Creative Arts

Staff research

Animation Academy

The Animation Academy is a centre for animation research, scholarship, practice and exhibition, embracing tradition and progress, education and industry, art and commerce; and dedicated to excellence at a national and international level in all its activities.

The Animation Academy believes that:

  • Animation occupies a cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary space between graphic design, illustration, fine-art-making, and visual practices in production and exhibition contexts.
  • Animation is a versatile cross-platform medium, in feature films and TV sit-coms; cartoons and avant garde shorts; web-sites, ads and on mobile phones. This ironically, heightens its presence while diluting its profile.
  • Animation has been misunderstood as a marginalised form and mainly as a children’s entertainment, when in reality, it is a radical and progressive art-form and practical application.
  • Animation is the only art to remain consistently and insistently experimental as it grows in mass popularity and acceptance.
  • Animation should be addressed through properly integrated methods of theory and practice, and include historical, critical and practical methodologies.
  • Animation should be more acknowledged and recognised for its achievements, impact and continuing significance in the contemporary world

Our key areas of work include:

  • Postgraduate courses and Research opportunities
  • Project development with Academic, Cultural and Commercial Institutions
  • Funded research projects and initiatives.

The Animation Collection

The Animation Academy is a co-partner with the National Media Museum in Bradford, the British Film Institute, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in the Association of British Animation Collections (ABAC).

This initiative is seeking to operate as an umbrella organisation to co-ordinate information and policy about the preservation, conservation and promotion of British animation collections for the purposes of research and exhibition, and the advancement of the British animation legacy and cultural heritage.

The Animation Academy Collection includes materials and artwork from:

  • Animation People
  • Halas & Batchelor
  • Hot Animation
  • Silver Fox / Hibbert Ralph
  • Triffic Films
  • Right Angle Productions
  • Wilf Irwin Rostrum Cameras

Productions represented include The First Snows of Winter, The Forgotten Toys, William’s Wish Wellingtons, 2DTV, I Am Not An Animal, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Fireman Sam, The Canterbury Tales, Animated World Faiths and numerous commercials / interstitials.


Whispers and Wererabbits: Claire Jennings

[Featuring Claire Jennings, Nick Park [Aardman], Sue Goffe (Studio AKA), Henry Selick (LAIKA) and Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks SKG)]


Mackinnon and Saunders: A Model Studio

[Featuring Ian Mackinnon, Peter Saunders, Tim Burton, Barry Purves and the staff of Mackinnon and Saunders puppet-making and production studio]


Inside the Green Book: The Life and Work of Geoff Dunbar

[Featuring Geoff Dunbar, Sir Paul McCartney, Peter Lord and Oscar Grillo]


An Animated Utopia: The Life and Achievement of John Halas 1912-1995

[Featuring former practitioners of the Halas & Batchelor Studio and the films of the Halas & Batchelor Collection]

Animation Therapy: The Good Hearts Model

In association with HEART (Healing Education Animation Research Therapy), Melanie Hani continues her pioneering work using ‘The Good Hearts Model’. This includes the Cultural Rivers project involving first generation immigrant children residing in Loughborough, and will gain further roll-out in the Academy’s ‘MA Animation Therapy’ and related PhD projects.

The AVA/Bloomsbury Publication Collection

Fundamentals of Animation (Professor Paul Wells and Samantha Moore) 2016 (2nd ed)
An overview of animation production from First thought to Festival, including contributions from seven Animation Academy lecturers and practitioners, Barry Purves, Gerald Scarfe, Minoru Maeda, Brownbag, Pixar Animation, Hibbert Ralph, Chris Shepherd, Suzie Hanna, Koji Yamamura, Eric Fogel, Mike Frierson, Elizabeth Hobbs. Maureen Sellwood and Seed Animation
[First edition, 2006, also published in German, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Chinese]

Digital Animation (Andrew Chong) 2008
A historical overview and analysis of digital animation, including works by Pixar Animation, Marc Craste, Al + Al, Christin Bolewski, Rod Lord, and the National Space Centre, UK
[also published in Spanish]

