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Research Themes and Projects

Cities, Spaces and National Identities

Dr Jonathan Vickery's research on urban cultural policy and cities has taken many forms, from public art in the UK, to policy consultancy in Poland, to co-directing a 'City Lab' project in Shanghai. He is currently working on generating research from his innovative field-based course module taught in London, The Global City, and is also working with the Albany Theatre, the Spon Spun Festival, and number of artists in Coventry. His research interests are focused on how public policies for culture promote democracy as much as creativity and how creativity and democracy are related in major cities. As Co-Editor in Chief of The Journal of Law, Social Justice and Global Development, Dr Vickery is currently editing a special issue on Cultural Rights, and with the UNESCO Chair in Belgrade editing another special issue on populism and cultural politics. With a colleague at the Goethe Institut, he recently edited the book on public art interventions in European cities, The Art of the Multitude (Campus Verlag), and is working on his monograph Creative Cities and Public Cultures (Routledge).

Transnational cultures and globalisation

Dr Pietari Kaapa’s research on transnational film and television culture covers a range of topics. These includ national identity and globalisation, genre film in regional contexts, national cinema historiographies, ecological explorations of cultural identity, as well as intercultural audiences. The main emphasis of his work is on synergising transnational media studies with other significant and emerging fields, such as reception studies and ecocriticism. Many of his books been recognized for the ways they push the study of film industries in new directions, both in terms of understanding the complexities of global cultural production, as well as the significance that small nation film industries can have as empirical and theoretical case studies. Most recently, he was part of the Academy of Finland Transnational Finnish Film History project at the University of Helsinki, which resulted in a recent book – Finnish Cinema: A Transnational Enterprise (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). Pietari is also co-writing (with Professor Tommy Gustafsson from Linnaeus University) the monograph The Politics of Nordsploitation: Industrial and Audience Practices in Nordic Exploitation Film. The project, focusing on the history of subcultural and mainstream practices in producing and consuming exploitative genre material in the Nordic countries is published in Bloomsbury’s Global Exploitation Cinema series in 2018. He is also collaborating with the Estudios Audiovisuales research group based at Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain on a project on Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Pietari is co-editor of Journal of Scandinavian Cinema (published by Intellect) which focuses on international research in various areas of Nordic media culture.

Memory, History and Historiography

Dr Joanne Garde-Hansen's research on media and memory is forging important cross-disciplinary links through the ESRC funded Sustainable Flood Memories project. Her work on narrative, memory and sustainable communities has continued with Joanne's involvement in a four-year RCUK project on drought risk management from 2014-2018. During 2015-2016, Joanne secured ESRCIAA funding to work with Prof Rob Procter, Dr Arkaitz Zubiaga and Nataliya Tkachenko on Developing a Flood Memory App, with the support of the Environment Agency and communities in Gloucestershire. Meanwhile her ongoing research with colleagues in Brazil explores the theory and practice of (digital) media and memory in variety of organisations, and the connections between social memory, technology and networks, both in an industry/corporate environment and in communities.

Joanne's interest in television history, memory and archive is shared with colleagues in Warwick's Film and Television Studies department. She has been exploring the way in which television constructs its own heritage through memories and archives, with the Paratextual Memory Symposium (2016) and the forthcoming publication Inheriting British Television: Memories, Archives and Industries (BFI, 2017). This follows her research on memories of Dennis Potter with television scholars and members of the Forest of Dean community (see blog), exploring how television memories and archives shape our ideas of creativity and ‘ownership’ of creative work. In 2014, Joanne and Prof Gilson Schwartz (University of Sao Paulo) began their project ‘Beyond the Digital: Collective Memory in an Age of Mass Protest’ funded by the British Council/FAPESP, which as led to the Iconomy and Memory project and the publication Social Memory Technology: Theory, Practice, Action (Routledge, 2016).


Interrogating the Popular

The Centre's research aims to challenge popular assumptions about the nature of culture and creativity through a critical investigation of theories and texts as well as engaging with practitioners, managers and policy makers. Chris Bilton's research on management and creativity combines creativity theory, management studies and empirical research in arts and business to question the assumption that creativity and management are natural antagonists. As well as publishing academic papers and popular books on management and creativity, Chris has run masterclasses and seminars for management professionals in the UK, Denmark, Korea and Germany.

