster Film: Music and Melodrama in the Godfather Trilogy.” BAFTSS Conference 2014, University of London
  • April 2013: “Tales of Loss, Betrayal and Regain: Irishness and Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Irish-themed American Gangster Films.” Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts, University College Cork
  • March 2012: “Ethnicity as Choice? Conflicting Loyalties in Contemporary Irish-American and Italian-American themed Gangster Films.” Screening Irish America III, Trinity College Dublin
  • June 2011: “The Dilemma of a Hyphenated Identity: The Function of Ethnicity in Donnie Brasco.” Contemporary Representations of Organised Crime in Italy and Beyond, University of Kent
  • February 2011: “Before the Godfather: Tracing the Origins of the Italian-American Film Gangster.” Graduate Conference in Italian Studies, University College Cork
  • June 2009: “Old and New Irish Ethnics: Exploring Ethnic and Gender Representation in P.S. I Love You.” American Conference for Irish Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway



Further details


Research grants and awards 

  • ‘Women in Italian Film Production: industrial histories and gendered labour, 1945-1985’ (led by University of Warwick) (01/02/2023 - 31/01/2026), funded by: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Total value of the grant: £991,438
  • ‘Mapping Mentoring across the Creative Industries’(Oxford Brookes University’s Research Excellence Award - £10,260) (2021-2022)
  • ‘Creative curation with older people as a vehicle for enhancing wellbeing’ (Oxford Brookes University’s Research Excellence Award - £10,000) (2020-2021)
  • Santander Research Scholarship Scheme (£1,120) – Research carried out in connection with the British Academy/Leverhulme-funded ‘Mapping European Cinema: a comparative project on cinema-going experiences in the 1950s’ (2016) Research group membership
  • The Audience Project (TAP) (founding member)
  • Steering group member for Creative Industries Research and Innovation Network.
  • Steering group member for EDI Network.
  • Member of Migration and Refugees Network.
  • Member of Healthy Aging Network • Communication, Media and Culture