Drawing for Animation (Professor Paul Wells) 2009
A collaboration with internationally renown, multi-award winning director Joanna Quinn, addressing both classical and non-classical approaches to drawing, including contributions from Frederic Back, Michael Dudok de Wit, Luis Cook, Bill Plympton, Deanna Marsigliese, Michel Ocelot, Paul Driessen, Gerrit Van Dyck, Peter Parr, Tim Fernee, Curtis Jobling, Let Me Feel Your Finger First, Supinfocom, and Richard Reeves.
[Also published in Spanish and Chinese]

Re-Imagining Animation: The Changing Face of Moving Images (Professor Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff) 2009
A collaboration addressing the ways in which animation has now become understood as central to moving image practice and production, with contributions from Pierre Hebert, Joanna Priestley, Marjane Satrapi, Don Hertzfeldt, Miriam Thyes, PES, Eric Dyer, Peter Tscherkassky and Steve Reinke.

Animation and Public Engagement

Animation and Public Engagement Symposium: Bradford Animation Festival, National Media Museum, Bradford, Nov 2014.

Animation, Sport and Culture: Publications, screenings, lectures, sports matches and initiatives relating animation and sport, including events in London, York, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

Animation and Communication: Contributions to on-line MOOCs, Council information sharing strategies, international public health and safety campaigns, public history films.

Conference keynotes and panels

Kovasznai Exhibition, Somerset House, London (March 2016) Paul Wells on panel addressing the exhibition of Kovasznai's art and animation at Somerset House, whichalso featured William Kentridge

Association of Teachers of Media (ATOM), Melboure, Australia (July 2016)  Paul Wells gave the keynote address at the 2016 ATOM Conference talking about the place of animation in the curriculum from primary schooling to postgraduate education

International Festival of Film for Children and Youth, Zlin, Czech Republic (May-June 2016) Paul Wells was chair of the jury at the International Festival of Film for Children and Youth, the biggest of its kind in Europe

Smallfilms Exhibition, V & A Museum of Childhood, London (March-April 2016) The Animation Academy was a consultant for the Smallfilms Exhibition

A History of Animation in 100 Objects, V & A Museum of Childhood, London (September 2016) Paul Wells gave the keynote address at the 'Lurching Charm' Symposium delivered as an epic poem


2010 - 2016


Fundamentals of Animation (2nd ed), Paul Wells and Samantha Moore, London : Bloomsbury


Animation, Sport and Culture, Paul Wells, London: Palgrave Macmillan


Animation, Andrew Selby, London: Laurence King Publishing



The Animated Bestiary: Animals, Cartoons and Culture, Paul Wells, Rutgers University Press

Animation in Process, Andrew Selby, London: Laurence King Publishing


Basics Animation: Drawing for Animation, Paul Wells, Joanna Quinn, Les Mills, Lausanne: AVA

Re-imagining Animation: Contemporary Moving Image Cultures, Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff, Lausanne: AVA,


Basics Animation: Scriptwriting, Paul Wells, Lausanne: AVA

Basics Animation: Digital Animation, Andrew Chong, Lausanne: AVA


Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History, Paul Wells and Vivian Halas, London: Southbank Publishing


The Fundamentals of Animation, Paul Wells, Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA


Animation and America, Paul Wells, Rutgers University Press

Animation: Genre and Authorship (Short Cuts), Paul Wells, Wallflower Press

American Film and Politics from Reagan to Bush Jnr, Paul Wells and P Davies (editors), Manchester: Manchester University Press


The Horror Genre: from Beelzebub to Blair Witch, Paul Wells, Wallflower Press

The Family Way: The Boulting Brothers and British Film Culture, Paul Wells, T O'Sullivan, A Burton (editors), Flicks Books


Understanding Animation, Paul Wells, Routledge


Art and Animation, Paul Wells (editor), Academy Group / John Wiley

Liberal Directions: Basil Dearden and Postwar British Film Culture, Paul Wells, T O'Sullivan, A Burton (editors), Flicks Books

Book chapters

2010 - 2016


‘The Abnormal Cinema: The Post Millennial Animated Feature’, Paul Wells in Animatopia: New Paths of Animation Cinema, Graficas Lizarra: Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia- San Sebastian, pp.193-210

