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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.

Screen Industries

Screen Industries examines the industrial logic of particular media industries that produce entertainment, which reaches audience through the mediation of screens. It focuses primarily on film and television industries with some references to the video game industry. Organised around 4 blocks - Key concepts, People, Structures and Power - the module investigates the relationships between technologies, economics, policies, politics and social and cultural contexts that shape these media industries and their products. Using examples from various geographical contexts and drawing on a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, Screen Industries provides a pathway through which students can understand and appreciate the complex and multifaceted nature of some of the key contemporary media industries

Modules for 2023-24


Module code: COMM231

Role: Teaching


Module code: COMM210

Role: Teaching


Module code: COMM211

Role: Teaching

Researching Screen

Module code: COMM749

Role: Module Co-ordinator


Module code: COMM303

Role: Module Co-ordinator