Dr Luke McKernan

Luke McKernan
Lead Curator, News and Moving Image
News and moving image
Related Offices
Trustee of NEWSPLAN2000, Member of the UK Radio Archives Advisory Committee, Associate Editor for Early Popular Visual Culture, British Library representative for Film Archives UK.

I am a media historian with a particular interest in the late 19th and early 20th century. Interests include: early film history, newsreels, World War One propaganda and audience studies. Most of all, I am interested in how the different media come together, historically and today, and what this means for research and archives.



  • ‘The Newsreel Audience’, in Ciara Chambers, Mats Jönsson, Roel Vande Winkel (eds.), Researching Newsreels Local, National and Transnational Case Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

  • ‘The Lives of the Characters: the Case of Television’s Dickensian’, in Ian Christie, Annie van den Oever (eds.), Stories: Screen Narrative in the Digital Era (Amsterdam University Press, 2018, e-book)

  • ‘The Colours of War’, Sight and Sound, April 2018

  • ‘Audiovisual Archives and the Web’, Journal of Film Preservation, no. 96, April 2017

  • ‘Searching for Mary Murillo’, in Christine Gledhill and Julia Knight (eds.) Doing Women’s Film History: Reframing Cinemas, Past and Future (Urbana/Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2015)

  • ‘Opening up Speech Archives’ [written with Mari King], in Jan Heegård and Peter Juel Henrichsen (eds.), New Perspectives on Speech in Action. Proceedings of the 2nd SJUSK Conference on Contemporary Speech Habits, Copenhagen Studies in Language 43 (Frederiksberg, Samfundslitteratur Press, 2013)

  • ‘Links in the chain: early newsreels and newspapers’ in Angel Quintana and Jordi Pons (eds.), La construcció de l’actualitat en el cinema des orígens / The construction of news in early cinema (Girona: Museu del Cinema/Ajuntament de Girona, 2012)

  • ‘Rituals and Records: The Films of the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games’, European Review, vol. 19 no. 4, 2011

  • ‘James Joyce and the Volta Programme’ and ‘Volta Filmography’ in John McCourt (ed.), Roll Away the Reel World: James Joyce and Cinema (Cork: Cork University Press, 2010)

  • ‘”The modern Elixir of Life”: Kinemacolor, royalty and the Delhi Durbar’, Film History, vol. 21 no. 2, 2009

  • ‘Newsreels: Form and Function’ in Richard Howells and Robert W. Matson (eds.), Using Visual Evidence (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2009)

  • ‘A Fury for Seeing: Cinema, Audience and Leisure in London in 1913′, Early Popular Visual Culture, vol. 6 no. 3 (November 2008)

  • ‘”A Complete and Fully Satisfying Art on its Own Account”: Cinema and the Shakespeare Tercentenary of 1916′, Shakespeare, vol. 3 issue 3, December 2007

  • ‘“Only the Screen Was Silent”: Memories of children’s cinema-going in London before the First World War‘, Film Studies issue 10, Spring 2007 (PDF, 273KB)

  • ‘Diverting time: London’s cinemas and their audiences, 1906-1914′, The London Journal, vol. 32 no. 2, July 2007

  • ‘The Familiarity of the New: The Emergence of a Motion Picture Industry in Late Nineteenth-Century London’, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 33/2, Winter 2006

  • ‘The Brighton School and the Quest for Natural Colour’, in Simon Popple and Vanessa Toulmin (eds.), Visual Delights – two: Exhibition and Reception (Eastleigh: John Libbey, 2005)

  • ‘Shooting Stars’, in Brian McFarlane (ed.), The Cinema of Britain and Ireland (London: Wallflower Press, 2005)

  • ‘“The Finest Cinema Performers We Possess”: British royalty and the newsreels, 1910-1937’, The Court Historian, vol. 8 no. 1, July 2003

  • ‘Propaganda, Patriotism and Profit: Charles Urban and British official war films in America during the First World War’, Film History vol. 14 nos. 3-4, 2002 [2003]

  • ‘The American Invasion and the British Film Industry, 1894-1903’, in Alan Burton and Laraine Porter (eds.), Crossing the Pond: Anglo-American Film Relations Before 1930 (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2002)

  • ‘Reconstructing the News: British newsreel documentation and the British Universities Newsreel Project’, Film History vol. 13 no. 2 (2001) [with Nicholas Hiley]


  • Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897-1925 (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2013)
  • Shakespeare on Film, Television and Radio: The Researcher’s Guide (London: BUFVC, 2009] [co-editor with Eve-Marie Oesterlen and Olwen Terris]
  • Yesterday’s News: The British Cinema Newsreel Reader (London: BUFVC, 2002) [editor]
  • Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: A Worldwide Survey (London: BFI, 1996) [co-editor with Stephen Herbert]
  • Walking Shadows: Shakespeare in the National Film and Television Archive (London: BFI, 1994) [co-editor with Olwen Terris]
  • Topical Budget: The Great British News Film (London: BFI, 1992)

Electronic publications

News media projects

Newspaper moves

The Newspaper Moves Programme safeguards the long-term future of the national newspaper collection

All projects


News media

You’ll find British and overseas newspapers dating back to the 1600s and we have growing collections of radio, television and web news