Victoria Duckett

Staff member

Victoria Duckett is a film historian whose work focuses on the pioneering importance of women in the screen industries and the productive relationship between the theatre and cinema. Author of the award-winning book, Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: Performance and Silent Film (2015), she is co-editor of the collection Guglielmo Giannini: Uomo di Spettacolo (2021), and Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New  Findings and Perspectives (2013). A founding editorial member of the journal Feminist Media Histories (UCP), she also serves on the editorial board of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. Victoria gained her PhD on scholarship under the tutelage of Carlo Ginzburg, Vivian Sobchack, Peter Wollen, and Teshome Gabriel at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has held posts at the University of Manchester (Department of Drama), the Catholic University of Milan (Department of Communication and Performing Arts), and the University of Melbourne (Centre for Ideas, VCA). Awards include the Charles Boyer Award for research in Paris (La Sorbonne Nouvelle), a Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship (University of Texas at Austin), and a Visiting Fellowship to the Humanities Research Centre, ANU. Victoria has a forthcoming monograph with the University of California Press (Media Matriarchs: French Stage Celebrities and the Development of Transnational Film, 2022). A native of Hong Kong, she is now working on an End of Empire project, exploring Hong Kong’s recent colonial history.

  • Research

    In addition to the two monographs and two edited books cited above, work exploring the nexus between stage and screen includes edited issues of the journal Nineteenth Century Stage and Screen (“The Actress-Manager and Early Film”) as well as “Women and the Silent Screen” (in the online journal, Screening the Past). A founding participant in the Women and the Silent Screen conference (Utrecht, 1994), I was an elected member of Women and Film History International Steering Committee (2008-2015). During this time, I brought the biennial Women and the Silent Screen international conference to Australia for the first time (University of Melbourne, 2013).

    A curator who works collaboratively to ensure the visibility of women in early film, I partner with Richard Abel (University of Michigan) in a French Stars series at the leading silent film festival in the world, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone (focusing on the Queen of the Paris Music Hall, Mistinguett). This year at Pordenone, I will also curate the first program around the comic actress Gabrielle Réjane. I curated the first Sarah Bernhardt film retrospective for Cinema Ritrovato  in Bologna, 2006 (“Performing Passions: Sarah Bernhardt and the Silent Screen”).

    My work with film archives also includes outreach initiatives. Currently, in The Moving Image, I am exploring the impact of COVID-19 in a series of conversations with film archivists across the globe. I have interviewed archivists from the National Film and Sound Archive (Canberra), the Cineteca Italiana (Milan), the Korean Federation of Film Archives (Seoul), the Film Heritage Foundation (Mumbai), the Harvard Film Archive and the Library of Congress (Packard Campus).

    My interest in promoting the nexus between theatre and film prompted me to build the cross-disciplinary archive, Guglielmo Giannini: a digital archive of theatre, film, entertainment and political activism. This bilingual Omeka archive, hosted by Deakin Digital Libraries and Repositories, holds over 15 000 pages of playscripts, cinematic treatments, political papers, and personal ephemera from the famous Italian theatre director, film director,  journalist and political leader, Guglielmo Giannini (1891-1960). I undertook this work between 2014 and 2018.

    Outputs include a co-edited book (cited above), a mini-dossier in “Giallo italiano,”  Bianco & Nero, a public seminar at the Università Statale di Milano (“La fabbrica del giallo: Guglielmo Giannini tra cinema e teatro”), as well as an international conference entitled Guglielmo Giannini: Spectacle and political activism (supported by the State University of Milan and Deakin University, November 18 & 19, 2020). This research is also part of an exhibition I am curating at Co.As.It in 2022.

    For more about my work see:

  • Selected Publications


    2021. Mariagabriella Cambiaghi, Raffaele De Berti, Victoria Duckett, & Elena Mosconi (eds), Guglielmo Giannini: Uomo di Spettacolo. Bari: Edizioni di Pagina.

    2015. Victoria Duckett, Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: Performance and Silent Film. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

    2013. Monica Dall’Asta, Victoria Duckett and Lucia Tralli (eds), Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. Bologna: University of Bologna.

    Invited editor of journal issues

    2018. Vito Andriansens and Victoria Duckett. The Actress-Manager and Early film. Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 45: 1.

    2017. Raffaele de Berti, Victoria Duckett & Elena Mosconi. Giannini dossier in “Giallo italiano,”  Bianco & Nero, June.

    2016. Victoria Duckett and  Jill Matthews. Archives and Archivists, Feminist Media Histories, Vol. 2.1, January.

    2015. Victoria Duckett and Susan Potter. Women and the Silent Screen, Screening the Past, Issue 40, September.

    2009. Victoria Duckett and Adrian Danks. Paul Cox Dossier, Senses of Cinema, Issue 53.

    Articles and book chapters

    2020. Victoria Duckett, “The Lecturer’s Legacy; In Memory of Peter Wollen,” Senses of Cinema, Issue 93, Jan.

    2020. Victoria Duckett, ‘Finding the film archive: A comparison between Milan and Canberra in times of COVID-19’,’Zoom interview with Matteo Pavesi, conducted 22 April, 2020’ & ‘Zoom interview with Meg Labrum, conducted May 6, 2020’, The Moving Image, 20: 1, 96-118.

    2020. Victoria Duckett, ‘Performing Art Nouveau: Sarah Bernhardt and the development of industrial modernism’, Rebecca Kastleman, Kevin Riordan and Claire Warden (eds), Modernism on the World Stage, Modernism/Modernity Print Cluster, Vol. 4, Cycle 3.

    2019. Victoria Duckett, ‘When fame precedes them: cinema and ‘the most beautiful women in the world’’, Film Studies (Dianying yanjiu), Shanghai (in Chinese), Vol. 7, 115-127.

    2018. Victoria Duckett, ‘Ingrid Bergman in Stromboli’, in M. Pomerance and K. Stevens (eds), Close Up: Great Cinematic Performances, Vol. 2:  International, Edinburgh University Press, 93-108.



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