Dr Silvia Dibeltulo

Senior Lecturer in Communication, Media and Culture

School of History, Philosophy and Culture

Silvia Dibeltulo


Silvia Dibeltulo’s research mainly focuses on the representation of identity on screen, specifically in terms of ethnicity, nationality, gender and culture. Her work also centers on film genre theory and history, audience and reception studies, cinema heritage, 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. She joined Oxford Brookes University to work on the Italian Cinema Audiences project, while also teaching on the Film Studies and Communication, Media and Culture programmes.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

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

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

She also contributes to:

  • Understanding Culture 
  • Special Topics 
  • Research Methods 
  • Dissertation 


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


Silvia's 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.

Silvia was involved in the AHRC-funded Italian Cinema Audiences project (2013-2016 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 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/).

She 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 is part of the Oxford Centre for Audience Research (OCAR) based at Oxford Brookes University (School of Arts).


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) (01/10/2022 - 30/09/2025), funded by: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £69,357


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of BAFTSS – British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
  • Member of ECREA – European Communication Research and Education Association
  • Member of HoMER – History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception
  • Member of NECS – European Network for Cinema and Media Studies
  • Member of MECCSA - Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association


Selected Conference and Seminar Presentations

  • 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
  •  September 2016: “’Everything has changed!’: Elderly audiences’ film consumption in contemporary Italy through the memories of the past.” (With Daniela Treveri Gennari) European ScreensMeCETES conference on contemporary European film and television drama, University of York
  • 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
  • March 2011: “Little Italy as an Uncanny Urban Village: Ethnic Space, Insularity and Border-crossing in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets.” Irish Postgraduate Film Research Seminar, University College Cork
  • 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