American Studies HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

Postgraduate Students


Cecilia Chen, PhD in American Studies, HKU/King’s College London Joint PhD Programme (2022-2026)

Supervisors: Dr Tim Gruenewald and Dr Bárbara Fernández-Melleda (HKU); Dr Jeff Scheible (KCL)

Title of research project/thesis: Phenomenological Analysis of Virtual Reality Film

Short bio

Cecilia studies virtual reality film through the intersections of film theory and phenomenology. She received her BA in History from University College London (UCL), focusing primarily on film and cultural history. She expanded upon her academic interest in film through an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies at HKU, where she is now extending her research into virtual reality film through the HKU-KCL Joint PhD Programme.  

Why HKU?

The interdisciplinary nature of the American Studies department and Dr. Gruenewald’s work is what drew me to HKU. The Joint PhD Programme has given me an incredible opportunity to work with Dr. Jeff Scheible in King’s College London’s (KCL) Department of Film Studies.

List of Awards/Publications

2022 – 2026 – awardee of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), established by the Research Grants Council. 

2022 – 2026 – awardee of the HKU Presidential PhD Scholarship (HKU-PS). 

2022 - Teaching Assistant for AMER1050: Foundations of American Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, HKU. 

Conference paper: Gruenewald, Tim and Cecilia Chen. “Memory Machine: Embodied Experience of Memory in Narrative VR Film.” Memory Studies Association Annual Conference, Newcastle, 3-7 July 2023. 


American Studies HKU