Becoming a research leader

Dr Cat Mahoney, based in the University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) is on her way to being a research leader in Communication and Media after being awarded one of the faculty’s inaugural Derby Fellowships in 2018.

With a background in both history and media studies, Cat brings an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching. She has a particular interest in the role of television and digital applications in place making and our understanding of the past, aligning to the University’s heritage research theme.

Cat is co-editor of the scholarly edition ‘The Past in Visual Culture: Essays on Memory, Nostalgia and the Media,’ (McFarland 2017) in which she also contributed a chapter on representations of the Women’s Land Army, and her work was also published in Frames Cinema Journal (2015) Issue 7: Conflicting Images Contested Realities.

Supportive and development focused career path

Cat cites the Derby Fellowship’s bespoke career development pathway and mentoring programme as providing the opportunity to develop her existing leadership, research and pedagogical skills to become a future research leader.

“The tenure track aspect of the Fellowship provides stability enabling me lay the foundations for future collaborations across a supportive and dynamic Department and Faculty in an institution that is geared towards the interdisciplinarity that has always been at the heart of my research. The HSS structure means I develop this aspect of my work through the Faculty’s cogent yet interlinked research themes. The emphasis on development and training at the heart of the Fellowship teamed with the support and guidance of senior colleagues and my mentor provide a solid basis for progression, allowing me to focus on producing 4* world leading research in my field,” she says.

The University has held the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award since September 2011. The Award recognises the systems and practices we have in place to support researchers’ career and professional development in line with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. As the University builds on our successful development of Tenure Track Fellowships, it continues to enhance the recruitment and retention of excellent researchers such as Cat.

Pursuing an exciting and dynamic research agenda

Researchers at the University are equipped and supported to be adaptable and flexible in an increasingly diverse, mobile, global research environment. Developing transferable skills in order to stay competitive in both internal and external job markets is actively encouraged.

 “Thanks to the support offered as part of this Fellowship I will be presenting my research to an international audience in New Orleans this summer,” says Cat. “I have also been invited to present my work at two UK Universities this year, as well as being asked to give a keynote address at the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership Engage@Liverpool conference, discussing my innovative use of research methods and approach to television as a public historical archive.”

A monograph based on Cat’s doctoral research, ‘Women in Neoliberal Television Drama: Representing Gendered Experiences of the Second World War,’ will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in summer 2019. Using this research as a springboard, Cat intends to explore the representation of women in media produced during the Second World War and the ways in which different constructions of female identity were mobilised in wartime recruitment campaigns and propaganda.

Cat is also researching television’s role in historical place making and the ways in which television recreates and shapes understandings and memories of historical places and spaces. The first output from this research will be an article exploring the depiction of historic Liverpool in two period drama productions.

Through collaboration with colleagues in the Heritage Research Theme and Digital Innovation Facility, Cat hopes to explore the implications of augmented and virtual reality for future audiences’ engagement with and understanding of the past. She also intends to establish a network of scholars working on televisual place making, with the aim of better understanding television’s role in mediating the identity and heritage of the spaces in which we live.  

Accreditation and recognition

Cat also praises the pedagogic dimension of the HSS Derby Fellowship and the opportunity to attain accreditation from the Higher Education Academy.

“The phased teaching load of the Fellowship allows me to engage in teaching which I love, whilst ensuring that I have the time and space to develop into an effective and dedicated teacher. Working with my mentor and colleagues in the department I am in the process of developing my own module as well as beginning work towards HEA Fellowship.

“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity this Fellowship gives me and the faith in and commitment to my potential as a future research leader that it demonstrates. The development and support of Early Career Researchers and the creation of permanent, stable positions that are realistically attainable is essential to keep the UK at the forefront of international research.”  

A wide variety of career paths are open to researchers at the University of Liverpool, which recognises that the ability to move between different paths is key to a successful career and that this mobility brings great benefit to all stakeholders.

The Academy at Liverpool provides open-ended and progressive professional development support underpinned by the principles of the Concordat.


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