‘Pronoun Troubles and Factual Conversations: Dialogue in Animated Film’, Paul Wells in Film Dialogue, Wallflower Press / Columbia University Press, pp.56-69

‘Laughter is Ten Times More Powerful Than a Scream: The Case of Animated Comedy”, Paul Wells in A Companion to Film Comedy, Wiley Blackwell, pp.497-520



‘Computer Animation’, Paul Wells in The Wiley Blackwell History of American Film Vol iV: 1976-Present,, Wiley Blackwell, pp.448-471

‘”The sight of 40 year old genitalia too disgusting, is it ?”: Wit, Whimsy and Wishful Thinking in British Animation 1900-Present’, Paul Wells in In British Comedy Cinema, Routledge, pp.196-208



'The Toolbox of Technology and Technique: Animation in 100 Objects', Paul Wells in Hilty, G (ed) Watch Me Move, Merrell Publishers

‘WALL-E’, Paul Wells in Il Cinema Americano Attraverso I Film, Carocci Editore, pp.185-198

‘The Chaplin Effect: Ghosts in the Machine and Animated Gags’, Paul Wells in D.Goldmark & C.Keil (eds) Funny Pictures; Animation and Comedy in Studio-Era Hollywood, Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, pp 15-28



'Boards, Beats, Binaries and Bricolage: Appriaches to the Animated Script', Paul Wells in Nelmes, J (ed) Analysing the Screenplay, Routledge, pp.89-105

'Halas & Batchelors Sound Decisions: Musical Approaches in the British Context', Paul Wells in Coyle, R (ed) Draw to Sound: Music, Sound and Animation Cinema, Equinox, pp.40-59



'Stop Writing or Write like a Rat: Becoming Animal in Animated Literary Adaptions', Paul Wells in Carroll, R (ed) Adaption in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infedelities, Continuum, pp.96-110

'The Beautiful Village Re-Visited: Animated Documentary - Contemporary Contexts and Conditions', Paul Wells in Brendstraup, R (ed) Kosmorama, Nr 242, Winter 2008/Spring 2009, Danish Film Institute & Cinematek, pp.62-73



'Animation and Digital Culture', Paul Wells in Halliwell, M and Morley, C (ed), American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century, Edinburgh University Press, pp.291-305



'Animation + 'Ryan' and 'Dreams and Desires: Family Ties', Paul Wells in Pam Cook, (ed) The Cinema Book, British Film Institute, pp.87-89

'Contrepoint, interface, immersion: animation et cinéma direct revisités', Paul Wells in Pierre Floquet, (ed) CinémAnimationS, Corlet Publications, pp.221-229

'All Adaptations Are Equal But Some Are More Equal Than Others: Animating the Classics', Paul Wells in Whelehan, I and Cartmell, D (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen, Cambridge University Press, pp.199-211



'Around the World in Animation', Paul Wells in BFI Education, pp. 1-20



'MOMI SFX : Special Effects in the Cinema', Paul Wells in BFI Education, pp. 1-30

Academic journals

2010 - 2016

Wells, P (2012) Laughter is Ten Times More Powerful than a Scream: The Case of Animated Comedy, A Companion to Film Comedy, pp.495-520, DOI:10.1002/9781118327821.ch23.

Wells, P (2012) ‘Validating the Animated Film: Toys Stories, Trade Tattoos and Taiwan Tigers: Or What’s Animation Ever Done for Us ? Themanummer Animatie, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis (Journal for Media History), 15(1), pp.5-24.

Wells, P (2011) 'Picture by Picture, Movement by Movement': Melbourne-Cooper, Shiryaev and the Symbolic Body, ANIMATION-AN INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL, 6(2), pp.149-162, ISSN: 1746-8477. DOI: 10.1177/1746847711407406.

Wells, P (2011) Animating Space: from Mickey to WALL-E, SCREEN, 52(1), pp.133-136, ISSN: 0036-9543. DOI: 10.1093/screen/hjq058.

Wells, P (2011) From Melbourne Cooper to Match of the Day and Mo-Cap: Motion as Metaphor and Metaphysics in Animated Sport, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SPORT, 28(8-9), pp.1219-1234, ISSN: 0952-3367. DOI:10.1080/09523367.2011.567774.

