SOAS University of London

School of Arts

Dr Estrella Sendra Fernandez

MA Critical Media and Cultural Studies (SOAS), Licenciado Journalism (Universidad de Sevilla), Licenciado Audiovisual Communication/Film Studies (Universidad de Sevilla)
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Estrella Sendra Fernandez
Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies

Senior Teaching Fellow in Film and Screen Studies

Dr Estrella Sendra Fernandez
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Estrella is a scholar, teacher, filmmaker, journalist and festival organiser who seeks to contribute to the de-Westernisation of Media and Cultural Studies. She has been developing a regional area of expertise in Senegal. She is currently working as Senior Teaching Fellow in Film and Screen Studies in the Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies in the School of Arts at SOAS, University of London. She also works as Teaching Fellow in Global Media Industries at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, teaching a range of modules in the MA in Global Media Management.

In 2018, Estrella completed a PhD on cultural festivals in Senegal in the Department of African Languages and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, funded by the SOAS Research Studentship (2014-2018). Her PhD research consists of a critical analysis of contemporary festivals in Senegal, focusing on a main case study, the Festival International de Folklore et de Percussion (FESFOP) in Louga. She looks at festival spaces and temporalities, to see how the diversity of festival participants engages with ideas of the local and the international. Her research interests include media and film representation, migration and displacement, transnational communities and cultural contributions from “rooted cosmopolitans,” digital cultures, festivals in Africa, and more particularly, in Senegal, and African cinemas and screen media.

Prior to her PhD, Estrella had received her Bachelors (Licencitatura) Degrees in Audiovisual Communication (2010, University of Seville) and Journalism (2011, University of Seville), both with the Special Graduation Award, with an Erasmus year at the University of Sussex (2009-2010, Brighton). She was then awarded a full scholarship by the Government of Andalusia to complete her MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies, where she graduated with a Distinction, with Prof Mark Hobart as convener and dissertation supervisor (2012, SOAS, University of London). She has been ever since based in London, with continuous research field trips to Senegal.

As a teacher, in April 2019, Estrella achieved the status of Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. As Teaching Fellow in Global Media Industries at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, she teaches a range of postgraduate modules in the MA Global Media Management, including Professional and Academic Skills 1, Global media 1: Ideas and Debates, Global Media 2: Industries and Technologies, with a strand on ‘Festivals and Events’, Professional and Academic Skills 2, and supervises the Final Projects. As Senior Teaching Fellow in Film and Screen Studies at SOAS, University of London, Estrella teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the BA in Creative Arts and the MA in Global Cinemas, including Introduction to Film Language, History and TheoryFilm Festivals and Film CuratingGlobal Screen IndustriesAfrican Filmmaking: From the 1960s to the Present, and Film and Screen Studies: Past and Present.

Estrella has also worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) at King’s College London in the Departments of Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI) and Film Studies. In the CMCI Department, she has co-taught ‘Research Approaches’ and ‘Contested Cultures: Formations’ to postgraduate students of the MA in Cultural and Creative Industries and in Arts and Cultural Management. In the Film Studies Department, she has taught ‘Contemporary European Cinema’ to undergraduate students of the BA in Film Studies. Besides her experience as a GTA in King’s College London, she had also been a Guest Lecturer at SOAS, University of London, in different courses: ‘Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals,’ ‘African Philosophy’ and ‘Orientalism on Screen’ teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has also been a Guest Lecturer at Kufstein University of Applied Sciences (Austria), sharing her PhD research on FESFOP, and at the Universidad of Sevilla (Spain), sharing part of her research experience in Senegal. She was also appointed as the Lecturer of the module ‘The Internet and Digital Culture’ of the international research and teaching project ‘Gender, Technology and Social Innovation,’ hosted in the Université de Sfax (Tunisia), in partnership with the Universidad de Cádiz (Spain), whose project coordinators are Lucía Benítez (UCA), Akila Sellami (U. Sfax), Marcela Iglesias (UCA) and Fatma Ghorbel (U. Sfax). Her teaching experience in Higher Education follows three-year work as the Media and Film Studies Teacher at the University Foundation Programme (David Game College, London).

Estrella has been developing a strong international publication profile. She has several publications in international journals on different aspects of media, film, cultural studies and creative industries, particularly drawing on her regional area of expertise, Senegal, such as ‘Displacement and the Quest for Identity in Gomis’s Cinema,’ in in a Close-Up on Senegalese cinema in Black Camera (2018); and a co-authored article ‘Fiftieth Anniversary of the First World Festival of Negro Arts: A Comparative Study of the Involvement of the Populations in the World Festival of Negro Arts in 1966 and 2010’ (2018) in Interventions-International Journal of Postcolonial Studies; and she is a regular film reviewer in the African Studies Review

As a festival organiser, Estrella has extensive experience in African film festivals, having volunteered for Film Africa in London (2012), worked for the African Film Festival of Cordoba-FCAT as the Head of the International Media (2013), to then become the Director of the Cambridge African Film Festival (2014-2015), where she currently sits on both the Advisory Board and the Curatorial Team. She is also a jury member in the Jozi Film Festival in Johannesburg.

Estrella is also a filmmaker and has made a number of documentary films, including Témoignages de l’autre côté (2011), national winner in Spain of the European Charlemagne Youth Prize, Diabel Cissokho: the story of a griot (2014), and Témoignages.. “waa suñu gaal” (2016, with Mariama Badji). She is also a regular contributor of the online Spanish-speaking magazine of African Cultures Wiriko, and has also been published in the national Senegalese newspaper Le Soleil, where she did an internship in the summer of 2012


  • Sendra, Estrella "A critical and comparative study of the methodologies applied to the study of the first pan-African festivals and contemporary festivals within the African continent" in the International Conference The Performance of Pan-Africanism: from Colonial Exhibitions to Black and African Cultural Festivals, 20-22 October 2016, Florida State University, Talahasse, USA.
  • Ndour, Saliou & Sendra, Estrella "50 ans du Premier Festival Mondial des Artès Nègres : analyse comparative de l’implication des populations dans le festival mondial des arts nègres de 1966 et 2010" in the International Conference The Performance of Pan-Africanism: from Colonial Exhibitions to Black and African Cultural Festivals, 20-22 October 2016, Florida State University, Talahasse, USA.
  • Sendra, Estrella "Illustrating festivals research through the still and moving image: Finding an academic platform for documentary films" in The RC33 9th International Conference on Social Methodology, 11-16 September 2016, Leicester (UK).
  • Sendra, Estrella, "Rethinking Négritude in Cultural Festivals in the 21st Century in Senegal" in Asixoxe, Let's Talk!
  • Sendra, Estrella & Mariama Badji, ‘Journal Télévisé Rappé: a local creative response from the youth to the narrative of the media conglomerate rooted in the context of Senegal’ in ECAS 2015 Sixth European Conference on African Studies, 8-10 July 2015, La Sorbonne, Paris (France).


  • Cambridge African Film Festival


  • African cinemas
  • Festivals
  • Critical media


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