Student Profiles

Anna Gormley

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
The democratic image A study of photography as collaboration for INGOs
Research Supervisor:
Stuart Allan
Supervising school:
School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research explores how new modes of collaborative photographic representation have the power to disentangle passed ethical and aesthetic criticisms that have haunted humanitarian photography since it’s inception. I am exploring how collaborative photography projects can be seen to create an arena for more responsive and responsible civic engagement. I am currently focusing on collaborative photography and INGOs. A collaborative project is defined here as one which consciously subverts the normative practice of photographer as sole author of the image and instead invite those that are the subject of the project to participate in the creation and dissemination of their image. Do these projects offer a potential pathway to a more informed and activated public?

Previous literature on photography and NGOs is scarce. A large proportion of humanitarian Photography theory still followed today centres around photography’s truth claims as a document focusing on the photographer as author (Susan Sontag, John Tag, Victor Burgin, Rosalind Krauss, Allan Sekula, Roland Barthes, John Berger, Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord and many more advancing work of Birmingham School of Cultural Studies.). Susan Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ being the best known of these, setting the critical ‘iconoclastic’ framework for which photography is widely judged upon. Today there is the rumbling of a new approach to photographic theory (Harriman and Lucaites, Ariella Azoulay, Fred Ritchin, David Campbell, Susie Linfield, David Levi-Strauss, Margaret Olin, W J T Mitchell to name but a few) have made very important steps towards reframing photography and its democratic potential in the digital age. My research aims to make a contribution to these discussions as it explores the opportunities for a once distant ‘other’ to respond, create and manipulate their representation through digital media.

Matthew Pudner

Matthew Pudner
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
The End Of The Campaign: Regional Press And Citizen Action In South Wales 1985-2015
Research Supervisor:
Dr Andy Williams
Supervising school:
School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I propose to quantify the extent of the decline of the South Wales local press – identifying trends in circulation and employment as well as comparative trends in consumption of new media forms. I will present this data in comparison with interviews recording the experiences of people involved in local political, economic and cultural campaigns. I will examine how local press functioned in these networks as a public platform that influenced outcomes.

My intent is to show how changes in the way local press is produced, distributed and consumed over that thirty year period have affected local democracy and community engagement.

Understanding a rapidly changing news and entertainment media and its relationship to democratic society is a vital task for social science. The measured excellence and critical mass of the research at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies provides an excellent environment for Doctoral students to develop, and the pathway has an important and distinctive contribution to make in preparing the next generation of the best social scientists.

The Journalism and Democracy pathway draws upon a breadth and depth of scholarship, which includes such areas as:

  • citizen journalism;
  • children’s information and communication rights;
  • global media monitoring that examines representations of women in the news;
  • community journalism in Wales;
  • digital media;
  • emotionality in the news;
  • impartiality in the news;
  • environmental news;
  • global war, conflict and crises;
  • journalism, democracy and citizenship;
  • journalism and human rights;
  • journalism safety;
  • news and the financial crisis;
  • news reporting of politics in Wales, UK, and EU;
  • photojournalism;
  • racism, race and religion in the media;
  • the role of media in ‘right to die’ debates;
  • science journalism;
  • social media and political activism; and
  • challenges facing the media and creative industries in Wales and across the UK.

Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Critical Approaches to Journalism and Democracy as part of the broad interdisciplinary Social Science Research Methods Masters programme. We also offer, as part of both the ‘1+3’ and ‘+3’ routes, additional opportunities to extend training in respect quantitative and qualitative approaches in journalism research, including: survey design, questionnaires, content analysis, critical discourse analysis, framing analysis, ideological textual analysis, ethnography, audience reception analysis, in-depth interviews, focus groups, historical and archival research, policy analysis, critical textual analysis, visual analysis, and theory development. Our established bi-annual international Future of Journalism conference will provides students with an important platform for their research and with the opportunity to network with an international group of established scholars in the field.