Mats Jönsson


Aesthetics Unit
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
405 30 Göteborg

About Mats Jönsson

PhD from Lund University (LU) 2004. Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at Örebro University 2005–2011. Research assistant in Film Studies at LU 2006–2010. Associate Professor (Docent) in Film Studies at LU 2009. Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of Gothenburg (UGOT) 2015. Full Professor in Film Studies at UGOT 2016.


My archive-driven research focuses the cultural, social, and organisational history of media. Based on concepts such as uses of media, audiovisual cultural heritage, visual rhetoric and digital didactics, I analyse the role and function of visual media over time, with particular emphasis on place, material, ethics and aesthetics in local contexts.

Previous projects range from the significance of newsreels for the mass propagation of news and geo-specific marketing via advertising film over uses of public information and education film as well as significances of election film and functions and development of amateur film to socio-political and historical uses of commissioned film. All these projects have resulted in Swedish and international publications, recurrently used in education and research at numerous universities.

Thanks to longstanding collaborations with the National Library of Sweden and the Swedish Film Institute, I have been a member of the editorial board of the joint digital interface from the start and several films relating to my research projects are freely accessible on this site. Since its inception, I am also a member of the editorial committee of the peer-reviewed scientific book series Mediehistoriskt arkiv (Media History Archives),, whose books present ground-breaking cultural and historical media research that also are freely available as PDFs. In recent years, I have also expanded my collaboration with Swedish Public Service Television, SVT AB, which owns one of the country’s largest and most relevant collections of newsreels and short films.

Currently, I am conducting research in close collaboration with cultural heritage institutions in the Gothenburg region. Together, we make inventories, digitize and analyse local and regional visual cultural heritage material historically and geographically. In 2016, I therefore launched the collaborative research resource “Göteborgskulturer på stan 1621–2021 (Gothenburg Cultures on the Town 1621–2021, GPS400)” in 2016. This initiative was so successful that the Vice-Chancellor launched GPS400: Centre for Collaborative Visual Research at the University of Gothenburg of UGOT in April 2019, With its six-year mandate, the centre encompasses four UGOT faculties, several departments at Chalmers University of Technology, colleagues at Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and numerous representatives from archives, museums, libraries, authorities, community groups, businesses, organisations and civic society. Results of our projects are recurrently being presented and published, with two major books lauched in the spring off 2021.

Much of my work within GPS400 revolves around Media and Information Literacy (MIL), and I therefore contributed a chapter to Understanding Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in the Digital Age: A Question of Democracy, a book published in conjunction with UNICEF’s international MIL conference in Gothenburg in 2019. During the next couple of years, GPS400 will try to expand and deepen the MIL partnership between GU and the Västra Götaland region, with the objective to establish more concrete, mutually enriching, and increasingly demopcratic forms of MIL-collaborations.

My longstanding dialogues with international colleagues at institutions, archives, libraries and museums are extensive. For instance, I have set up a large international network of researchers and archival personnel specialising in newsreels – The Newsreel Network (TNN) – whose first major work, Researching Newsreels: Local, National and Transnational Case Studies, was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2018. I am also one of the founders of NAMCIE: Network for Amateur Cinema Research and Archives in Europe, which emanates from the work with the book Abenteuer Amateur: Zur Archäologie des Amateurfilms, issued by the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna ( and in which I have a chapter. Within this field, I have also contributed to Small-Gauge Storytelling: Discovering the Amateur Fiction Film published by Edinburgh University Press ( In 2016, I also wrote a chapter on Swedish non-fiction films to A Companion to Nordic Cinema, an international overview of Scandinavian film published by Wiley Blackwell (

2021 will see the publication of at least two new books made within the framework of our research centre GPS400. The first is linked to Filmens Göteborg under 1900-talet (Gothenburg Films), a project co-funded by The Anna Ahrenberg Foundation. The book will be published by the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg and features texts about a three-year collaborative project with authors from the University of Gothenburg, the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg, the Museum of Gothenburg, the Medical History Museum in Gothenburg and Bohusläns Museum: The second book has the same title as the research project it is based upon, THRESHOLDS: Interwar Lens Media Cultures 1919–1939. It originates from seminars and workshops recently held at Valand Academy and the Hasselblad Foundation organized by my two co-editors, Louise Wolthers and Niclas Östlind. In the book, which will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 18 writers from around European offer versatile overviews and analyses of the activities, people and ideas active within the photo and film cultures during the interwar years. In May 2021, a major exhibition will open at the Hasselblad Center, which specifically focuses Gothenburg’s lens media cultures, and during wich the book will be launched.


My essential outlook on education advocates a shared learning process that provides historical, theoretical and methodological perspectives on the past, present and future of our media culture. I consider the seminar to be the best educational forum for generating knowledge. It is here that the students’ self-reflexive and self-critical work develop, and it is also here that the progression of learning is assured through ongoing exploration and discussion. My ambition as a teacher is to constantly try to improve the students’ capacity to absorb, systematise, and communicate their knowledge and experiences both in groups and individually. In addition, I have always emphasised close collaboration with other subjects and external experts. All anthologies that I have edited have been incorporated into my teaching, often with writers from other fields invited as guest speakers. Such an approach ensures that the students always have a broad and up-to-date overview of the latest research across multiple disciplines. Therefore, I am currently working on developing a number of courses that involve close collaboration with and active teaching by representatives from other disciplines and faculties as well as from archives and cultural heritage institutions.


I have written three monographs, edited nine anthologies, and I am regularly published in internationally peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. For further information about my publications and lectures over the past few decades, please click on the CV-link below.