Brighton as a city has a vibrant popular entertainment culture and a rich popular culture heritage. From early seaside leisure and tourism to the rise of purpose-built cinemas in the early twentieth century, the prominence of youth subcultures from the 1950s and onwards, including the mods and rockers clashing on Brighton beach in the summer of 1964, Brighton has always been a lively centre of cultural activity. Today many creative and digital media start-ups that have made Brighton their home, making the city an inspiring place to work and study.
For over twenty-five years, scholars at the University of Brighton have drawn upon this creative environment, developing innovative specialisms across a range of areas in the study of media and popular culture. Much of the research work at the School of Media is politically and socially engaged, critiquing representations of marginalised as well as dominant identities in the media, celebrating expressions of mainstream but also grassroots popular culture that defies dominant politics, and critically engaging with the meanings behind even the most banal cultural experiences.
Unique to the University of Brighton, your work will align you with its long-standing set of film and screen-based facilities, including the Screen Archive South East (SASE) archives and the annual Brighton film festival, Cinecity. SASE is a publicly-funded regional film archive operating in the South East of England and dedicated to acquisition, preservation, documentation, research and access and outreach. Its collection of documentaries, newsreels, advertisements and family films reflects the changing nature of life and work across the region from the nineteenth century to the present.
You will be a member of the School of Arts and Media and may well be aligned with one or more of the university's Centres of Research and Enterprise Excellence (COREs) or Research and Enterprise Groups (REGs). Of particular relevance may be the Centre for Digital Media Cultures and the Screen Studies REG, although aspects of the study of popular culture may draw on the research being conducted across the university in, for example art, history, human geography and the social sciences.
The Brighton Doctoral College offer a training programme for postgraduate researchers, covering research methods and transferable (including employability) skills. Attendance at appropriate modules within this programme is encouraged, as is contribution to the schools’ various seminar series. Academic and technical staff also provide more subject-specific training.
Your PhD research could pursue interests across a range of areas within the broad scope of film, screen and popular culture. Some recent highlights of our work through publications, conferences and research funding include:
- Children’s culture
- Culinary culture
- Digital games
- Film and television animation
- Horror, science fiction, fantasy
- Maternal drama
- Memory, history and trauma in the Media
- Paratexts and promotional media
- Popular culture and activism
- Popular culture, gender and sexuality
- Popular culture in the age of social media
- Popular music and journalism
- Seaside culture and entertainment
- Screen cultures
- Television and heritage cultures
- Utopia/dystopia and apocalypse