Portrait of Dr Richard McCulloch Dr Richard McCulloch

r.mcculloch@hud.ac.uk | 01484 47


Richard McCulloch is Lecturer in Film and Cultural Studies, and joined the University of Huddersfield in January 2016. He has held previous appointments at five other UK universities, most notably Regent’s University London, where he was responsible for overseeing the design of a new Film Studies degree pathway in 2015.

He studied Film and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, where he later went on to complete his MA and PhD. His doctoral research looked at reputation and discourses of quality in relation to Pixar Animation Studios, and he is in currently updating and expanding on his ideas for a forthcoming monograph.

Richard is co-director of The World Star Wars Project (www.WorldStarWars.net) – a five-year study of the post-Disney Star Wars franchise and its audiences – and he is also on the board of the Fan Studies Network.

Research and Scholarship

Richard’s research focuses on media audiences, fandom, and reception. He is particularly interested in exploring how different audiences interpret, respond to, and assign value to popular media.

He is currently writing a monograph based on his doctoral research into the Pixar Animation Studios brand, tracing the evolution of the studio’s reputation from the mid-1980s through to the present day. The book argues that brands function as powerful sets of stories, always in a state of constant flux, that inform (and sometimes overwhelm) the meaning of associated texts. It also demonstrates that brands do not exist in vacuums, and therefore the ‘meaning’ of Pixar has always depended at least partly on other brands, texts, and authors, especially Disney, DreamWorks, George Lucas and Steve Jobs.

Richard is co-editor (with William Proctor) of two forthcoming books: “The Scandinavian Invasion: The Nordic Noir Phenomenon and Beyond” (Peter Lang, 2016), and “Disney’s Star Wars: Forces of Production, Promotion and Reception” (Publisher and Date TBC), both of which seek to understand their respective media phenomena from a range of disciplinary perspectives. These collections of essays place particular emphasis on the intersection between media texts, industries, and audiences.

As co-director of The World Star Wars Project, Richard will be spending the next five years exploring the cultural significance of a galaxy far, far away. The project seeks to understand the role that Star Wars has played in the lives of its fans, but also its relevance to audiences who are less positive about it. The research uses Star Wars to open up broader questions of expectation, popularity, quality, and the relationship between popular media and life course.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Proctor, W. and McCulloch, R. (2016) ‘Editorial Introduction -- Exploring Imaginary Worlds: Audiences, fan cultures, and geographies of the imaginationParticipations: journal of audience & reception studies , 13 (1), pp. 479-487. ISSN 1749-8716

McCulloch, R. and Crisp, V. (2016) ‘'Watch like a grown up ... Enjoy like a child': Exhibition, authenticity, and film audiences at the Prince Charles CinemaParticipations: journal of audience & reception studies , 13 (1), pp. 188-217. ISSN 1749-8716

McCulloch, R (2016) ‘Tied Up In Knots: Irony, Ambiguity, and the 'Difficult' Pleasures of FIFTY SHADES OF GREYIntensities: The Journal of Cult Media , 8, pp. 1-19.


McCulloch, R (2015) ‘Whistle While You Work: Branding, Critical Reception and Pixar’s Production Culture’. In: Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Exploring Screen Narratives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 174-189. ISBN 978-1-349-48192-7


McCulloch, R (2011) ‘"'Most People Bring Their Own Spoons': THE ROOM's participatory audiences as comedy mediators"Participations: journal of audience & reception studies , 8 (2), pp. 189-218. ISSN 1749-8716

Research Degree Supervision

Richard welcomes applications from prospective postgraduate students in areas such as:

  • Media audiences and reception
  • Fandom and fan cultures
  • Contemporary Hollywood
  • Movie franchising
  • Cult film and television
  • Popular culture