Following her PhD on the films of Chantal Akerman, she lectured from 1994-2004 in Film Studies at Southampton Institute of Higher Education, UK. As well as leading the BA (Hons) in Film Studies and being made a Reader in Research (in 2001) she helped develop and then led the MA in Independent Film and Filmmaking.
Her research interests in Film are divided between historical studies and an engagement with Contemporary World Cinema. Her PhD on Chantal Akerman was an attempt to broaden the critical boundaries within which the director's films had been previously discussed, considering not only her status as a 'woman' and 'independent' filmmaker but also her identities as 'Belgian' and 'Jewish'. Aspects of this thesis have been published in various edited collections, and from it have grown projects around the contradictions of national cinema, independent practice and women filmmakers (see Bibliography for details).
Her recent research and publications have encompassed each of these areas. With Gillian Helfield she is co-editor of the collection: 'Representing the Rural: Space, Place and Identity in Films about the Land'. This book offers a critical introduction to issues raised by the many, varied films that take the land as their setting. The essays here consider the ways in which once the urban space is displaced by the rural, so our understanding of cinema's use of modernity, the national, post-colonialism and the post-modern is transformed.
Her most recent book on British woman film-maker Sally Potter, published 2008, offers the first book length survey of a director who uses song, dance, performance and poetry to expand our experience of cinema beyond the audiovisual.
She was Screen correspondent for the 'Créteil Festival de films de femmes' from 1992 - 1998, (writing an annual review) and she has been part of the editorial advisory committee for the magazine Vertigo ( Vertigomagazine.co.uk ).
Current projects arise from her interest in the film-art axis of influence. This is a long term project on films made for and exhibited in the space of the gallery that explores how these films might challenge theorizations of narrative, time and spectatorship in both film studies and art theory.
Fowler, C. (2023, April). (How) do I add the images in movies? University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Inaugural Professorial Lecture].
Fowler, C. (2023). 'My dearest little girl, I just got your letter and I hope that you will continue to write to me often': Epistolary listening in News from home (Chantal Akerman, 1976). In T. Higgins & C. Fowler (Eds.), Epistolary entanglements in film, media and the visual arts. (pp. 55-69). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press. doi: 10.5117/9789463729666_ch02
Higgins, T., & Fowler, C. (Eds.). (2023). Epistolary entanglements in film, media and the visual arts. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press, 280p. doi: 10.5117/9789463729666
Higgins, T., & Fowler, C. (2023). Doing (audio-visual) things with words: From epistolary intent to epistolary entanglements: An introduction. In T. Higgins & C. Fowler (Eds.), Epistolary entanglements in film, media and the visual arts. (pp. 9-38). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press. doi: 10.5117/9789463729666_intro
De Rosa, M., & Fowler, C. (2021). Making conjunctions: Thinking topologically with contemporary artists’ moving images. Screen, 62(4), 512-532. doi: 10.1093/screen/hjab048