Piers Britton

Director, Media and Communication
Professor of Visual and Media Studies

Photo of Piers Britton


Ph.D., School of Art History and Archaeology, University of Manchester, 1993-97

Dissertation: Humoral theory, physiognomy and the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance

B.A., History of Art, Honours: First Class, University of Manchester, 1988-1991

Post-Graduate Certificate of Education, University of East Anglia, 1999-2000


Hall of Letters
P: 909.748.8503
E: piers_britton@redlands.edu

Current Research

Dr. Britton is currently working on a wide-ranging book on design for film and television, which covers all the major design disciplines (production design/art direction, costume, make-up and hair, graphic design, and visual effects), and offers a thorough reevaluation of existing critical approaches to design for the screen. This project continues and expands his prior work in this area, the fruits of which include Design for Doctor Who (forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic in 2021), and the ground-breaking text he co-authored on design for television, Reading Between Designs (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003).

Two projects currently still in the initial research phase speak in different ways to the spaces of film and television, addressing:

  • the ways in which space is ‘pictured’ in mise-en-scène for single-camera versus multi-camera productions and in academy versus widescreen ratios, with film and television adaptations of Great Expectations and Vanity Fair as case studies;
  • the reflexive representation of the spaces of film and television production, especially studios and backlots, in television fiction including The Hour (BBC, 2011-12) and An Adventure in Space and Time (BBC, 2013) and in films such as Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019) Hail, Caesar! (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, 2016) and Quiz Show (Robert Redford, 1994).

Courses Taught

After the Modern: post-modernisms in art

Critical Writing in Media & Visual Culture

Designing for Doctor Who (co-taught with June Hudson)

Gender and sexuality in Renaissance art

Hitchcock and his sources

Introduction to Media & Visual Culture

MVC practicum

Renaissance artists and their clients

Senior Seminar: Media & Visual Culture

The dark city in art and film

The “Hitchcock Film”

The transnational horror film, 1930-1980

Theories of media and visual culture

Transmedia travels: Doctor Who


Member of the International Editorial Board for Scene (published by Intellect Books)

Director, Media & Visual Culture program, U of R ( July 2011—)

Director, Art History program, U of R ( July 2008—)                      

Faculty Advisor for KDAWG, University of Redlands College Radio (2019—)

Founding co-convener, Humanities Advisory Board, U of R (2010-11, 2018-19)

Member of: Humanities Advisory Board, 2010-19; General Education Working Group, U of R (2010-13); May Term Implementation Committee/Working Group, U of R (2010-12); Educational Assessment Committee, U of R (2010-11)

Selected Publications


Design for Doctor Who: Vision and Revision in Screen SF (London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, forthcoming)

TARDISbound: Navigating the Universes of Doctor Who (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011)


“Setting Variables: axes of time, space and meaning in production design for the screen,” Scene 4:2, 2016, pp. 117–135.

“‘It’s All-New Doctor Who’: Authorising New Design and Redesign in the Moffat Era,” in Doctor Who - The Eleventh Hour: A Critical Celebration of the Matt Smith and Steven Moffat Era, ed. Andrew O’Day (London: I.B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 141-156.

“Making ‘A Superior Brand of Alien Mastermind’: Doctor Who Monsters and the Rhetoric of (Re)design,” in Dimensions of Doctor Who: Adventures in Space, Time and Television, ed. Matt Hills (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013), pp. 39-53.

Online publications

“Style, Structuring Conceits, and the Paratexts of Mad Men.” Antenna: Responses to Media and Culture. May 22, 2015. http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2015/05/22/style-structuring-conceits-and-the-paratexts-of-mad-men/

 “Marvel, Wired? Daredevil and Visual Branding in the MCU.” Antenna: Responses to Media and Culture. May 1, 2015. http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2015/05/01/marvel-wired-daredevil-and-visual-branding-in-the-mcu/

“‘Television Aesthetics’ versus Formal and Stylistic Analysis.” Antenna: Responses to Media and Culture. April 8, 2015. http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2015/04/08/television-aesthetics-versus-formal-and-stylistic-analysis/  

“‘Oh, I Dig Your Fab Gear’: Costume, Fashion and the Doctor – A Brief History.” FBI-SPY: Serious About Fashion Body Identity. November 10, 2013. http://www.fbi-spy.com/doctor-who-fab-gear

Reviews and review essays

Raphael, ed. Achim Gnann, with C. Whistler and B. Thomas, Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2018. Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 50: 3 (2019).

Yvonne Elet, Architectural Invention in Renaissance Rome: Artists, Humanists, and the Planning of Raphael’s Villa Madama,  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 49: 4 (2018).

Gardens of Renaissance Europe and the Islamic Empires: Encounters and Confluences, ed. Mohammad Gharipour, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017. Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 49: 3 (2018).

Francis Ames-Lewis, Isabella and Leonardo: The Artistic Relationship Between Isabella d’Este and Leonardo da Vinci, 1500-1506, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 45:2 (2014).

Ian Christie, The Art of Film: John Box and Production Design, London: Wallflower Press, 2008. Screen, Vol. 42:4 (2011).

Awards, Honors, Grants

University of Redlands, Outstanding Service Award, 2020