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Research areas

The Global Lives Research Centre is very pleased to announce four new research areas that we will be investing in throughout 2018:

Cultural and Creative Industries, led by Photini Vrikki

The intense and accelerated political shifts that have marked the global political landscape in recent years have been met with a rise of voices from the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs). Celebrities, singers, actors and industry representatives have spoken out against—or for—the rise of far-right and conservative leaderships encouraging people to incite social and political change. For example, mainstream movie stars and pop singers bandying together against Trump (‘Holy sh*t You’ve got to vote)’, artists backing #Grime4Corbyn, Syriza being supported by a number of creative industries’ unions before their election in 2015, game developers producing games that deal with contentious issues that ignite social change, etc. 
The convergence of these diverse populist tactics in the CCIs has created new modalities, leading to a point whereby CCIs are more than ever shaping the public agenda. As yet, however, the multi-dimensional role the CCIs play in ‘going political’, as well as the ways that this is shaping current political movements, has received little academic attention. This cluster aims to fill this gap. The cluster’s research priorities are to:

  1. Form a research network of BUL academics from different disciplines and career stages (particularly ECRs), practitioners, activists and industry professionals
  2. Initiate and facilitate an on-going conversation about the role(s) of the CCIs in the contemporary political world through a symposium
  3. Edit and publish a special issue based on the research collaborations that will occur during the symposium
  4. Start discussions about submitting a larger bid to the AHRC Creative Industries Cluster Programme

Humanities and Social Sciences Perspectives on Immersive Media, led by Christian Stiegler

With the launch of ‘Facebook Spaces’, Facebook’s three-dimensional space in virtual reality (VR), immersive media are about to penetrate deeply into the mechanics of our everyday lives, affecting people’s informal interactions as well as institutional structures and professional routines. In recent years academic discourse on immersive media has been focused heavily on a technological (or technocratic) perspective. This research cluster aims to contribute to the conversation with a humanities and social sciences approach that emphasises the human implications of this new medium. This approach will deal with a number of fundamental questions about the risks and opportunities associated with immersive media, and our understanding of the individual, community, and society as part of mediated realities. The cluster connects researchers within the growing industries for immersive media in the UK to develop a scientific body of knowledge and to create a hub for immersive media to assist researchers in the development of cross-department projects, and professional projects with the view to inform the design of related new teaching activities.

Play your research: Games and research impact, led by Andra Ivanescu

Our aim is to connect college research outputs that would not be normally associated with games (indeed, ideally those areas that would not even have considered it) to the well-developed capacities of the staff and student body of Games Design to make games. Disseminating and promoting academic research to a wider audience has arguably always been a challenging area. The power of games as a successful means of communicating and disseminating knowledge is widely harnessed in fields such as games-based learning and games for social change. We aim to bring the two together and to build a new theoretical framework for using games as a means of sharing academic knowledge and creating new forms of impact. We are looking for academics and ECRs interested in sharing their research in novel ways, so please contact us even if you are simply curious about the endeavour. We will also be organising a couple of informal events to discuss the process in early 2018.

Birth, The Body and Performance, led by Sara De Benedictis

Birth has become prevalent in mainstream media sites, such as primetime TV shows and Instagram accounts, as well as the focus for alternative artistic interventions through visual arts collectives and theatre production interventions. Considering the abject qualities that have been historically ascribed to the maternal body in the West (Tyler, 2009), these new public performances of birth are intriguing. They are also significant, however, as they exemplify a visibility of ‘returning birth to women’ in cultural depictions of birth when historically women’s role in birth has been absent, hidden or denied (Tyler & Baraitser, 2013: 10).The Birth, The Body and Performance cluster aims to provide a space to bring together academics, practitioners and activists in the areas of Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Media to explore the performance of birth and consider their shared theoretical and political links.

References: Tyler, I., 2009. Introduction: Birth. Feminist Review, 93 (1), 1-7. Tyler, I. & Baraitser, L., 2013. Private View, Public Birth: Making Feminist Sense of the New Visual Culture of Childbirth. Studies in the Maternal, 5 (2), 1-27.

Global Consumer Lives, led by Christine Riefa

Consumer transactions are no longer confined to the local high street. For consumers to be adequately protected, there must be proper solutions in place at local, regional and international levels. The law currently on the books is no longer regarded as sufficient in a fast moving and globalized world. Global Consumer lives is a strand of research exploring how best to protect consumers in this interconnected world. 

For a taster of the issues that will be explored, see the report on the Challenges of protecting European consumers in Global Online Markets (prepared for BEUC and vzbv).