17November 2021

Mistress of Menace and the Master of Suspense. Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock

Mr. John Francis

Daphne Du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock had much in common. Du Maurier is sometimes described as a romantic novelist but this is completely misleading. Like Hitchcock, she dealt with themes of loneliness, gender, fear, suspense and gothic imagery. In their work they built compelling and complex emotional landscapes for their characters. Although they never met, the pair produced three key cultural landmarks of the 20th century in Jamaica Inn, Rebecca and The Birds. In this lecture we will explore Hitchcock’s, ‘The Birds’ (1963). We will closely unpack some of the essential scenes in the film and look at the masterful techniques both on the page and on the screen.

Mr. John Francis
John has a relaxed distinctive lecturing style that successfully employs humour and innovation to encourage learning and dialogue with his audiences. John Francis is an experienced University Lecturer, consultant, researcher and visual artist. He grew up on Merseyside and was educated in Fine Arts and pedagogy in the UK and New York.

After receiving the Max Beckmann scholarship in painting at the Brooklyn Museum, John moved to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts working as a painter and ivory engraver. After exhibiting at the Main Street Gallery on Nantucket, John was drawn to the more traditional image of America, i.e. Texas. In Austin, Texas John worked on the Artists in Schools programme as Artist in Residence in San Antonio, Abilene and Waco.

Several years later John relocated to London and worked in the Education department of HM Prison Holloway. Developing an interest in Film and Video John studied for his Masters at the prestigious Central St. Martins School of Art, London. At that time John was commissioned to produce several corporate and art videos. He was appointed as a Lecture in Visual art and Media at Kingsway College, London. The British Council awarded John a research award to review the film and animation industry of Czechoslovakia. During several visits to the Eastern European communist and post-communist country, John was able to closely observe the great Czech and Slovak traditions of animation and film making.

The American Fulbright Commission for Education awarded John a one year visiting exchange ‘Professor’ post at Southwestern College, California. During that year John was a member of the Border Art Workshop who in the previous year had represented America in the Venice Biennale. In San Diego, John was commission to produce a video on border culture for the ‘white washed’ Exhibition in the El Centro Museum, San Diego. The video was a critical success and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times.

A developing interest in South East Asian Art and Culture was encouraged by a Lectureship at the University Sains Malaysia in Penang. While working in the Mass Communications department, John was awarded a research grant to explore multi-cultural advertising.

John later worked at the Arts Institute Bournemouth, lecturing in Film and Animation. Alumni of the prestigious film School included Simon Beaufoy writer of ‘the Full Monty’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Working as a Teaching Fellow at Exeter University John worked under Professor Susan Hayward and successfully lectured in Film and Animation. John also made several animated films with the world famous Forkbeard Fantasy whose patron is (ex Monty Python’s) director, Terry Gilliam.

John has conducted several research projects on pedagogy which have been presented at a wide range of Universities and Conferences in the UK including, University College London, LSE, Imperial College and Kings College, London.

In 2018 John was invited by ADFAS (Australian Decorative Fine Arts Society) to Lecture on the ‘Cook Lecture tour circuit’ from Melbourne to Queensland.

John was accredited as a Lecturer by the Arts Society (UK) in November 2017.