Postgraduate Research Staff

  • Katia Balabanova

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research are the relationship between news media and politics, the media's role in humanitarian crises and coverage of migration and free movement across Europe. My research has applied framing analysis and used political theory (cosmopolitanism) to explore the interplay between media and human rights, the impact of NGOs on public debates, the policy agenda, and public understanding of human rights issues.

    The following topics are ones where I would particularly welcome PhD proposals from suitably qualified applicants – projects focusing on:

    • Representation of human rights in the media, e.g. communication campaigns run by IGOs or NGOs
    • Media coverage of political debates around immigration, in particular concerning European free movement rules
    • Role of new and old media in the formation and evaluation of foreign policymaking

    Katia Balabanova
  • Jordana Blejmar

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research are Latin American culture, especially of the Southern Cone, and mainly literature and visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I am particularly interested in the relationship between politics and aesthetics; contemporary photography, conflict and memory and artistic approaches to trauma; digital humanities, especially digital memories of disappearance, the digital in the museum, cyber activism, the role of net-art and social media in solidarity movements and commemorations; and the material culture of childhood, the history of play in Latin America, subversive uses of toy and play in contemporary art, dark play, and the links between (video)gaming, politics and memory in today’s digitized world. My research is influenced by the work of, among others, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Georges Didi-Huberman, Roberto Esposito and Jacques Rancière.  

    I would welcome expressions of interest for PhD projects in all the above areas, particularly those related to the following topics:  

    • Digital Memories of Absence, Cyber Activism and Net Art
    • The Use of Photography during and after Contemporary Social and Political Conflicts
    • Narratives of the Self and Playful Approaches to Trauma
    • Post-New Argentine Cinema and Contemporary Argentine Theatre
    Jordana Blejmar
  • Beatriz Garcia

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    Research Interests

    My research interests centre on the rhetoric, policy frameworks and methodologies to capture the impact and legacy of large-scale urban interventions, in particular, mega-events such as the Olympic Games or the European Capital of Culture Programme. I am in interested in supervising work that explores the media and promotional narratives of cultural (and, in particular, event-led) regeneration around the world.

    I welcome applications for conceptual and applied research interrogating approaches to urban cultural policy (eg. city clustering, iconic infrastructures, festivalization, place-making), city branding (eg. notions of the creative city, event cities, renaissance cities); the role of the media shaping stories and images of place; and/or the role and impact of opinion formers in perceptions of place / urban identities in the wake of special events.

    Indicative PhD projects include investigations of:

    • ‘Brand Brazil’ in the wake of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games : cultural narratives of urban change, success and failure
    • Projecting Heritage in European Capital of Culture Host Cities: Liverpool 2008 and Istanbul 2010. 
    • Cultural-based regeneration and policy mobility: a comparative research on Biennale events. 
    Beatriz Garcia
  • Peter Goddard

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    Research Interests

    My research interests centre on broadcasting history and institutions (both in the UK and internationally), including the form, content and public contribution of programming. In particular, my work focuses on film and television documentary, television current affairs programming and the circulation of public knowledge via television, and past and present issues in British public service broadcasting.

    My current research includes work on television current affairs documentary, and on the present-day role of public service media in an abundant media context. Future plans include a major project on film and television documentary representations of historical subjects. I would be interested in supervising PhD projects in any of these areas. 

    I would be particularly keen to be involved with PhD projects such as:

    • Histories of the role and purposes of British television drama-documentary
    • Form and audience engagement in television current affairs documentaries
    • Analysing the impact on the BBC of the 2017 Charter Review
    • The ways in which archive material is used to represent the past in film and television documentary
    Peter Goddard
  • Emily Harmer

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    Research Interests

    Emily Harmer: My research analyses the relationship between gender, political communication and news media. I have completed projects tracking changes in UK political news coverage from 1918 to 2010; news coverage of women in British general elections, and news coverage of the recent EU Referendum.

    I am particularly interested in the extent to which political communication and political news reinforce or challenge gendered ideas about which people, and what aspects of everyday life matter, when it comes to the public discussion of formal politics. I would be interested in supervising PhD projects related to any of these areas, but would specifically welcome projects in the following areas:

    • Mediating masculinities in political news
    • Historical analyses of news coverage about gendered policy areas (eg. childcare, abortion, violence against women etc).
    • The gendered dimensions of online news: production, content and audiences
    Emily Harmer
  • Craig Haslop

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research interest are: science fiction, fantasy and 'cult' TV and film particularly in terms of class, gender and sexual representation; PR and promotional cultures with a particular interest in social media; and audience studies. In the first area, I have written about the development of cult TV brands and the commodification of class and LGBTQI+ identities in Doctor Who (1964-) and Torchwood (2006-2011).