Oliver Bennett and Eleonore Belfiore's work on social impact of the arts uses intellectual history and a critical humanities approach to move the debates on ‘impact’ and ‘value’ in arts and cultural policy beyond economics and funding. David Wright's research on taste and consumption challenges both academic and popular assumptions about the value of popular culture and cultural participation.

Collaboration with the Department of Film and Television has led to the founding of the Centre TV History, Heritage and Memory and the emergence of a new area of research Paratexual Memory Studies which brings together themes of memory, history and historiography with the theme of interrogating the popular.

Cultural Policy and the Value of Culture

Having played a leading role in legitimising the study of cultural policy as a subject for academic research in the 1990s, the Centre today is extending the ways in which culture and policy can be understood and valued to encompass a range of institutions and practices through which our everyday experience of culture is framed and defined. This requires a multidisciplinary, critical engagement with a range of institutions and practices and the ideologies which lie behind them, from Clive Gray's research on museums to Oliver Bennett's research on religion and cultural policy.

Researchers are directly concerned with mainstream cultural policy debates but are also shaping the research agenda on ‘implicit cultural policy’, including Oliver Bennett's exploration of the influence of religious, educational and social institutions which shape ‘pessimistic’ and ‘optimistic’ narratives and which define our experience of culture. The common thread is a recognition that ‘cultural policy’ extends beyond the aesthetic or political sphere and encompasses everyday practices and decisions made by a range of individuals and institutions. The common challenge is to develop methods and perspectives which can engage with culture and policy through diverse disciplines, partnerships and projects whilst still retaining academic rigour and contemporary relevance.

Culture and Development

This is an emerging research theme, intiated by Jonathan Vickery's dialogue with the British Council and UNESCO networks. The initial product was a new MA, in Arts, Enterprise and Development (2014), which examines the rise in policies for cultural and creative industries in international development aid and global development strategies. The degree is now delivered with a new colleague, Dr Lee Martin, who brings research expertise in creativity, sustainability, enterprise and the 'capabilities' discourse in Development. Dr Martin is currently co-editing the Palgrave International Handbook of Creativity at Work, taking a global perspective. Dr Vickery also sits on the steering committee of the Warwick Global Research Priority [GRP] in International Development, and last year edited a special issue on the GRPs research thematic, entitled 'Creative Economies and Cultural Activism'. In 2016 he hosted South African playright Mike van Graan at the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study, and with van Graan ran a number of seminars on the 2005 UNESCO Covention on cultural diversity and the methodological problems of cultural research in Africa. Dr Vickery is the Chair of the Warwick International Development Annual Photography Competition, is the lead on the informal European Network for Cultural Policy and Development (Warwick, Hildesheim, Belgrade, Poznan and Istanbul), and as a founding research partner of the European Parnership on Cultural and Creative Spillovers [funded by the european centre for creative economy, the European Cultural Foundation, Arts Council England, Arts Council Ireland and others], he is now devising a project on Spillover research and developing countries.

Sustainability, media and cultural policy

Dr Pietari Kaapa is currently working on a British Academy funded project on environmental media management, focusing on the ways environmental regulation and sustainability initiatives impact the media industries. The study combines methods drawn from actor network theory (observational tactics and interviews with regulators, producers etc.) and new materialist approaches to assess the industry’s footprint and its emerging practices. As part of this project, he is finalising a book titled Environmental Management of the Media for Routledge (due out in late 2017). He also continues to work on theoretical synergies of transnational media studies and ecocriticism in books such as Transnational Ecocinema: Film Culture in an Era of Ecological Transformation (Intellect: 2013, co-edited with Tommy Gustafsson).

Kaapa is currently collaborating with academic and industry participants from Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Sweden and Mexico on a project exploring the material impact of global media industries. He is also the media leader on a Royal Society of Edinburgh project focusing on the relationship between Scotland’s cultural industries and governmental initiatives for a low carbon society.

Digital Technology and the Arts

This is an emerging research theme which builds on the work by Chris Bilton and Ruth Leary on the Happenstance Project in 2012. Research will examine the relationship between digital technology, new forms of production and consumption, and organisational change in the arts.

Cultural Participation

This is an emerging research theme which builds on David Wright's research on cultural consumption. Research will centre on the meaning and politics of cultural participation.