Selby, A (2011) Digital Shift or Explosion: Is Technology a Substitute for Content in Independent Animation?, The International Journal of The Arts in Society, 5(5), pp.1-8, Full text: .

Wells, P (2010) Christin Bolewski: Mountain-water-painting: A critical Commentary, Aspect: The Chronicle of New Media Art, 15.

Wells, P (2010) 'They Thought It Was a Marvel': Arthur Melbourne Cooper (1874-1961) Pioneer of Puppet Animation, JOURNAL OF BRITISH CINEMA AND TELEVISION, 7(3), pp.502-504, ISSN: 1743-4521. DOI:10.3366/E1743452110001810.


Wells, P (2008) In Through the Revolving Door: Dave and Alex Beasley's Address of the Oldest Profession, FF Dossier, 037, pp.1-3

Wells, P (2008) 'Swing for Sale': The Golden Age of Jazz 'Toons', Electric Sheep (Wallflower Press), 2, pp.28-31, Full text:

Selby, A (2008) Experimental Animation in a Post-Critical Age, New Asian Imaginations, pp.67-81

Wells, P (2007) I'll Teach You to Laugh at Something Funny, Archive (Magazine of National Media Museum Bradford), 10, pp.32-33

Wells, P (2007) No more heroes (British films), SIGHT AND SOUND, 17(2), pp.88-88




Wells, P, Disney, S, Aardman, A, Brownbag, F, Purves, B, Animation at the Ark, Group exhibition, Dublin Feb-Mar 2002; touring Apr-Jun 2002. Curation. All contextual exhibition materials for exhibited Animation process artworks; production script for school's exhibition tour


2010 - 2016

Massive On-Line Learning Courses (MOOC): Business Studies, Andrew Chong, 3 minute instructional film | Commissioned By LU School of Business and Economics

‘Trios’ : Effective Information Sharing, Paul Wells, 6 x 30 second animated public information films| Commissioned by LU School Of Business and Economics and Leicestershire County Council

Mackinnon and Saunders: A Model Studio, Paul Wells, 65 minute documentary | Commissioned by Bradford Animation Festival

Spring Energy : Oil Production Processes, 5 x 10 minute Public Information Films, Paul Wells (Script) | Commissioned by RENDER, Stavanger, Norway

An Animated Utopia: The Life and Achievement of John Halas, Paul Wells, 65 minute documentary | Commissioned by Bradford Animation Festival

SEAT On-Line Promotion, Paul Wells (Direction), Andrew Chong (Editing) / Design School | Commissioned by SEAT

Inside the Green Book: The Life and Animation of Geoff Dunbar, Paul Wells, 48 minute Documentary | Commissioned by Bradford Animation Festival

1000 Years, 10 Minute Public Information Film, Hyunseok Lee (Direction) Paul Wells (Script and Narration), Andrew Chong (Editing) | Commissioned by the Korean Bienniel Festival, Seoul


Taking the Country Road: The Film Craft of Tony Fish, Paul Wells, 25 minute Documentary | Commissioned by Bradford Animation Festival

Fab Four to Ethel & Ernest: A Tribute to John Coates & TVC, Paul Wells, 25 minute Documentary | Commissioned by Bradford Animation Festival

Ruddigore / Tales of Hoffnung, Paul Wells, Vivian Halas and DP Blue, Consultancy (Research, Script, Commentary). DVD. (Exec Producer: Vivien Halas)

Animation Nation, Paul Wells and BBC Bristol, Consultancy (Research, Script, Interview), 3x60 mins BBC Television Programmes (Exec Producer: Tom Ware)

  • Members:
    Alastair Adams, Christin Bolewski, Andrew Chong, Ben Dolman, Simon Downs, Stuart Franey, Melanie Hani, Andrew Selby, Paul Wells
  • PGR Students:
    Tariq Alrimawi, Gillian Bliss, Lawrence Chuang, Violetta Dajanev, Kerry Drumm, Steve Henderson, David Herbert, Sarra Hornby, Seymour Lavine, Samantha Moore, Manki Park, Ross Winning, Ho Won Nah
  • Associate Members:
    Dr Hyunseok Lee, Dr Fabin Lin, Dr Tom Walsh, Dr Mario Minichiello