Our Research Projects

The bigger the lie, the more they believe: morality and ethics in The Wire

This book chapter looks at how morality and ethics can be understood as interventions that impose an external and restricting framework back onto the flexibility of television fiction writing. In reality, writing fiction allows for the expression of almost any position. Such that, from inside any fictional drama there is, potentially, no objective limit to the question of morals and ethics. Fictional dramas can, quite literally, say and do whatever it is they want.

To have and not have Lauren Bacall

This book chapter reflects upon our understanding of the gaze. It takes Lacan’s conception of the gaze and considers how this has been misunderstood in film theory where it was argued that the gaze was linked to a process of identifying with what we see. My argument is that the gaze is primarily concerned with what is hidden and what it does is hold us in an endless search for what cannot be found.

Please turn off your cameras!

This paper was presented at the Images Between Series and Stream – Rethinking Seriality and Streaming conference organised by the University of Warsaw in 2021. It considered the ongoing configuration of our lives through Zoom and through Netflix. It suggested that because of our online activity subjectivity now takes on an even more explicitly representative form.

Practice as a symptom of research

This paper was presented at the X-disciplinary Congress entitled To Research or Not To Research in the Post-disciplinary Academy? in Lithuania in October 2021. The paper aimed, not to bring together research and practice but to recognise and highlight the distinctions between them both. I contend that the true goal of understanding how practice and research relate to one another begins by abstracting them from one another. 

Revealing George Shaw: a practice-based enquiry into Photography in Birmingham 1839 – 1860

This practice-based study answers questions about the early uses and development of photography in Birmingham through a network of actors, contributing new practice and a new narrative to the subject’s history. It aims to explore the contribution to the history of photography made by a key figure – George Shaw (1818 – 1904) in 19th century Birmingham.

Chasing Pedagogy: Searching for a new school portrait, or can this be a school if it doesn’t look like one? 

Possible School was a research project undertaken with students studying art in a UK secondary school. Used as a research tool, student-initiated practice explored what an image of school might be and how, through those images, school might be constituted differently. In this project, the pre-existent, fixed meaning of the school portrait extends the concept of imaging beyond the production of compliant students who will conform to the normalized reproduction of themselves as school subjects.

From Two Metres

From Two Metres was made with a GRAIN Photography Hub commission and young people in secondary schools exploring responses to being in education during the Covid-19 pandemic. This put cameras into the hands of students to explore how to depict and image their experience and feelings, capturing new ways of negotiating each other and a different life in school.

Thirty-Seven Retweets

This chapter takes as its focus how the rendering of global digital environments tends to obfuscate the material particularities of the personal. In other words, despite many attempts to integrate and mediate lived experience into an online environment, our homogenous online subjectivity still lacks all the individual details which tend to differentiate us in our day-to-day lived reality. The title of the chapter is taken from the episode The Smog Cutter (2017) from the Netflix TV series Bosch, in which watching and being watched resonate together.

Self-reflective determinism translates to how an audience is not simply entertained by a television series or movie but also requires some form of validation back from it.