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Bethany Wakefield – Bath Spa University

Personal statement

Bethany Wakefield is a Digital Media Ph.D. student at Bath Spa University, currently working within the School of Art, Film, and Media as a Lecturer in Media Communications. Specialising in digital media, marketing, social media, film cultures, and practice-based research, Bethany has worked professionally within the media industry and academia.

Between 2016 and 2019, Bethany attended Bath Spa University to complete an Undergraduate degree in Media Communications. During her time at the University she was awarded First Class Honours, the title of Student Valedictorian, became the recipient of the Centre of Media Research award, and was given the opportunity to officially publish her practice-based dissertation in the International Journal of Creative Media Research.

Following her graduation, Bethany began her journey within the design and marketing fields. After securing several different internships, she settled and started working full-time in Bath with a local AI recruitment company. During this time she was tasked with numerous roles such as: UX/UI design, print, and digital graphic design, event promotion and management, social media, analytics, branding, video animation, and post-production editing.

Since 2021, Bethany has been studying for a Ph.D. in Digital Media; her thesis is titled: Promoting the Rewind Button: Contemporary Nostalgic Entertainment in Digital Marketing. Her Ph.D. seeks to accurately understand the values, codes, and semiotics of 21st-century nostalgia as a digital and transmedia marketing practice, looking specifically at how different approaches to communicating nostalgia sensibilities might be reinforcing or challenging specific nostalgic ways of being. Her work will seek to acknowledge nostalgia beyond the rather straightforward act of simplified commerce and will make use of historical and political practices to analyse the versatile meaning and impact of nostalgia across contemporary media.

As a result of this investigation, Bethany will create new kinds of marketing practices using the IP and imagery of Disney to re-imagine and experiment with alternate ways of communicating nostalgia. In other words, she will construct an accessible and artistic approach to a so-called commercial practice, undertaking practice-based research in order to comprehend the relationships between certain platforms and iconographies of nostalgia, and how consumers respond to or value these sentimental digital images. In doing so, she will be able to contribute a nuanced understanding of exactly what nostalgia represents and truly means to individuals in the 21st century, as well as how it functions across a multitude of media platforms. Alongside achieving her qualification, Bethany is also working as a freelance graphic designer.

Bethany is one of the very few academic researchers to approach practice-based research through the disciplinary lens of marketing, interrogating how practices of digital marketing can be used to define and redefine the pervasiveness of modern-day audience cultures.

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Media Communications - Bath Spa University

Teaching specialisms

  • Digital media
  • Marketing
  • Social media
  • Film cultures
  • Practice based research.


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