Job title: Lecturer in Design and Screen Cultures


Office address: Evolution House, Room 2.19

Research outputs: Dr Merlin Seller on Edinburgh Research Explorer

I am a Lecturer in Design & Screen Cultures, teaching theory and historical/cultural context at ECA, working across Film, Comics, Media and Game Studies, appointed in 2019. I'm a co-founder of the Game Worlds research cluster alongside Tom Boylston, part of the Centre of Data, Culture and Society. I completed my MA and Mst at St Andrews and Oxford respectively, obtaining my doctorate from the University of East Anglia concerning transmedia and remediating works situated between film, photography and painting in interwar England. I am a proudly pansexual and trans academic with a background in Art History and Visual Cultural Studies, five years of teaching experience in game design theory at Norwich University of the Arts, and I currently work primarily in Game Studies and Film Studies. My present research interests concern (Post-)Phenomenology, Horror, and the Non-human turn in new media, and the visuality of videogames.

My teaching is currently focused on delivering my new courses at UG and PGT, 'Design, Play and Games,' Design's first Game Studies course with a focus on engaging the impact and meanings of play and games in 21st-century culture, and the large cohort Contemporary Cinema and Introduction to Queers Studies, all open to the wider university. I also supervise small groups of Honours dissertations.

My research is interdisciplinary, having migrated from Art History to Game Studies and Film Studies. I have published on topics such as interwar visual culture surrounding aviation, transmedia horror videogames, masculine performativity in film, ecocriticism of videogame environments, and thing theory in comics. Recent publications include a book chapter and article titled ‘Sensing Sims: Atmospheres, Aesthetics and the Cyborg Player’ and ‘Repeated Failure: Diachronic/Comic Timing in The Joker (2019),’ as well as DIGRA 2020 & 2022 abstracts concerning the representation of plants, deep time and concrete in games. My visual arts practice is currently focused on plein air paintings of videogame environments, and dark comedy comics focused on speculative futures. You can find my blog and portfolio at dear, and I tweet with the handle @merlin_seller.

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

- Nonhuman representation in screen-based media

- Visuality in games

- Queer/Trans Studies approaches to games

- Horror in cinema, games and comics