Researcher in Focus: Dr Craig Haslop

Posted on: 29 May 2018 by Nick Jones in 2018 Posts

Craig Haslop head shot
Dr Craig Haslop

This month’s researcher in focus is Dr Craig Haslop, Lecturer in Media in the Department of Communication and Media. Read on to learn more about his current research projects at the University addressing concerns about harassment on social media.

Craig joined the School of the Arts in June 2016, specialising in LGBT and gender issues on social media, television and in promotional culture. He has taught Analysing Television at the University of Sussex and Digital and Social Media Communications at University of Liverpool and was part of the ‘Reaching Out Online’ EPSRC funded research investigating gay men’s attitudes to sexual health promotion. 

Craig currently leads two newly funded research projects, addressing increasing concerns about harassment on social media. The first is a one-year Higher Education Funding Council for England funded project – ‘#Speakout: calling out harassment, changing the online campus’. Craig works with Dr Fiona O’Rourke on this project, which critically examines online harassment at the University of Liverpool, in support of its zero-tolerance stance on harassment, through action-oriented research. The project has two main aims: firstly, to develop a picture of the scale and nature of online harassment among students in this institutional context; and secondly, to use these findings to create a social media campaign that critically examines these practices, and provides students with information about how to address and challenge it, including how to report it and avail of support services at the university and the Liverpool Guild.

Craig’s second project is a three-year Economic and Social Research Council funded project for early career researchers - ‘#Ladcultures: young masculinities, laddism and social networking sites’, which is more tightly focused on gender issues. More specifically, this research explores the idea of ‘the lad’ as an identity focus for many young men, to consider its wider role as social and friendship ‘glue’ on social media and the role it plays in reproducing more toxic forms of masculinity for young men online. The project aims to move beyond often-polarised mainstream media discussions that demonise ‘lad culture’ as out-of-control or suggest that concerns about it are simply political correctness taken too far, to theorise and offer a nuanced understanding of the complex processes involved in the formation and reproduction of masculinity online as part of young people’s gender making practices. 

These two research projects have been developed in response to increasing concerns about online harassment, which have been highlighted in a number of reports. In a recent Government survey, as part of consultation work looking at online safety, 60% of respondents had witnessed harmful or inappropriate content and 41% had been subjected to online harassment. Recent research by Amnesty International suggested that one in five women had experienced online abuse. The Universities UK 2016 report, ‘Changing the Culture’, also identified online harassment as a particular issue for students at UK universities, that needs to be better understood and tackled. 

The department of Communication and Media in the School of the Arts is home to researchers with interests in a wide range of aspects of the media including film, media and democracy, city branding and digital culture. The two funded research projects lead by Dr Craig Haslop are the latest developments for a department rapidly becoming known as a hub for researchers interested in issues related to gender inequalities online, including the work of Dr Emily Harmer and Dr Ros Southern on gendered online news and the harassment of female politicians online. 

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