Photo of Dr Sarah Thomas

Dr Sarah Thomas

Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Communication and Media


Stardom and Celebrity

Stardom and celebrity play a huge role in how the media shapes our world. From film stars and royalty to politicians or social media celebrities, how individual personalities are mediated, and how and why industries and audiences engage with them are questions central to my teaching on COMM303 Stardom and Media Celebrity / COMM721 Stardom and Celebrity.
We will examine fame and public identity across media contexts and platforms, including film, television, social media, music, fashion, PR, advertising and print. We will consider the financial value of celebrity to media industries and brands, and how stars influence wider concepts of self, identification and communication. We will explore the history of celebrity, from early media personalities and Hollywood stardom, to international cross-media stars or ‘ordinary’ online celebrities.

Immersive Media and Virtual Worlds

COMM 210/ COMM211 Immersive Media and Virtual Worlds explores the histories, theories, and industries related to the production of immersive experiences, digital technologies, and virtual realities/worlds with a focus on cinema and video games. The module is structured in two thematic blocks. The first block will introduce the foundational histories and theories related to immersive experiences and virtual reality in relation to immersive experience, world-construction, simulation, the virtual, special effects and the digital image alongside the development of the forms, genres and technologies related to virtual worlds and immersive experience. Immersive Media and Virtual Worlds are also entertainment business that range from theme parks, to video game console wars, blockbuster movies, the military entertainment complex and media convergence; businesses related to industries such as Hollywood, Microsoft, and Sony. Therefore, the second block will focus on industry case studies in video games and cinema.

Introduction to Communication and Media Analysis

This module introduces key ways and approaches to analysing media texts, in terms of the ways in which they communicate and the forms that communication takes, i.e. how meaning is created through words, images and sounds. As well as analysing these various forms of communication within screen media, especially film and television, the module also examines the various contexts within which such communication takes place, paying particular attention to the industry that generates media texts, the ways these texts are authored and branded, and the audiences that consume them. It includes: 1. key concepts in communication and media analysis focusing especially on the study of signs and the way signs relate to the notions of “the real” and "ideology"; 2. close analysis of media form, including narrative, visual style and genre and how these construct representations, paying particular attention to film and television as the two most popular entertainment media; situating the study of media communication within a number of broader contexts, paying particular attention to industrial and economic determinants and the role they play in the shaping of media texts, as well as audiences and the way they engage with media texts within an increasingly 'mediated' environment; new areas of understanding media, including new media, non-media text-based media analysis, which opens up ideas about the virality, digital architectures, the body, gender, race, etc., which will be discussed in more detail in later modules.

Modules for 2021-22


Module code: COMM231

Role: Teaching


Module code: COMM210

Role: Teaching


Module code: COMM211

Role: Teaching

Understanding Documentary

Module code: COMM282

Role: Teaching