    I am also researching relationships between the history and development of 'cult' TV, 'queerness' and LGBTQI+ cultures in the UK. In the area of social media, I am currently researching the construction and reproduction of discourses of 'lad cultures' in relation to concerns about online misogyny, sexual harassment and trans/homophobia.

    I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all these areas, but at this stage in my research I would particularly welcome projects such as:

    • The PR agency/press office as cultural intermediary: untangling the tensions in story-making between PRs, celebrities and the media
    • Branding 'cult' TV: exploring promotional strategies and/in texts and paratexts in the Netflix era
    • Participatory queers: LGBTQI+ identities and regimes of inclusion/exclusion in social media fandoms
    Craig Haslop
  • David Hill

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    Research Interests

    I am a social theorist interested in technology, communication and work. I'm currently working on the following, which might give you an idea of the sorts of thing I'd like to supervise: a critical account of lean logistics, automated warehousing and gig delivery in Amazon.com's "integrated stack" business model; a moral critique of the neoliberal "business ontology" used to position fitness trackers in terms of the quantified self; and a philosophical investigation of death and suicide in technology super-factories. 

    I'm looking to supervise work that draws on and expands upon my main philosophical influences: twentieth century French poststructural theory; and contemporary Autonomist theories of work and capital. I would welcome projects that look at moral philosophy of communication; critiques of platform capitalism; and explorations of automation in the workplace.

    Indicative PhD projects include investigations of:   

    • Amazon.com in the context of platform capitalism 
    • Moral communication in the work of Emmanuel Levinas 
    • The media theory of Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard and/or Franco "Bifo" Berardi 
    David Hill

     

  • Michal Krzyzanowski

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    Research Interests

    I am an internationally recognised expert in critical discourse studies of populist political communication and social as well as mass media discourse. My main areas of interest are at the intersection of politics and the media as key carriers of public imaginaries of social reality. While I work with mixed-method approaches, I mainly apply qualitative research methods (critical discourse analysis, ethnography) and draw extensively on the interdisciplinary input from communication and media as well as linguistics, political sociology, political science or anthropology of politics and organizations.I would be interested in supervising research students willing to pursue their work on the following topics:   

    • Anti-Immigration Discourses of Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe
    • Political and Media Discourses on Refugee/Immigration 'Crises’ 
    • Political and Media Discourses on Crisis and Neoliberalism
    • Discourses of Socio-Political Transformation and Democratisation
    • Social/Online Media and the Transformation of Political & Policy Communication
    Michal Krzanowski 
  • Gary Needham

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research interest are on American, experimental, oppositional, and alternative filmmaking histories and practices that range from Hollywood to American underground and avant-garde, to queer cinemas and other marginal and outsider cinemas for example, exploitation films and artists’ films. I am interested in research around the relationship between art and the moving image especially the work of Andy Warhol and other artist-filmmakers, as well as film and identity politics in relation to sexuality and queer theory. Previously I have done research on East Asian Cinemas (Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan) and still retain a strong interest in that area too. I would welcome supervision of PhDs in any of the areas above and projects specifically on:

    • The histories and practices of American underground and avant-garde cinemas
    • Topics related to Andy Warhol
    • Gay and lesbian studies after queer theory
    • Visualizing AIDS in film, art, and/or documentary
    Gary Needham 
  • Rudi Palmieri

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    Research Interests

    My main expertise is in Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric and Discourse Analysis, with a particular interest in the study of argumentation in strategic communication contexts, such as financial communication, institutional communication and crisis communication. Special topics I am currently interested in are: (a) the analysis and evaluation of argumentative discourse in context, with a particular focus on the inferential structure of arguments; (b) critical analysis of argumentative strategies in different genres of financial communication, in particular letters to investors, profit warnings, earnings conference calls, and takeover documents; (c) crisis communication and the role of argumentation in restoring trust and reputation; (d) the analysis of rhetorical situations with multiple audiences and how argumentative strategies are designed in these contexts.

