The Media Convergence Research Centre interrogates the creativity, culture and enterprise of the media in the changing landscape of convergence, re-thinking the potentials of merging media practices, representations, technologies, industries and audiences everywhere.
Given the global ecology of today's media industries, as media and technology become increasingly intertwined with the fabric of our everyday lives, understanding the contemporary media landscape means looking across multiple sites of creativity and practice, not to mention far wider industrial, cultural and social contexts.
“The Media Convergence Research Centre brings together scholars and practitioners from across the College of Liberal Arts at Bath Spa University, providing a collaborative hub for developing multi-perspectival and interdisciplinary research about the media in the age of convergence.”
The Media Convergence Research Centre places this global ecology in the thematic and methodological context of convergence, bringing together scholars and practitioners from across the College of Liberal Arts at Bath Spa University - spanning media and communication, publishing, film and television, music, sociology, and business and management - to provide a collaborative hub for developing multiperspectival research about the connectedness of the media and the world around it.
The Centre operates around four research clusters, each of which serve as smaller collaborative hubs whose objectives are defined and overseen by different members:
Led by Charlie Tweed, the Centre’s Digital Materialities research cluster has a particular focus on developing inter-disciplinary practice based research that interrogates the environmental, social and historical conditions of contemporary digital culture using new and emerging creative approaches. Researchers share an interest in exploring the increasingly blurred line between the digital and physical world, utilising technologies to transform physical and digital environments and communities. The cluster is also interested in exploring the connection between the physical and the virtual using experimental arts practices, locative technologies, interactive documentary and new modes of storytelling in order to encourage new forms of participatory experience and uncover technological and cultural histories.
Film and Social Context
Led by Dr Ruth Farrar and Dr Matthew Freeman, the Centre’s Film and Social Context research cluster aims to uncover and to critically interrogate a range of social, environmental and political issues and debates that permeate across our everyday social and natural world. Seeking to shine a light on contemporary transnational questions of gender, community, anthropology and hazard development, the cluster uses film as its primary method for research. As well as seeking to unearth the sorts of representations, ideologies and perspectives that go beyond the reach of the mass media, researchers in this cluster are also interested in the relationships between such representations and the art of filmmaking, translating social content via the lens of drama, documentary, environmental film and other forms of independent media practice.
Led by Dr Matthew Freeman and Katharine Reeve, the Centre’s Multiplatform Industries research cluster works closely with the creative industries and has a particular focus on developing innovative multiplatform content strategies. An industry-engaged incubation hub, the cluster is interested in the commercial opportunities arising from emerging convergences between publishing and brands, between social media marketing and VR technology, multimedia storytelling and event amplification, and between film, story apps and picture books. In seeking to encourage knowledge exchange with local, national and international creative industries, researchers in this cluster are also interested in identifying and providing the skills necessary to develop contemporary audience-focused content across a range of platforms and media, for example in experimental transmedia.
Led by Prof James Newman, the Centre’s Play research cluster brings together scholars and practitioners with a shared interest in the cultures, technologies, histories and creative uses of play, playability and playfulness. The cluster provides a space in which researchers can interact in order to develop new ways of understanding the role and function of play and give rise to new practices that explore and make use of play and playfulness. Researchers are concerned with a number of research areas, including: the analysis and utilisation of rules, game mechanics, interfaces and the technologies of gameplay, audiovisualisation and interaction in a range of creative and commercial contexts; the study of the histories and cultures of playable media forms and playful interactions with texts, performances and audiences; and exploring the uses of games for social and cultural change, and the analysis of their impacts and influences.
While Digital Materialities is interested in examining the non-commercial convergences between communities and digital cultures, Film & Social Context explores political implications of convergences between global societies and film practice. Meanwhile, Multiplatform Industries seeks to forge new commercial opportunities based on the convergences between media platforms and industries, while Play is interested in understanding the cultural convergences between diverse interactive media practices and technologies.
Aims of the Centre
Promote connection and collaborative research and learning opportunities between BSU academics and practice-based researchers interested in broad questions of media convergence, be them technological, economic, cultural, social or global.
Act as a hub for the high-quality research undertaken across the College of Liberal Arts, developing and raising the profile of this research internationally by fostering innovation in the convergence of scholarly and practice-based research.
Attract more external research funding by consolidating collaborative and interdisciplinary interests around the wider research theme of media convergence, promoting BSU as a university of excellence for creativity, culture and enterprise.
Foster connections with the media industries and with other universities around questions and impacts of media convergence, with a view to developing the profile and activities of our Research Centre as an instrument of knowledge transfer, public engagement and social and cultural research impact.
Contribute to the training of postgraduate students by fostering cross-disciplinary supervisory teams and new Masters programmes that operate across the College of Liberal Arts at BSU.