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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Holly Chard is a media historian whose research focuses on the American media industries from the late 1970s onwards, with an emphasis on Hollywood cinema. 

Her recent publications explore the career and films of writer-producer-director John Hughes, seriality in nineties Hollywood cinema, professional wrestling stardom in the 1980s, and child stardom in the 1990s.

Holly’s research interests include: histories of Hollywood cinema, family entertainment, popular music and ‘synergy’, teen-oriented media, stardom and celebrity, the politics of representation in film and television comedy, conceptualizing film authorship, and media historiography.

Scholarly biography

Holly Chard is the author of the first scholarly book on the filmmaker John Hughes, Mainstream Maverick: John Hughes and New Hollywood Cinema (2020). The book, published by University of Texas Press, examines Hollywood's complex relationship with genre, the role of the auteur in commercial cinema, and the legacy of movies such as Sixteen Candles (1984) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). In April 2022, Mainstream Maverick won the British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies' 'Best First Monograph' Award.

Holly completed her PhD at the University of Sussex in 2014 and has drawn on her historical investigations of Hollywood cinema in several book chapters and articles, as well as presenting her research at various conferences and events in the UK and Europe. In addition to her work on John Hughes, she has produced publications on Macaulay Culkin’s career as a child star, seriality as a production strategy, the wrestler Hulk Hogan’s family films (with Dr Ben Litherland), and comedian comedy in the 1980s. 

Holly's research has fed into, and been influenced by, her teaching on a variety of undergraduate courses in Media and Film Studies at the University of Brighton (2015-) and at the University of Sussex (2009-2014). She is currently Course Leader for BA(hons) Film and Digital Learning Lead for the School of Art and Media. 

Supervisory Interests

Holly is particularly interested in supervising research projects in the following areas: Hollywood cinema, cinema history, contemporary American television, authorship and film, genre, comedy, stardom and celebrity, teen films and television, family entertainment

If you are planning a project that is connected to her research expertise, but not listed above, feel free to contact her to discuss it further. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sussex

Oct 2008Jul 2014

Award Date: 1 Nov 2014

Master, University of Sussex

Oct 2007Oct 2008

Bachelor, University of Manchester

Sep 2004Jul 2007


  • E151 United States (General)
  • Media
  • Cinema
  • Popular Culture
  • Television
  • Celebrity
  • Stardom
  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • Audiences
  • Cultural Studies
  • Teen Film
  • Teen TV
  • Family Entertainment
  • Comedy


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