    I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all the above areas but at this stage in my research I would particularly welcome research proposals in the following topics:  

    • How organizations (both business and non-profit) communicate after a crisis in to restore stakeholders’ trust, and more in particular the role argumentation plays to this purpose.
    • The relationship between framing and argumentation and the rhetorical uses of framing in strategic communication contexts
    • The differences and connections between communication and signalling in strategic communication
    Rudi Palmieri
  • Kay Richardson

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research are media discourse (especially approaches from a (socio) linguistic perspective) and the uses of dialogue in TV drama (again from a broadly sociolinguistic perspective). In the first area I have written about, e.g., media representations of the nuclear power industry, the national economy, and poverty (and also undertaken some reception studies audience research on these topics). In the second area I have written specifically about political drama on TV and also about Sherlock, amongst other productions. I would welcome supervision of PhD projects related in any way to the two areas indicated here, and specifically such topics as the following:

    • Mediating Margaret – film and TV representations of Margaret Thatcher.
    • Naturalistic and stylised forms of dialogue in movies and TV dramas.
    • The BBC/British Library Listening Project – sociolinguistic aspectual studies of the British Library’s archive of Listening Project recordings.
    Kay Richardson
  • Les Roberts

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    Research Interests

    My research interests and practice falls within the following key areas: media, culture and the city; urban cultural studies; space, place and memory; cultural mapping and spatial humanities; heritage and cultural memory; film and media tourism; media anthropology/ethnography; non-media-centric/non-representational theories; phenomenological approaches to media practices; liminality, selfhood and transitional phenomena. I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all the above areas but at this stage in my research I would particularly welcome projects such as:

    • The archive city: spatial anthropology and archival film practices
    • Film office as cultural broker: the production and consumption of mediated spaces in film/media tourism and heritage
    • Spatial humanities/'deep mapping' and locative media practice: exploring the interface of space, place and memory through digital methods
    • Digital media as a transitional space: participation, performance and practice in the mediated construction of selfhood (ethnographic/autoethnographic perspectives)
    Les Roberts 


     

  • Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova

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    Research Interests

    My research interests span across media and communication studies, journalism and sociology. My key research areas are: 

    1. International and global journalism with a particular focus on journalism in Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia. My recent projects include a semi-ethnographic study of “independent”/liberal journalists in Russia and a survey with Bulgarian journalists as part of the Worlds of Journalism study – a collaborative project involving researchers from 67 countries and over 27,500 journalists.

    2. Children and young people as media audiences, including the media’s role in children and adolescents’ political socialisation and the process of collective identities such as European and national identities. My most recent project on the topic is a longitudinal study exploring young people’s knowledge of Europe, their European identities and attitudes towards recent events such as Brexit and Donald Trump’s Presidency. My work utilises a mixed methods approach – content and thematic analysis of texts as well as interviews and surveys with young people, their parents and teachers.

    3. The Internet’s role in relation to: a) online risks, harm and opportunities for young people, and b) the democratic deliberative potential of online discussion boards and social media platforms. My most recent study on the topic involves an exploration of Russian online users’ comments about Donald Trump.

    I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all these areas but I would particularly welcome projects focusing on:

    • Journalism in dictatorial and authoritarian regimes
    • Young people, politics and the media
    • Russian media with a particular focus on Runet and RT 

     

     
  • Rosalynd Southern

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    Research Interests

    My research focuses on political communication during election campaigns, particularly online. I have analysed online campaigning by UK parties at the last three UK general elections and during the EU referendum, with a particular focus on the mainstreaming of social media as a campaign tool. More recently I have also begun to assess how social media are used by voters to communicate politically. In addition to this, I have also conducted work on female politicians and their treatment via various media.

    I would be interested in supervising any area of online political communication but would particularly welcome projects such as the following or similar:

    • The use of new media by political parties/candidates or other campaigning organisations
    • The use of social media / new media in protest
    • Comparing campaign communications by gender
    • The rise of online-only media outlets and their impact on political discourse

     

    Rosalynd Southern 
  • Sarah Thomas

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    Research Interests

    My areas of research expertise centre on stardom/celebrity, Hollywood and transnational cinema, screen performance, cult media, and digital media/Virtual Reality. I am interested in the screen actor within, and as a challenge to, existing parameters and methodologies of star studies, historically examining them through economic value, industrial labour and acting, across transnational and multimedia contexts.

    My work brings together star and performance studies, cultural identity, émigré and theatre studies, transmedia texts and wider industrial histories of cinema, television, theatre and other formats. My current research areas concentrate on film industry production and history, including Hollywood investment in Virtual Reality, the labour status of voiceover actors in the gaming industry (in the context of wider film industry unionisation histories), the transnational history of Cannon Film Group, and analyses of character actors and ensemble casts.

    I would be interested in supervising PhD projects related to any of these areas, but would specifically welcome projects in the following areas:

    • Projects linking contemporary celebrity with historical precedents and/or multimedia platforms
    • Critical and economic histories of Hollywood stardom and/or Hollywood studio production
    • Different modes of stardom and celebrity, including cult stardom, character actors, sports stardom, cross media celebrity, and star-fan relationships.
    • Analyses of acting and performance in entertainment industries, including film, radio, television, and gaming. 
    • Projects exploring interactive digital cultures with an emphasis on actors/stars, including social media, virtual reality paratexts and motion capture performance.
    • Cognitive analyses of screen actors and stardom, especially using eye tracking methods
     Sarah Thomas
  • Kerry Traynor

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    Research Interests

    Kerry began writing and producing digital media while working in community development in Toxteth, Liverpool, in the late 1990s as part of a nationwide programme of inner-city regeneration. In the mid-2000s she joined the award-winning International Centre for Digital Content at Liverpool John Moores University, teaching digital production, supporting digital business start-ups and engaging communities in pioneering digital inclusion work. 

    A critical political economist with an interest in ethnography as a means of understanding media production cultures, her current research interests revolve around the study of media production cultures within local, community and alternative media contexts. She is particularly interested in media representations of communities and social justice issues, and the ways in which media policy and governance frameworks influence professional practice and shape the nature of journalism and other media content.  She is keen to hear from prospective doctoral candidates interested in projects exploring: 

    • Local, community, hyperlocal and alternative media production in international contexts
    • The commercialisation and privatisation of public service journalism
    • Media representations of social justice, charities, social enterprise, non-profits, community development
    • Youtube, viral video and social media for social change
    • Media policy and regulation, particularly digital, online and social media
     Kerry Traynor
  • Georgina Turner

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    Research Interests

    My primary research interest is in media discourses and representations, particularly in relation to gender and sexuality. I am interested in the role of media in identity and community and I have written about LGB magazines as a site for the construction of collective identity and would welcome PhD supervision of work on print (sub)cultures.

    My own current projects look variously at online comments about the Doctor Who companion Clara Oswald, at the construction of opposition to same-sex marriage by campaigners, at readers' recollections of a queer magazine in the 1990s, and at representations of older women-loving women (with particular emphasis on viewers and mental health). There are clearly threads in this seemingly eclectic mix, and I would welcome the supervision of PhD projects in any of the above areas. I am especially keen to supervise on topics such as:  

    • Gender/sexuality and science fiction representations of other times/places
    • Zine-making and DIY print culture(s)
    • US/UK social media and the debate over gender identity politics
    • LGBTQ representation and mental health
    Georgina Turner 
  • Yannis Tzioumakis

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    Research Interests

    My key areas of research are American independent cinema, especially from an industrial and economic perspectives; Hollywood cinema's takeover by global entertainment conglomerates and the impact this has had on the kinds of films produced and released by the major studios; cinema and youth cultures (with particular emphasis on the ways cinema as an industry and institution targeted young audience); the B Film as a vehicle for exploitation and creativity; American film and the representation of political institutions and practices; and Greek cinema with particular emphasis on industrial, institutional and aesthetic questions.

    I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all the above areas but at this stage in my research I would particularly welcome projects such as:

    • The impact of digital technology in the American independent film sector, both in terms of how the industry has shifted and in terms of the aesthetics of the digitally-produced films
    • The organisation of Greek cinema as an industry and the role of the Hollywood majors in the Greek film market
    • The ways in which film practices in American cinema have been changing due to the impact of global entertainment conglomerates
    Yannis Tzioumakis
  • Simeon Yates

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    Research Interests

    My research concentrates on the social, political and cultural impacts of digital media and includes a long-standing focus on digital media and interpersonal interaction. Most recently, I have worked on projects that address issues of digital inclusion and exclusion; projects that address the use of digital technologies in the workplace; projects that look at the use of digital media in arts and cultural production; while I also undertook substantive systematic reviews of digital research in the social sciences. 

    Much of my recent work has had a strong policy aspect. I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary projects that connect with computer science, arts, design and engineering. I would welcome supervision of PhD projects in all the above areas but I would particularly welcome projects such as:

    • Digital inclusion, exclusion – differences in access and use by individuals and communities
    • Digital cultural capital – what aspects of digital culture interact with class and status
    • Digital culture on-line – including interpersonal and intercultural interaction
    • Digital politics – from twitter use to policy making
    • Digital cultural consumption – from Facebook to video games
    Simeon Yates